A sahabi رضى الله عنه asked the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم for advice. The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said: ‘Say ‘I believe in Allah’ and then remain steadfast’ [Reported in Muslim]
It is very easy to say ‘I believe in Allah‘ but the second part i.e. ‘remain steadfast‘ (one word in Arabic – istiqamah) is very difficult. This is what makes Islam so different from other faiths. In other faiths once a person has entered the faith, even if they do not remain observant to the faith they have ‘guaranteed membership’ in a way; the person remains part of the faith.
With Islam, it is very different because there is no training or indoctrination. It is a very simple process to enter the faith. However, in contrast to other faiths, there are many things which a person can do or say which can render their faith invalid after they have believed. It is very difficult in remaining steadfast upon Islam; the hard work is not becoming a Muslim but remaining steadfast. The formality of embracing is important but the journey begins when the new Muslim tries to remain steadfast.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers’ majlis (gathering for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 27th June 2010]