There are many things that a person will do in this short life, however, the actions which will yield the most benefit or harm, will be those actions done consistently. Many successful individuals, have had certain beliefs that they were not willing to compromise with, be it theological or social, be it political or philosophical, they remained true to what they prescribed to, unwavering, like a lighthouse weathering a great tempest. Due to their resolute nature they were able to disseminate their beliefs and ideologies, allowing history to record their excellence. They left a legacy that has impacted countless generations.
In Islam, those individuals who are steadfast are indeed successful, they do not allow the various difficulties of life to impede them. They are true believers till their last breath.
The meaning of steadfastness (Istiqamah), remaining straight, or going ahead, being upright and upstanding in religious terminology, is that one be firm upon the commandments of Allah. For example,that person who prays every prayer at its prescribed time everyday without miss, he is steadfast. Contrary to this example would be a person who prays one obligatory prayer and misses the other, yes he is praying, but he will not be called steadfast.
We should always ask Allah to grant us firmness on his laws, as ability is only from Allah. It has been narrated that Umar Ibn Khattab (RA) defined being steadfast as: “Istiqamah (being steadfast) is that you hold on unwaveringly to all the injunctions of Allah – carry out the good deeds and stay away from prohibitions, and do not seek escape-routes” (Mazhari)
The rewards for bring steadfast are many, one has been mentioned in the Quran: “To those who have said, “God is our Lord, ” and who have remained steadfast to their belief, the angels will descend saying, “Do not be afraid or grieved. Receive the glad news of the Paradise which was promised to you.'” (41:30) From this verse we learn that not only is true faith a requisite for Jannah but also to be steadfast on that belief. This means that a person holds firm to the belief that Allah is one, and he holds this to be true until he passes away. They also have correct belief about Prophets, Angels, Books, the Days of Judgement, Life after death etc. All these also comprise correct belief. For a Believer being steadfast is one of the major tribulations, as he has been blessed with correct belief, now it is a matter of protecting this belief. Many people have had this correct belief only to forsake it later in their lives. Allah protect us!
Allah himself commands us to be steadfast, He states; “Therefore, stand firm on the Right Way as you are commanded” (11:112) The scholars state that being firm or Istiqamah is a concise word, but its implications are far-reaching, as it encompasses every aspect of Religion. It demands that a person’s behaviour be consistent with the laws of Allah, in conditions of ease or discomfort. We see that this trait of being steadfast is missing from our lives. We tend to be irresolute, we do not remain firm upon doing good actions. An evidence for this would be Ramadan, wherein a person performs many commendable actions, he spends upon the poor, treats others with kindness, prays the Quran, frequents the Masjid, but true to our weak nature we lose all of these actions by the time the Eid prayers are concluded.
It will not be the case that we will always be steadfast, we will indeed have shortcomings, as indicated in the verse when Allah states: “so take a straight course to Him and seek His forgiveness.” (41:6) Going unswervingly ahead will be riddled with problems, but repentance will absolve a person of sin and keep him inching forward in his search for Allah’s pleasure. If you have a deficiency in your religion, be it your character, your punctuality in prayers, your reliance on Allah do not grieve as Allah will definitely help you if you ask him and exert effort trying to change yourself.
Sufyan ibn Abdullah (RA) narrates, “I asked the Messenger of Allah (SAW), to inform me of one important advice of Islam that would make me independent of asking anybody else for any advice thereafter. He said, ‘Declare faith in Allah then remain steadfast thereafter.'” (Muslim) This pearl of advice should be acted upon by every Muslim. This is the blueprint to success, that regardless of every situation, even if the odds are unimaginably against your favour, you should simply forge on ahead. You are never alone, so long as Allah is with you. Do not fear or lose your integrity be like the Prophets, the Companions,the Pious predecessors, who did not pervert or compromise their religion for anything or anyone.
May Allah give us the ability to remain steadfast. May he allow us to forge our way closer to Him. May He forgive our mistakes. Ameen.