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Quarterly: Issue No 101

Muharram 1443 – August 2021

 

TAQWA DEFINED IN THE QURAN

 

Almighty Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says:

O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared; and die not except in a state of Islam.

(Surah Aali Imraan 3: Verse: 102)

 

This means obey Allah (with right observance) such that one obeys Him and never contravenes against Him, thanks Him and never be ungrateful to him, remembers Him and never forgets Him.  It is also said this means to obey Allah as He ought to be obeyed, (and die not except as those who have surrendered (unto Him)) sincerely acknowledging that you worship Him and declare His Divine Oneness. 

 

O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared (aqqa tuqaatihi). The proper manner ‘aqq’ of fearing Allah is to conform with the command neither more nor less of one’s own accord. This is something that has been confirmed by Prophetic teachings. Allah’s command ‘amr’ has two aspects - one of obligation and one of recommendation. Likewise, what is said regarding prohibition ‘nahy’ has two parts - a forbidding and an abstaining from what is blameworthy. Included in this is the proper manner of fearing Allah: it is first to avoid error, then to avoid negligence, then to beware of any omission and then to cleanse every defect.

 

Almighty Allah (SWT) further describes distinct qualities of the believers who have Taqwa.

“This is a book in which there is no doubt, a guidance for the Muttaqeen (the Allah-fearing ones).

Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in Salaah, and spend out of what We have provided for them;

And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before you, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter (Aakhirah).

They are on (true) guidance from their Lord, and it is these who will be successful.”

(Surah Al-Baqarah 2: Verses 2-5)

 

The term Muttaqeen (the people of taqwa) is derived from ‘Taqwa’ which literally means “to fear” or “to refrain from”.

 

What is TAQWA?

 

Taqwa is often translated as “fear of Allah”.  Whilst fearing Allah is part of Taqwa, its meaning is much wider than this. The linguistic meaning of Taqwa is “a shield, or protective barrier”. It is to protect oneself from what angers Allah. Some scholars define Taqwa as placing a protective barrier between yourself and Allah’s punishment. Taqwa also means doing that which Allah has enjoined and avoiding that which He has forbidden.

 

An incredible example that demonstrates this definition is when Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) asked Ubay Ibn Ka’ab (may Allah be pleased with him) about Taqwa.

Ubay said: “Have you ever taken a thorny path?” Umar replied, “Yes I have.” Ubay then asked, “So how did you travel along this thorny path?” Umar replied, “I rolled up my garment and was cautious as to where I would tread to avoid being pricked by the thorns.” So Ubay responded and said, “This is Taqwa.”

 

This truly explains the meaning of Taqwa. It illustrates how a person of Taqwa is cautious and careful with where they tread, not out of fear of stepping on a thorn, but out of fear of stepping into what Allah SWT has prohibited. They are aware of Allah SWT with every action and step they take.

A frequent supplication of the Messenger of Allah (SAW) was: O Allah! Grant me the sense of piety and purify my soul as You are the Best to purify it. You are its Guardian and its Protecting Friend. O Allah! I seek refuge in You from the knowledge that is not beneficial, and from a heart that does not fear (You), and from desire that is not satisfied, and from invocation (du’a) that is not answered.” (Muslim)

 

Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib (RA) said that he requested the Messenger of Allah (SAW) to teach him a supplication whereby he may request Allah for his needs. The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘0 Abbas, ask Allah for AAFIYAH (security and well-being).’ After some days, he again met the Prophet (SAW) and asked, ‘Teach me a supplication to beseech Allah for my want.’ He said, ‘O Abbas! O uncle of the messenger of Allah! Ask Allah for AAFIYAH (security and well-being) in this world and the next.’  (Sahih – Al-Adab Al-Mufrad)

 

AAFIYAH means to be saved from any afflictions and from sins and torments on the day of judgement.

 

O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in this life and the next. O Allah, I ask You for pardon and well-being in my religious and worldly affairs, and my family and my wealth. O Allah! veil my weaknesses and set at ease my sadness. O Allah, protect and preserve me from the front and from behind and on my right and on my left and from above, and I seek refuge in Your Greatness from receiving unexpected harm from below me (being swallowed up by the earth).

 

Allah LOVES GENTLENESS AND KINDNESS

 

One of the most beloved qualities to Allah of good character is “kindness” and “gentleness”. Allah has reserved a special reward for those who are kind and gentle.  Sayyidah A’ishah, Mother of the believers (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"O A’ishah, Allah is gentle, and He loves gentleness. He rewards for gentleness what is not granted for harshness, and He does not reward anything else like it". (Sahih Muslim).

 

The Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

"Whoever is given his portion of kindness has been given his portion of good, and whoever is deprived of his portion of kindness has been deprived of his portion of good."   (Sunan At-Tirmidhi)

Allah loves kindness and gentleness in all matters, so we should manifest these qualities even when we face abuse and cruelty. The books of Seerah reports that on one occasion, the Prophet (SAW) was insulted and cursed by his enemies, but he did not return their curse. Rather, he showed patience and forbearance and encouraged his companions to be kind.

 

Sayyidah A’ishah, Mother of the believers (may Allah be pleased with her) reported: "A group of Jews came to Allah's Messenger (SAW) and said: "As-saamu Alaika" (Death be on you), and I understood it and said to them, "Alaikum AsSaamu wa-lla'nah (Death and curse be on you)." Allah's Messenger said, "Be calm! O A’ishah, for Allah loves that one should be kind and lenient in all matters."  I said: "O Allah's Messenger! Haven't you heard what they have said?"  Allah's Messenger (SAW) said, "I have (already) said (to them), ‘Alaikum (upon you).’ ".  

(Sahih Bukhari)

 

Allah (SWT) sent Musa (AS) and Haroon (AS) to Pharaoh (Fir’awn) and even Allah commanded them to speak mildly to Pharaoh and to begin their invitation to Islam with gentleness.  Allah (SWT) said:

"Then speak to him mildly that perhaps he may take warning or fear Allah".  (Surah Ta Ha 20: Verse 44).

 

If this is how Allah commanded the prophets to speak to the greatest of their oppressors, then how much more deserving of gentleness and kindness are those who are less oppressive and better than him (Pharaoh)?  Al-Baghawi (ra) reported:

"A man recited the above verse in front of Yahya ibn Mu’adh (ra) and he began to weep. Yahya said: O My God, this is Your gentleness with one who claims to be God, then how is Your gentleness with one who says You are the Only One God"?  Subhaanallah!   (Tafseer Al-Baghawi)

 

Likewise, the beloved Messenger of Allah (SAW) was commanded to begin inviting the unbelievers of City Makkah (Saudia Arabia) to Islam with gentleness, even though they were plotting against him and the Muslims.  Almighty Merciful Allah (SWT) said:

“Verily, they are plotting a scheme and I am plotting a scheme. So, give respite to the unbelievers, deal gently with them for a while.”  (Surat At-Tariq 86: Verses 15-17).

For this reason, the Prophet (SAW) was patient and forbearing with their abuse for more than twenty years. Only after the persecution became so intense was he allowed to fight back in self-defence. Even so, the Prophet was given clear instructions to accept their repentance or at least accept their offer of peace.  Our Most Merciful Allah (SWT) said:

"If they repent, establish prayer, and give charity, let them go their way. Verily, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful. If any one of the idolaters seek your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the words of Allah. Then deliver him to his place of safety. That is because they are a people who do not know".

(Surat At-Tawbah 9: Verses 5-6).

Thus, the door of mercy and gentleness is never closed, as even the worst of criminals are given the opportunity to repent and make amends. Furthermore, kindness and gentleness should be shown to the animals and indeed all of creation.

 

Sayyidah A’ishah, Mother of the believers (may Allah be pleased with her) reported:  "I was upon a camel which was misbehaving, so I began to beat it. The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:  "You must be gentle. Verily, gentleness is not in anything except that it beautifies it, and it is not removed from anything except that it disgraces it".  

(Musnad Ahmad).

 

Small acts of kindness, although it might be trivial in the eyes of people, are an important means for us to be saved from Hellfire and admitted into Paradise.  The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said:

"Shall I not tell you for whom the Hellfire is forbidden?  It is every person accessible, polite, and mild".

(Sunan At-Tirmidhi).

 

We ask Allah to beautify our manners with kindness and to protect us from falling into harshness.  And success comes only from Allah.

O Allah! Your Forgiveness is far greater than my sins and I have more hope in Your Mercy than in my own deeds.

 

O Allah! Your Forgiveness is far greater than my sins and I have more hope in Your Mercy than in my own deeds.

 

Requesting your duas!

 

Abdul Haq Abdul Kadir

Johannesburg, Gauteng

South Africa