The Straight Path

A path, tariq, cannot be regarded to be a true path, sirat, unless five conditions are met: that it is straight, that it leads to an intended gaol, that it is close to the objective, that it is expansive enough to accommodate those traversing it, and that it has been sign-posted as being the actual route to the goal. The fact that the Path is straight proves that it leads to the object. The fact that it has been appointment for all those who would traverse it shows that it is wide enough to accommodate them. The fact that the Path has been adjoined to the One who has blessed them shows that it has been so sign-posted. (ibn al-Qayyim)…

The Straight Path is the path that the one journeying to Allah traverses and it is none other than obedience to Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessing be upon him. The Salaf have described the Straight Path in various ways but all of their definitions revolve around this basic fact. (ibn Attiyah)…

Ibn al-Qayyim said, ‘The Straight Path is the path of Allah which he has put in place to lead mankind to Him; there is no path to Him other than the one which he has appointed on the tongues of Messengers. It is to single out Him alone for worship and to single out His Messengers alone for obedience. Therefore none should commit shirk in the following of His Messenger, peace be upon him, one should purify his tawhid and purify his following of the Messenger, this is the full import of the testification that, ‘None has the right to be worshipped save Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’ All of the various explanations given to the straight Path fall under theses two principles. You must love Him with all your heart, you must try to please Him to the utmost of your ability; there should not be any area of your heart except that it is overflowing with love of Him and you should have no desire except to please Him. The first point is realised through actualising, ‘None has the right to be worshipped save Allah’ and the second point is realised through actualising, ‘Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.’  This is guidance and the religion of truth, this is knowing the truth and acting upon it, this in turn is knowing what He sent His Messenger with and living by it. All definitions revolves around this concept.’…

“And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not [other] paths, for they will separate you away from His Path. This He has ordained for you that you may become pious.” (al-Anam 6:153) The Straight Path is the path to which Allah has named and that is the Sunnah. The other paths are the paths of the people of disagreement who debate from the Straight Path, and they are the people of innovation… Ibn Abbas said, ‘One Day the Messenger, peace and blessings fo Allah be upon him, drew for us a long, straight line’ and then Sulaiman drew for us a long, straight line, ‘And then he drew lines to its right and to its left and then said, ‘This is the Path of Allah.’ Then he drew lines to its right and to its left and said, ‘These are different paths, upon each of these ways is a devil calling to it’, and then he recited the verse, “And verily, this is my Straight Path, so follow it, and follow not [other] paths…” (al-Anam 6:153) meaning these paths “…for they will separate you away from His Path” (al-Anam 5:153) This hadith has been reported in many ways… Mujahid said about the saying of Allah: “…and follow not [other] paths” (al-Anam 6:153) [That it refers to] innovations and doubts.

The Spiritual Cure: An Explanation of Surah Al-Fatihah prepared and translated by Abu Rumaysah Pages 141-148

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