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Author Topic: ĪMĀN AND ISTIQĀMAH (BELIEF AND STEADFASTNESS) | IBNU RAJAB AL-HANBALĪ  (Read 42 times)

Izhār'ud Dīn

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بِسْمِ اللّٰهِ الرَّحْمٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
الحَمْدُ للهِ وَحْدَهُ، وَالصَّلاة وَالسَّلامُ على مَنْ لا نبيَّ بَعْدَهُ، وَبَعْدُ

Īmān and Istiqāmah (Belief and Steadfastness)
Ibnu Rajab al-Hanbalī Rahimahullāh[1]

Sufyān bin 'Abdullah Ath-Thaqafy reported that he said,

“I said, "O Messenger of Allah, tell me about Islam a thing which might dispense with the necessity of my asking anybody after you.’ He (the Holy Prophet) remarked, 'Say I affirm my faith in Allah and then remain steadfast to it" (Recorded by Muslim)[2]

Explanation of the Hadīth

Sufyān bin 'Abdullah Ath-Thaqafy's words to the Prophet (peace be upon him), “O Messenger of Allah, tell me about Islam a thing which might dispense with the necessity of my asking anybody after you,” mean that he asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) to teach him a piece of all-comprehensive advice, so that he would not ask anybody after the Prophet (peace be upon him). The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him, “Say I affirm my faith in Allah and then remain steadfast to it.”

This hadīth is derived from Allah's saying,


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنْتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ
which means, (Verily, those who say, "Our Lord is Allah (Alone)," and then they Istaqāmū (i.e. stood firm and straight on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allah has forbidden and by performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained), 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!") (Fussilat: 30)

Allāh also says,


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا فَلَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ. أُولَئِكَ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا جَزَاءً بِمَا كَانُوا يَعْمَلُونَ
which means, (Verily, those who say, "Our Lord is (only) Allah," and thereafter Istaqāmū (i.e. stood firm and straight on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allāh has forbidden and by performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained), on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. Such shall be the dwellers of Paradise, abiding therein (forever), a reward for what they used to do.) (Al-Ahqāf: 13. 14)

Allāh also says,


فَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَمَنْ تَابَ مَعَكَ وَلَا تَطْغَوْا إِنَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ
which means, (So stand (ask Allah to make) you (Muhammad, peace be upon him) firm and straight (on the religion of Islamic Monotheism) as you are commanded and those (your companions) who turn in repentance (unto Allah) with you, and transgress not (Allah's legal limits). Verily, He is All-Seer of what you do.) (Hud: 112)

Allāh ordered His Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions to stand fast, and not to transgress, as He knows all their deeds. Allāh also says,


فَلِذَلِكَ فَادْعُ وَاسْتَقِمْ كَمَا أُمِرْتَ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ
which means, (So unto this (religion of Islam, alone and this Qur’ān) then invite (people) (O Muhammad, peace be upon him), and Istaqim [(i.e. stand firm and straight on Islamic Monotheism by performing all that is ordained by Allah (good deeds, etc.), and by abstaining from all that is forbidden by Allāh (sins and evil deeds, etc.)], as you arc commanded, and follow not their desires.) (Ash-Shūra: 15)

Qatādah said, “Muhammad (peace be upon him) was enjoined to stand firm and straight on Islamic monotheism.” Allāh also says,


قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ يُوحَى إِلَيَّ أَنَّمَا إِلَهُكُمْ إِلَهٌ وَاحِدٌ فَاسْتَقِيمُوا إِلَيْهِ وَاسْتَغْفِرُوهُ
which means, (Say (O Muhammad , peace be upon him), “I am only a human being like you. It is inspired in me that your Ilah is One Ilah (God - Allāh), therefore take the Straight Path to Him (with true Faith Islamic, Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness by Him.) (Fussilat: 6)

Definition of Steadfastness

Steadfastness is sticking to the Right Path without the least deviation. It includes performing good deeds, whether in public or secret, and abstaining from prohibited acts. Thus, the advice to become steadfast includes all the good traits of religion.

Allāh’s saying which means, “Therefore take Straight Path to Him (with true Faith Islamic Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness of Him;” is an indication that a person may fail short of steadfastness. For this reason, he was enjoined to seek forgiveness in order to perfect his steadfastness. The case here is just like the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) saying to Mu’ādh, "Fear Allah wherever you are and follow the vicious deed with a good one which will obliterate it."[3]

Perfect Steadfastness and Near steadfastness

Abū Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Remain steadfast and try to be perfect”[4] Steadfastness is doing well in all sayings, deeds and intentions. The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered ‘Aly to ask Allāh for steadfastness and guidance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said to him, “Remember that steadfastness is just like perfect shooting of an arrow and that guidance is just like taking the right road.”[5] Near steadfastness is the attempt to be perfectly steadfast but one cannot. One should have the intention to be steadfast. A proof that one may not be able to be perfectly steadfast is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “O people, you will not perform - or bear - all my commands. Yet, remain steadfast and try to be perfect.”[6] The meaning of the hadīth is that one should try to be steadfast, because no one will be able to become perfectly steadfast.

The Essence of Steadfastness

The essence of steadfastness is that the heart should be steadfast on monotheism, as Abū Bakr As-Siddīq and others interpreted Allāh’s saying,


إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا
which means, (Verily, those who say, “Our Lord is (only) Allāh,” and thereafter Istaqāmū (i.e., stood firm and straight on the Islamic Faith of Monotheism by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allāh has forbidden and by performing all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)) (Al-Ahqāf: 13)

They did not pay attention to anyone save Allāh. Once the heart fully knows Allāh, fears, loves, honors, invokes, hopes for Him and put trust in him, the other organs will obey none but Allāh. The heart is the king of all organs which are like soldiers. Once the king is forthright, his soldiers and subjects would follow him and be just like him.

Following the heart, the most important organ steadfastness whose is the tongue, because it expresses what the heart hides. For this reason, after the Prophet (peace be upon him) advised his Companions to be steadfast, he ordered him to observe the steadfastness of his tongue. Anas reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “A believer's faith will not be forthright unless his heart is steadfast. His heart is not steadfast unless his tongue is steadfast as well.”[7]

Abū Sa’īd Al-Khudry reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “In the morning, all man’s organs advise the tongue and say, ‘Fear Allāh. We will be forthright if you are so. If you deviate, we will deviate.”[8]
 1. Ibn Rajab, Jami’ Al-‘Ulūm Wal-Hikam, Umm Al-Qura Publications, P. 269-274.
 
 2. Recorded by Imam Muslim in Kitāb Al-Imān (Book on Faith), no. 62/38; also recorded by Imam Ahmad in Al-Musnad, no. 2/413.
 
 3. Recorded by At-Tirmidhy in Kitāb Al-Birr Was-Silah (Book on Righteousness and Relations with Others), no. 1987, about which he said it is an authentic, good Hadīth.
 
 4. Recorded by Al-Bukhāry in Kitāb Al-Imān (Book on Faith), no. 39; also recorded by Muslim in Kitāb Sifat Al-Munafiqīn (Book on Description of the Hypocrites), no. 2816.
 
 5. Recorded by Imam Muslim in Kitāb Adh-Dhikr and Du’ā (Book on Supplications and Remembrance of Allāh), no. 78/2725.
 
 6. Recorded by Abū Dawūd in Kitāb As-Salāh (Book on Prayer), no. 1096; also recorded by Ahmad in Al-Musnad, no. 4/212, and by Ibn Khuzaymah in his Sahīh (1452).
 
 7. Recorded by Imam Ahmad in Al-Musnad, no. (3/198).
 
 8. Recorded by At-Tirmidhy in Kitāb Az-Zuhd (Book on Asceticism), no. 2407.
Shaykh'ul Islām Ibnu Taymiyyah Rahimahullāh stated,

والعالم يعرف الجاهل؛ لأنه كان جاهلا، والجاهل لا يعرف العالم لأنه لم يكن عالما

"The Ālim (scholar) recognizes the Jāhil (ignorant) since he was once a Jāhil. The Jāhil does not recognize the Ālim since he has never been an Ālim." (Shaykh'ul Islām Ibnu Taymiyyah, Majmū'ul Fatāwā, 13/235)

 

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