What does it mean to keep your priorities straight? If you give priority to optional good actions over obligatory ones, then you are following your desires, not the right path.
One may follow the Prophetic way of life in his ﷺ way of dressing, his ﷺ outward appearance, his ﷺ way of sitting etc, yet they mistreat their parents, earn wealth through corruption, or curse and backbite against people.
In other words, they fulfil the outward but miss the obligatory. Or one may not perform the obligatory prayer but perform the Eid prayer under the most difficult circumstances, even though it is optional. Or commit grave sins in public but are in the habit of performing Umrah every year. Performing optional good deeds while being careless with the obligations of your faith is a sign of following your desires, not the right path.
When a bedouin came to the Prophet ﷺ and said, “I will not perform any optional deed nor will I decrease what God has enjoined on me.”
The Prophet said, “You will succeed and will be granted paradise.”
Sincerity with God in performing the obligations without ever performing the optional deeds, leads to success and the granting of Paradise.
So step 24 to Allah ﷻ is to first rectify and prioritise your obligatory actions, as that is showing true obeisance to the commands of Allah ﷻ
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Article inspired by Shaykh Zaqir’s classes