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Steadfastness or firmness of purpose in the religion of Allah 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:

1.       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.

2.       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.

3.       The relationship of this issue to the heart, of which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "It changes more than a pot of rapidly boiling water." (Ahmad, 6/4; al-Hakim, 2/289). The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah 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; Sahih al-Jami', 2364]

As a later poet said:

"He is only called insan (man) because of his nisyan (forgetfulness)

And it is only called al-qalb (the heart) because it constantly varies (yataqallab)".

Making one who is tossed about by the winds of doubt and confusion to stand firm is a serious matter which needs tremendous means as befits the seriousness and difficulty of the task at hand.

It is part of Allah'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 Allah be upon him) many ways of being steadfast in Islam. I will discuss some of them below.

Means of Steadfastness in Islam

1.       Turning towards the Qur'an

The Qur'an is the foremost aid to standing firm in Islam. It is the strong rope and clear light of Allah. Whoever adheres to it, Allah will protect him; whoever follows it, Allah will save him; and whoever calls to its way will be guided to the Straight Path.

Allah has stated that the reason why this Book was revealed in stages was to help His Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) to stand firm in his faith. In the context of refuting the doubts of the kuffar, He says; (what can be interpreted to mean):

"And those who disbelieve say, 'Why is not the Qur'an revealed to him all at once?' Thus (it is sent down in parts), that We may strengthen your heart thereby. And We have revealed it to you gradually, in stages. And no example to similitude do they bring (to oppose or to find fault in you or in this Qur'an), but We reveal to you the truth (against that similitude or example), and the better explanation thereof." (Q.25:32-33)

And the Qur'an is such a source of strength because:

·         it cultivates faith and purifies the soul through contact with Allah.

·          these verses bring peace and tranquility to the heart of the believer, so he will not be tossed about by the winds of fitnah; his heart will be content with the remembrance of Allah.

·         it provides the Muslim with the correct understanding and values with which he will be able to evaluate the situation around him. It also gives him the standards against which he may judge things in a proper and consistent manner, without varying from one situation or person to another.

Allah says (what can be interpreted to mean): "Allah will keep firm those who believe, with the word that stands firm in this world and in the Hereafter. And Allah will cause to go astray those who are dhalimun (polytheists and wrongdoers, etc.), and Allah does what He wills." (Q. 14:27)

Qatadah said: "As for the life of this world, Allah will help them to be steadfast in doing good and righteous deeds, and in the Hereafter (He will help them) to remain steadfast in the grave." A similar interpretation was narrated from more than one of the Salaf. [Tafsir al-Qur'an al-'Adhim by Ibn Kathir, 3/421

Allah says (what can be interpreted to mean): " ... but if they had done what they were told, it would have been better for them, and would have strengthened their faith" (Q: 4:66), i.e., it would have strengthened them in their adherence to the Truth.

This is clear, for how can you expect steadfastness on the part of those who are too lazy to do righteous deeds when fitnah raises its ugly head and calamity increases? But Allah will guide those who believe and do righteous deeds by their faith to the Straight Path. So the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to persevere in doing righteous deeds, and the most beloved of good deeds to him were those that were continuous, even if they were small. When his Companions started to do anything, they would persist in it, and when 'A'ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) did something, she would keep it up.


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used to say: "Whoever perseveres in doing twelve rak'ahs [i.e., the sunan rawatib or sunnah prayers which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) did constantly], Paradise will be his right." [Sunan at-Tirmidhi, 2/273; he said, the hadith is hasan or sahih; see also Sahih an-Nasa'i, 1/388 and Sahih at-Tirmidhi, 1/131]

Studying the Stories of the Prophets and Following their Example

The evidence for this is the ayah (interpretation of the meaning): "And all that We relate to you (O Muhammad) of the news of the Messengers is in order that We may make strong and firm your heart thereby. And in this has come to you the truth, as well as an admonition and a reminder for the believers." (Q: 11:120)

These verses were not revealed at the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) for the purpose of mere entertainment and amusement. They were revealed for an important purpose, which was to strengthen the heart of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and likewise the hearts of the believers..

Think about the meaning of the verse (which can be interpreted to mean): "They said: 'Burn him and help your alihah (gods), if you will be doing.' We (Allah) said: 'O fire! Be you coolness and safety for Ibrahim!' And they wanted to harm him, but We made them the worst losers." )Q. 21:68-70).

Ibn 'Abbas said: "The last thing Ibraheem said when he was thrown in the fire was, 'Allah is Sufficient for me and He is the Best Disposer of affair' " [Al-Fath, 8/22] Do you not feel how he stood firm in the face of oppression and torture, when you read this story?

Allah tells us about Musa (in what can be interpreted to mean): "And when the two hosts saw each other, the companions of Musa said: 'We are sure to be overtaken.' Musa said: 'Nay, verily! With me is my Lord, He will guide me.' " [Al-Qur'an 26:61-62]. Do you not feel how he stood firm when he was being pursued by the hosts of Pharaoh and was surrounded by cries of despair from his own people?

When you read the story of the magicians of Pharaoh, you see an example of a small group that adhered firmly to the truth once it had become apparent to them. Do you not see how they stood firm in the face of threats issued by the oppressor who said, "Believe you in him (Musa) before I give you permission? Verily! He is your chief who taught you magic. So I will surely cut off your hands and feet on opposite sides, and I will surely crucify you on the trunks of date-palms, and you shall surely know which of us [I (Pharaoh) or the Lord of Musa] can give the severe and more lasting torment." (Q. 20:71 – interpretation of the meaning). The small group of believers stood firm, with no thought of retreat, and said: "We prefer you not over the clear signs that have come to us, and to Him Who created us. So decree whatever you desire to decree, for can only decree (regarding) the life of this world." (Q. 20:72 – interpretation of the meaning).

Du'a' (Supplication)

One of the characteristics of the believing slaves of Allah is that they turn to Allah with du'a', asking Him to help them to stand firm.

"Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us." (Q.3:8 – interpretation of the meaning).

"Our Lord! Pour out constancy [patience] on us and make our steps firm ... " (Q. 2:250 – interpretation of the meaning).

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us that "The hearts of the sons of Adam are as one between the fingers of the Most Merciful, and He directs them as He wills." (Reported by Imam Ahmad from Ibn 'Umar; Sahih Muslim. The Messenger of Allah often used to say, "O Controller of the hearts, make my heart adhere firmly to Your religion." (at-Tirmidhi from )

Remembrance of Allah (Dhikr(

This is one of the greatest means of being steadfast in Islam.

Think about the combination described in this ayah (interpretation of the meaning): "O you who believe! When you meet (an enemy) force, take a firm stand against them and remember the Name of Allaah much, so that you may be successful." (Q. 8:45). Dhikr is one of the most effective aids to standing firm in jihad..

Striving to Follow the Correct Way

The only correct way, which every Muslim must follow, is the way of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah, the path of the victorious group and the saved sect, the people of pure 'aqidah and sound methodology, the followers of the Sunnah and the (sound) evidence. The Muslim must be distinct from the enemies of Allah and be different from the people of falsehood.

If you want to know the value of this in standing firm, then ask yourself: why have so many people, in the past and nowadays, been led astray? Why have they become confused? Why have their feet not stood firm on the Straight Path? Why did they not die following it, or why did they come to it so late in life, after wasting so much precious time?

So you see them, moving from one kind of misguided bid'ah to another, from philosophy to 'ilm al-kalam (Islamic philosophy), from Mu'tazili thought to the way of twisting and misinterpreting the clear ayat of the Qur'an, from one Sufi tariqah to another ...

Training and Education


Gradual, conscious training in faith, based on knowledge, is one of the basic factors in standing firm in Islam.

Training in faith is that which fills the heart and consciousness with fear, hope and love (of Allah), as opposed to the dryness which results from ignoring the texts of the Qur'an and Sunnah and devoting too much attention to the words of men.

Training based on knowledge is that which is based on sahih (authentic) evidence, as opposed to mere imitation and blind following.

Feeling that you are among the chosen. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning)

"…Praise and thanks be to Allah, and peace be on His slaves whom He has chosen (for His Message)!" (Q. 27:59)

"Then We gave the Book (the Qur'an) for inheritance to such of Our slaves as We chose ... " (Q. 35:32).

"Thus will your Lord choose you and teach you the interpretation of dreams (and other things) ... " (Q. 12:6).

Just as Allah has chosen the Prophets, so the righteous have a share in this being chosen, which is that they have inherited the knowledge of the Prophets.

How would you feel if Allah had created you inanimate, or a dumb beast, or an atheist kafir, or one who calls to bid'ah, or an immoral wrongdoer, or a Muslim who does not call others to Islam, or one who calls to a way that is filled with error? Do you not see that this feeling of having been chosen by Allah and been made one of those who call to the way of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jama'ah is one of the factors which will keep you steadfast in your methodology and in this path?

Calling Others to Allah (Da'wah)

The soul that is not active will stagnate. One of the most important fields in which one can be active is the field of da'wah, calling others to Allah. This is the work of the Prophets, work which will save you from punishment, realize your potential and enable you to achieve great things. "Now then, for that (reason), call (them to the Faith), and stand steadfast as you are commanded ... " [Al-Qur'an 42:15 – interpretation of the meaning]. It is not true to say that someone is neither making progress nor slipping back (for if you are not making progress, you are therefore falling back – no one is static). If a person is not occupied in acts of worship and obedience, he will be busy with sin and disobedience, and faith can wax and wane (it does not remain constant).

Calling to the correct methodology – by devoting time to it, making mental and physical efforts, and speaking out, so that da'wah becomes the main concern of the Muslim – will block the Shaytan's efforts to tempt him and lead him astray.

In addition to that, being challenged by obstacles and stubborn people on the journey of da'wah will make the da'iyah stronger in faith.

Besides bringing a great reward, da'wah is also a means of being steadfast in one's faith and protecting oneself from backsliding, because the one who is attacking does not need to defend himself, and Allah is with the da'iyah, making them stand firm. The da'iyah is like a doctor fighting illness with his experience and knowledge: by fighting the illness in others he will be the least likely to suffer it himself.

Keeping Close to People who will Help Make you Steadfast

These are people whose characteristics the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) referred to in the hadith, "Among the people are some who open the way to goodness and close the way to evil." [Hasan, reported by Ibn Majah from Anas, 237, and by Ibn Abi 'Asim in Kitab as-Sunnah, 1/127. See also as-Silsilat as-Sahihah, 1332] Looking for scholars, righteous people and believing da'iyah, and keeping close to them, is a great help in remaining steadfast. When times of trial arose in Islamic history, Allah helped the Muslims to stand firm with the help of some individuals.

For example, 'Ali ibn al-Madini (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "Allah supported His Religion with as-Siddiq [Abu Bakr] at the time of the riddah (apostasy), and with Ahmad at the time of the test."

Think about what Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) said about the role of his shaykh, Shaykh ul-Islam [Ibn Taymiyyah] in helping Muslims to stand firm: "When our fear became too great and we began to think the worst and things got too difficult for us, we would come to him. We only had to see him and hear his words, and all that would go away, to be replaced by tranquillity, strength, assurance and calm. Glory be to the One Who made His slaves witness Paradise before their meeting with Him, opened its door to them in this world and caused them to feel its fragrant breezes so that they would devote all their energy to seeking it and competing for it." [Al-Wabil as-Sayyib, p. 97]

Being Confident of the Help of Allah, and that the Future Belongs to Islam

We need to stand firm even more when victory is delayed, so that we will not go astray after being steadfast. Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And many a Prophet fought (in Allah's Cause) and along with him (fought) large bands of religious learned men. But they never lost heart for that which did befall them in Allah's Way, nor did they weaken nor degrade themselves. And Allah loves as-sabirin (the patient ones). And they said nothing but: 'Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and our transgressions (in keeping our duties to You), establish our feet firmly, and give us victory over the disbelieving folk.' So Allah gave them the reward of this world, and the excellent reward of the Hereafter ... " (Q 3:146-148).

When the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) wanted to calm down his persecuted Companions and make them steadfast, he told them, at times of persecution and testing, that the future belonged to Islam. What did he say? Al-Bukhari reported from Khabbab that he said: "Allah will certainly complete this matter (i.e., Islam), until a traveler will be able to go from San'a' to Hadramawt fearing nothing except Allah and the wolf that may attack his sheep." [al-Bukhari; see Fath al-Bari, 7/165]


Telling the young generation about the ahadith that give the good news of the future belonging to Islam is an important part of their education and training to stand firm in their religion.

Understanding the Reality of Falsehood and Not Being Misled by It

Allah tells us (interpretation of the meaning): "Let not the free disposal (and affluence) of the disbelievers throughout the land deceive you." [Al-Qur'an 3:196]. This offers reassurance to the believers and helps them to stand firm.

Allah also tells us: "Then, as for the foam, it passes away as scum upon the banks" (Q. 13:17). This is a lesson for those who have intelligence, not to fear falsehood or to submit to it.

The Qur'an also exposes the aims and means of the people of falsehood, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): "And thus do We explain the VERSE (proofs, evidence, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) in detail, that the way of the mujrimun (criminals, polytheists, sinners) may become manifest." (Q .6:55). – so that the Muslims will not be caught unawares and so that they will know from which direction Islam will be attacked.

Acquiring the Characteristics that will Help One to Remain Steadfast

The most important of these is sabr (patience). Al-Bukhari and Muslim report that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "No one is given any gift greater and more bountiful than patience." [Reported by al-Bukhari in Kitab az-Zakah, Bab al-Isti'faf 'an al-Mas'alah; and by Muslim in Kitab az-Zak'ah, Bab Fadl at-Ta'affuf was-Sabr). The greatest patience comes at the onset of a disaster, and if something unexpected befalls a man, the disaster will overwhelm him and he will lose his steadfastness, if he does not have patience.

Think about what Ibn al-Jawzi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: "I saw an old man, nearly eighty years old, who always used to come to jama'ah prayers. A son of his daughter died, and he said, 'No one should pray to Allah anymore, because He does not respond.' Then he said, 'Allah is stubborn and does not leave us a son.' " [Ath-Thabat 'ind al-Mawt by Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 34] Exalted be Allah far above what he said.

When the Muslims were defeated at Uhud, this disaster was quite unexpected, because Allah had promised them victory, but Allah taught them a hard lesson through the blood of the martyrs. "(What is the matter with you?) When a single disaster smites you, although you smote (your enemies) with one twice as great, you say: 'From where does this come to us?' Say (to them), 'It is from yourselves (because of your evil deeds).' " (Q. 3:165 – interpretation of the meaning). How could they have been the cause of it?

"…you lost your courage and fell to disputing about the order, and disobeyed after He showed you (of the booty) which you love. Among you are some that desire this world ... " (Q. 3:152 – interpretation of the meaning).

The Advice of Righteous Men

When the Muslim is faced with trials and his Lord tests him in order to purify him, one of the means which Allah gives him to help him stand firm is a righteous man who will advise and help him. Through this man's words Allah helps the believer to stand firm and directs his steps. These words remind him of Allah, the Meeting with Him, His Paradise and His Hell. There follow some examples from the life of Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy on him), who entered the test and emerged as pure gold.

He was taken to al-Ma'mun in chains, and (al-Ma'mun) had already issued him such a stern warning before he reached him that a servant said to Imam Ahmad, "It hurts me, O Abu 'Abdullah, that al-Ma'mun has unsheathed a sword which he has never unsheathed before, and he swears by his relationship to the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) that if you do not accept what he says about the Qur'an being created, he will certainly kill you with that sword." [Al-Bidayah wan-Nihayah, 1/332]

At this point, the intelligent scholars took the opportunity to say to their imam words that would help him to remain steadfast. In as-Siyar (11/238), adh-Dhahabi reports from Abu Ja'far al-Anbari: "When Ahmad was taken to al-Ma'mun, I was told about it, so I crossed the Euphrates and found him sitting in an inn, where I greeted him. He said, 'O Abu Ja'far, why did you go to the trouble (of coming here)?' I said, 'Listen to me, today you are the leader and the people are following you. By Allah, if you accept that the Qur'an is created, a lot of people will go along with that, but if you do not, then neither will they. Even if this man (al-Ma'mun) does not kill you, you will still die, because death is inevitable, so fear Allah, and do not go along with (al-Ma'mun).' Ahmad began to weep and said, 'Mashallah.' Then he said, 'O Abu Ja'far, say it again,' so I said it again, and he kept saying, 'Mashallah' ... "

With regard to his being taken to al-Ma'mun, Imam Ahmad said: "We reached ar-Rahbah at midnight, and a man came to us and said, 'Which of you is Ahmad ibn Hanbal?' He was told, 'This man.' He said to the camel-driver, 'Slow down.' ... Then he said, 'Listen to me, why should you worry if you get killed here and go to Paradise?' Then he said, 'May Allah be with you,' and left. I asked about him and I was told, 'He is an Arab from the tribe of Rabi'ah who deals with wool in the desert. He is called Jabir ibn 'Amir, and they say good things about him.' " [Siyar A'lam an-Nubala', 11/241]

So try to seek advice from righteous people, and try to understand it if it is given to you.

Seek their advice before you travel, if you think that something could happen to you. Seek their advice when you are facing some trial, or before some test that you expect to face. Seek their advice if you are appointed to a position of authority or if you inherit some wealth.

Make yourself stand firm, and help others to do so too. Allah is the Protector of the believers.

Thinking about the Delights of Paradise and the Punishments of Hellfire, and Remembering Death

Paradise is the abode of joy, the consolation of those who grieve, the final destination of the believers. The soul is by nature not inclined to make sacrifices or work hard or stand firm unless it gets something in return that makes difficulties easy and helps it to overcome the obstacles in its way.

The one who knows about the reward will find it easy to work hard, because he will be aware that if he does not remain steadfast, he will miss out on Paradise as wide as the heavens and the earth. The soul needs something to lift it above the dust of this earth and raise it to the heavenly world.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) used the mention of Paradise to encourage his Companions to stand firm. According a a hasan sahih hadith, the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) passed by Yasir, 'Ammar and Umm 'Ammar when they were being tortured for the sake of Allah and said, "Patience, family of Yasir, patience, family of Yasir, for your destination is Paradise." [Reported by al-Hakim, 3/383; it is a hasan sahih hadith. See Fiqh as-Sirah, ed. al-Albani, p. 103]

Similarly, one should think about the situation of both groups (believers and kuffar) in the grave, the gathering, the reckoning, the scales of justice, the bridge over Hell, and the other events of the Hereafter.

Remembering death protects the Muslim from backsliding and helps him to adhere to the limits set by Allah, so that he does not transgress them. If he knows that death is closer to him than his own shoelaces and that his time could come at any moment, how can he let himself slip or persevere in deviation? Hence the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: "Always remember the destroyer of pleasure." [Reported by at-Tirmidhi, 2/50; classed as sahih in Irwa' al-Ghalil, 3/145]


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