Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Al-Istiqaamah (Firmness Upon Islaam)

(Revised on Jan. 17, 2013)

بـسـم الله والحـمـد لله والـصلاة والـسـلام عــلى رسـول الله، وبـعـد

Allaah تعالى says:

{Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allaah (Alone),” and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!”} [Surah Fussilat (41): 30]

On the authority of Abu `Amr, though others call him Abu `Amrah Sufyaan bin `Abdullaah رضي الله عنه said: I said: “O Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, tell me something about Islaam which I could not ask anyone about save you.” He صلى الله عليه وسلم answered: “Say: 'I believe in Allaah', and then stand firm and steadfast.” [Saheeh Muslim]

INDEX
1. Definition
2. From the statements of the Salaf
3. Importance of al-Istiqaamah
4. Lessons
5. According to other scholars there are certain steps to be followed in order to achieve al-Istiqaamah
6. More on al-Istiqaamah
7. Factors that lead to the weakening of al-Istiqaamah
8. Conclusion

The pdf of the same can be downloaded from here.

1. Definition:

The literal meaning of “al-Istiqaamah”: to go straight into the right direction, acting rightly, allowing no deviation. It is derived from the stem Qiyaam, which implies the continuity of doing something, following up with it and making sure that it is done in the right way and there is neither deviation nor swerving.

The term has been used by the Qur’aan in many verses. Allaah تعالى says:

{Therefore, stand firm (on the straight path) as you are commanded and those who turn in repentance with you. And do not transgress, for He (Allaah) sees well all that you do.} [Surah Hood (11): 112]

Istiqaamah is a difficult task to undertake because maintaining direction means abandoning habits and ways and standing before Allaah with true feelings of sincerity. Indeed it is a difficult task to achieve al-Istiqaamah, hence, the Prophet صلى تااه عليه وسلم said: “Be straight on the path or be close to it.”

In another verse, Allaah تعالى says:

{So unto this (religion) invite (the people). Stand steadfast as you are commanded and do not follow their desires.....} [Surah al-Shoora’ (42): 15]

Based on these two verses, it can be inferred that al-Istiqaamah is to stand firm and steadfast to what we have been commanded by Allaah, i.e. to fulfill obligations and to avoid prohibitions. Also, we should not allow ourselves to follow or be mislead by desires (whether it is our desires or the desires of others) as it will cause deviation and lead us astray.


2. From the statements of the Salaf:

Ibn Katheer رحمه الله mentioned the meaning of al-Istiqaamah in his Tafseer (3/403): 

“It means, Allaah تعالى commands you to be upon al-Istiqaamah (straightforwardness) in worshipping Him, by following the Messengers عليهم الصلاة والسلام who were supported with miracles and obeying what they conveyed from Allaah تعالى and al-Sharee`ah (the Law) that they brought. He تعالى also commands sincerity in worshipping Him, for He تعالى does not accept a good deed until it satisfies these two conditions: being correct and in conformity with His Law, and being free of Shirk.”
--end of quote


Al-Raaghib al-Assfahaanee, in Mufarridaat alfaadh al-Qur’aan (1/433), said:

al-Istiqaamah fee al-tareeq (straightforwardness of the path): that which is (straight like a) plane line, with which the true path is ascertained. Similar to (Allaah’s saying):

{Guide us to the Straight Way} [Surah al-Faatihah (1): 6]

{And verily, this is my Straight Path} [Surah al-An`aam (6): 153]

{Verily, my Lord is on a Straight Path} [Surah Hood (11): 56]

al-Istiqaamatul Insaan (straightforwardness/firmness of man): It is the adherence to the Straight Manhaj (way).

{Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allaah (Alone),” and then they stand firm} [Surah Fussilat (41): 30]

{So stand (ask Allaah to make) you firm and straight (on the religion of Islaamic Monotheism) as you are commanded} [Surah Hood (11): 112]
--end of quote


Al-Istiqaamah is being firm upon Tawheed, and purely following the two Wahee (revelations): The Book of Allaah and the Authentic Sunnah of His Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, upon the understanding of the Salaf as-Saaleh (pious predecessors). [al-Isaalah Magazine # 21, pg. 5]


3. Importance of al-Istiqaamah

Imaam Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله said in Madaarij us-Saalikeen (2/103-107):

And from the importance of the Aayah:

{You (Alone, O Allaah!) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything)} [Surah al-Faatihah (1): 5] is the importance of al-Istiqaamah.

Allaah تعالى said:

{Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allaah (Alone),” and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (at the time of their death) (saying): “Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised!”} [Surah Fussilat (41): 30]

And He تعالى said:

{Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is (only) Allaah,” and thereafter stand firm (on the Islaamic Faith of Monotheism), on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.} [Surah al-Ahqaaf (46): 13]

And Allaah تعالى said to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم:

{So stand (ask Allaah to make) you firm and straight (on the religion of Islaamic Monotheism) as you are commanded and those (your companions) who turn in repentance (to Allaah) with you, and transgress not (Allaah's legal limits). Verily, He is All-Seer of what you do.} [Surah Hood (11): 112]

Allaah تعالى informed us that al-Istiqaamah is the opposite of transgression – the action of going beyond and overstepping all boundaries and limits.

Allaah تعالى says:

{Say (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم): “I am only a human being like you. It is revealed to me that your Ilaah (God) is One Ilaah (God – Allaah), therefore take Straight Path to Him (with true Faith – Islaamic Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness of Him.} [Surah Fussilat (41): 6]

And Allaah تعالى says:

{If they had believed in Allaah, and went on the Right Way (i.e. Islaam), We would surely have bestowed on them water (rain) in abundance.} [Surah Jinn (72): 16]

The truthful one of the Ummah – Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq رضي الله عنه was asked about al-Istiqaamah, so he said: “That you do not commit Shirk (associate partners with Allaah)” – he meant by al-Istiqaamah to be pure Tawheed.

And `Umar bin al-Khattaab رضي الله عنه said: al-Istiqaamah is that you are steadfast upon the commands and prohibitions (of Allaah). And do not dodge/turn (from these commands and prohibitions) like the turning of a fox”.

Uthmaan Ibn `Afaan رضي الله عنه said: “Making the deeds sincerely for Allaah”.

`Alee Ibn Abee Taalib رضي الله عنه and Ibn `Abbaas رضي الله عنهما said: “Being steadfastness in offering the obligatory acts”.

Hasan (al-Bassree) رحمه الله: “Being steadfast upon the commands of Allaah تعالى, and doing them out of obedience, and leaving off sinful acts”.

Mujaahid رحمه الله said: “Being steadfast upon the testimony “Laa ilaaha illallaah” until meeting with Allaah”.

And I heard Shaikh al-Islaam, Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله saying: “Being steadfast and firm in loving Him (Allaah) and worshipping Him, and not turning (diverting) from it right or left”.

On the authority of Abu `Amr, though others call him Abu `Amrah Sufyaan bin `Abdullaah رضي الله عنه said: I said: “O Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم, tell me something about Islaam which I could not ask anyone about save you.” He صلى الله عليه وسلم answered: “Say: 'I believe in Allaah', and then stand firm and steadfast.” [Saheeh Muslim (58)]

Thawbaan رضي الله عنه said: The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Be firm upon righteousness, even though you will not be able to do all the acts of virtue. Know that the best of your deeds is Salaah (prayer) and that no one maintains his ablution except a believer.” [Sunan Ibn Maajah” (277, 278) and graded as “Saheeh li ghairihee” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

What is required from the slave (of Allaah) is al-Istiqaamah, and it is fulfilling (the commandments to the best of his ability). And if he is not able to, then he should do what is similar to it and to be moderate. Anything other than this will either be extremism or abandonment, as has been reported in Saheeh Muslim:

On the authority of Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The deeds of anyone of you will not save you (from the (Hell) Fire).” They said: “Even you (will not be saved by your deeds), O Allaah’s Apostle?” He said: “No, even I (will not be saved) unless and until Allaah bestows His Mercy on me. Therefore, do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and worship Allaah in the forenoon and in the afternoon and during a part of the night, and always adopt a middle, moderate, regular course whereby you will reach your target (Paradise).” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (6463) and Saheeh Muslim (5046) and also it was reported on the authority of `Aaishah رضي الله عنها]

In this Hadeeth, all the commands of the religion have been gathered, that they have been ordered with al-Istiqaamah: which is to fulfill the obligations (moderately) which includes intentions (action of the heart), speech (action of the tongue) and actions (of the limbs).

In the Hadeeth of Thawbaan رضي الله عنه, it is mentioned that they will not be able to do all the actions (perfectly), that is why they should aim for moderation, and that is to try to be upon al-Istiqaamah (firmness) according to their ability.

Like someone who is trying to hit a target; if they cannot reach the target they are aiming for, they should at least try to get as near as possible And with this (the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم) informed them that al-Istiqaamah and being closer to it does not mean that one is safe on the Day of Judgment. So, one should not rely on his deeds nor should he be amazed by them, nor should he understand that his salvation is thru them. Rather, the salvation of one is only attained through the Mercy of Allaah, His forgiveness and His favors.

The word al-Istiqaamah is a comprehensive word which encompasses the whole religion, and it is standing in front of Allaah with true sincerity (in action) and in fulfilling (the obligations) to the covenants (to Allaah that you will worship none but Him).

Al-Istiqaamah is related to speech (actions of the tongue) and actions (of the limbs), the surroundings and the intentions (actions of the heart). So al-Istiqaamah is to do an act for Allaah’s sake with sincerity and in accordance with the way He تعالى has commanded.

Some of the people of knowledge said: “Be the people of al-Istiqaamah (being firm upon the religion) and don’t be the people searching for al-karaamah (dignity and honor). Verily! Your Nafs (soul) moves towards (attaining) al-karaamah (dignity and honor), whereas your Lord requires from you al-Istiqaamah.”

And I heard Shaikh al-Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah رحمه الله saying: “The best honor is that the person is upon al-Istiqaamah.”
--end of quote from Madaarij us-Saalikeen


4. Lessons:

According to Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله there are five conditions to achieve al-Istiqaamah in performing required deeds:

1. The act should be done for the sake of Allaah alone (ikhlaas).

2. It should be done on the basis of knowledge (`ilm).

3. Performing `ibaadah should be in the same manner that they have been commanded.

4. To do it in the best way possible.

5. Restricting oneself to what is lawful while performing those deeds.
--end of quote


Shaykh `Abdul-Razzaaq al-Abbaad حفظه الله mentions:

Istiqaamah (steadfastness) is based on three things:

1. That it is for Allaah.
- your steadfastness is sincerely for the sake of Allaah and not for anyone else.

2. That it is through Allaah.
- you seek Allaah’s assistance in your steadfastness and affirming it.
- there is no attaining of steadfastness except through the assistance of Allaah.

3. That it is upon the command of Allaah.
- upon the Manhaj (way) which Allaah has commanded.
- upon what Allaah has legislated in the Sharee`ah.
- steadfastness can only be upon what has been commanded not upon desires, innovations, or opinions.
--end of quote



5. According to other scholars there are certain steps to be followed in order to achieve al-Istiqaamah:

1. Always being aware of the final destination, i.e. the Day of Judgment (Aakhirah); and to use this awareness in a positive way as a motive to do good deeds. One way to do it is through remembering that a person's journey towards Aakhirah starts the minute he / she passes away and leaves this world. Ibn `Umar رضي الله عنهما use to say: “f you survive till the evening, do not expect to be alive in the morning, and if you survive till the morning, do not expect to be alive in the evening, and take from your health for your sickness, and (take) from your life for your death.”

2. Commitment (Mushaaratah). One has to make a commitment that he/she will be steadfast and will do things in the right way and in the best way possible, and to adhere to conjunctions of Islam. Unfortunately many Muslims are being lenient in making such a commitment. 

3. To make continuous efforts (Mujaahadah) to bring that commitment to reality. Some Muslims dare to make the commitment, but dare not to make the effort to make the commitment a reality.

4. Continuous checking and reviewing of one's deeds (Muraaqabah). Being honest with oneself so as not to give false excuses for failing to fulfill a commitment.

5. Self accountability (Muhaasabah). This should be done twice: Firstly, before we start doing something, ensuring that it pleases Allaah, that we do it for His sake only, realizing the right way it should be done. Secondly, after the action has been done, to check whether we have achieved what we aimed for, and to check for defects and shortcomings, and that we still could have done it better by not being satisfied with our action. 

6. Blaming oneself for not doing it perfectly after it has been done. Self blaming here is a positive one by using it as a motive, and by aiming for improvement and having the intention of doing things better next time. This leads to making another commitment and continual commitments to improve our performance. 

7. Striving for improvement (Tahseen). We have to make improvements in all that we do (daily activities, work, actions, good deeds, `ibaadah, etc.) as one of our objectives.

8. To be humble towards Allaah, realizing that no one is perfect except Him, seeking His forgiveness, guidance and support. 

It should be emphasized that these steps/conditions apply to worldly matters as well as `ibaadah and good religious deeds.


6. More on al-Istiqaamah:

1. Al-Istiqaamah (firmness upon religion) when facing the people of kufr and the mubtadi`ah (the innovators from among the grave/saint worshipers, and those who oppose the `aqeedah of Ahl al-Sunnah wal-Jamaa`ah):

{“And O my people! How is it that I call you to salvation while you call me to the Fire! You invite me to disbelieve in Allaah (and in His Oneness), and to join partners in worship with Him of which I have no knowledge; and I invite you to the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving! No doubt you call me to (worship) one who cannot grant (me) my request (or respond to my invocation) in this world or in the Hereafter. And our return will be to Allaah, and Al-Musrifoon (i.e. polytheists and arrogant, those who commit great sins, the transgressors of Allaah's set limits), they shall be the dwellers of the Fire! And you will remember what I am telling you, and my affair I leave it to Allaah. Verily, Allaah is the All-Seer of (His) slaves.”} [Surah Ghaafir (40): 41-44]



2. From al-Istiqaamah is to avoid such gatherings where people do not care for the religion, nor waste time arguing with the kuffaars and innovators on social websites (which consumes much time and has little effect). If you feel that the person is benefitting from you, then continue, otherwise just do your job of reminding them and providing the evidences and move forward. And stick to learning the Qur’aan & the Sunnah, the as well as the `aqeedah and the manhaj of the Salaf al-Saaleh (pious predecessors).

{And when you see those who engage in a false (and vain) conversation about Our Verses (of the Qur’aan), stay away from them till they turn to another topic. And if Shaitaan (Satan) causes you to forget, then after the remembrance sit not you in the company of those people who are the Zaalimoon (polytheists and wrong doers). Those who fear Allaah, keep their duty to Him and avoid evil are not responsible for them (the disbelievers) in any case, but (their duty) is to remind them, that they may fear Allaah.} [Surah al-An`aam (6): 68-69]



3. From al-Istiqaamah in the religion is not to expose yourself to fitan:

Narrated Hudhaifah bin Al Yamaan رضي الله عنه: The people used to ask Allaah's Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم about good, but I used to ask him about evil for fear that it might overtake me. Once I said: “O Allaah's Apostle! We were in ignorance and in evil and Allaah has bestowed upon us the present good; will there be any evil after this good?” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Yes.” I asked: “Will there be good after that evil?” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Yes, but it would be tainted with Dakhan (i.e. little evil).” I asked: “What will its Dakhan be?” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “There will be some people who will lead (people) according to principles other than my tradition. You will see their actions and disapprove of them.” I said: “Will there be any evil after that good?” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Yes, there will be some people who will invite others to the doors of Hell, and whoever accepts their invitation to it will be thrown in it (by them).” I said: “O Allaah's Apostle! Describe those people to us.” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “They will belong to us and speak our language.” I asked: “What do you order me to do if such a thing should take place in my life?” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Adhere to the group of Muslims and their Chief.” I asked: “If there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a chief (what shall I do)?” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Keep away from all those different sects, even if you had to bite (i.e. eat) the root of a tree, till you meet Allaah while you are still in that state.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (3606, 7084) and Saheeh Muslim (3440, 3441)]


4. From al-Istiqaamah in the religion is to do the things which have been enjoined moderately, according to ones ability...but as for the things which have been made Haraam, then there should be no compromise with it (except in cases outlined in the Qur'aan & the Sunnah). 

On the authority of Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه, who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم say: “What I have forbidden to you, avoid; what I have ordered you [to do], do as much of it as you can. It was only their excessive questioning and their disagreeing with their prophets that destroyed those who were before you.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (7288) and Saheeh Muslim (2388, 4355)]


5. From al-Istiqaamah in the religion is to stick to the Jamaa`ah (main body of the Muslims) those who follow the Qur’aan and the Sunnah upon the understanding of the Salaf, and to avoid those who have differed from them in `Aqeedah from the likes of Jahmiyah, Ash`ariyah, Mu`tazilah, Soofees and other than them from the innovators.

Narrated `Irbaadh رضي الله عنه: The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم gave us a sermon by which our hearts were filled with fear and tears came to our eyes. We said: “O Messenger of Allaah, it is as though this is a farewell sermon, so counsel us.” He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “I counsel you to fear Allaah and to give absolute obedience even if a slave becomes your leader. Verily he among you who lives [long] will see great controversy, so you must keep to my Sunnah and to the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Khalifahs - cling to them stubbornly. Beware of newly invented matters, for every invented matter is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray, and every going astray is in Hell-fire.” [Tirmidhee (2685), Abu Dawood (4607), Ibn Maajah (42) and graded as “Saheeh” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]

Narrated `Arfajah bun Shuraih رضي الله عنه: I saw the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم on the Minbar addressing the people. He صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “After me there will be many calamities and much evil behavior. Whoever you see splitting away from the Jamaa`ah or trying to create division among the Ummah of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم, then kill him, for the Hand of Allaah is with the Jamaa`ah, and the Shaitaan is with the one who splits away from the Ummah, running with him.” [Sunan al-Nas’ee (4032) and graded as “Saheeh” by Shaikh al-Albaanee]


6. From al-Istiqaamah in the religion is that the believer should not treat any sin as something insignificant. By sinning he is going away from Allaah…so it is incumbent upon him to repent for his mistakes, which will make him closer to Allaah.

Narrated Al Haarith bin Suwaid: `Abdullaah bin Mas`ood رضي الله عنه related to us two narrations: One from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and the other from himself: saying: “A believer sees his sins as if he were sitting under a mountain which, he is afraid, may fall on him; whereas the wicked person considers his sins as flies passing over his nose and he just drives them away like this.” Abu Shihaab (the sub-narrator) moved his hand over his nose in illustration. (Ibn Mas`ood added): Allaah's Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Allaah is more pleased with the repentance of His slave than a man who encamps at a place where his life is jeopardized, but he has his riding beast carrying his food and water. He then rests his head and sleeps for a short while and wakes to find his riding beast gone. (He starts looking for it) and suffers from severe heat and thirst or what Allaah wished (him to suffer from). He then says, 'I will go back to my place.' He returns and sleeps again, and then (getting up), he raises his head to find his riding beast standing beside him.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (6308)]


7. From al-Istiqaamah in religion is to ask Allaah for it:

Narrated Anas رضي الله عنه: Allaah’s Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم used to say quite frequently: “O Turner of the heart, keep me steadfast in your religion.” A man said: Allaah's Apostle: “we do affirm faith in you and in that which you have been sent with. (Despite this) you entertain fear about us.” Whereupon he said: “Yes. Verily the hearts are between two Fingers from the Fingers of Allaah and He turns them as He likes.” [Ibn Maajah (199) and Tirmidhee (2140, 3522 )and graded as “Saheeh” Shaykh Al-Albaanee]

Narrated `Abdullaah ibn `Amr ibn al-`Aas رضي الله عنهما: that he heard Allaah’s Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم as saying: “Verily, the hearts of all the sons of Adam are between the two fingers out of the fingers of the Compassionate Lord as one heart. He turns that to any (direction) He likes.” Then Allaah's Apostle صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “O Allaah, the Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Your obedience.” [Saheeh Muslim (4978)]


8. From Istiqaamah in religion is to worship Allaah sincerely and seek His help:

{You (Alone, O Allaah!) we worship, and You (Alone) we ask for help (for each and everything). Guide us to the Straight Way, The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).} [Surah al-Faatihah (1): 5-7]



9. From the first steps towards attaining al-Istiqaamah in religion is thru seeking knowledge with which ignorance is driven away and by learning Tawheed so that shirk does not find roots in the hearts. So start from the very foundation of religion itself: the Shahaadah: Laa ilaaha illallaah Muhammadur Rasool Allaah:

{So KNOW (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) that none has the right to be worshipped but Allaah (Laa ilaaha illallaah)} [Surah Muhammad (47): 19]



10. And from al-Istiqaamah in religion is to do more Adhkaar (remembrance of Allaah) and to remember the Hereafter more & more which will prevent the hearts from becoming hard like stones:

{Has not the time yet come for the believers that their hearts should be humble for the remembrance of Allaah And that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture before, and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened and many of them were rebellious.} [Surah al-Hadeed (57): 16]


{Then after that your hearts were hardened and became as stones or even worse in hardness. And indeed, there are stones out of which rivers gush forth, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which split asunder so that water flows from them, and indeed, there are of them (stones) which fall down for fear of Allaah. And Allaah is not unaware of what you do} [Surah al-Baqarah (2): 74]


11. From al-Istiqaamah in religion is to choose your friends/companions wisely – those who will always advice you and stop you from doing vice; those in whose company your Imaan is boosted. 

Narrated Abu Musaa رضي الله عنه: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “The example of a good pious companion and an evil one is that of a person carrying musk and another blowing a pair of bellows. The one who is carrying musk will either give you some perfume as a present, or you will buy some from him, or you will get a good smell from him, but the one who is blowing a pair of bellows will either burn your clothes or you will get a bad smell from him.” [Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (2101, 5534) and Saheeh Muslim (4768)]

Narrated Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه: The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” [Abu Dawood (4833) and Tirmidhee (2378) and graded as “Hasan” by Shaikh al-Albaanee as well as by Shaikh Muqbil in al-Saheeh al-Musnad (1288)]


7. Factors that lead to the weakening of al-Istiqaamah include:

1. Committing sins (ma`siyah), insisting on repeating them again and again, without istighfaar (seeking Allaah's forgiveness) and without practicing repentance.

2. Shirk (associating anything with Allaah) whether in intentions, by showing off our good deeds to others, seeking others’ appraisal, avoiding being blamed by others, being afraid of someone, or to seek rewards from others than Allaah. This part of shirk is also called riya’ or showing off. All these lead to deviation in al-Istiqaamah, and when these stimuli are not there, the person's work is not perfect any more and it is not done in the best way possible.

3. Nifaaq (hypocrisy). There are two forms of nifaaq: in belief and in action. The Muslim who surrenders totally to the will of Allaah and accept Islaam based on his/her choice is free from the first form of hypocrisy. However any Muslim is subject to and should avoid the second form of nifaaq which the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم warned us about: Not keeping promises and breaking them continuously without good reasons or excuses, not fulfilling commitments we make with others, being aggressive and unjust to others in quarrels, and disputes, failing to shoulder responsibilities/burdens we are entrusted with, etc. All these bad qualities should be avoided since they lead to the weakening of our al-Istiqaamah.

4. Bida`ah (innovations in `ibaadah), whether genuine bida`ah (performing `ibaadah which has not been ascribed by Shariah, i.e. revelation), or relative bida'ah (failing to observe the requirements of doing `ibaadah), will lead to decreasing the quality of good action or ibadah. 

There are other factors that also contribute to the weakening of al-Istiqaamah, such as: recklessness, reluctance, heedlessness, being overwhelmed by a deceiving enjoyment, and being mislead by self interests and desires.

Applying the above mentioned steps and requirements pinpointed by scholars will help in overcoming all these obstacles and barriers.


8. Conclusion:


Al-Istiqaamah is an important Islaamic concept. Its significance can be seen where every Muslim is required to recite Surah al-Faatihah at least seventeen times each day seeking continual guidance to the straight path from Allaah.


Al-Istiqaamah is living within the limits of piety and far from extremes; it is conforming to the boundaries of the Sunnah. With direction a person can find guidance for the practice of their religious duties and deeds. Those on the true path of guidance exert themselves for the sake of Allaah; they refrain from the extremes that can lead to the oppression of the soul. They never neglect their religious duties which can cause idleness; they follow the middle way and their intents and inclinations are for Allaah alone. Their actions are always within the limits of the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad.

Being overzealous or neglectful in the Sunnah or actions of hypocrisy or idleness in practice will destroy the actions of a person, diverting a believer from the path of guidance; true deliverance is only to be found on the middle way.

Many of those who are cautious about what Halaal and Haraam are become less so when they gain wealth or power; they forget their cause and purpose in life. The motivation behind ambition is achievement, and this drive for power allows actions and incidents which would normally embarrass or shame human beings to become a normal part of daily life.

The most shameful of all egos is the one who defends their evil actions; those who are involved in forbidden actions over time begin to gain pleasure from their ill-gotten gains.


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