STEADFASTNESS (Istiqaamah) is commonly defined in the English language as remaining firm, committed, dedicated and constant. In terms of Islam the meaning is far deeper; in an Islamic context steadfastness or Istiqama means remaining firm on your Imaan (faith) in times of difficulty and staying patient whilst trusting Allah. Istiqama can also mean to remain constant in good deeds, by performing them regularly.
Steadfastness in Ramadan:
Ramadan is definitely a month for us to increase our good deeds and establish good habits; Ramadan acts essentially as a month of ‘training’; Shaytaan is locked up, allowing us to fully practise and focus on increasing our good deeds – as there’s fewer distractions. We build up good acts in Ramadan, which we can then maintain throughout the rest of the year (when shaytaan is released).
Ramadan thus prepares us for facing the trickeries of shaytaan, so that we are fully ready to maintain our faith in times of difficulty. Ramadan teaches us to control our stomach and our mouths which trains us to control our hearts too. Fasting does not only prevent us from eating and drinking it also requires us to abstain from foul speech and acts – thus controlling our hearts. A large part of Ramadan revolves around us increasing steadfastness; we constantly try in this blessed month to increase our Imaan by carrying out extra nawafil acts of worship such a Taraweh and Tahajjud.
However maintaining these good acts after Ramadan can prove difficult. Most of us end up being ‘Ramadan only Muslims’, however the whole aim of Ramadan is to firm up our Imaan for the rest of the year. The only way of keeping up such good deeds is through istiqama.
Being steadfast in our imaan and deeds is compulsory upon us as it is stated in the Quran:
O ye who believe! Seek help in steadfastness and prayer. Lo! Allah is with the steadfast. (2:153)
And how many a prophet [fought and] with him fought many religious scholars. But they never lost assurance due to what afflicted them in the cause of Allah, nor did they weaken or submit. And Allah loves the steadfast. (3:146)
There are many reasons why many of us decrease in our good acts after Ramadan, a few of which are the following:
- Loss of enthusiasm and motivation
- The environment around us changes
- Loss of support from family
After the month of Ramadan the motivation and enthusiasm that we were experiencing from our friends and family i.e. by visiting the mosque regularly or by attending Islamic events, starts to decline. This makes it essential for us to remain steadfast.
Below are 7 practical ways of building steadfastness into our character so that we can keep up our imaan and good deeds even after Ramadan:
1. Carrying out small acts/deeds every day:
A’isha (RA) said that Rasulullah (saw) said: “The deeds most loved by Allah (are those) done regularly, even if they are small.” (Bukhari, Muslim). Such deeds can include reading Quran (even if it’s one or two pages a day), nawafil salahs e.g. Salatud duha, etc. Small, regular acts allow us to maintain and refresh our imaan. Consistency in deeds was a well-known trait of Abu Bakr (RA).
2. Urging others to adopt good deeds (Dawah):
Calling others to good deeds will make us inevitably carry out these deeds ourselves, in fact just calling others to Islam is a highly rewarding good deed in itself- and our hearts naturally hate hypocrisy; if we are calling others to good deeds whether that be establishing Salah or respecting others, we will do so too Insha’Allah.
3. Reading with one’s family:
Sitting down and reminding our family about Islam is a very strong Sunnah. Reading Islamic books with your family even if it is for 10-15 minutes a day, they can act as excellent reminders for both ourselves and those in our family. Such a small act can Insha’Allah help maintain an Islamic environment in our homes.
4. Having/ attaining Taqwa:
Although this may sound simple and pretty basic, it is a crucial way of establishing steadfastness; if we are constantly aware that Allah is watching us, we wouldn’t commit ill deeds. The importance way in which Taqwa and steadfastness go hand in hand is illustrated in the ayah below:
O you who have believed, persevere and endure and remain stationed and fear Allah that you may be successful. (3:200)
5. Surrounding yourself by good influences:
Having people who are steadfast on their prayers and good deeds can inspire and encourage us to do the same.
6. Dhikr: the chances of us doing Dhikr (remembrance of Allah e.g. through tasbih, reading Quran etc.) whilst committing an ill act are very little, as I mentioned earlier, our hearts hate hypocrisy.
- The dua read most frequently by the Rasul salal lahualai hi wasalam was :
Yā Muqallibal-qulūb, thabbit qalbī `alā dīnik – “O changer of hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion”
We should memorise this very short dua and try to read it as frequently as possible. If the Prophet Muhammed salalhu alaihi wasalam, the most perfect of creation, recited it so frequently, then it gives us no reason not to.
- The second common dua for steadfastness is mentioned in the Quran:
[Who say], “Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower. (3:8)
In this beautiful dua we are asking Allah to not let our hearts deviate i.e. away from faith, after we have been rightly guided. Due to the choice of the Arabic lettering and words used towards the end of the ayah, we are shown how Allah gives again and again; Allah is merciful to us repetitively. This suggests that Allah expects us to deviate again and again, and we should therefore never stop turning to Him, as Allah is All Merciful and All Compassionate.
Jazaka’Allah for your time, I pray that Allah allows us to all remain steadfast on our deen and urge others to do so too. Ameen.
*Many thanks to our guest writer, Lina Rauf, our youngest contributor from the circle! Jazakillah khair 🙂