Imām Ibn Al-Qayyim (d. 751 AH) said: “The seeker of the straight path should realise that he seeks a way most of mankind has deviated from. He possesses a desire for a path upon which his close compatriots have the utmost power. [Let him know] that our souls have a natural inclination towards feelings of loneliness from separation and derive comfort from companionship. [Remind him that] Allāh has informed him of his compatriots on this [straight] path. Truly, [Allāh says] they are:
الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ ۚ وَحَسُنَ أُولَٰئِكَ رَفِيقًا ﴿٦٩﴾
‘the ones upon whom Allāh has bestowed favour; of the Prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.’
Allāh has mentioned the [straight] path in conjunction with these compatriots who have chosen to traverse it and they are the ones whom Allāh has bestowed His favour.
Thus, this removes the loneliness for the seeker of guidance and allows him to traverse the [straight] path despite being separated from most of the people of his time and close family.
Let him know that surely he has companions on this [straight] path and that they are the ones whom Allāh has bestowed His favour upon. So let him not worry himself overtly with the objections of those who choose to turn away from [this path]. For they are unimportant and inconsequential even if they are great in number. Some of our pious predecessors used to say: ‘Stay firm on the path of truth and feel not lonely for the paltry number of traversers [on the path]. Be careful of the path of falsehood and do not be tricked by the large number of people who have chosen to destroy themselves. Rather, whenever the singular nature of your path overwhelms you with loneliness, look towards the companions [of the path] that preceded you and aspire to be united with them. Do not concern yourself with anyone other than them, for they cannot benefit you in the slightest before Allāh. Even if they were to scream out after you whilst you traverse this path, do not turn to them. For, truly, should you turn to them they will capture you and make you from among those who are disobedient [to Allāh].”
Source: Tafsīr al-Qayyim: 21-22
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī