Istiqaamah is often translated to mean ‘uprightness, steadfastness and correctness.’ It comes from the root word قام (qaama) meaning ‘to rise’ or ‘to stand upright’ and from this we derive words like مستقيم (mustaqeem) as in ‘Siraat al-Mustaqeem’ (Straight Path).
For the believer, Istiqaamah is a virtue that cannot be done without. It’s a quality that we continually strive to attain although we may fail at times. In this age where fitaan (tribulations) have become widespread and open sins are the norm, many people have lost the istiqaamah they once had in them – the strength to stay upon the straight path.
Imam Suhaib shared some tips with us on how to have istiqaamah:
1) Have a strong relationship with Allah: The best way is with His Wahi (revelation), the Qur’an. Ibn Taymiyyah said, “If you want to taste the sweetness of emaan, then upon you is the Book of Allah.”
2) Have a strong relationship in worshipping Allah: The da’ee (one who calls people to Allah) needs to pray his sunnah and he better be praying witr. The pious predecessors used to say, “be hard on yourself and be easy on the people.” We should strive to increase in our worship and perform the nawafil acts to come closer to Allah.
3) Have good friends that will support you: Befriend those that motivate you and are not negative. The scholars say it is not nifaaq (hypocritical) if a person’s Islam and emaan are better when they are around righteous friends because this is part of the sunnah of our deen. Allah says: “And keep yourself patiently with those who call on their Lord morning and afternoon, seeking His Face; and let not your eyes overlook them.” (Quran, 18:28)
4) Choose a good spouse who will make istiqaamah your focus and remind you: The Prophet ﷺ gave us the example of the wife who would sprinkle water on her husband’s face to wake him up for tahajjud (prayer before fajr) and likewise the husband who would do the same to his wife.
5) Read the stories of the pious people. Read the seerah of the Prophet ﷺ, of the Companions, of those who followed them and the righteous people. You will see that your struggles compared to theirs are nothing.You see that Allah gave them strength, and reading that will give you strength.
6) Work in a group: Don’t be a solo artist. Shaytan will always try to get you to leave the community, but he will never get you to join one.