Abdullah Ibn Masood narrated, "The Messenger of Allah (S) drew a line for us and then said, This is Allahs Straight Path. Then he drew lines to its right and left, then he said, These are paths, upon every one of them there is a devil calling towards it. (Ahmad) Then he (Muhammad (S)) recited (from the Quran):
"Verily this is My Straight path, so follow it and follow not (other) paths, they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become pious." (Al-Anam 6:153)
Things to Avoid, so we can work on staying on the Straight Path
Love of This World -
Muhammad (S) said, "The nations will summon each other against you as those eating summon each other to their dish." A man asked, "Is it because we will be few?" He (S) said, "You will rather be many, but you will be like the foam of the stream, and Allah will take out from the hearts of your enemy fear of you, and He will put weakness into your hearts." He (the man) asked, "O Messenger of Allah, and what is the weakness?" He (S) said, "Love of this world, and hatred of death." (Abu Dawud and Ahmad) We should not let the news or our favorite show to allow us to neglect our duties as Muslims. If the time for prayer has come, we should strive to establish it on time, and men should make efforts to perform the prayer in congregation.
We should not devour interest because of nice looking home or a fancy car, as Allah has said:
"O you who believe! Be afraid of Allah and give up what remains from interest if you are believers. And if you do not do it, then take a notice of war from Allah and His Messenger..." (Baqarah: 278-279)
One example is the wearing of the hijab. We are not to act like it is a voluntary act or simply something from custom. In a Sahih Bukhari hadith, narrated Safiyah bint Shaibah: 'Aisha used to say when the verse (Surah Noor 24:31) was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the edges and covered their heads and faces with those cut pieces of cloth.' We are also do things in the proper way. The hijab is not simply a head covering, but a body covering. An outer garment needs to be worn over women to not reveal their shape, and they need to be covered from head to their feet.
Sometimes we get pushed by our family and friends to do something not in line with Allah's Teachings, and in times like those we should seek aid with Allah. We should also remember we can not obey the creations of Allah at the expense of disobeying our Creator. That is why Muhammad (S) said to have good friends, "The person is on the religion of his close friend, so you should look to see who you take as a close friend." (Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Abu Dawood)
Ways to work on staying on the Straight Path
In order to be on the Straight Path we need to follow the way of Muhammad (S) as Allah has instructed us:
"Say (Oh Muhammad): If you (truly) love Allah then follow me, so that Allah may love you and forgive your sins. And Allah is All Forgiving, All Compassionate. Say, Obey Allah and His messenger, but if they turn away Allah does not like the disbelievers" (3:31)
We are to put our love for Allah and Muhammad (S) ahead of worldly things. This is a condition of our Iman (faith). Muhammad (S) has said (what means): Whoever possesses three qualities will taste the sweetness of Iman: 1) That Allah and His Messenger are dearer to him than anything else, 2) To love a person only for Allahs sake, 3) To hate to revert to disbelief after Allah had saved him from it, as he would hate to be thrown into the fire (Bukhari and Muslim)
Irbaad ibn Saariyah reports Muhammad (S) gave the companions (Sahaba) an exhortation one day after the Fajr Prayer which caused their eyes to shed tears and their hearts to quiver So a man said, "This is as if it is a final exhortation, so counsel us, O Rasulullah(S)." He (S) said, "I counsel you to fear Allah and to hear and obey even if an Ethiopian slave becomes your leader, since he who lives will see much division(many differences). So keep to my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly guided successors after me, cling to that with your teeth. Beware of novelties for every novelty is an innovation and every innovation is a going astray" (Tirmidhi)
We need to understand the Shariah are the only laws to be followed, and the laws of the USA, UN, etc. are not better than what was revealed to Muhammad (S). We have to stick to all of Islam. We can not pick and choose what we want. Allah says:
"Whosoever does not judge by what Allah has revealed, such are disbelievers." (Al-Maidah: 44)
In fact, we need to direct our entire life to worshipping Allah. Allah has told us:
"Say, Verily my prayer, my sacrifice, my living, and my dying are for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds."(Al-Anam: 162)
There is much reward in doing the obligatory acts that Allah has legislated. We have to do what Allah has commanded and stay away from what He has forbidden. If we abandon obligatory acts then there are bad consequences with that especially with the prayer. Muhammad (S) said, "Between kufr (disbelief) and iman (faith) lies abandonment of the prayer" (Tirmidhi) In another narration he (S) said, "Between a man and between shirk (polytheism) and kufr (disbelief) there is abandonment of the prayer." (Bukhari) The prayer is so important that Muhammad (S) mentioned it just before he (S) was about to die "The prayer, the prayer ." (Bukhari)
Knowing how important the prayer is, we need to make sure we pray in the proper manner as Muhammad (S) said, "Pray just as you have seen me praying." (Bukhari) He (S) specified that we should all pray, whether we be male or female, as he (S) did. We should know the evidence for why we pray in the manner that we do, and we should not just rely on how people in our certain culture pray without knowing why they pray the way they do based on evidences from the Sunnah of Muhammad (S). We need to also be careful to stay away from praying in ways that Muhammad (S) has forbade. One example is we need to keep our elbows up when we are in sajood, as in Sahih Bukhari, Muhammad (S) compared the one who does so with a dog.
We can not make ourselves scholars and say things without proofs. Many times you will hear somebody telling us something is Wajib/Fard (required), or Haraam (forbidden), and when asked for a proof will not give any, but will go on talking badly about people who have presented them with proofs which are contrary to their pre-conceived notions.
The way we follow is that of the Quran and Sunnah. We do not need to into mysticism, metaphysics, and mysterious things. We should know why we do the actions we do, and this knowledge comes from the Quran and authentic Sunnah. We need to rely on scholars, and at the same time, we need to ask them to present the evidence for what they are saying to be sure we are following the way of Allah and not mistakenly go into a path other than The One of Allah.
Once we obtain knowledge from the Quran and Sunnah we need to implement it. If we learn we should say Yarhamuk-Allah after a Muslim sneezes and says Alhumdulillah, then the next the time we hear somebody sneeze and say Alhumdulillah we should respond with Yarhamuk-Allah. If not then we are not implementing out knowledge.
We always need to be mindful that even though Allah is above the seven heavens on His Throne above us, He Knows, Sees, and Hears everything we are doing, and we should be doing our actions for Allah. We should be as Muhammad (S) described Ihsan, "worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, because if you do not see Him, He surely Sees you." (Muslim)
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