Narrated from ibn Mas’ood (radiallaahu anhu) he said:
The Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) drew for us a line and he said:
‘This is the path of Allah.’
Then he drew lines to the right and left of it and he said:
‘These paths; upon each one of them is a Shaytaan calling to it.’
Then he recited the verse:
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.
(Soorah Al An’am 6:153)
Thus whoever follows the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) follows the straight path and is saved from the paths of the devils. And the line which the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) made, and the examples he gave was in order to bring it closer to the minds of the people. So he drew a line and he drew lines on the side of it to illustrate the reality of this Sunnah. Thus the Sunnah is a long path it is not a short path.
Therefore, for those who are in a hurry for the results of the Dawah, and they are in a hurry for the results of following the Sunnah and applying the Sunnah and they say: ‘O my brother for a period of time now we have been seeking hadeeth and applying hadeeth and working by the Sunnah but there are no results; the community has not changed.’
I say to you: O my brother; that will not harm you. Do you not see that when the Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) gave the example of his Sunnah and his path, he made the example of a long path? And when he gave the example of the other paths he gave the example of short paths on the side of it.
So do not be deceived and do not think that your following these other paths which oppose the Sunnah will bring you results! Some of the people think that these methodologies which oppose the Sunnah of the Messenger will bring immediate results to the intent of the Dawah!
Thus we say: All of this is enticement from the Shaytaan by which he misleads you. He opens for you doors and he deceives you. He deludes you into believing this path has a quick result. Its path is short. As for the path of the Sunnah—O my brother—then verily it is a long path, surrounded by hardships; but it is the straight path that leads the one who follows it to paradise and saves him from the fire!
This is the path of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) if you want to cling to it—and it is a long path—then it is upon you to be patient and follow the path. For this reason, it is from the general advice given to all the believers; that which Allah (Subhaanahu wa ta’ala) mentioned in His statement:
By the time; indeed, mankind is in loss. Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.
(Soorah Al Asr 103:1-3)
Patience is essential in the affair of Dawah!
And the path of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) in Dawah is the methodology of the Prophets in Dawah. It is not a quick methodology; hastily seeking results. It is not a methodology completed in a day and a night, or in a year or two; rather it is a long path, and the straight path. As for the paths of Shaytaan, then all of them are short. He deceives you by its brevity and you surmise it will bring you quick results!
Therefore the path of the Sunnah is a long path. It is upon you to follow it and adhere to it; and to enjoin to the truth upon it along with your brothers, and to enjoin to patience upon it along with your brothers. Thus following the Sunnah is security for you and an escape for you from the paths of the devils.
From the Miraath publication, “Virtues In Following the Sunnah” by Shaykh Muhammad Baazmool