Sunday, 25 November 2012

Istiqamah in Islam

Istiqamah is an important Islamic concept. Its significance can be seen where every Muslim is required to recite Surah al-Fatihah at least seventeen times each day seeking Allah's continual guidance to the straight path.

On the authority of Abu ‘Amr, though others call him Abu ‘Amrah Sufyan bin ‘Abdullah, radiyallahu anhu, who said:
I said: "O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam which I could not ask anyone about save you." He answered: "Say: 'I believe in Allah', and then stand firm and steadfast."

Say ‘I Believe in Allah’

This is not just a single statement, rather it encompasses Islam as a whole. Belief in Allah is not just belief in the heart, but it is also words and actions. The Prophet also shows us that Istiqamah comes only after we start to practice our faith.

What is Istiqamah?

The word Istiqamah (from the root qaama) means to go straight into the right direction, acting rightly, allowing no deviation. It is from the same root that the word mustaqeem is derived (i.e. sirat al-mustaqeem – the straight path). It can be translated as ‘steadfastness’.

Allah says:
So stand you (O Muhammad) firm and straight as you are commanded and those who turn in repentance with you, and transgress not. Verily, He is All-Seer of what you do. [Surat Hud, 12:112]
Ibn Abbas said that no other verse from the entire Qur’an was revealed upon the Messenger that was harder upon him than this verse. It was due to this verse that the Prophet said : 
“Surat Hud and its companions have made my hair white” 
Why was this? Because istiqamah is very difficult to attain. The scholars said that istiqamah is the hardest thing to hold on to.

The Companions on the Meaning of Istiqamah

  • "That you do not associate partners with Allah." - Abu Bakr
  • "It is that you should be steadfast on the matters that are obligated, and to abandon the prohibitions." - Umar ibn al-Khattab
  • "To have ikhlas (sincerity) to Allah only in doing actions."- Uthman ibn Affan
  • "It means to fulfill your duties to Allah." - Ibn Abbas

5 conditions to achieve Istiqamah
Ibn al-Qayyim says that good deeds must be done
  • for the sake of Allah alone (ikhlas)
  • on the basis of knowledge (‘ilm)
  • in the same manner that they have been commanded
  • in the best way possible
  • in conformity to what is lawful

Khutbah, Muslims in Japan and Deen a Way of Life