HADITH EXPLANATION – “SAY I AFFIRM MY FAITH IN ALLAH & THEN REMAIN STEADFAST TO IT”


HADITH EXPLANATION

 

Sufyan bin ‘Abdullah Ath-Thaqafi  reported that he said,

“I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam), tell me about Islam a thing which might dispense with the necessity of my asking anybody after you.’ Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) remarked, ‘Say I affirm my faith in Allah and then remain steadfast to it.’ ”

[Muslim – Kitab Al-lman (Book on Faith), hadith 62/38; Musnad Ahmad – hadith 2/413]

 

Explanation of the Hadith

Sufyan bin ‘Abdullah Ath-Thaqafi’s words to the Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam), “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 (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) to teach him a piece of all-comprehensive advice, so that he would not ask anybody after the Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam).

The Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) said to him, “Say I affirm my faith in Allah and then remain steadfast to it”.

This hadith is derived from Allah’s saying,

“Verily, those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah (Alone),’ and then they Istaqamu (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!’ ” (Surah Fussilat, 41 : 30)

Allah also says,

“Verily, those who say, ‘Our Lord is (only) Allah,’ and thereafter Istaqamu (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 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.” (Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46 : 13,14)

“So stand (ask Allah to make) you 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.” (Surah Hud, 11 : 112)

Allah ordered His Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) and his companions to stand fast, and not to transgress, as He knows all their deeds. Allah also says,

“So unto this (religion of Islam, alone and this Qur’an) then invite (people) 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 Allah (sins and evil deeds, etc.)], as you are commanded, and follow not their desires.” (Surah Ash-Shura, 42 : 15)

Qatadah said, “Muhammad (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) was enjoined to stand firm and straight on Islamic monotheism.”

Allah also says,

“Say, ‘I am only a human being like you. It is inspired in me that your ilah is One ilah (God – Allah), therefore take the Straight Path to Him (with true Faith Islamic, Monotheism) and obedience to Him, and seek forgiveness by Him.’ ” (Surah Fussilat, 41: 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.

Allah’s saying, – “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 (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) saying to Mu’adh, “Fear Allah wherever you are and follow the vicious deed with a good one which will obliterate it.” [Tirmidhi – Kitab Al-Birr was-Silah (Book on Righteousness and Relations with Others), hadith 1987, about which he said it is an authentic, good hadith]

 

Perfect steadfastness and near steadfastness

Abu Hurayrah reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) said, “Remain steadfast and try to be perfect.” [Bukhari  – Kitab Al-lman (Book on Faith), hadith 39; Muslim – Kitab Sifat Al-Munafiqin (Book on Description of the Hypocrites), hadith 2816]

Steadfastness is doing well in all sayings, deeds and intentions. The Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) ordered ‘Ali to ask Allah for steadfastness and guidance.

The Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) said to him, “Remember that steadfastness is just like perfect shooting of an arrow and that guidance is just like taking the right road.” [Muslim – Kitab Adh-Dhikr wad-Du’a (Book on Supplications and Remembrance of Allah), hadith 78/2725]

 

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 (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) said, “O people, you will not perform – or bear – all my commands. Yet, remain steadfast and try to be perfect.” [Abu Dawud – Kitab As-Salah (Book on Prayer), hadith 1096; Musnad Ahmad – hadith 4/212; Sahih Ibn Khuzaymah – hadith 1452]

The meaning of the hadith 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 Abu Bakr As-Siddiq and others interpreted Allah’s saying,

“Verily, those who say, ‘Our Lord is (only) Allah,’ and thereafter Istaqamu (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) …. ” (Surah Al-Ahqaf, 46 : 13)

They did not pay attention to anyone save Allah. Once the heart fully knows Allah, fears, loves, honors, invokes, hopes for Him and put trust in him, the other organs will obey none but Allah. 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 (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) advised his (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) companions to be steadfast, he (Sallallahu a’laihi wa sallam) ordered him to observe the steadfastness of his tongue.

Anas reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) 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.” [Musnad Ahmad – hadith 3/198]

Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudri reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu A’laihi wa sallam) said, “In the morning, all man’s organs advise the tongue and say, ‘Fear Allah. We will be forthright if you are so. If you deviate, we will deviate.’ ” [Tirmidhi – Kitab Az-Zuhd (Book on Asceticism), hadith 2407]

 

By: Imam Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali , From the book: Jami’ al Ulum wal Hikam.

 

 

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