Ustaz Khairul Zaman is an enthusiast reader especially in the fields of philosophy and he is passionate in doing Dakwah. Ustaz Khairul Zaman furthered his studies at Yarmouk University Jordan, majoring in Islamic Theology. He is currently pursuing his second degree in Hadith studies at University Of Madinah. At present, he is a freelance teacher and speaker for religious talks and youth events.
In an age where our YouTube Feed is filled with videos, explaining quick tips on the likes of diet routines and healthy relationships, people are relying more on instant routines that do not necessitate consistency.
Being steadfast and maintaining consistency helps you to focus and achieve amazing feats. It also helps in maintaining your relationships.
Istiqamah is a concept in Islam that signifies the attitude of being steadfast, especially in maintaining our level of piety by observing Allah’s pleasures. It is a wonderful attitude that our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w highlighted in a Hadith:
“Tell me something about Islam, which I can ask of no one but you.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Say I believe in Allah and then be steadfast.”
One would assume that Istiqamah is merely repeating certain acts of worship like voluntary prayers or fasting, into our daily lives. The philosophy and understanding of Istiqamah, in fact, comprises of more than just repeating acts of worship.
Here are some few tips that may help you in understanding Istiqamah holistically:
1. Practising Istiqamah even when criticised
The idea of consistency is not without recognising the obstacles that stand in the path. Criticism is one of the many hassles. Among the hardest emotions a person can go through is a hopeless feeling that corners you into a breaking point. This challenge may happen, especially when everyone is judging or throwing negative comments at your progress.
Resilience is a key component of Istiqamah. If your intentions are to please Allah and to benefit others, no amount of criticism or comment will ever stop you from your course of action. You must realise that facing these obstacles are part of Istiqamah, as you hold on to steadfastness by not succumbing to people’s criticisms. Our beloved Prophet s.a.w exemplified this when his people harassed him for inviting them to Islam. In this verse, Allah s.w.t reminds Prophet Muhammad s.a.w to be resilient in the face of challenges:
“And be patient, [O Muhammad], your steadfastness comes only from Allah. And do not grieve over them and do not be in distress over what they conspire.”
2. It is ok to stumble
If you were to slip, after a successful period of consistency in obedience, such as avoiding sins or breaking off from a bad habit, do not take it as a failure for whatever was previously achieved.
It is the nature of humans to stumble and make mistakes. What we should do is to get back up.
The story of Prophet Adam a.s and Allah s.w.t’s boundless mercy is a testament to this human nature. Ibn Qayyim beautifully comments:
“Satan rejoiced when Adam came out of paradise, but he (Satan) did not know that when a diver sinks into the sea, he collects pearls and then rises again.”
Even strong and resilient people made mistakes. For a Muslim, that is part of internalising Istiqamah. A Muslim reflects on his regretful mistakes and turns it into an opportunity to return to Allah in a more meaningful way. Thus, he/she thrives his/her best to return to best routines, even amidst the slip-ups one’s facing.
3. Humility to seek assistance
When we reflect on the long and sometimes exhausting journey to attain Istiqamah, we tend to feel alone and deserted. Some of us might think of it as a personal journey excluded from any external influences. Never feel ashamed to seek help from others, even if it is as simple as getting advice. Humility never goes wrong.
We must also constantly seek aid from The Divine to make sure everything is eased. Without His power & mercy, we will never achieve any level of piety.
Seeking Allah’s contentment by worshipping him and seeking His help towards this goal is beautifully encapsulated in the Surah that we recite every day,
إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ
“You alone we worship and You alone we ask for help”
Hence, it is essential to know that Allah is always with us in seeking steadfastness. This sort of mindset would surely make us stronger. Our sincere devotion to Him is the reason why we strive to attain Istiqamah in the first place.
We are all imperfect by nature, trying our best to be consistent in doing good, contributing to society and in pleasing Allah s.w.t. Even though perfection is an unachievable ideal, we are expected to try our very best. The goal might seem impossible, but what really matters is the journey that what will make us stronger. That is what Istiqamah truly means.