Do you practice istiqamah in your daily life? If you find yourself struggling to stay consistent in performing certain deeds, be it an act of worship obligatory upon Muslims such as our daily prayers, or other day-to-day activities, you are not alone!
As human beings, we are not meant to be perfect. Instead, we have a natural tendency to be lazy, to get distracted, to lose focus, and many other weaknesses that may deviate us from our very purpose of existence, i.e. to worship Allah, which is the very reason why we need to strive to achieve istiqamah in the first place.
But fret not, there are certain tips that we can follow as we strive towards achieving istiqamah. Let’s get to it!
1) To be clear of the final destination, i.e. the Hereafter
This world is only a testing ground and a temporary pitstop in our journey to meet our Creator. Allah placed us temporarily in this world to test us with what we experience in life, whether we strive to be on the right path or we follow the path of disobedience. Those who remain steadfast in the path of Allah will earn His pleasure, and those who do not will be punished on the Day of Judgement.
“The life of this world is no more than the delusion of enjoyment.” [Surah aal Imran: 185]
So choose to obey Allah and constantly remind ourselves of the Hereafter. Being clear of our final destination and not letting the temporary life get the better of us helps keep us on the right track.
2) To make continuous efforts (mujahadah) in achieving istiqamah
Putting effort in everything that you do is important. It’s especially more so when you are trying to be consistent about something. In fact, being consistent would require at least double the effort that you put in when you get started.
The same applies to achieving istiqamah. We may fall short at times but making continuous efforts (mujahadah) means not giving up and striving to get back on track every time we slip up. While people look at results, Allah looks at our efforts. Nothing is ever wasted in the eyes of Allah if we do it sincerely out of our devotion for Him.
“And they will be told, All this is surely a reward for you. Your striving (efforts) has been appreciated.” [Surah al-Insan: 22]
3) To check and purify our intention as we strive to achieve istiqamah
One of the beauties of Islam is that Allah looks at the intention behind every action and not just the action itself. Umar ibn Khattab narrated that he heard the Prophet ﷺ said, “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
The hadith highlights the significance of having an intention for every physical act that we do. It indirectly depicts the relation between action and intention which reflects the connection between our physical element (action) and spiritual component (intention).
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As we strive to achieve istiqamah, it’s important that we check our intention and to purify it from time to time. Do your best to ensure that your actions are backed by the purest of intentions, i.e. to gain the pleasure of Allah.
4) To be in the company of good people (solihin)
Scholars said istiqamah is difficult to attain and the hardest things to hold on to. Keeping a company of good people helps make the journey towards attaining it less turbulent. This is aligned with Islamic teaching that orders us to be selective of who we surround ourselves with as we are highly influenced by the people around us.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “A man follows the religion of his friend; so each one should consider whom he makes his friend.” [Al-Albani]
There is no better friends than those who remind you of Allah, and that’s also exactly the kind of friend every Muslim should be.
5) To seek His forgiveness
Achieving istiqamah is a lifelong journey for every Muslim. That said, we may, more often than not, get exhausted and sidetracked along the way. Allah knows this. As our Creator, He understands the struggle that will come our way. It’s not an easy ride so He asks us to seek His forgiveness every time we waver.
He says in the Qur’an, “Say, O [Muhammad], ‘I am only a man like you to whom it has been revealed that your god is but one God; so take a straight course to Him (be steadfast) and seek His forgiveness.” [Surah Fussilat: 6]
The verse tells us to strive to be steadfast (istiqamah) but to seek forgiveness from Allah when we fall. Seeking forgiveness through istighfar and taubah (repentance) is crucial in our journey to achieve istiqamah.
Strive towards achieving istiqamah
Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah famously said:
أعظم الكرامة لزوم الاستقامة
“The greatest of the saintly miracles is to be given Istiqamah – the grace to be steadfast on the straight path.”
It’s a blessing that Allah chose us to be part of this journey in achieving istiqamah. Not only are we faced with the obstacles that come with it but we are also handed with the tools to overcome them. With Allah by our side and His wills, we will be able to overcome anything. May Allah make our heart steadfast in His religion.
ٱهْدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٰطَ ٱلْمُسْتَقِيم  صِرَٰطَ ٱلَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ غَيْرِ ٱلْمَغْضُوبِ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا ٱلضَّآلِّينَ 
“Guide us along the Straight Path, the Path of those You have blessed—not those You are displeased with, or those who are astray.” [Surah al-Fatihah: 6 – 7]