الحمد لله رب العالمين، وصلى الله وسلم على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وأصحابه أجمعين، أما بعد
Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:
“Since the pursuer of the Straight Path is pursuing an affair that most of the people turn away from; aspirant to conduct (himself) upon a path whose companionship along it are in the utmost degree of scantiness – and honour, whilst the souls have a natural propensity upon the forlornness of isolation as well as upon the amiability of the accompanying companion. Allaah, The Glorified has brought to his attention the accompanying companion upon this path; and that it is they who:
أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا
((Upon whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace, from the Prophets, and the Siddeeqeen [true and sincere followers who attest to the truth], and the martyrs, and the righteous, and how excellent are they as companions.)) (An-Nisaa: 69)
So He appended the path to the companion – those that proceed along it – and they are those upon whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace, to remove from the pursuer of guidance and the one proceeding along the path the forlornness of his isolation from the people of his era and the sons of his own stock. Likewise for him to know that his companion upon this path – they are those upon whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace. So he should not pay attention to the contravention of it by those that turn away from it in relation to himself – for indeed it is they who are the least in grade – even if it be that they are the most in number, as some of the Salaf said:
((Upon you is the path of truth, and do not become forlorn by the scantiness of those that are seeking to traverse [it], and beware of the path of falsehood; and do not become deceived by the multitude of those doomed to perdition.))
Every time you are forlorn in your isolation; then look to the preceding companion, and be ardent upon joining (merging) with them and pay no attention to other than them. For they can avail you nothing against Allaah; and if they shout out to you in the trail of your advance – then do not turn in attention to them. For indeed; whenever you turn in attention to them; they will seize you and hinder you, and I have struck two examples of that; so let them both be of consideration to you.
The first example:
Is of a man who departs from his home for the prayer, he desires nothing other than it, along his way he is subjected to a devil from the devils of mankind, so he hurls some speech unto him which harms him, so he stands still and responds to him, and so they become interlocked together. So perhaps the human devil is stronger than him; and so he overpowers him and thus prevents him from reaching the Masjid – such that he misses the prayer. Yet maybe the man is stronger than the human devil, however he had become busied with the commotion with him from reaching the first row (of the congregational prayer) and the completeness of reaching and attaining the congregation.
So if he turns in attention to him; he becomes emboldened against him within himself and perhaps his determination falters, so if he has understanding and knowledge; he increases in his pace and quick stride in accordance to his turning in attention – or more. For if he turns away from him and busies himself with that which he is currently occupied with; and fears missing the prayer or the time – his enemy will not acquire from him what he wishes.
The second example:
The gazelle is of more rigorous pace (under pursuit) than the (wild) dog, however; if it takes notice of it – it turns to it; in consequence its pace is weakened and so the dog catches up with it – and so seizes it.
The intent: is that in the mention of this companion is that which eliminates the forlornness of isolation and inspires the ongoing traversal and exerting oneself in order to join with them.”
Ibn Al-Qayyim said likewise:
“At times he resolves himself upon having patience, yet his determination then revokes and does not continue with him due to the weak nature of his knowledge and his insight as well as his patience. Such as the like of the one that enters upon a frightful path which concludes and leads to the utmost degree of peace, whilst he knows that if he is patient upon it; the fear will expire and it will be ensued by peace and security.
Thus he is in need of the strength of patience along with the strength of certainty with that which he advances towards, and whenever his patience and his certainty wane – he retreats from the path and does not bear the burdens of its hardships – especially if he lacks companionship and so becomes forlorn by solitariness and starts to say: ‘Where have the people gone? For I have an example to follow in them!’
And this is the state of most the creation; and it is that which destroys them, so the honest one who possesses insight does not become forlorn by the scantiness of companions nor by their loss – whilst his heart senses the companionship of the earliest generations (gone by):
الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا
((Those upon whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace, from the Prophets, and the Siddeeqeen [true and sincere followers who attest to the truth], and the martyrs, and the righteous, and how excellent are they as companions.))
So the isolation of the servant in his quest along the path is a proof of the truthfulness of the quest.”
(Taken from: Madaarij As-Saalikeen vol 1 p.208-210 and Ighaathatul Lahfaan vol 1 p.113-114)
 Allaah, The Most High, mentioned the Straight Path in the preceding aayah in which He said:
وَلَهَدَيْنَاهُمْ صِرَاطًا مُّسْتَقِيمًا
((And indeed; We would have guided them to a straight path.)) (An-Nisaa: 68)
Imaam At-Tabaree (rahimahullaah) said after citing this aayah: “Then He, may He be exalted in praise, mentioned that which the people of obedience to Him and obedience to His Messenger (‘alaihis salaam) are promised with by way of ever-lasting noble prestige with Him and elevated stations with Him. So He said:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ
((And whosoever obeys Allaah and the Messenger, then they will be in the company of those upon whom Allaah has bestowed His Grace, from the Prophets, and the Siddeeqeen [true and sincere followers who attest to the truth], and the martyrs, and the righteous))
the aayah.” (See: Tafseer At-Tabaree vol 8 p.530)