M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam
Consistency, steadfastness and perseverance are the key to success; be it in matters of faith or worldly endeavours. The teachings of Islam lay great emphasis on this. The five daily prayers, for example, are incumbent on every Muslim to offer at specific times each day and performing salat throughout one’s life with consistency is regarded as one of the most significant acts of worship In Islam.
The Holy Prophet’ssa hadith, “The best of deeds is that which is done consistently,” (Ibn Majah, Kitab al-zuhd) also sheds light on the significance of remaining consistent in one’s efforts to perform good deeds. This saying is a constant reminder for us that one must remain consistent in righteous actions to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty.
God Almighty says:
فَاسۡتَقِمۡ کَمَاۤ اُمِرۡتَ وَمَنۡ تَابَ مَعَکَ
“So stand thou upright, as thou hast been commanded, and [also] those who have turned [to God] with thee.” (Surah Hud, Ch.11: V.113)
In the Five Volume Commentary, under the above verse, it is stated:
“The words, ‘So stand thou upright as thou hast been commanded, and also those who have turned to God with thee’, mean that the Faithful are to act uprightly in the same way as the Holy Prophet[sa] is commanded to do. The high moral standard to which believers are required to rise is thus the one set up for the Holy Prophet[sa] himself. It is clear that the verse does not say that believers are to be upright in the way in which they themselves are commanded but that they have to act uprightly in the way in which the Prophet[sa] is commanded. This definitely shows that believers are to take the Holy Prophet[sa] as their exemplar and have to try to come up to his standard.” (Five Volume Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 1405)
When it comes to performing good deeds and kind acts, the Holy Prophetsa was the epitome of steadfastness. He not just brought mankind out of darkness into the light but also showed them his own example of how to maintain and remain consistent in the way of God Almighty. He perfectly translated his sayings (ahadith) into practices (sunnah) and firmly established to his followers that being steadfast is vital to building a strong relationship with Allah the Almighty.
Muslims around the world observed Ramadan over the last month. In this regard, the Holy Prophetsa also set an example for us all to remain consistent in our devotion to Allah. He set the highest standard of observing fasts and performing an array of good deeds in the month of Ramadan. However, he did not limit the virtuous acts performed during Ramadan to just one month, as he said on one occasion that if you knew the excellences of Ramadan and the ways in which God Almighty manifests His mercy, you would have wished that Ramadan was extended to the entire year so that you may gather the blessings of God Almighty all year long. (At-Targhib wat-Tarhib, Kitab as-saum; Al Hakam, 7 June 2019, Issue 64, p. 12) This saying of the Holy Prophetsa emphasises the importance of Ramadan for Muslims and encourages them to make the most out of this blessed month. Moreover, it highlights that Muslims ought to carry the spirit of Ramadan with them throughout the year, continuing in their good deeds, and consistently striving to improve their character and behaviour.
We observe in our daily lives that to achieve any goal, one must develop habits and consistency. For example, regular exercise and maintaining a good diet are required to improve physical and mental health. However, without consistency and dedication, one’s progress may be hindered, leading to limited or no noticeable improvements in overall well-being. Furthermore, if one stops exercising or maintaining a good diet altogether, they may experience a decline in physical fitness, increased health risks, and missed opportunities for improved well-being and mental health. Likewise, if good deeds are only performed during Ramadan and neglected throughout the rest of the year, we cannot truly achieve the purpose of fasting and may even experience a regression in our spirituality.
Advising on keeping the spirit of Ramadan alive throughout the year, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said:
“Out of twelve months, people consider Ramadan, i.e., fasting, to be limited to only one month, but for us [Ahmadis] the entire year should be Ramadan and our whole life should be spent like it.” (Khutbat-e-Mahmud, Vol. 27, p. 531)
The discipline and self-control achieved while fasting during Ramadan can be of benefit if we keep up the same momentum with consistency. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his helper, said:
“We should strive in all those matters which we have been reminded of during the month of Ramadan and all the virtuous deeds which we were able to carry out during the month, and continue them even after Ramadan. In fact, we ought to try and excel in them. Otherwise, if we do not maintain these virtuous deeds and pious changes and do not excel in them, then there is no benefit in us simply passing through the month of Ramadan.” (Friday Sermon, 7 May 2021; Al Hakam, 4 June 2021, Issue 168, p. 31)
Hence, we should never let the spirit of Ramadan fade away lest our achievements go in vain. To get the most out of this blessed month, we should make it a never-ending Ramadan and “we should continue offering prayers after Ramadan with the same care and attention as we did during this month. Only then will we become true recipients of Allah the Almighty’s mercy and help.” (Ibid.)
Allah says in the Holy Quran, وللآخرة خيرلك من الأولى (“Surely [every hour] that follows is better for thee than [the one] that precedes. [Surah ad-Duha, Ch.93: V.5]), which teaches us that our spiritual state shall never become stagnant. We should rather try to hold fast to our good deeds, which we acquired during Ramadan, with steadfastness and keep moving forward every step of the way. This subject has also been expressed in the Holy Quran as follows:
وَاعۡبُدۡ رَبَّکَ حَتّٰی یَاۡتِیَکَ الۡیَقِیۡنُ
“And continue worshipping thy Lord, till death comes to thee.” (Surah al-Hijr, Ch.15: V.100)
While speaking about steadfastness, the Promised Messiahas said:
“The true and perfect grace that conveys a person to the spiritual world depends upon steadfastness, by which is meant that degree of sincerity and faithfulness which cannot be shaken by any trial. It means a strong relationship with the Divine which a sword cannot cut asunder and fire cannot consume, nor can any other calamity damage it.” (The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam, 2017, p. 111)
Thus when we inculcate the good habits of worship and sacrifice, which we acquired during the blessed month of Ramadan in our daily routines with steadfastness, only then will we establish a lasting relationship with our Creator.
May Allah the Almighty enable us to make continuous progress. May we become those who truly fulfil the rights of Allah and His creation with compassion and humility.