Religion itself is being preserved and protected as God promised in His Book, Al-Quran Al-Kareem. Allah (ﷻ) said: {Indeed, it is We who sent down the Reminder and indeed, We will be its guardian} 15:9. This preservation is not limited to the Holy Quran as people think but it includes the Sunnah, and the proper understanding of how religious text is meant to be understood.

For those who reject the Sunnah using the same verse mentioned above as only the Holy Quran is being preserved, we say that the verse used the word (Al-Dhzikr) or the Reminder or the Remembrance, not the Quran. In other words, all that which God is being remembered with is protected and indeed the Sunnah is part of that. As to the understanding of religion being protected, Imam Mohammad Ibn Idris Al-Shafe’ie proved the consensus of scholars as a source of ruling depending on this verse: {And whoever opposes the Messenger after guidance has become clear to him and follows other than the way of the believers – We will give him what he has taken and drive him into Hell, and evil it is as a destination.} 4:115. In this verse, Imam Al-Shafe’ie said that in every generation there is a {way of believers} that guard the understanding of Islam.

This preservation of religion leaves each Muslim individual liable to engage in his or her own effort to maintain their own religiosity. The alarming matter is that we have multiple texts that speak of the challenges that people can face against such maintenance. Allah (ﷻ) said {By the token of time. Indeed, mankind is in loss. Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.} 103:1/2/3. The prophet (ﷺ) said: “One of you would perform the actions of the dwellers of Jannah until there is only one cubit between him and it (Jannah), when what is foreordained would come to pass and he would perform the actions of the inmates of Hell until he enters it.[1] And among the most types of supplications the prophet (ﷺ) used to say was: “O Controller of the hearts make my heart steadfast in Your religion.[2] These challenges means that people can flip and change in time and indeed that requires the person to maintain his or her religiosity to finish the journey in life in that which pleases God. The prophet (ﷺ) said: “verily, deeds are (decided) by final actions.[3]

To maintain religiosity here are some tips:

Proper entering religiosity

Many people who flip or change course in practicing Islam is related to a beginning of practicing Islam either in extremism or nonseriousness in practicing. Those who choose the course of extremism make it hard on themselves thus cannot maintain it. Three men came to the houses of the wives of the Prophet (ﷺ) to inquire about the worship of the Prophet (ﷺ). When they were informed, they considered their worship insignificant and said: Where are we in comparison with the Prophet (ﷺ) while Allah has forgiven his past sins and future sins. One of them said: As for me, I shall offer Salat all night long. Another said: “I shall observe Sawm (fasting) continuously and shall not break it. Another said: I shall abstain from women and shall never marry. The Prophet (ﷺ) came to them and said: “Are you the people who said such and such things? By Allah, I fear Allah more than you do, and I am most obedient and dutiful among you to Him, but still I observe fast and break it; perform Salat and sleep at night and marry. So, whoever turns away from my Sunnah does not belong to me.[4] As you can see, the prophet (ﷺ) was strict against such practices because of his knowledge that such people will make it hard on themselves to maintain their practices of Islam.

On the other hand, people who want to enter Islam and practice only what fits them are making themselves vulnerable to their desires controlling them, and can never maintain religiosity properly. With such people, we need to use the language of common sense and logic hoping it will help them hold steadfast on their practices. A person came to the prophet (ﷺ) asking permission to practice adultery. People started screaming at him! The prophet (ﷺ) said: “Do you love that for your mom? For your sister? For your daughter?” And when the person kept saying no, the prophet (ﷺ) said: “How can you accept that for the mothers, sisters, and daughters of others?” The prophet (ﷺ) put his hand on the person’s chest and made dua for him and the person said: It became the most hated matter to me.[5]

We need to introduce religion as how it helps people keep safe from harm and clean from ethical filth. Allah (ﷻ) said: {Those who follow the Messenger, the unlettered prophet, whom they find written in what they have of the Torah and the Gospel, who enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them. So they who have believed in him, honored him, supported him and followed the light which was sent down with him – it is those who will be the successful.} 7:157.

Elevation in worship

A balance between joining others in acts of obligated acts of worship and a private time in acts of non-obligated acts of worship can help bring elevation to all acts of worship avoiding being mundane or just repetitive practices with no real intimate feelings with God. Take for example regular prayers, it is better to perform them in the Masjed with a group where rewards are 27 times more. While praying at night (Tahajjud) alone is the best prayer to feel the closeness with God as He (ﷻ) draws near His servants.

This balance can lead a person to reach the highest of levels with God and maintain religiosity. This level is called Al-Ihsan, and it is described by the prophet (ﷺ) “to worship God as if you see Him but since you cannot see Him, He can see you.[6]

Comprehensive understanding of worship

It is important not to limit acts of worship towards God by certain known rituals. Islam came to introduce the concept of worshiping God in serving humanity and all that exists in this earth too. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Iman has over seventy branches – or over sixty branches – the uppermost of which is the declaration: ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah’; and the least of which is the removal of harmful object from the road, and modesty is a branch of Iman.[7]  The prophet (ﷺ) said that: “There was a dog moving around a well almost dying of thirst. Suddenly a prostitute from the prostitutes of Bani Isra ‘il happened to see it and used her shoe to dip water from the well and made it drink, and she was pardoned because of this act of kindness.”[8] This understanding of comprehensive themes gives an extensive meaning to life thus helping people maintain their religiosity.

Care for self and family

When corruption is huge and you cannot do much to change it, at least try to protect yourself and your family. If everyone did that it would be the seed to change the community at large and thus to maintain religiosity. The prophet (ﷺ) said: ““How will you be at a time that will soon come, when the good people will pass away and only the worst ones will be left, who will break their promises and betray their trusts, and they will differ while they were previously together like this,” – and he interlaced his fingers. They said: “What should we do, O Messenger of Allah, when that comes to pass?” He said: “Follow that which you know is true and leave that which you dislike. Take care of your own affairs and turn away from the common folk.[9]

By Imam Kifah Mustapha

[1] Bukhari

[2] Tirmizi

[3] Bukhari

[4] Bukhari

[5] Al-I’raqi

[6] Bukhari

[7] Bukhari

[8] Muslim

[9] Ibn Majah