Steadfastness is greater than a (saintly) Miracle / A Letter to my little sister

الاستقامۃ فوق الکرامۃ

Steadfastness is greater than a saintly miracle

Umm-e-Milad Attariyyah

A tiny drop of constantly falling water pierces even the strongest of rocks. Tiny-looking ants cling to a piece of flesh many times larger than themselves, so the onlooker wonders how this tiny creature will take such a large piece away to its hole. But the persistence of this seemingly insignificant creature disproves this assumption.

When the perseverance of an inanimate object and a tiny living creature leads to success, can not the one who is given the title of ‘Ashraf-ul-Makhluqat’ (i.e. the best of the creation) adopt this attribute and achieve his goal?

Dear Islamic sisters! As Muslims, gaining the pleasure of Allah Almighty, receiving the intercession of the Merciful Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and entering Paradise should be our first priority, and for all this, we must remain steadfast in doing good deeds and avoiding sins.

What is Steadfastness?

Steadfastness means durability, perpetuity, perseverance and to remain resolute upon something. ‘According to Shari’ah, steadfastness is adopting perpetuity upon the obedience of Allah Almighty.’

اَلْاِسْتِقَامَةُ فَوْقَ الْکَرَامَةِ: Meaning steadfastness is greater than a (saintly) miracle. The best of deeds is that which is permanent, even though it may be little, as our Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said: ‘Adopt a habit of only doing as much as you can do of good deeds, for the best of deeds is that which is done consistently, even if it is little.’ (Ibn-e-Majah, vol. 4, p. 487, Hadees 4240) Sayyiduna Abu Ali Jawzjani رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَلَيْه says: ‘Adopt steadfastness, do not become seekers of (saintly) miracles! As your Nafs is seeking a (saintly) miracle, whereas your Lord seeks steadfastness from you.’ (Risalah Qushayriyyah, p.140)

Many Islamic sisters start performing an action but do not find steadfastness within it. They become lazy after a few days. Here are some points to help you remain steadfast:

*   First of all, we need to consider the importance and virtues of the action that we want to make perpetual.

*   It is also necessary to have a true intention and a firmness in your intention. It is impossible to find steadfastness in something unless there is a firm intention.

*   Continue to study the accounts of steadfastness of the pious predecessors in the face of difficult calamites and worries.

*   Adopt moderation in your actions as it is better to run slowly towards the destination than to run fast, get tired and give up.

*   Refrain from the obstacles in the path of steadfastness, such as a bad company, impatience over difficulties and haste in acquiring results.

*   Alongside adopting the means of gaining steadfastness, also keep on making Du’a to Allah Almighty. For example, یَامُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوْبِ ثَبِّتْ قُلُوْبَنَا عَلٰی دِیْنِکَ meaning O Turner of the Hearts, make my heart firm on your religion.

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Steadfastness is greater than a (saintly) Miracle / A Letter to my little sister

A letter to my little sister

Bint-e-Riaz Ahmad Attariyyah

!اَلسَّلَام ُعَلَیْکُم و رحمة الله وبرکاته beloved sister!

I hope you are well and spending the best days of your life, full of joy in the company of Mum and Dad. By the grace of Allah, we are well also.

First of all, I would like to wish you a very happy birthday! مَاشَــآءَالـلّٰـه you will become 15 years old on the 7th  of Safar; I make Du’a that every forthcoming year of your life is full of happiness.

Beloved sister! Our life passes through various stages; firstly, we go through childhood, in which we live carefree. During this time, neither are we bound by Shari’ah nor are we given any responsibilities by the elders. After this, we reach adolescence when we are tasked with many responsibilities by the Shari’ah and with many household responsibilities also. In this age, it is not appropriate to express the same level of carelessness and negligence as shown in childhood nor are we given any opportunity to do this.

Beloved sister! You must be thinking that my sister is speaking of boring and difficult matters today. Previously, she would mention the mischievousness of Bilal or the details of her shopping, now she is speaking of daunting restrictions and responsibilities. But what am I to do sister? There are other stages of life besides childhood.

Beloved sister! The reality is that in our family, there is a tradition of writing a letter of counsel to a daughter or sister when she reaches the age of 15. I still have the letter that was written by our elder sister with me, which I read from time to time and ponder over my life. Now, it has fallen to me to write some advice and counsel that will guide you in the forthcoming years of your life.

My sister! The purpose of the creation of human beings, as mentioned in the Quran, is to worship Allah Almighty, and the thing that does not fulfil the purpose of its creation and birth is the most useless thing in the entire world.

Express remorse at any laziness that you have shown in the past and make a firm intention that you will not allow laziness or any other engagement to become an obstacle in offering your five daily Salah in the future. After becoming punctual in the Fard Salah, turn your attention towards offering Nafl Salah if possible, and Tahajjud Salah in particular, as there are countless blessings in it. These are the days of worship; you will not have the ability in the future!

Beloved sister! The distinguishing factor between humans and animals is knowledge, it is due to this reason that humans have pre-eminence and superiority over animals. Otherwise, they also fulfil their necessities of life, like their need for food and drink. The foremost priority in regards to this knowledge is the knowledge that is ordained by the Shari’ah, i.e. we must learn how to fulfil those responsibilities which we have been tasked with by Allah Almighty and His Noble Messenger صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. In this regard, I will recommend that you read a few books which will guide you through the changes that take place in this stage of life.

Firstly, read and fully understand Surah Al-Noor with translation and commentary, as it has been commanded to teach females this in the blessed Hadees. After this, learn the necessary rulings in regard to Wudu, Ghusl, Salah etc. An excellent book for this is the book of Maktaba-tul-Madinah, entitled, ‘Salah for Islamic sisters’. Similarly, there are many other rulings relevant to females which if I were to mention word by word would result in this letter becoming very lengthy. An excellent book for these rulings is ‘Jannati Zaywar’, which is nothing short of treasure for women.

Beloved sister! Veiling and modesty are the true beauty of a Muslim woman. In order to learn when and from whom to cover yourself, read the book of Ameer-e-Ahl-e-Sunnat دَامَـتْ بَـرَكَـاتُـهُـمُ الْـعَـالِـيَـهْ, ‘Questions and Answers about Islamic Veil’. Likewise, read the biographies and lives of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, his blessed wives, the female companions and righteous women, for a person strives to become like those whom she reads about. No doubt, the one who emulates such noble personalities will prove to be successful in this world and the hereafter.

Beloved sister! The wise person is the one who is prepared before the time arrives and values their free time before they become engaged, and utilises their free time correctly. After studying, instead of spending your remaining time in useless matters, it will be beneficial for you to spend your time in household works. Keep in mind that although one might quickly learn the method of doing something, it takes years of effort in order to develop a skill in something.

Therefore, take part in the work around the house from this age, and alongside learning how to cook various dishes from Mum, learn how to sew also. If Mum or anybody else tells you to do something or rebukes you, this is to develop your skills and is for the betterment and ease of your future. Therefore, instead of becoming angry, you should comply wholeheartedly. Alongside this, take care of your health and give preference to healthy foods over tasty ones. After doing work around the house, you will not have any need for exercise.

Now I must take your leave as I have already taken up a lot of your valuable time, and I am yet to prepare dinner for tonight. Give my Salaam to Mum and Dad. Sending you lots of love,

Your sister, Umm-e-Bilal.

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