Why Try to Follow Islam at All, If I Can’t Follow it Completely?

15 October, 2019
Q Sister, At times I feel like if I m not doing one aspect of Islam, I feel like not following Islam at all. There are times when we joke with other non-mahram men or something. Then I am not following Islam, what is the point of the following Islam at all? Are there many levels to Jannat and do people go according to their level of piety?

Answer

Short Answer: Sister, the road to following Islam is a winding, continuous one. However, as a famous adage goes, the longest journey begins with a single step. Please take a hierarchical, step-by-step approach to follow Islam, sister. If you have the good intention of keeping a distance from non-mahram men. Allah knows it. Now do not give up. Educate yourself about how to interact with non-mahrams. Then take small steps towards increasing your modesty and reservedness around them. Even if you slip, keep going. Seek Allah’s forgiveness for your mistakes, and keep striving. Yes, there will be multiple levels in Paradise. And it is also true that these levels will vary in quality of blessings. The greater the piety of dwellers, the higher the level of Jannah will they enter. The Prophets and pious predecessors will be, therefore, upon the highest level. This portion of Paradise is known as Al-Firdaus. The remaining Muslims who are admitted to Paradise will enter a level based upon their deeds.

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Asalaamu alaykum, and thank you for sending in your question to our website.

Why Try to Follow Islam at All, If I Can’t Follow it Completely?

Sister, the road to following Islam is a winding, continuous one. However, as a famous adage goes, the longest journey begins with a single step. Granted, for someone who is new to Islam, it can seem daunting at first. Whether because they are young, or have just reverted to the faith. They can feel scared of how to do so much at once.

They might become overwhelmed with the restrictions, do’s, and don’ts of the religion. It can seem as if there are too many restrictions. And all of them are impossible to follow.

Do not get misled by Shaitan

Seeing our despondence, Shaitan grabs a chance. He whispers to us, “Forget it, it is too difficult to become a good Muslim.” And we, sadly, believe his insinuations and falsehoods. We stop trying, thinking, “What’s the use?” We then give up all hopes of becoming more righteous and practicing as a Muslim. And we continue following our desires, becoming steeped in sins.

The truth is that Allah does not expect us to cover this road in one step. He wants us to take it one step at a time. Akin to climbing a ladder, rung by rung. He knows all our human shortcomings and fallibilities because He created us. He says in the Quran:

And those who disbelieve say, “Why was the Qur’an not revealed to him all at once?” Thus [it is] that We may strengthen thereby your heart. And We have spaced it distinctly.” [25:32]

There is a reason why Allah revealed the Quran over a period of 23 years. As the above verse says, it was so that the Prophet’s heart could be strengthened in faith. As also the hearts of his followers.

First, Allah expected the early Muslims to become grounded in faith. Many of the obligatory commands of Islam were not even revealed until later. And they were also revealed in steps. Such as hijab, fighting for self-defense (qital), and the prohibition of drinking alcohol.

Even the fasting of Ramadan was obligated upon the Muslims gradually, not all at once.

Follow the hierarchy of good deeds

Please take a hierarchical, step-by-step approach to follow Islam, sister.

At the foundation, focus just on the basics: the belief and obligations. Read up authentic Islamic books about the 6 articles of the Islamic faith. Then educate yourself about the 5 pillars of Islam. Finally, start reflecting upon the meanings of the Qurán on a daily basis.

Do not exert yourself too much in doing supererogatory good deeds. Before that, stabilize your foundation firmly.

First gain steadfastness upon the basic obligations of the faith. Only after doing so, should you then move on upwards.

Climb slowly but surely, Allah is watching

Sister, remember my analogy about climbing a ladder that goes very high up. Take the example of someone who has just started climbing this ladder. If they keep looking up, they will find it impossible to climb up higher.

However, they should just focus on taking the next step. And then the next. By focusing just on short-term goals like this, they will be able to make slow but sure progress.

Try to remember this analogy in order to prevent yourself from giving up. At the same time, remember that Allah rewards even the smallest of our efforts. He knows, records, and appreciates even the tiniest iota of our good intentions and actions. He says in the Quran:

So whoever does righteous deeds while he is a believer, no denial will there be for his effort, and indeed We, of it, are recorders.” [21:94]

Therefore, if you have the good intention of keeping a distance from non-mahram men. Allah knows it. Now do not give up. Educate yourself about how to interact with non-mahrams. Then take small steps towards increasing your modesty and reservedness around them.

Even if you slip, keep going. Seek Allah’s forgiveness for your mistakes, and keep striving.

 It is better to take two steps forward, then one step back, than to not move at all. Remember that!

There will be levels in Paradise

As for your last question, sister, yes, there will be multiple levels in Paradise. And it is also true that these levels will vary in quality of blessings. The greater the piety of dwellers, the higher the level of Jannah will they enter. The Prophets and pious predecessors will be, therefore, upon the highest level. This portion of Paradise is known as Al-Firdaus. The remaining Muslims who are admitted to Paradise will enter a level based upon their deeds:

`Ubadah bin As-Samit narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “In Paradise, there are a hundred levels, what is between every two levels is like what is between the heavens and the earth. Al-Firdaus is ts highest level, and from it the four rivers of Paradise are made to flow forth. So when you ask Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdaus.” [Jami`Al-Tirmidhi]

I pray that Allah grants you high ranks of faith and steadfastness, sister.

May He admit all of us into the highest level of Paradise. Amen.

And Allah knows best.

I hope that this answers your question.

Salam. Please stay in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/gender-segregation-far-go/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/description-paradise/

https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/know-islam-truth/