Not a single person can deny the fact that human nature is notorious and censurable; history is one unfortunate witness to this very fact!
But human beings are bound to err. They were never designed to be perfect, nor do they run on pre-defined algorithms for pre-designed results. They are not machines- rather they are driven by their own feelings, challenges, successes and failures.
In this fast-paced technological era, man needs constant guidance through sincere friends and families to help him weave a path of steadfastness. But most of all, man needs his own self. A living conscience that constantly awakens him to the realities of life. An untainted sound heart.
Islam came to protect individuals, and to give people a chance at a better future, and a better life in the Hereafter. But to actually benefit from this, one needs to learn how to ‘live the life’ of a Muslim.
As Br. Mohammad Ali  says:
“No system of life can give you a better purpose than Islam. So follow Islam. Read about it. Understand it. And you have a great life in both worlds”
Our halls are filled with awe as different religious scholars and ‘daees’ glitter and glamour the world- when one feels his faith climb even the highest and most impossible of mountain peaks. But in everyday life the situation of the Muslim community leaves much to be desired. There is a massive gap in our hearts, that yearns for Allah. The match between Iblis and man still goes on, and Iblis is winning. He is not even letting us come close to the ball. The essence and the spirit of repentance, of keeping our duty to Allah 24/7 is like a black hole today in some distant corner of the universe. No one really knows what is inside; what to do, where to walk and what to say. We’re confused, and lost.
In all of this, the way forward is difficult to see. It is only through developing a number of good habits can we try to stay steadfast on the path of Allah- especially when it is so extremely easy to sin and comparatively difficult to do good.
Allah mentions the attitude of the believers in the Qura’n as follows
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ
“Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah (Alone)” and then they Istaqamu (stay steadfast), 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!” (S.Fussilat: 30)
With this, we begin going through an exclusive five item list to help us all develop beneficial habits (inshaAllah). You can copy the following points into your smart phone as a checklist and keep reviewing yourself every now and then to really benefit, insha’Allah.
Item 1: Al-Islah (Personal Reform)
A steadfast believer should always keep personal reform in focus. Instead of pointing out other people’s mistakes and blaming them for your situation, one should start from an inside-out perspective. If a believer is watchful over his own actions and remembers that every little action will be questioned about and every little good deed will be rewarded, he will remain steadfast upon the path of Allah.
“Unquestionably, in the body there is a lump of flesh; if it is sound, the whole body is sound, and if it is corrupt, the whole body is corrupt, and behold, it is the heart.” [Bukhāri and Muslim]
So, number 1- make sure you have sound, open heart.
Item 2: The path of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and His Companions
Remember the story of the brothers who tried to break a bunch of sticks given to them by their father? Well, they were unable to break the bundle while the sticks were tied together. That is what the Quran says about our Muslim brethren:
وَاعْتَصِمُوا بِحَبْلِ اللَّهِ جَمِيعًا وَلَا تَفَرَّقُوا
And hold firmly to the rope of Allah all together and do not become divided.
Anyone with basic Arabic skills will notice Allah has placed 3 words in the text in their plural forms in this verse- to stress upon the fact that we must stay together. OK. We’ve learned the lesson to stay together, but where to go, what to follow? Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) tackled this subject in a very famous saying:
“My ummah will split into seventy-three sects, all of whom will be in Hell except one group.” They said: Who are they, O Messenger of Allaah? He said: “(Those who follow) that which I and my companions follow.” Al-Tirmidhi (2641)
If we want the Muslim ummah to be successful in this world and in religion today, we need to work on our centre. The path that we must follow should not be that of society, nor of our fathers and mothers, but of our Prophet and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them all.
Item 3: The Intermediate path
People often say that we should strike a ‘balance’ between religion and life. That we should take a little bit of both- something from here, another thing from there. What they want to say is that one shouldn’t be so religious. One should pray , definitely- but there’s nothing wrong with an interest based banking system, eh?Fast in Ramadan- yes of course- but also dance at weddings with non-mehram cousins. Good treatment of your neighbors and elders is cultural only.A beard or a scarf- definite fashion no! Talking against the sins most prevalent in society is plain old negative thinking.
In short, completely following Islam is to lose yourself and your identity and to become an ‘extremist’. We ask those people, were Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his Companions terrorists? Were they extremists? Do their lives bear witness to the terror they struck in other people’s lives- or to something else entirely?
Remember the Prophet’s path is the real middle path. Learn Islam and its true teachings. You’ll truly get to see how Islam encourages us to be productive, healthier and God-fearing believers.
Item 4: Pious company
A man is known by the company he keeps
How true it is. If you constantly find yourself in the company of a group of unproductive, lazy, good-for-nothing chain smokers, the first thing that you can start with is to find yourself better company. Friends who are God-fearing. Friends that you can trust- who you can expect to protect your honor behind your back Just an idea: look for local Islamic communities in your area.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ
O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds). (Quran 9:119)
For those people in Lahore who are looking for new friends, come hang out with the YC brothers (and sisters) at our YC Community Center. For more details visit our Facebook page.
Item 5: Be a student of knowledge
Big seminars are held all over the world to help students plan their future careers. Where do we go to plan our Hereafters?
We’ve managed to produce such a lot of educated people within our society, but where is their education when it comes to matters of the social life, morals, religious obligations and general ethics? Like a sea shell, beautifully adorned from the outside but empty from the inside- all of us except those who hold within the pearls of wisdom.
‘Uthman bin ‘Affan (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “The best amongst you is the one who learns the Qur’an and teaches it.”
Be a teacher or a student of Quran, constantly, all your life, regardless of what your age or your culture is. Brings to mind another saying of the Prophet (pbuh):
“This world is cursed, and all that is in it, except for the zikr (remembrance) of Allah and all that is related to it, a scholar and a student of knowledge.” [at-Tirmidhi, 2322]
Again, for those people who live in Lahore and Islamabad- contact your nearest YC members for details of our Qura’n study circles and our weekly class schedules (this is for both sisters and brothers)!
If one truly incorporates these five habits into his/her daily life and asks Allah for help in remaining steadfast, inshaAllah Allah’s help will come. May Allah help us in that.
The writer is a software engineer and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
 Br. Mohammad Ali is a Mechnical Engn. from GIKI, Pakistan and is currently presiding Youth Club Lahore chapter.
 The list is compiled based on a lecture given by Sheikh Abu Tayyab on the topic “Istaqamah” at Al-Wabil Center of Islamic Knowledge, DHA, Lahore.