The Quran likens Islam and its teachings to ‘a firm handhold.’ This is incredibly important in our turbulent times, the pandemic, the war-torn Muslim lands in the Middle East, the refugee crisis, ever-increasing Islamophobia in the West. The only way to face trials and tests is to be steadfast. So in this article, I identify the benefits of being firmly rooted in our wonderful traditions.
How Angels motivate the stable and the anchored
“Those who say ‘Allah is our Lord’ and are steadfast are visited by angels saying ‘don’t fear nor feel sad but be happy with the news of gardens of paradise that are promised. We are your friends in this life and the hereafter and you will get what you ask. Welcoming hospitality from the Forgiving, the Kind’. Whose speech can be better than the one who invites others to Allah and acts righteously and says fearlessly I am a Muslim” (Ha Meem Sajdah: 30-33).
Let’s reflect on this passage and answer these questions:
• Who do the angels visit in this text and what message do they relay?
• What qualities do these people have?
• How can these qualities make you steadfast?
Steadfast means resolutely firm, dutiful and unwavering, loyal and committed. Someone who is unflinching and staunchly solid. A steadfast person is committed to the cause, faithful to it from the core of the heart. The Majestic Quran demands it, “Remain steadfast, as you’ve been ordered” (Hud: 112). Scholars have defined steadfastness as adhering to the obedience of Allah, a comprehensive term. In this verse steadfast means to adhere to the teachings of Islam, to perform dutifully all the duties and avoid the forbidden.
The steadfastness mentioned in these verses is understood as consistency in faith and behaviour, understanding and applying the religious teachings. A Muslim is steadfast. Examples include remaining sincere in prayer, charity and moral behaviour. The underlying principle is obedience and standing firmly for justice. The result of steadfastness is so amazing that the Angels visit such people to inspire them to do good, encouraging and motivating them to be firm and to continue doing righteousness. The amazing prize is the friendship of the Angels and the hospitality of Allah, which is beyond imagination, how wonderful it is now and will be in the Hereafter.
Sufyan bin Abdullah asked the Messenger (peace be upon him), tell me something unique about Islam that no one else can teach me. The Messenger (peace be upon him) replied “say, I believe in Allah. Then remain steadfast” (Muslim).
Steadfastness comes from having good healthy roots. A story is told about a farmer who had a fruit tree that produced bumper crops, it was a real money-maker. He invested all his efforts into harvesting and selling the fruit but failed to notice that the tree was dying. When he examined the tree closely, he realised it was too late, the roots had dried up. He was so engrossed in selling the fruit that he had forgotten the tree and its roots. How about you? Are you focusing on following the outward traditions and rituals? Or are you focusing on the purpose behind the prayers and the sincerity of your intentions? Take care of the roots and you’ll always have good fruit. Overlook the roots – say goodbye to the fruit!
Let us pray for Allah’s help to make us firm in our belief, stable in our deeds and steadfast in good behaviour. Ask Him to free us from the captivity of worldly love and nourish our roots with the fertiliser of the Quran and Sunnah. “Our Lord, let not our hearts waver from the truth after You have guided us and kindly care for us; You are the Giver of gifts” (Ale Imran: 8). In another verse we’re told to pray “Our Lord, shower patience on us, keep us steadfast and help us against the disbelievers” (Baqarah: 250). The Messenger (peace be upon him) used to pray by saying “Oh controller of hearts, make my heart steadfast in Your religion” (Tirmidhi).