Praise be to Allaah; we praise Him and seek His help and forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allaah from the evil of our own selves and from our evil deeds. Whomsoever Allaah guides cannot be led astray, and whomsoever He leaves astray cannot be guided. I bear witness that there is no god except Allaah alone, with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
Steadfastness in the religion of Allaah is a basic requirement for every sincere Muslim who wants to follow the Straight Path with determination and understanding. This matter is of great importance for a number of reasons, including the following:
- The present situation of the societies in which Muslims live, the types of temptation to which they are painfully exposed and the kinds of whims and desires, doubts and confusion which have caused religion to become something strange, so that those who adhere to it are likened to something weird, and people say: “The one who holds on to his religion is like one who holds on to a burning coal.”
Anyone who has a brain will not doubt that Muslims today need the means of steadfastness more than their predecessors among the salaf did, and that the effort required is greater, because of the corruption of our times, and the scarcity and weakness of brothers and supporters who could help.
- The high incidence of apostasy (riddah) and backsliding, even among those who are working for Islam, which causes Muslims to fear ending up the same way, so he seeks the means of standing firm so that he can reach dry land, as it were.
- The relationship of this issue to the heart, of which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “It changes more than a pot of rapidly boiling water.” (Reported by Ahmad, 6/4; al-Haakim, 2/289; al-Silsilat al-Saheehah, 1772). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) also gave another example of the heart: “The heart (qalb) takes its name from its constant changes (taqallub – alteration, variation, ups and downs). The likeness of the heart is that of a feather at the root of a tree, being turned over and over by the wind.” (Reported by Ahmad, 4/408; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 2364).
As a later poet said:
“He is only called insaan (man) because of his nasyaan (forgetfulness)
And it is only called al-qalb (the heart) because it constantly varies (yataqallib).”
Making the one stand firm who is tossed about by the winds of doubt and confusion is a serious matter which needs tremendous means as befits the seriousness and difficulty of the task at hand.
It is part of Allaah’s mercy towards us that He has shown to us, in His Book and through the words and life of His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) many ways of being steadfast in Islam. I will discuss some of them below: