Daily, we face challenges at home, in schools, work places and the society at large. There is the need to cope with these challenges and manage them with other life activities in order to ensure that one does not affect the other. The most paramount of all life activities for Muslims is worship. The sole purpose of our creation is to worship Allah and we must ensure nothing distracts our attention therefrom. “I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” [Q51:56].
Firmness means resolute determination and strength of character. It is the ability to remain upright and maintain the correct position without any fear or favour even in the period of oppression. This may be difficult to do, but it is rewarding if a believer can do it. Be Firm
In the early days of Islam in Makkah, we read the story of the family of Yasir, who were persecuted, subjugated and killed just for professing the religion of Islam and remaining firm on it. The Prophet (s.a.w.) gave them the glad tidings of Al-Jannah. Bilal bn Rabah, an African slave who remained steadfast, and persevered all the persecution and torture he was subjected to by his master, was eventually set free by Muslims and he became the first Mu’adhin (caller to prayer) in Islam. The wife of Fir’aun (Asiah) remained firm believing in the oneness of Allah against all odds. She asked for a house in Al-Jannah from Allah and it was granted. The list of role models in firmness can’t be exhausted. We pray that Allah have mercy on all of them and unite us in Al-Jannah. Amin.
Firmness as a Commandment of Allah
In Q11:112, Allah commands Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) and the believers thus: “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.”
The above verse shows the need for all Muslims to remain firm on the deen no matter the circumstances they find themselves. On the authority of Abu Amr (Abu Amrah) Sufyan bn Abdullah (R.A.) who said, I said: O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.), 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.” (Muslim). This hadith of Abu ‘Amr emphasizes that after a believer has believed in the oneness of Allah (and tried his best in doing what Allah commands and abandoning all His don’ts), the next thing is to remain firm and steadfast on the deen.
Firmness may not be Easy
Most times, Muslims, who remain firm and steadfast on their religion, hold on to its principles and refuse to deviate, are seen as extremists, fanatics and in fact, sometimes, they are called fundamentalists. This name-tagging is sometimes enough to discourage some Muslims from maintaining the position of their religion and remain firm on the path. They prefer to be liberal and making the firm ones look like strangers.
Being firm may not be easy, admittedly. Ibn Abass (R. A.) was reported to have said, “No other verse from the entire Quran was revealed to the Prophet (s.a.w.) that was harder upon him than Q11:112 earlier quoted. The Prophet (s.a.w) was also reported to have said, “Suratul Hood and its companions made my hair white”. The analysis of this hadith revealed that it was because of this same verse. It is therefore clear and unequivocal that firmness as important as it is may be very difficult. May Allah make it easy.
What we Stand to Gain from being Firm
In the Glorious Quran (Q41: 30-32), Allah says, “Verily, those who say: ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then they stand firm, on them the angels will descend (saying): ‘Fear not, nor grieve! But receive the glad tidings of Paradise which you have been promised! We have been your friends in the life of this world and are (so) in the Hearafter. Therein you shall have (all) that your souls desire, and therein you shall have (all) for which you ask. An entertainment from The Oft Forgiving and Most Merciful.” This verse reveals clearly the beautiful rewards from believing in Allah and remaining firm on it:
- Peaceful death and glad tidings of Al-jannah: A peaceful death and glad tidings of jannah from the angels at the last moment of a firm believer is one of the numerous gains. Health-care givers can give account of the experience they have of patients during their last breaths. Many worry about their possessions, their offspring and other worldly things. Only few look calm, smile and even have the rare opportunity to say shahadah. May Allah count us among them!
- Becoming a friend of Allah: In the above verse, Allah says, He has been a friend to the believers who remain firm and in this world and would also continue to be their friends in the hereafter. What can be better than being a friend of Allah?
- Having an Abode in Al-Jannah: Allah who will always fulfill His promises assures the firm believers a place in Jannah where they will have all their hearts desires. May Allah in His infinite mercies make us make the list.
Conditions for Achieving Firmness
To be firm is not final, doing it in the right way and hoping for Allah’s reward is important. Therefore, the following conditions are key to achieving firmness: sincerity (ikhlas); knowledge (‘ilm); doing it the way Rasulullah (s.a.w.) did it (Sunnah) and making sure it is done in the best way possible (ihsan).
If all these conditions are put into consideration and explored adequately, firmness or steadfastness will be easily built in every Muslim. Other things that assist in firmness include: keeping good company, daily examination of one’s activities, seeking advice from the right people and unending remembrance of Allah. Associating partners with Allah, committing sins, hypocrisy, heedlessness and lots more may hinder the progress in the quest of achieving firmness.
Allah (S.W.T.) and His Prophet (s.a.w.) enjoined Muslims to believe in Allah and remain firm. Believers are bound to be tested. “Do people think that they will be let go merely by saying: ‘We believe,’ and that they will not be tested?” (Q29:2). So, when these trials face believers, it is important to remain firm and seek help through patience and prayer. May Allah make us firm believers who will become His friends and inherit Al-Jannah.