“O you who believe! Have taqwa of Allah and see what you have prepared for tomorrow i.e. Hereafter” [Al-Hashr: 18]

Although many will say that Taqwa is to the fear Allaah, the term and its usage actually cover a much broader meaning than that. It literally means to place in between you and what you fear a ‘wiqaaya’ (a protection or a preventative measure), so to have taqwa of Allaah subsequently means to place in between yourself and what you fear from Allaah some form of protection. In a nutshell, it is to act only in His obedience and steer away from disobeying Him, performing that which is beloved to Him and abandoning whatever displeases Him, – it is to love Him, fear Him and have great hope in Him.

Taqwa reflects off a person in their lives and without realising it, many people will show what they possess of taqwa – whether great or small – in their day-to-day business. Hence it is an act of the heart which is deeply built within a person and it has the ability to grow, establishing itself firmly or slowly decrease until very little of it is left.

When the Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam) was asked, “What is the thing which enters people into Paradise the most?” he replied “Taqwa and a good character” [1] – two extraordinary traits that I find often take time to build up and perfect.

When asked about taqwa and what it meant, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdil-‘Azeez would say “Taqwa is not fasting by day and standing for prayer by night… but taqwa is to desert what Allaah has forbidden and to fulfil what He has commanded – and whoever puts forth goodness after that, then that is khayr upon khayr.” [2]

Talaq ibn Habeeb would also say, “Taqwa is to be obedient to Allaah upon a Light from Allaah, hoping for reward from Allaah, and it is to abandon sins upon a Light from Allaah fearing the punishment of Allaah.” [3]

Taqwa enters into a believer’s general alertness about his/her actions and it acts as the guard over their good deeds before and after its fulfilment. It is the shield which the believer uses to protect himself from the plots of the Shaytaan and his whispers. It is that which saves a person from the brink of destruction in this life and in the Hereafter.

Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allaahu `anhu) was once asked about Taqwa to which he replied, “Have you ever trodden along a thorny path?” ‘Yes’ said the questioner. “What did you do?” asked Abu Hurayrah. He replied, “If I saw a thorn, I moved away from it or crossed over it or held back from it.” – “That is taqwa” said Abu Hurayrah.

From the signs that a person has little taqwa is the belittling of sins and disregarding the accumulation of bad deeds – even if they are small. Ibn al-Mu’tazz said in a few lines of poetry

,خل الذنوب صغيرها *** و كبيرها ذاك التقى
و اصنع كماش فوق أر *** ض الشوك يحذر ما يرى
لا تحقرن صغيرة *** إن الجبال من الحصى

Abandon sins, big and small – that is Tawqa
And be like the one who walks on a thorny path, he is cautious of what he sees
Do not belittle the small sins; truly mountains are made from pebbles [4]

‘Ali ibn Abee Taalib (radhi Allaahu ‘anhu) would also describe Taqwa saying,

تقوى الله
الخوف من الجليل
و العمل بالتنزيل
و الرضاء بالقليل
و الاستعداد إلى يوم الرحيل

He (ra) says that it is:
Fear from the Allaah, the Majestic,
And to do deeds according to the Revelation,
To be pleased with little,
And to prepare for the Day of Departure

One of the companions of Abul-‘Aaliya relates: I once saw Abul-‘Aaliya making wudhu and the water was dripping from his face and hands. I greeted him and said, ‘Indeed Allaah loves the Tawwaabeen (those that turn to Him in repentance) and the Mutatahhireen (those who purify themselves).’ He said, “Ya Akhi, the Mutatahhireen are not those who purify themselves from dirt, but it is them that purify themselves from sins with Taqwa.” [5]

Abul-‘Aaliya (Rufai’ ibn Mihraan) was a Taabi’ee known for his piety and ground knowledge of Qur’aan. It is said that out of his deep taqwa and in preparation for the Hereafter, he would dress up in his kaffan (shrouds), at least once a month. He also wrote out his will seventeen times in his life – even though he was perfectly healthy. He would set a date for each will and if that date came to pass while he was still alive, he would look back at the will and alter what needed to be altered and set another date. All this was his preparation for the great journey that every soul must undertake from this Dunya to the Hereafter. [6]

Piety is something that we must all aspire to attain and really seek to build within us. With taqwa were the Muttaqoon (those who have taqwa) able to supersede the norm, go against extreme odds, witness magnificent miracles and keep going when the world fell to its knees. Taqwa leads one to success in this life and the Next; it provides a way out for the believer in every difficulty, it remits sins, makes matters easier and continues to be the guiding light for its companion. The pages of the Qur’aan are filled with verses where Allaah ‘azza wa jall has declared His Love for them and how many times has Paradise been promised to them?

In the words of the Messenger (sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam)

,اتق الله حيثما كنت
“Have taqwa of Allaah wheresoever you are…” [7]

May Allaah make us from amongst them, forgive us for our mistakes and enter us into Paradise, ever-lasting gardens, a delight to the eyes of its dwellers. Ameen

[1] Tirmidhee [no. 2004], Ibn Maajah [no. 4246], Ahmad [no. 291/2] and Ibn Hibbaan [476]

[2] Jaami’ ‘Uloom wal-Hikam by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali pg. 170

[3] See above reference

[4] Jaami’ ‘Uloom wal-Hikam, pg. 171

[5] Suwar min Hayaat at-Taabi’een by Abdur-Rahmaan al-Baasha pg. 448

[6] Suwar min Hayaat at-Taabi’een by Abdur-Rahmaan al-Baasha pg. 455 – 456

[7] Tirmidhee, hadeeth hasan (also declared saheeh)


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