"O Believers! If you fear Allaah, He will grant a decision for you, and remove from you of your sins and forgive you: For Allaah is the Lord of grace unbounded." (Surah al-Anfal 8:29)
There are many verses in the Quraan which describe taqwa and how important it is for us to have taqwa.
There is not one word in English which can accurately describe taqwa, InshaAllaah I will try to come up with some words which can at least give us an idea about the meaning of taqwa.
Taqwa includes having the awareness, fear, love, and overall consciousness of Allaah and acting in accordance with that consciousness.
We should have the fear of displeasing Allaah, Our Creator, who has created us to worship Him alone. Our love for Allaah should be so great that we would hate that something which we could do, would displease The Most Merciful.
Umar(RAD) asked Ubayy bin Kaab(RAD) about the true significance of what Taqwa is. Ubayy(RAD) said, "Commander of the faithful! Have you ever had a chance to pass by a path surrounded by a thorny bush?" Umar(RAD) replied that he had done so many times. Ubayy(RAD) then asked what he (Umar) did when going along the path. Umar(RAD) said he tucked up his clothes and walked carefully along that path, so that none of his clothes would be caught in the thorns. Ubayy (RAD) then said, "This is what the term Taqwa means."
InshaAllaah we can avoid the thorny things of this life, so InshaAllaah we can be able to smell the fragrance of Paradise.
We should also stay away from doubtful manners, fearing that we might be falling into something which is haram.
Prophet Muhammad(S) said, "Halal is clear and Haram is clear, in between these two are certain things that are doubtful (Shubha). Many people do not know whether those items are Halal or Haram. Whoever leaves them, he is innocent towards his religion and his conscience. He is therefore safe. Anyone who gets involved in any of these doubtful items, he may fall into the unlawful and prohibited. The case is similar to the one who wished to raise his animals next to a restricted area, (for) he may step into (it). Indeed for every landlord there is a restricted area. Indeed the restrictions of Allaah are the unlawful (Haram items).
Alhumdulillaah there are so many halal things for us, so why should we even bother eating something which is doubtful, why should we say something which is doubtful, why should we engage in anything that is doubtful? InshaAllaah we should go towards the things we know are halal. If there is a food product which may contain pork and there is a food product that does not contain pork any haram items, then we should take the food product that does not contain any haram items. We need to ask ourselves, "Is it worth taking the risk with doubtful matters to satisfy our worldly desires."
We know that Allaah is the All-Seeing and All-Knowing. InshaAllaah by realizing this we can strengthen our taqwa and focus on doing the things which will be pleasing to Allaah.
Allaah has described the benefits of taqwa, one example is (what means):
"And those who fear Allaah, He prepares a way out." (65:1)
Allaah describes the people of taqwa (what means):
"It is not righteousness that you turn your faces towards east or west; but it is righteousness to believe in Allah, and the Last Day, and the Angels, And the Book(s), and the Messengers; to spend of your wealth, 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 which you have made, and to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity and throughout all periods of panic. Such are the people of truth, the God fearing." (2:177)
InshaAllaah we can continually work on increasing our taqwa. I have come up with a few ways which I think could be beneficial, and these are only a few ways:
To not only read the Quraan, but to reflect on its meaning.
- this helps to see that the Quraan is the Book of Allaah. We can see the words and verses of the Quraan are not the work of any human being, and the challenge of Allaah still stands for anyone to even try to match one verse of the Quraan.
- this also shows us the reward of those who obey Allaah, and the punishment of those who have disobeyed Allaah.
To increase our knowledge of the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad(SAW):
- Allaah says (what means):
"Say: If you love Allaah then follow me, so that Allaah may love you and forgive your sins. And Allaah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate." (3:31)
So we can see that we have to follow what the Prophet Muhammad(SAW) has commanded for us. InshaAllaah if we can get a better understanding of what Prophet Muhammad(S) has commanded for us to do and not to do, we can increase our taqwa, because we are doing so for the sake of Allaah, so that we may be of the people who will be rewarded on the Day of Judgment, and not of those people who will be punished.
To remember how temporary this life is.
- InshaAllaah we can do this by working on the first two steps I have outlined.
- We need to remind ourselves that this world will indeed come to end, and we will be judged for what we did while we were living and in good mental health on this earth.
(Note: While we have jobs we should realize we are taking these jobs to provide for our families, and we should have the intention to give to those who are not as fortunate to us, as this is a characteristic of the people as is described in 2:188 of the Quraan.)
To realize how fortunate we are.
- Alhumdulillaah we should be very thankful that we are Muslims and Islaam is our
Islaam is our religion, because as Allaah says (what means):
" Truly, the religion in the sight of Allaah is Islaam." (3:19)
"And, whoever seeks a religion other than Islaam, it will never be accepted of him, and in the hereafter he will be one of the losers." (3:85)
- We should realize how fortunate we are in terms in material goods we have. Many people do not have a roof over their head, food to eat, adequate clothing, medicine, transportation, and so much more. We should be thankful to Allaah that He has provided us with so many things, and InshaAllaah this will help us to increase our taqwa.
Anything good in this is from Allaah, and anything wrong is from myself.
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