Concept of Piety(Taqwa) and Righteousness(Birr)
What is TAQWA
“This is the Book (Holy Qu’ran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqin (People of Taqwa).” Holy Qur’an – 2:2
- Taqwa means awareness or consciousness of Allah’s pervasive oneness which results in the desire to mould one’s existence in the light of this awareness or consciousness. Such God con-sciousness positively motivates one to do every act of righteousness, for Allah observes both ones inner motives and one’s outward actions, and in His Grand Plan, everything will have its due consequences.
“O you who have attained faith! Remain conscious of Allah (Taqwa), and let every human being look to what he sends ahead for the morrow! And (once again): Remain conscious of Allah (Taqwa), for Allah is fully aware of all that you do” Holy Qur’an 59:18
- Taqwa also means fear of Allah, specifically our accountability and His Divine Judgement.
This ‘fear’ of Allah is however akin to love and awe; for it means that fear of offending Him or doing anything wrong that will forfeit His Pleasure. Taqwa in this sense implies self-restraint, guarding oneself from all evil, wrong, and injustice, and the positive doing of good
“Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) with the most Taqwa” Holy Qur’an 49:13
Hence Taqwa is conceptualized as
- State of complete maturity in which mind, heart and body are joined in complete harmony and it is knowledge and behavior.
- State of the heart or the behaviour resulting from the belief and observes Allah’s rules in his private life as in his public life is a person with Taqwa.
- The place of Taqwa is in the heart, although its manifestations appear in behaviour.
- State of the heart which leads to behavior that complies with Allah’s rules.
- Encompasses all good deeds and it is Allah’s recommendation for all Prophets and human beings in general.
How does a Human Being achieve a high level of Taqwa?
Based on the characteristics of the God-fearing (Muttaqun) according to the Holy Qur’an, the concept of Taqwa has been realized as having two distinct components, that is, Spirituality and Responsibility. Spirituality consists of three dimensions namely Belief (Eeman), Worship (Ibadah) and Repentance (Tawbah). Responsibility consists of six dimensions namely Emotional Control, Charity, Forgiveness, Integrity, Patience and Justice.
Having understood that Taqwa happens to be that component of human life that transforms an ordinary person into a revolutionary, luminary personality, let’s understand how we can develop our Taqwa.
1. Taqwa can be increased as one gains a greater and deeper level of right knowledge. Knowledge here refers to
a. Knowledge of Allah and His Attributes
b. Knowledge of the accountability and Divine Judgement in the Hereafter
c. Knowledge and understanding of the Book of Allah and following the way of Holy Prophet Muhammed (pbuh)
2. Taqwa is also nurtured by worshipping and serving Allah with ‘Ihsan’ that is as though one sees Allah and if one cannot do so, know for certain that He sees you
3. Taqwa increases when one carries out more and more good acts such as prayer, fasting, contemplation, remembrance of Allah, gaining knowledge of His revelation, and other acts that mould our consciousness into a God-centered one
4. In order to fear Allah, a Muslim needs to remember death and remember the Hereafter. This is one of the fruits of reading the Quran often, as reflecting on its verses and chapters with the many reminders of the Hereafter helps the heart increase in taqwa
5. Always repenting to Allah, as Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, advised his companions, saying that he repents to Allah seventy times each day
6. One of the fruits of fasting in the month of Ramadan is to increase in taqwa
7. Make du’aa that God increases you in taqwa
More recommendations to increase in Taqwa:
- Be alert to whatever may divert you from Allah
- Be alert to the carnal pleasures that may lead to the realm of the forbidden
- Ascribe all material and spiritual accomplishments to Allah
- Never consider yourself higher and better than anyone else
- Long for Allah’s pleasure and satisfaction in all affairs
- Renew the fountains of your faith (Iman) by studying and reflecting on Allah’s creation
- Remember death, and live with the conscious knowledge that it may happen at any time
Quranic Verses indicating the qualities of muttaqeen:
- “Who believe in the Unseen and keep up prayer and spend out of what We have given them, And who believe in that which has been revealed to you and that which was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are sure” (2:3-4)
- “Those who spend in ease as well as in adversity and those who restrain (their) anger and pardon men. And Allah loves the doers of good (to others). And those who, when they commit an indecency or wrong their souls, remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins. And who forgives sins but Allah? And they persist not knowingly in what they do.” (3:133-136)
“You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemple for him who hopes in Allah and the Final Day, and who remembers Allah much.” Holy Qur’an 33:21
WHY do we need TAQWA?
- A heart infused with Taqwa is an attitude that one adopts about following Allah’s teachings. It provides us the filter to get a renewed perspective regarding how we live various aspects of our lives because we become aware of Allah’s pleasure and displeasure in all our affairs
|Allah addresses the entire humanity in Holy Quran (2:21), what may be translated as, “O you people Submit to your Lord, the One who created you and those who came before you, that you may have the chance to learn taqwa.”|
Economic prosperity in this life comes from taqwa of Allah. Allah said in Holy Quran (5:66), what may be translated as, “If only the people of the book had believed and had taqwa we should indeed have blotted out their iniquities and admitted them to gardens of bliss. If only they have stood fast by the law, of the Torah, Gospel, and all the revelation that was sent to them from their Lord they would have enjoyed happiness from every side. There is from among them a party on the right course, And many of them do evil deeds.”
If the people apply the book of Allah they can solve the economic problems as the verse said. But how can this be done? And what is the relationship between the economic prosperity and implementation of the rules of Allah? Allah has legislated a complete system that coves all aspects of life that will lead to happiness in this life and the hereafter. And we can find in Islam a part that covers the economic system. This Islamic economic system is completely independent and different from other man made systems.
Also taqwa is a reason for sustenence and removing hardship Allah says in Holy Quran (65:2-3), what may be translated as, “Whoever has taqwa, He Allah prepares a way out for him. And He provides for him from sources he would never expect.
Also the victory, the assistance and love of Allah are for the people who have taqwa. Allah said in Holy Quran (16:128), what may be translated as, “For Allah is with those who have taqwa and those who do good”. Also in another verse in Holy Quran (9:36), it is stated as, “But Know that Allah is with those who have taqwa.”
Also taqwa leads us to do right deeds, repentence to Allah, and the forgiveness of Allah. Allah (SWT) says in Holy Quran (33: 70-71), what may be translated as, “O you who believe ittaqu Allah (Adopt Allah’s Taqw) and Always say a word directed to the right. That He may take your conduct whole and sound and forgive you your sins”.
Also facilitating jobs and removing difficulties is a fruit of taqwa. Allah said in Surah At-Talaq, (verse 4), what may be translated as, “And whoever has taqwa of Allah, Allah will make their path easy.”
May Allah make us realize the innumerable benefits of Taqwa and grant us the same in true sense as preached by his Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).