Sunday 1 December 2019

Scholars' Viewpoint: Who are Men of Taqwa?

We more often than not come across the word Taqwa and are advised to observe Taqwa. But what we really mean by Taqwa? I tried to find out and it turned out to be very simple and most difficult thing to answer. For Taqwa is something that commences from a merely the God-consciousness to an endless ocean of state of hyper-vigilance against falling into sin in negligence and the ‘fear’ of doing Haram out of neglect of Allah’s orders. 

In simple words, taqwa means "forbearance, fear and abstinence. It is fear of Allah, "being careful, knowing your place in the cosmos"."Proof" of Taqwa is the "experience of awe" of God, which "inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action" and eager to do thing which please Allah. It is "a high state of heart, which keeps one conscious of Allah's presence and His Knowledge." Taqwa motivates the person who possesses it "to perform righteous deeds" and avoid forbidden activities.

It was reported that Umar bin Khattab asked Ubay ibn Kaab about Taqwa. Ubay said, "Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it?" Umar said, "Yes." Ubay asked, "What did you do then?" to which Umar replied, "I rolled up my sleeves and struggled." Ubay said, "That is taqwa, to protect oneself from sin through life’s dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin."

Quran is replete with word taqwa and as per an estimate it occurs almost 100 times in the Qur'an, wherein taqwa refers to fear of God in terms of protecting oneself from displeasing God.

Qur'an very specifically spells out in the very second verse of Surah 2. Al Baqarah that This Book (The Qur'an) is guidance for those who are men of taqwa:

ذٰ لِكَ الۡڪِتٰبُ لَا رَيۡبَ ۛۚ   ۖ فِيۡهِ ۛۚ هُدًى لِّلۡمُتَّقِيۡنَۙ‏ 

This is the Book of Allah, there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the men of taqwa, the pious,

This means that while the Book is potentially for all, only those who possess certain qualities can benefit from it. The first such quality is piety: those who want to benefit should be disposed to distinguish between good and evil, and to shun evil and do good. Those who lead an animal existence, who never consider whether their actions are either good or bad, whose cynically follow the prevailing winds, who are helplessly tossed about by the animal desires that dominate their minds, such persons are all together incapable of deriving any benefit from the guidance embodied in the Qur'an.

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ وَكُوۡنُوۡا مَعَ الصّٰدِقِيۡنَ‏  
Believers! Have fear of Allah and stand with those that are truthful. [Surah 9 At Tauba 119]

يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اصۡبِرُوۡا وَصَابِرُوۡا وَرَابِطُوۡا وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ‏ 
Believers, be steadfast, and vie in steadfastness,141 stand firm in your faith, and hold Allah in fear that you may attain true success. [Surah 3. Al-i'Imran: 200]

وَلَوۡ اَنَّ اَهۡلَ الۡقُرٰٓى اٰمَنُوۡا وَاتَّقَوۡا لَـفَتَحۡنَا عَلَيۡهِمۡ بَرَكٰتٍ مِّنَ السَّمَآءِ وَالۡاَرۡضِ وَلٰـكِنۡ كَذَّبُوۡا فَاَخَذۡنٰهُمۡ بِمَا كَانُوۡا يَكۡسِبُوۡنَ‏ 
Had the people of those towns believed and been God-fearing, We would certainly have opened up to them blessings from the heavens and the earth; but they gave the lie [to their Prophets] and so We seized them for their deeds. so. [Surah 7. Al-A'raf: 96] 

يٰۤاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡۤا اِذَا تَنَاجَيۡتُمۡ فَلَا تَـتَـنَاجَوۡا بِالۡاِثۡمِ وَالۡعُدۡوَانِ وَمَعۡصِيَتِ الرَّسُوۡلِ وَتَنَاجَوۡا بِالۡبِرِّ وَالتَّقۡوٰى​ؕ وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ الَّذِىۡۤ اِلَيۡهِ تُحۡشَرُوۡنَ‏ 
Believers, when you converse in secrecy, let that not be concerning sin and transgression and disobedience to the Messenger; rather, converse concerning virtue and piety. And fear Allah to Whom all of you shall be mustered. [Surah 58. Al-Mujadila: 9]

The verses above show that Taqwa means a lot more than just piousness: it is the combination of our beliefs, self-awareness, and attitudes. It is a reminder to stay on the path of uprightness, decency and knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is about having Lord Consciousness in terms of knowing and obeying all His orders including not only fearing Him but also acting in all His directions. 

How can one observe taqwa? In Qur'an there are many virtues mentioned in Qur'an that inculcate taqwa in a believer like the keeping of trusts (amana) [Surah Al Baqarah 2: 283]; faithfulness (al-wafa) [Surah 3. Al-i'Imran: 76]; patience (al-sabr) [Surah 3. Al-i'Imran: 186]. The imperative form of taqwa is found in the phrase Ittaqullah ("fear God" or "be aware of Allah"), which is in a number of verses. Ittaqullah is an Arabic word-phrase composed of the words "Ittaqu", and "Allah". It is found in several verses in the Quran.

Taqwa thus is to be constantly aware of what pleases or displeases Him and to ensure all our efforts are to make Him most happy and gain His maximum Pleasure. Taqwa means to rush in acting upon the orders of Allah and to suppress any inclinations that would prevent us from completing the tasks in its best form. 

What benefits of taqwa a Muslim can accrue - herein under are some [3]:
  • There is guidance for those who are Muttaqin (the people of taqwa) as Allah says in Quran: “guidance for those conscious of Allah” (Quran, 2:2). People who fear of Almighty Allah will seek guidance from the Holy Book Quran.
  • Whoever has Taqwa, Allah makes matters easy for him in this world as well as the hereafter. “And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him ease in his matter.” (Quran, 65:4). This does not necessarily mean that the person will not face difficulty, but through the blessings of his Taqwa, he is guaranteed ease and the strength to bear these difficulties without losing faith or hope by Almighty Allah. The reward of facing these difficulties will be given by Allah in the hereafter.
  • “Truly Allah loves the Muttaqin“(Quran, 3:76). 
  • A way out of Difficulties: “And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out.” (Quran, 65:2). Taqwa serves as a divine guard against trials of this world as well as the difficulties of the hereafter.
  • Allah only accepts from the people of taqwa“(Quran, 5:27). 
  • Unexpected Sustenance: “And if the people of the towns believed and had Taqwa, certainly We should have opened for them blessings from the heavens and the earth.” (Quran, 7:96)
  • Salvation from the Fire of Hell: “Then We will save the ones who had taqwa“(Quran, 19:72). 
  • When a believer sees to it that his obedience to Allah and love for him stay above everything else, he is gifted by Allah with the sight of distinguishing between true and false or we can say good or bad deeds. In Holy Quran Allah says: “O you who believe! If you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion (furqan).” (Quran, 8:29)
  • Success from Taqwa: “Have taqwa of Allah in order that you might succeed” (Quran, 3:200). 
  • “It is He (Allah) who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers.” (Quran, 48:4). People who want calmness and tranquility should do taqwa that means fear of Allah Almighty in result they became piety. When they become piety they feel calmness and tranquility in their hearts as Allah mentioned in Quran.
One can go on and on describing taqwa for it has far reaching meaning and effects on the life of a Muslim. To sum up, please listen to the khutba by Nouman Ali Khan on the importance of taqwa in a believer's life:
About Nouman Ali Khan: An American Muslim, born to a Pakistani family, Nouman Ali Khan is a  speaker and Arabic instructor who founded the Bayyinah Institute for Arabic and Qur’anic Studies, after serving as an instructor of Arabic at Nassau Community College. He has been named one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre of Jordan.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the video above are that of the concerned scholar . We have shared these view as added information in better understanding of Islam. The reader may or may not agree with the view owing to their own perception. If any one differs with the material contained in this post, one may consult the references and their authors.  If someone has more material about the subject, he/she is most welcome to share in the comments box to make the post all encompassing.

Photo | References: | 1 | 2 | 3 |

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