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On Taqwa (Piety / God Consciousness)

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At-Taqwa

Piety / Righteousness / Fear of Allah / God Consciousness

 

Taqwa is one of those unique words in the Arabic language that cannot simply be translated into a word or two in English. As a result, many translators struggle to bring out the real meaning of the word taqwa.

 

Literally, taqwa means to protect and could be that one protects himself from the Wrath of Allah by protecting himself from indulging in things that Allah forbids. In the Shariah, taqwa as used in the Quran repeatedly, signifies the obedience to the Rules of Islam while avoiding Haraam, and additionally abstaining from unsuitable things in life.

haqislam

 

 

The meaning of Taqwa is extremely vast, in fact taqwa is meant to touch upon every aspect of our life.  Taqwa means several things:

 

1. It means in one sense: to fear Allah swt and that is its primary meaning, i.e. to fear Allah swt and out of that fear that fear to lead a life of obedience and righteousness.

 

2. Second meaning it has is: God consciousness. To be conscious of Allah swt, to be aware of Him at all times and that can again be motivated by either emotional states of fear for Allah swt or love for Allah swt

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Taqwa in the Qur’an

 

Taqwa is mentioned in the Qur’an many times.

 

 

لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ

 

“It is not taqwa that you turn your faces toward East or West, but it is taqwa to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book and the Messengers, to spend of your substance out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts you have made; to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity. Those are the truthful and those are the muttaqun.” [Qur’an 2:177]

 

 

 

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

 

“O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa. Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Qur’an 49:13]

 

 

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنْظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ ۖ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

 

"O ye who believe! Observe your duty to Allah. And let every soul look to that which it sendeth on before for the morrow. And observe your duty to Allah! Lo! Allah is informed of what ye do." [Qur'an 59:18]

 

 

 

وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ

 

"And vie one with another for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for those who ward off (evil);" [Qur'an 3:133]

 

 

 

وَاتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

(...and have Taqwa of Allah that you may be successful.) [part of 2:189]

Have Taqwa of Allah, means to do what He has commanded you and refrain from what He has forbidden for you [ibn Katheer]

 

 

 

Taqwa in Ahadith

 

عـن أبي ذر جـنـدب بـن جـنـادة ، وأبي عـبد الـرحـمـن معـاذ بـن جـبـل رضي الله عـنهما ، عـن الرسول صلي الله عـليه وسلم

، قـال : ( اتـق الله حيثما كنت ، وأتبع السيئة الحسنة تمحها ، وخالق الناس بخـلـق حـسـن .
 

On the authority of Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junaadah, and Abu ‘Abd-ir-Rahmaan Mu’aadh bin Jabal (radi allahu anhuma) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said :

 

Have Taqwaa (Fear) of Allah [be pious] wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people.

 

 

 

The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The most common thing which leads people to Paradise is taqwa of Allah and good conduct, and the most common thing which leads people to the Hell Fire is the mouth and the private parts.” [Tirmidhi]

 

Tafseer ibn Kathir mentions that Atiyah As-Sa’di said the Propeht (صلى الله عليه وسلم) said, “The servant will not acquire the status of those with taqwa until he abandons what is harmless out of fear of falling into that which is harmful.” [ibn Majah, Tirmizi]

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Sayyiduna Ali (R.A) defined Taqwa as being the

 

"Fear of Jaleel (Allah),

Acting upon the tanzeel (Quran),

Being content with qaleel (little),

And preparing for the day of raheel (journeying from this world)."

 

 

 

Hadrat Umar ibn Khattab (R.A) once asked Hadrat Ibn Ka’ab (R.A) the definition of taqwa.

 

In reply Hadrat Ibn Ka’ab asked, “Have you ever had to traverse a thorny path?” Hadrat Umar replied in the affirmative and Hadrat Ka’ab continued, “How do you do so?”

 

Hadrat Umar said that he would carefully walk through after first having collected all loose and flowing clothing in his hands so nothing gets caught in the thorns hence injuring him. Hadrat Ka’ab said, “This is the definition of taqwa, to protect oneself from sin through life’s dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin.”

 

 

 

The renowned Companion Abdullah Ibn Abbas radiallahu anhu would say that;

 

"The reality of Taqwaa is that one obeys Allah and does not disobey Him.

He remembers Allah and does not forget Him,

and he thanks Allah and is not ungrateful to Him"

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Levels of Taqwaa

 

Taqwaa has three levels:

The first:
Protecting the heart and limbs from sins and all forbidden matters.

The second: Protecting the heart and limbs form disliked matters [Makrooh].

The third: Protecting oneself from the fudool [curiosity] and what does not concern him.

The first gives the servant his life, the second gives him health and strength and the third enables him to gain happiness, contentment and light.”

[ibn al Qayyim; Al Fawaa-id :P 45]

 

 

[1] That a person guard against disbelief; this is the station (maqam) of Islam.

[2] That one guard against sin and forbidden acts; this is the station of repentance (tawbah).

[3] That one guards against doubtful matters; this is the station of scrupulousness (wara‘).

[4] That one guard against what is lawful [but superfluous to one’s needs]; which is the station of worldly detachment (zuhd).

[5] That one guards the heart against other than God being present (hudur ghayru’Llah) in it; this is the station of spiritually witnessing God (mushahadah).’2

 

2. Ibn Juzayy, al-Tashil li ‘Ulum al-Tanzil (Beirut: al-Maktabah al-‘Asriyyah, 2003), 1:98.

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Quotes on Taqwa

 

Hadrat Hasan Basri said,

“Taqwa is the basis of Deen. Desire and greed destroy this basis.”

 

 

Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (RA) said,

"The Haqeeqat (reality) of Taqwa is for Tayaqquz (alertness) to be created in all facets of life. This means that one should ponder upon every step whether this is for Allah or for the Nafs or how much is for Allah and how much is for the Nafs."

 

 

Hadrat Maulana Hafiz Ghulam Habib (r.a.) used to define taqwa as

"The shunning of everything and anything that causes a deficiency in one’s relationship with Allah"

 

 

Shaykh Muhammad Saleem Dhorat


“Taqwaa means to refrain from disobedience to Allah ta’ala. It is a condition of the heart; a quality of a believer’s heart which causes a believer to dislike all acts of sin.

 

When a sin is committed, the heart which is blessed with Taqwaa cannot bear the filth which sin brings. This leads to unease and unrest.

And it is this discomfort that causes the one who possesses Taqwaa to turn immediately to Allah in repentance.”

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Blessings of Righteousness (Taqwa)

excerpted from The Sermons by Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad (db)

 

Oh Mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female and made you into nations and tribes that you may know each other. Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you, and Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things [49:13]

 

Stars beautify the heavens whereas the obedient beautify the earth. The only purpose of life is the obedience to Allah and the purpose of living is the remembrance of Allah .

 

The Most Honorable

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

 

Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you, and Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things [49:13]

 

The emphasis here is neither on color nor race, and neither is it on being an Arab versus being a non-Arab. In fact, the nearest to Allah are the most righteous.

 

Signs of Being Near to Allah Ta'ala

Nearness to Alla hta'ala is directly proportionate to a person’s level of righteousness (taqwa), and thus taqwa becomes a clear indicator in judging the closeness of beings to Allah . This is why the Holy Quran states:

No men can be its (the Blessed Ka’bah) guardians except the righteous [8:34]

 

Neither Grief Nor Fear

Verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear nor shall they grieve [10:62]

 

Khauf refers to fear from an outside source whereas huzn is fear from within, and Allah says that His Friends the Auliyaa Allah ta'ala are protected from both of these kinds through His Mercy. This special status is only reserved for these honored people, whom Allah defines as:

 

Those who believe and guard against evil [10:63]

Allah ta'ala further specifies the rewards of His Auliyaa:

 

For them are glad tidings in the life of the present and the Hereafter [10:64]

 

Allah ta'ala honors His decisions and promises. Hence, people should practice taqwa in order that they enter into such an honored category of people such as the Auliyaa.

 

Different Degrees

There are different stages of wilayah [Friendship of Allah ], the first of which is shared by all who testify to the Testament of Faith (kalimah) and are Muslims. This is the first and simplest stage, where the lowest definition of wilayah is widely spread among all Muslims, since no one is actually an enemy of Allah .

 

Wilayat-e-‘Aammah and Wilayat-e-Khasah

This first stage, which is accessible to all Muslims who recite the kalimah is called Wilayat-e-‘Aammah, the lowest stage without which Allah does not even accept deeds. The next and special stage of wilayah is Wilayat-e-Khasah that is only accessible to people who attain taqwa.

 

Surely Allah does accept of those who are righteous. [5:67]

 

Decorated with Taqwa

Just as a vendor painstakingly arranges his food stall by placing the best fruits and nuts at the top, Allah ta'ala has adorned His Holy Book with references to taqwa after every three to four verses. Such references shine throughout the Holy Quran like dancing stars, even as the command to acquire taqwa may occur three or more times in one verse alone. For Allah to issue a command even once is no small matter, and so the numerous times that this command occurs should serve as an important message indicating its importance.

Oh Mankind! Fear your Guardian Lord! [4:1]

This verse is structured in a command form, exhorting all those addressed to acquire taqwa and fear their Creator.

 

Oh Mankind! Fear your Guardian Lord Who created you from a single person created of like nature his mate and from them twain scattered countless men and women: fear Allah through Whom you demand you mutual rights and revere the wombs that bore you, for Allah ever watches over you [4:1]

 

This verse serves as another beautiful illustration wherein taqwa is mentioned at the beginning and at the end of the verse. Yet another verse with this command is:

O you who believe! Fear Allah and let every soul look to what it has sent forth for the morrow [59:18]

 

No Limit to Taqwa

The shariah has prescribed limits for everything except taqwa. Allah ta'ala says in the Holy Quran:

 

So fear Allah as much as you can [64:16]

 

O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared [3:102]

 

Indeed, taqwa has a special station with Allah to have been given such importance and the honor of being the one thing without limitation.

 

Benefits of Taqwa

Taqwa is a tremendous blessing that itself provides a doorway to other blessings. It provides means for forgiveness from sin and gives the believer extraordinary insight. Allah states in the Holy Quran:

If anyone fears Allah He will remove his ills and enlarge his reward [65:5]

 

Elsewhere in the Holy Quran Allah ta'ala says:

O you who believe! If you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion [8:29]

 

Here, Allah ta'ala says that He will bestow the insight of Furqan upon the righteous, such insight and brilliance that leaves no doubt of the difference between truth and falsehood. One no longer needs to debate the taqwa behind an action or wander in doubt because everything becomes clear.

 

Sustenance of the Flesh

Allah ta'ala says in the Holy Quran that He would shower blessings from above and below if only the people accept faith and acquire taqwa.

If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We would indeed have opened to them blessings from heaven and earth [7:96]

 

Elsewhere, Allah ta'ala says:

 

If only they had stood fast by the Law and all the revelation sent to them, they would have enjoyed happiness from every side [5:66]

 

Man is composed of two things, flesh and the soul (ruh). Whatever is from the earth receives sustenance from the same, which in this case means that the body receives its nourishment from the earth, because this is what it was created from. For example, bread is made from wheat that grows out of the ground and water springs forth from the oceans and mountains. Similarly, the clothes that man uses to cover his body are made from cotton that also grows out of the ground. Hence, since Allah ta'ala created the body from the earth, so did He assign all its sustenance to come from the same.

 

Sustenance of the Ruh

The origin of the ruh is ‘Aalam-e-Amr[1]. Consequently the ruh derives its sustenance from the countless blessings and mercy that continuously flow from Allah’s ta'ala Throne.

 

They ask you concerning the Ruh. Say it comes by command of my Creator [17:85]

 

While the body derives all its needs from the earth from which it was made, the ruh in turn derives its nourishment from the heavens from where it was created. Allah ta'ala says that He will give both the ruh and the body its due sustenance from where He designed it.

 

taqwa is such a blessing that it opens not only the doors of sustenance, but all blessings, and Allah will always provide amply if people are grateful. However, ingratitude and rebellion will only result in this abundance being withdrawn to the point that Allah ta'ala may even stop their flow.

 

If you are grateful, I will add more favors unto you, but if you are thankless, truly My punishment is dire! [14:7]

 

In the Holy Quran, Allah ta'ala cites the example of a nation thriving in abundance and blessing, that was consequently in no grief or fear from anyone. Their pride in their abundance eventually translated into ingratitude and rebellion to Allah ta'ala, and hence, Allah ta'ala withdrew all His blessings from them so that they were left in dire poverty and hunger.

 

A city enjoying security and quiet, abundantly supplied with sustenance from every place; yet was it ungrateful for the favors of Allah, so Allah made it taste of hunger and terror, (closing on it) like a garment because of the evil which its people wrought [16:112]

 

If man is ungrateful, Allah ta'ala will cease showering His blessings, and instead of having plenty, man will be reduced to having naught. On the other hand, if man is grateful and righteous, then Allah ta'ala will open the gates of His mercy, and blessings will rain down heavier than ever before, such that sustenance comes from places and by means that man could not possibly have imagined.

 

For those who fear Allah He prepares a way out [65:2]

 

Hadrat Thanvi (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) wrote a fascinating story regarding the blessings of Allah ta'ala. A young man said to his brothers that he would readily forsake his share of the inheritance to them if he could solely be left with the responsibility of caring for his parents. The brothers readily agreed to this and this young man served and tended to his parents very devoutly until the day they passed away.

 

One night, he saw a dream in which a voice told him that he would find one hundred dinars under a particular stone because of his service to his parents. He asked if the money would have Allah’s ta'ala blessings, but the voice said no, and so he declined to accept. The next morning, he told his wife about his dream, and she advised him to check for the money even if he was not going to take it. However he refused, since he was firmly against the idea.

 

The next night, he heard a voice in his dream telling him of ten dinars under a particular stone that he still had the chance to take as a reward for his service to his parents. Again, he asked the same question, and declined after receiving the same reply.

 

The third night, the voice said that there was one dinar under the stone and this was his final chance to take it. The young man again asked if the dinar would have Allah’st ta'ala blessing, and this time the voice said yes. Hence, the next morning he eagerly took the dinar from under the stone. Walking home, he decided to buy something in the market for his wife to cook, and thus brought a fish home with him. As his wife was cleaning the fish, she found a precious jewel inside that they were able to sell and live comfortably for the rest of their life. Such are the blessings of Allah ta'ala, that He grants sustenance through avenues that people cannot possibly conceive.

 

Sustenance of the People of Allah

The People of Allah ta'ala find sustenance from the same source as prophets, and receive lovingly from Allah ta'ala, just as a devoted father cares for his child. Allah opens His vast treasures for them and the Holy Quran says:

 

He prepares a way out and provides for him from sources he could never imagine [65: 2-3]

 

Definition of Sustenance

The closest translation for the Arabic word rizq is sustenance and means. Collectively, this includes the livelihood and honor of the whole family, food and earning, and the tranquility that accompanies a satisfied life.

 

It is unfortunate that this is exactly the kind of fruitful life people struggle for all their lives but somehow feel that it is always beyond their grasp. Working more than one job also does not seem to solve their problems and this is because Allah ta'ala withdraws His blessings because of something that is gravely wrong or missing from daily life.

 

The Paradigm Reversed

People today pursue careers in engineering and medicine because they feel that they cannot possibly sustain themselves if they pursue a lifetime of pleasing Allah ta'ala as a scholar (‘aalim) or someone who has memorized the Holy Quran (hafiz). This is an unfortunate delusion because one cannot possibly find even one example where a true practicing ‘aalim or hafiz ever died from hunger or poverty.

 

Sustenance comes from Allah ta'ala who will never fail those who serve and obey Him. So this way of thinking is ridiculous and a delusion from Shaitan. It is frequently the other way around, where one often hears of others who have completed high degrees, but have ended their lives in dire poverty and hunger.

 

Hadrat Imam Abu Yusuf

Imam Abu Yusuf (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) lost his father as a young child and so his mother sent him to the local launderer to be an apprentice so he could learn the trade and begin earning. On his way, the young Abu Yusuf encountered Imam Abu Hanifa (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) and began sitting in his company.

 

Abu Yusuf subsequently became Hadrat Imam Abu Hanifa’s student and told him about his mother’s concerns. Imam Abu Hanifa advised him to console his mother by telling her that he had high hopes of a great career from what he was learning instead of being apprenticed to a launderer. The mother was not satisfied by this, and came to Imam Abu Hanifa to complain, saying that she had not sent her son to seek knowledge but to learn a trade so that the family could generate some immediate revenue.

 

Imam Abu Hanifa tried to reassure the mother and said, “You will see that your son will prosper and eat sweet dishes and delicacies meant only for rulers.” The mother finally acquiesced and left her son in Imam Abu Hanifa’s tutelage. This son would later become an exemplary student and scholar of the Islamic world.

 

Later in his lifetime, Imam Abu Yusuf served as Chief Justice and the Caliph Harun Rashid (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) would sit in his company. Once the caliph said to Imam Abu Yusuf, “Hadrat, I have had a dish prepared for you and would like it brought to you everyday.” Hadrat Imam Abu Yusuf liked the sweet dish very much and asked what it was. Harun Rashid replied, “This dish is so special that it is prepared for me only seldom but from now on, it will be prepared for you daily because of your exemplary status in knowledge.” Imam Abu Yusuf was grateful but again asked what it was, and the king replied, “This is a sweet dish made from pistachios.” Hadrat Imam Yusuf was at once reminded of the words his great teacher Imam Abu Hanifa had spoken to his mother that her son would be dining on dishes reserved for rulers, for in those times pistachios were considered a rich delicacy.

 

Hadrat Salim

Hadrat Salim (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) had originally been sold as a slave for three hundred dirhams, but afterwards, his pursuit of religious learning reached such an honored status that the king of the time used to come to his door seeking advice. It also happened once that the king was even refused an audience with Hadrat Salim and had to return empty handed, because Hadrat Salim had been so preoccupied with his religious duties.

 

Hadrat Salim had once been a slave sold for merely three hundred dirhams, but his intense desire for knowledge and a connection with Allah ta'ala increased his worth a hundred fold.

 

Unknown we remained until we were sold,
Your buying made us priceless.

 

The Responsibility of Sustenance

Allah ta'ala delivers sustenance to all humankind from His vast treasures, but showers it especially on the righteous. Allah ta'ala takes responsibility for sustaining all of creation in the Holy Quran, but yet man is the only creature that hoards, as if this will somehow subside or be insufficient.

 

And there is not a thing but its (sources and) treasures are with Us …We only send down thereof in due and ascertainable measures [15:21]

 

There is no moving creature on earth but its sustenance depends on Allah [11:6]

 

It is Allah who feeds (both) them and you [29:60]

 

Someone once came to Hadrat Bayazid Bustami (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) seeking advice because he was very troubled. He said that he had a large family and was struggling to make ends meet. Hadrat Bayazid replied, “I want you to return home and evict all the people whose sustenance you are responsible for providing and only let those stay whose sustenance is the responsibility of Allah ta'ala.”

 

Family Planning

In the 1800s, a man named Malthus urged the importance of population control, claiming that the earth’s resources would become insufficient to sustain mankind if population growth was not curbed. This concept was revisited in the 1960s when governments urged family planning so that there would be enough for the 1970s generation to live comfortably.

 

The 1970s came and passed and so did the 1980s with populations living in the same condition as before if not better. Decade after decade, governments issued these warnings that people would be reduced to cannibalism by the 1990s if population growth was not curbed with efficient family planning. However, even the 1990s came and passed with people living and eating even better.

 

The simple and beautiful truth is that people in the 1990s were being sustained even better than their counterparts in the 1960s because Allah ta'ala was increasing means and sustenance as the world population increased. This was and is in conjunction with Allah’s ta'ala promise that sustenance is His responsibility.

 

When Hadrat Adam e was the only human being on earth, Allah ta'ala just sent down sustenance for one, and subsequently allowed for more as the world’s population increased. Furthermore, the earth did not produce nearly as much as it does today in modern times when Hadrat Ibrahim e was alive, because Allah ta'ala made the earth produce only what was necessary at that time for what the population numbered then.

 

Doors of Taqwa and Sustenance

The provision of sustenance is Allah’s ta'ala responsibility. This by no means implies that man should not work or make effort to support himself, but rather than he should keep focused on that fact that Allah ta'ala is the Source of all. Difficulties and financial strains arise only when people neglect to focus on Allah ta'ala as the primary source of sustenance and thus resort to illegal means of acquiring income. On the other hand, the righteous never have the opportunity to complain because Allah ta'ala opens the vast treasures of His u sustenance for them.

 

Taqwa in All Phases of Life

Taqwa benefits man in all circumstances and in all phases of existence – in the temporal world; the grave; barzakh (the intermediary world), and the Hereafter. Allah ta'ala says in the Holy Quran:

 

Said Moses to his people, “Pray for help from Allah and (wait) in patience and constancy…and the end is (best) for the righteous [7:128]

 

The Holy Quran stresses taqwa and further guarantees success in this world and the Hereafter because of taqwa.

 

Taqwa and the Bridge of Sirat

Family, relatives, friends and all except the righteous will become bitter enemies on the Day of Judgment. Taqwa will prove useful even after death, and everyone will have to cross the Bridge of Sirat.

Not one of you but (the righteous) will pass over it [19:71]

 

Allah ta'ala says that all will cross, in order to separate righteousness from evil.

 

This is by your Lord, a Decree that must be accomplished [19:71]

 

Only the righteous will be able to cross and thus be saved, whereas the evil and rebellious shall fall into Hellfire.

 

But We shall save those who guarded against evil [19:72]

 

Having successfully crossed the Bridge, the righteous shall be escorted to the gardens of Paradise awaiting them.

 

Those who feared their Creator will be led to Paradise in crowds [39:73]

 

Inhabitants of Paradise

Angels will welcome the righteous into Paradise at every gate, praising their patience and wishing them peace.

 

Angels shall enter unto them from every gate [13:23]

 

Allah ta'ala says that the righteous shall inherit Paradise, and at one place in the Holy Quran, an entire ruku’ is dedicated to the good tidings of Paradise.

 

Such is the Garden that We give to those who guard against evil [19:63]

 

All that is in Paradise is for the righteous, and the Holy Quran is filled with the beauty that lies within.

 

Verily for the righteous will be a fulfillment of desires; Gardens enclosed and grapevines; companions of equal age; and a cup full to the brim. No vanity shall they hear therein, nor untruth. Recompense from your Lord, a gift, sufficient. [78:31-36]

 

Four streams shall flow through the Paradise of the righteous for their drink and pleasure.

 

A parable of the garden which the righteous are promised; in it are rivers of water incorruptible; rivers of milk of which the taste never changes; rivers of wine, a joy to those who drink; and rivers of honey pure and clear [47:15]

 

Success and honor in both the temporal world and the Hereafter is based on taqwa. Hence, people should abandon all their worthless pursuits in this life and put all their efforts into practicing taqwa.

 

Hadrat Yusuf AS

Allah ta'ala says in the Holy Quran that Surah Yusuf is one that carries important and essential lessons for mankind.

 

We relate unto you the most beautiful of stories [12:3]

 

Herein is the story of two fellowships – that of Hadrat Yusuf  and that of his brothers. Indeed, Hadrat Yusuf  was only one man, but sometimes even one man can outweigh a company of many men because of his strength and fortitude as proved to be the case here. Hadrat Ibrahim e was only one man, but the Holy Quran says:

 

Ibrahim was indeed a nation [16:120]

 

Allah ta'ala tested Hadrat Yusuf’s  brothers who resolved to kill their brother as a possible solution to their problem and consoled themselves by saying that they would repent later.

Slay Yusuf or cast him out to some (unknown) land [12:9]

 

Hence, the brothers committed a grave sin through which Hadrat Yusuf ewas tested severely, but he emerged successful through Allah’s grace and mercy.

 

But she in whose house he was, sought to seduce him from his (true) self [12:23]

 

Allah ta'ala further tested him through a woman’s charms, but Hadrat Yusuf also proved successful in this and the master was compelled to proclaim Hadrat Yusuf’s e sincerity.

Yusuf! O man of truth! [12:46]

 

The events that follow show that Hadrat Yusuf  was not only freed from jail but also promoted to the post of Finance Minister over all of Egypt. By the wisdom Allah had bestowed upon him, he successfully steered Egypt through the years of abundance and then the years of famine, as had been foreshadowed in the king’s dream.

 

The events that follow this are even more fascinating in the contrast that they present. The famine had been very severe on Hadrat Yusuf’s  family, and so his brothers came to barter most of the family’s belongings for food. The money and other belongings that they brought were by no means enough to buy all the food that they wanted, and knowing this, they requested Hadrat Yusuf  to be charitable in their time of need.

 

Both the brothers and Hadrat Yusuf  were sons of the same prophet, but the brothers had failed Allah’s ta'ala tests whereas Hadrat Yusuf  had passed the tests. Now, Hadrat Yusuf  was seated on a pedestal whilst his brothers were at his feet on the ground.

 

Presenting themselves in this fashion, the brothers put their case of suffering and their request for charity to Hadrat Yusuf e. The Holy Quran records their conversation for posterity:

O exalted one! [12:78]

Distress has seized us and our family. We have brought but scanty capital, so pay us full measure and treat it as charity to us; Allah rewards the charitable [12:88]

 

Upon hearing that their situation had become so dire, Hadrat Yusuf e asked:

 

Know you how you dealt with Yusuf? [12:89]

 

Are you indeed Yusuf? [12:90]

 

Taken aback, the brothers asked if he was really the brother they had tried to kill. Hadrat Yusuf e revealed himself to them and also emphasized his relationship to his brother Binyamin.

I am Yusuf and this is my brother [12:90]

 

Hadrat Yusuf e said that Allah ta'ala  rewards the patient and righteous. Allah ta'ala  guarantees that the sacrifices and deeds of the righteous are never in vain.

 

Never will Allah suffer the reward to be lost of those who do right and are patient [12:90]

 

Taqwa and Nearness to Allah ta'ala

The previous scholars and venerable sages (mashaikh) understood the importance of inculcating taqwa into their lives and endured tremendous hardship and sacrifice to do so and were thus successful.

 

Today the Muslims have forgotten this important lesson and hence, are in a state of dishonor and disgrace. Hadrat Qasim Nanotvi, Hadrat Rashid Ahmed Gangohi, Hadrat Shaykh ul-Hind (May the mercy of Allah be upon them) and countless mashaikh of the past embodied taqwa and left magnificent examples that shine throughout time for the whole world. Yet, they studied from the same texts that students study from today, but the students of today are certainly not the caliber of the likes of Hadrat Nanotvi.

The elders of the past were able to partake of the mercy of Allah ta'ala  by deciphering the jewels and pearls of taqwa from within the holy texts, something which people have unfortunately forgotten today.

 

Such great personalities would not even fill their stomachs with lawful earnings but yet, their progeny is satisfied from filling its belly with the unlawful. The progeny of great people who would not sleep but worship all night is satisfied with sleeping soundly all night in warm beds. It is indeed unfortunate that Muslims have forgotten so much. All the more reason to reflect and practice now before it is too late.

 

Knowledge is a Thing Most Delicate

Indeed, knowledge is a blessing to be treated delicately and with respect. None is to be pitied more than one who has acquired the knowledge and speech of an ‘aalim but his heart remains hard and ignorant.

 

Hadrat Luqman e said that he had lifted the heaviest weights but found nothing to be heavier than knowledge. He also said that he had partaken of the sweetest dishes but found nothing as sweet as the remembrance of Allah ta'ala . Today, most Muslims wear some of the softest and richest clothing and eat the most exotic dishes and so, their hearts remain harder than stone.

 

The Heart: A Place of Filth?

RasulAllah a said that the heart is the seat of taqwa. Today, the heart of the common Muslim is filled with filthy desires that always put the nafs above Allah’s ta'ala  wishes;

 

The heart has truly become a wicked and filthy place. Purification of such a heart requires a sincere will and struggle to change the heart to the obedience and remembrance of Allah ta'ala.

 

What are these images to which you are so devoted? [21:52]

 

Angels of mercy do not enter a house in which there are pictures. Today Muslims have pictures and idols of lust and greed littering their hearts, so how can the Mercy of Allah be expected to descend onto such a filthy place that is already filled with others?

 

Struggle and perseverance against the nafs is required to rectify such hearts and only then will taqwa take root therein. Muslims must sincerely practice what the Holy Quran says and hold themselves accountable before they are held accountable. Putting the Holy Quran into action in our daily lives is the only way to inculcate taqwa, and others will only listen when the speaker himself is a living and breathing example of what he is preaching.

 

I advise myself first and then you [Hadith]

 

If words fail to impact one’s own ears, how can they be expected to impact others? It should be that we listen to our own advice to others and reflect on the same. Along those same lines, we should ponder upon and implement what we read in the texts.

 

Hadrat Maulana Anwar Shah Kashmiri

A group of Hindus once accepted Islam at the hand of Hadrat Anwar Shah Kashmiri (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) and so someone asked them why they had done so. Pointing to their benefactor, Hadrat Kashmiri, they said that Hadrat’s face could not be that of a liar.

 

These were the great personalities from Islam’s past, whose faces would glow with taqwa and shimmer from their acts of worship. Alas where are such people today?

 

Definition of Taqwa

Hadrat Umar ibn Khattab RA once asked Hadrat Ibn Ka’ab RA the definition of taqwa. In reply Hadrat Ibn Ka’ab RA asked, “Have you ever had to traverse a thorny path?” Hadrat Umar RA replied in the affirmative and Hadrat Ka’ab continued, “How do you do so?”

 

Hadrat Uma rRA said that he would carefully walk through after first having collected all loose and flowing clothing in his hands so nothing gets caught in the thorns hence injuring him. Hadrat Ka’ab RA said, “This is the definition of taqwa, to protect oneself from sin through life’s dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin.”

 

And your garments keep free from stain [74:4]

 

Taqwa is the best protector and life companion, for it shall always guard against sin and evil.

 

But the raiment of taqwa is best [7:26]

 

Take a provision with you for the journey, but the best provision is taqwa [2:197]

 

Being the ultimate guide to married life, Surah al-Nisa is decorated with references to taqwa every third to fourth verse, because the nurturing of taqwa is the key ingredient to the success of any marriage. Allah ta'ala warns us in the Holy Quran:

 

And fear Allah and know that you are to meet Him [2:223]

 

Hadrat Maulana Hafiz Ghulam Habib (May the mercy of Allah be upon him) used to define taqwa as the shunning of everything and anything that causes a deficiency in one’s relationship with Allah ta'ala.

 

Taqwa is not merely a word or something associated with just a single act, but needs to be implemented from head to toe and throughout a person’s life.

 

Whatever the human definition, Allah ta'ala provides a clear explanation of taqwa in the Holy Quran. Let Muslims turn to the Holy Quran for its divine guidance and explanation.

 

It is not taqwa that you turn your faces toward East or West, but it is taqwa to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book and the Messengers, to spend of your substance out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts you have made; to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity. Those are the truthful and those are the righteous [2:177]

 

Those who practice the divine words above are truly worthy of being called the truthful and the righteous.

 

Those are the truthful [2:177]

Those are the righteous [2:177]

 

May Allah ta'ala  give us all the ability to adhere to the Holy Quran and inculcate taqwa within ourselves. Ameen.

 

 

[1] The heavenly part of Allah’s ta'ala creation that is created spontaneously and immediately by the Divine Command Be, and it is, including but not limited to the Throne and the Angels. This is in contrast to ‘Aalam-e-Khalq, the worldly creation that was created gradually over a period of time.

 

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Du'a for Taqwa

 

 

اللَّهُمَّ آتِ نَفْسِي تَقْوَاهَا ، وَزَكِّها أنْتَ خَيْرُ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا ، أنْتَ وَلِيُّهَا وَمَوْلاَهَا

 

O Allah, grant to my soul the sense of righteousness and purify it, for Thou art the Best Purifier thereof. Thou art the Protecting Friend thereof, and Guardian thereof.

 

 

 

 

 

اللهم إني أسألك الهدى، والتقى، والعفاف، والغنى‏

 

Allaahumma innee as-alukal hudaa, wattuqaa, wal 'afaafa, wal ghinaa

"O Allah! I ask You for guidance, piety, safety and well-being, and contentment and sufficiency."

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The Place of Taqwa is in the Heart

 

Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) said: The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said:

 

“Do not have envy of one another. Do not inflate prices on one another. Do not hate one another. Do not turn your backs on one another. Do not undersell one another; but rather, be worshipers of Allah and brothers. The Muslim is the brother of his fellow Muslim. He does not oppress him, nor does he abandon him, nor does he lie to him, nor does he belittle him. Taqwa is here” and he pointed to his chest three times. “It is a sufficient act of evil that a person belittles his Muslim brother. Every Muslim to another Muslim is sacred, his blood, his wealth, and his honor.” [sahih Muslim]

 

 

The place of Taqwa (fear of Allah) is the heart. So when the heart has fear of Allah, then the limbs have fear of Allah.

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Guarding Oneself

 

The most succinct definition of taqwa is to guard oneself from the displeasure of Allah by guarding oneself from the disobedience of Allah.

We must guard our eyes, ears, tongue, hands, feet and even our heart from any act, thought, sentiment and emotion of disobedience and displeasure.

 

How does a person develop taqwa? There are many ways of developing taqwa and one of them is by fasting. Allah prescribes fasting for us so that it may create this consciousness of Him in us:

 

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ كُتِبَ عَلَيْكُمُ الصِّيَامُ كَمَا كُتِبَ

عَلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَتَّقُونَ

O believers, fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those who came before you so that you may attain taqwa [al Baqarah 2/183]

 

[This excerpt is based on a spiritual gathering held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 16th November 2014].

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Taqwā and its Benefits

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

 

After the passing of Ramadān, it is important that we remind ourselves of the most important lesson the blessed month left us with, that of bringing Taqwā into our lives and doing our utmost to hold fast to it, until we breathe our last.

 

The importance of Taqwā cannot be over emphasised. Allāh ta‘ālā has mentioned the word Taqwā in the Glorious Qur’ān around 70 times in the imperative form and over 250 times in its various derivative forms. The Glorious Qur’ān begins with the statement:

This Book has no doubt in it - a guidance for the Muttaqīn. (2:2)

In other words, though in principle the Glorious Qur’ān is a guidance for all, only those who develop the quality of Taqwā can truly benefit from it.

 

Definition of Taqwā

Taqwā has been defined in many ways; the summary and conclusion of which is that a person creates a barrier between himself and the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. Consequently, he will never plan to commit a sin, rather he will exert all efforts to abstain from any form of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. The result of this will be every type of success in both worlds. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

…And fear (disobeying) Allāh so that you may become successful. (3:200)

 

Benefits of Taqwā

There are many benefits for the one who adopts Taqwā as stated in the Glorious Qur’ān: 

 

 

1. Allāh ta‘ālā will make all matters easy for him. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

.…And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh, He shall bring about ease for him in his affair. (65:4)

 

 

2. Allāh ta‘ālā will provide him with a solution to all his problems. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

.…And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh, He shall bring forth a way out for him, (65:2)

 

 

3. Allāh ta‘ālā will sustain him from all aspects. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

(And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh).… And shall provide for him (what he needs) from where he does not even imagine (65:3)

 

 

4. Allāh ta‘ālā will be with him and assist him. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

Surely, Allāh is with those who adopt Taqwā (16:128)

....be sure that Allāh is with the Muttaqīn (9:36)

 

 

5. Allāh ta‘ālā will forgive his sins. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

.…And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh, He shall cancel (forgive) his sins... (65:5)

 

 

6. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him a huge reward. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

(And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh)....He shall give him a huge reward. (65:5)

 

 

7. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him Mercy in both worlds. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

And this (Qur‘ān) is a blessed Book We have sent down. So follow it and adopt Taqwā, so that you may be favoured with mercy. (6:55)

And My Mercy extends to everything. So, I shall write it (i.e. the mercy) for those who adopt Taqwā, and pay Zakāh, and those who do believe in Our verses... (7:156)

 

 

8. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him safety from all fear and grief. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

...those who adopt Taqwā and correct themselves will have no fear, nor shall they grieve. (7:35)

 

 

9. He will gain the upper hand over Shaytān. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

Surely when the Muttaqīn are touched by the temptation (to do evil) from Shayt
ān, they become conscious (of Allāh), and their eyes instantly open (i.e. they realise Shay
tān’s plot and ignore the temptation). (7:201)

 

 

10. He will become beloved to Allāh ta‘ālā. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

Surely, Allāh loves the Muttaqīn. (9:4)

 

 

11. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him safety from enemies. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

If you keep patience and adopt Taqwā, their cunning shall not harm you at all. (3:120)

 

 

12. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him the ultimate success in the form of Jannah. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

Here is the description of the Paradise promised to the Muttaqīn: underneath it the rivers flow; its food is everlasting and (so is) its shade. This is the ultimate abode of the Muttaqīn ... (13:35)

 

 

The Acquisition of Taqwā

In order to become deserving of these priceless benefits, it is very important that we make a serious effort to bring Taqwā into our lives. Allāh ta‘ālā through His infinite mercy informs us how to achieve this, as when Allāh ta‘ālā commands the adoption of Taqwā in the Glorious Qur’ān, He follows this with another command which is a way to acquire Taqwā. The following actions are a summary of these commands, which if inculcated, will ensure a person acquires Taqwā:

 

1. Submission to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, as one should with regards to Allāh, and let not yourself die save as Muslims (totally submitted to Allāh). (3:102)

 

The submission of the body and soul to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā enables us to inculcate the essence of Taqwā in our lives. Submission to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā was the highlight of the life of Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām who is duly remembered in these blessed months. Taking lesson from episodes of submission by the Ambiya ‘alayhimus salām and the pious predecessors gives us an insight into the reality of submission. Only when we try to emulate such submission to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā, will the great quality of Taqwā diffuse into a person’s heart.

 

2. Adopting correct speech.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, and speak in straightforward words. (If you do so,) Allāh will correct your deeds for your benefit, and forgive your sins for you. Whoever obeys Allāh and His messenger achieves a great success. (33:70-71)

 

The importance of speaking in a truthful and just manner and speaking of good things, in particular the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā, must not be taken lightly. The guarantee of Jannah has been promised by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam to the person undertaking to use his tongue correctly. Being mindful of what one utters will assist in bringing a reformation to the heart and develop Taqwā.

 

3. Contemplating the Day of Reckoning.

 

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, and each person must consider what he (or she) has sent ahead for tomorrow. (59:18)

Keeping a watchful eye over one’s actions and reflecting on how they will be judged by Allāh ta‘ālā on the Day of Resurrection, will lead a person to adopt Taqwā.

 

4. Being conscious that Allāh ta‘ālā is All-Seeing and All-Knowing.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

…And fear (disobeying) Allāh. Surely Allāh is fully aware of what you do. (59:18)

 

Recognising the fact that Allāh ta‘ālā is fully aware of our actions and is recording every minute detail of our lives, is sufficient for a person to create a barrier between himself and the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā.

 

5. Adopting pious company.

The above four methods of acquiring Taqwā all share a common trait, that of being fully aware and alert at all times. Whilst living in this world we become engrossed in our daily lives, which leads to negligence and absent mindedness. Therefore, it is imperative that we frequently adopt some form of reminder for ourselves. The adopting of pious company gives a person a two-fold benefit in the endeavour to bring Taqwā: it serves as a constant reminder of the need to acquire Taqwā; and the company of the pious is in itself an effective tool for the acquisition of Taqwā. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

 

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, and be in the company of the truthful (i.e. pious). (9:119)

 

And regarding the truthful, Allāh ta‘ālā says:

 

Those are the ones who are truthful, and those are the Muttaqīn. (2:177)

 

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us all the tawfīq to strive for the great quality of Taqwā. Āmīn.

 

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 25 No. 8, Aug 2016)

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Making an Effort to Acquire the Wealth of Taqwa

 

 

taqwa.jpg

Hazrat Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Daamat Barakaatuhu) mentioned:

The real commodity for one to earn and purchase is taqwa. The hadeeth teaches us that the one who has taqwa will remain safe even if he is in the territory of his enemy. So make an effort to acquire the wealth of taqwa. Taqwa is for one to have the consciousness of Allah Ta’ala at all times. At any given moment one should not be unmindful of His presence and one should have the conviction that Allah Ta‘ala is watching him at all times.

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