4 I GUIDE POSTS I SIRAT-UL-MUSTAQEEM -THE RIGHT PATH (Bashir Ahmad Orchard) God’s purpose for man is that he should recognise Him and strive his utmost to mould his life in accordance with his ordinances.This may be best achieved by seeking guidence through prayer,finding the right path and adhering to it with the spirit of earnest devotion.The spiritiual wayfarer should endeavour to manifest in his person the holy attributes of God and at the same time pray regularly and fervently for divine help and protection from going astray. God says in the Holy Quran: . “I have not created the jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.”(51:57) Worship of God is not confined only to offering formal prayers but covers every aspect of personal conduct which should be performed for the glory of God. This is practical worship involving thought,word and deed. Islamic worship is a spiritual way of life portraying righteous behaviour as expounded in the Holy Quran and by the Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him). No doubt this holy ideal is not easy to attain. It is, in fact, an. endless progressive acquisition allowing for constant improvement whatever may be the stage of development reached.The spiritual traveller is ever aware of his weaknesses and shortcomings;but all along the route he is conscious of his progress as are those who know and observe him.They notice remarkable changes in his demeanour.Fortunate and blessed are those who advance along the path of righteousness and walk with God ever illuminated with the light of His presence. His progress much depends on steadfastness and not giving up the spiritual struggle when faced with obstacles of one kind and another.Many have despaired and floundered in the murky waters of misfortunes and absence of spiritual stimulation and experience. Such temporary phases are the lot of all spiritual wayfarers to a lesser or greater degree from time to time. They are testing times for everyone. Times when one should hold on firmly to the rope of Allah and not despair or deviate.In the Holy Quran we read the prayer: REVIEW OF RELIGIONS 5 “Our Lord, pour upon us steadfastness and cause us to die resigned unto Thee. (9: 127) During the course of prescribed prayers a Muslim implores God many times every day to guide and entrench him on the right path.He should not become negligent and despondent if at times his prayers seem to go unanswered or his religious enthusiasm seems to be reduced. He should persevere and sooner or later he will taste the fruit of his constancy in faith.Even those very close to God sometimes pass through periods when the enjoyment of prayer and the pleasure of divine experience lessens. On this matter Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmed the Promised Messiah and Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movment in Islam,has commented: “The perfection of steadfastness is that when one i”s encircled by calamities and life and honour and good name are all in peril in the cause of Allah,and no means of comfort are available, so much so, that even visions and dreams and revelations are suspended by God as a trial and one is left helpless among terrible dangers, at such a time one should not lose heart nor retreat like a coward nor let one’s faithfulness be put in doubt in the least.” (Philosphy of the teachings of Islam.) A firm believer looks upon all trials as blessings in disguise which he can turn to good account with the help of God. He sails through them as the ocean liner sails through the storm proving its seaworthiness. He is not disheartened but remains steadfast in faith remembering the words of God in the Holy Quran: “As for those who say, ‘Our Lord is Allah,’ and then remain steadfast, the angels descend on them, saying: ‘Fear ye not,nor grieve; and rejoice in the garden that you were promised. We are your friends in this life and in the Hereafter. Therein you will have all that your souls will desire,and therein you will have all that you will ask for an entertainment from the Most Forgiving.” (41:31-33) Man is tried in devious ways for his own good. They are means of growth in spiritual stamina. All who would advance on the right path must be prepared to face adverse circumstances which,with patience and steadfastness, may be converted into spiritual gems.