Hadith 21. Steadfastness

On the authority of Abi Amr – and it also said Abi Amrah – Sufyan ibn Abdillah (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me a statement about Islam such that I will not have to ask anyone other than you”. He answered, “Say, I believe in Allah and then stand firm and steadfast to that”.

Reported in Muslim

Brief Commentary:

  • This hadith is an example of how the prophet (sallaAllah ‘alayhi wasallam) was given جوامع الكلم  (concise speech) in that he said only five words but they have a great deal of meaning as this hadith touches upon all aspects of the religion
  • The hadith revolves around two fundamental principles:
    • Aqeedah (Creed) as taken from “Believe in Allah”
    • Worship /Obedience as taken from “stand firm and be steadfast”
  • This hadith is important as noted from the question of the sahabi which needed a unique answer that only the prophet (sallaAllah ‘alayhi wasallam) can give
  • All of the components of Iman which have been discussed before in hadith 2 are found and summarised in this hadith:
    • Statement of the tongue: “Say”
    • Belief in the heart: “I believe”
    • Actions of the limbs: “stand firm and be steadfast”
  • The prophet (sallaAllah ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Say I believe in Allah” and did not just say “Believe in Allah”. This is because we should also manifest our faith and not keep it secret. There are emblems of the shari’ah that we must manifest e.g. Jum’ah, Eid, Adhan etc
  • Allah said to the believers in the Qur’an [Al-Nisaa:136] to believe. This verse was directed to the Muslims and not to the non-Muslims, and the reason for it is to tell the Muslims to renew their faith so it is something we must all do
  • In the hadith, the prophet (sallaAllah ‘alayhi wasallam) said , “and then”, which means we must have Iman first and then be steadfast. Doing good without having belief and being a Muslim will render all righteous actions useless on the day of judgement as Allah tells us in the Qur’an [Al-Furqan:23]
  • “Istiqamah” (Steadfastness) as mentioned in the hadith means to be very straight. It also has another derivative which means to fulfil an act or oversee a task, so we need to do righteous actions and be constant (very straight) in doing them
  • Some definitions of steadfastness:
    • Not associating any partners with Allah and not turning to anyone but Him
    • Being firm and constant in fulfilling your obligations
    • Adhering to the straight path and the correct religion without turning left or right, and this includes doing all of the good actions in public and in secret, and avoiding all the prohibitions likewise
  • According to narrations of the sahabah, the specific verse in Surah Hud that gave the prophet (sallaAllah ‘alayhi wasallam) grey hairs is {And be steadfast as you have been ordered} [Hud: 112]
  • Even with steadfastness we will have sins so we will never be able to achieve full steadfastness but we should try to come as close to it as possible
  • The secret behind steadfastness is to have a sound/righteous heart. This is done by having love for Allah more than anything else and venerating/respecting His shari’ah
  • If you love someone, your main concern is to please them, and to please Allah you must respect and fulfil His rights
  • Sometimes people only stop at haram things but if you really love Allah you wouldn’t go near anything that has a hint of makrooh. Have you ever heard of a sahabi asking if something is haram or makrooh?!!!


Benefits and Action points to take from this hadith:

  • We learn the eagerness of the sahabi to learn knowledge, and we should not ask long questions, but summarised ones
  • Manifest your faith and do not be shy of it
  • Virtues of saying this and being steadfast (taken from the Qur’an [Fussilat:30] [Al-Ahqaf:13]):
    • The angels will descend upon you and give you glad tidings not to be grieved (At the time of death and/or at the time of questioning in the grave)
    • You will be given glad tidings of Jannah
    • You will not fear
    • You will be from the companions of Jannah
    • You will stay in Jannah for eternity
  • Ways to gain steadfastness:
    • Study the Qur’an as it brings you tranquillity
    • Make du’aa to have steadfastness
    • Have confidence that you are on the truth
    • Remind yourself of Paradise and Hellfire and that Jannah is your true home
    • Adhere to the commandments of Allah
    • Seek beneficial knowledge
    • Have good companions
    • Internalise and understand/contemplate the things that turn you away from steadfastness

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