The Straight Road of Islam

It’s 6:00am here in Irvine, California and I have just completed my Subuh prayers this morning. As I was making my way back to the bed for another short nap before breakfast and replying to messages on my cellphone, I was reminded of something.

I was reminded of Quranic verses and words of the Hadith ringing in my head when I was sleeping. These verses and words kept replaying in my head over and over again just before I woke up for Subuh.

Those verses and words weren’t having a discussion, they were an instruction and it was very clear on what it was and I would like to share with everyone on what those things were in a much simpler illustration.

Imagine Islam as a very straight road, very clear on the rules and regulations with a very clear destination. There may be diversions created along the road when you meet a roadblock, but even so, the road diversions are clear and you may only take and remain on that road of Islam. To begin, you recite the ‘Shahadah’ and that’s probably your ignition key as well to start your body as the vehicle.

So, now, imagine if one decides NOT TO WALK on that road but instead, walk parallel to that road, heading in the same direction. For whatever reason that individual does so, that individual is still not on the Islam road because when you walk parallel to that road, you are following your own set of rules and that doesn’t make you Islam.

And if you began on the Islam road and decide to go off-road, you have in no other better terms, ‘strayed off the straight path’ and would be better for you to go back on the paved road because it is better for you, in Islam. And when you do go back to the Islam road, because you have gone off-road, your tyres and vehicle are dirty and thus needs a bit of cleaning aka ‘Repentance’.

Islam as the Road

Islam as the Road

And what if you meet the roadblock and decide to create a new diversion because the diversion  created for you didn’t appeal to you because there were too many people waiting in line to pass or there were too many checkpoints to go through? Then you would have innovated and thus, ‘Bid’ah’ and to get back onto the Islam road, you need to perform, ‘Repentance’.

I don’t want to take on too long or too much of your time reading this but this was definitely what I believe I was asked to do when those Quranic verses and words of the Hadith were ringing in my head.

Just before I part, here are some Hadiths and Quranic verses to reflect on:

Abu Hurairah (R.A) reported: The Prophet (PBUH) said, “Do not ask me unnecessarily about the details of the things which I do not mention to you. Verily, the people before you were doomed because they were used to putting many questions to their Prophets and had differences abou their Prophets. Refrain from what I forbid you and do what I command you to the best of your ability and capacity”. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

“And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad (PBUH)) commandment (ie: his Sunnah – legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements) (among the sects), beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant) should befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them”. (24:63)

“(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (PBUH)”. (4:59)

Irbad bin Sariyah (R.A) reported: One day Messenger of Allah (PBUH) delivered us a very eloquent Khutbah on account of which eyes shed tears and hearts were of tears. A man said, “O Prophet of Allah, this is as if it were a parting advice. So advise us”. He (PBUH) said, “I admonish you to fear Allah, to listen and obey even if an Abyssinian slave is appointed as your leader because whosoever among you shall live after me, will see much discord. So hold fast to my Sunnah and the examples of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs who will come after me. Adhere to them and hold to it fast. Beware of new things (in Deen) because every Bid’ah is a misguidance”. [Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi]