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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم

اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِيْن،وَالصَّلاۃ وَالسَّلامُ عَلَی النَّبِیِّ الْکَرِيم وَعَلیٰ آله وَاَصْحَابه اَجْمَعِيْن۔

Taqwa is the Greatest Factor that Leads man to Paradise

The Meaning of Taqwa: Protecting oneself from the displeasure of God is Taqwa (piety).Taqwa or fear of Allah is the main source of all good deeds. Allah has enjoined Taqwa for every human being and jinn (jinni or demons), coming to this world since its beginning till to the Day of Judgment. It is Taqwa that will help aman get deliverance on the Day of Resurrection. Taqwa is the best covering and the best provision for the believers. This is the great bounty that opens the knots of the heart, enlightens the path and leads even a sinful person to the divine guidance. Taqwa is the precious pearl that makes it easier for aman to avoid the evils and adopt righteousness.One of the statements of Ali (RA) narrated in the books goes thus: “Piety is, in fact, the name of fearing Allah, acting upon the Shariah, being content with what one gets and preparing for the Day of Judgment.” Another definition of Taqwa, as narrated from Ubai ibn Ka’b (RA) when Umar (RA)asked him, goes thus: Ubai ibn Ka’b(RA) said: “Have you ever walked on a thorny path?” Umar (RA) replied in affirmative. Ubai ibn Ka’b(RA) again asked: “How do you walk on such path?” Umar (RA) said: “I take care of my clothes so that they are not trapped by the thrones.” Ubai ibn Ka’b (RA) then said: “The same thing is Taqwa.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir)

Taqwa actually resides in the heart. It, however, gets reflected through numerous acts. Indicating to the heart, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Taqwa lies here.” (Sahih Muslim) In short, Taqwa means to avoid, out of fear of Allah, what is prohibited and act, according to the ways of the Prophet (PBUH), upon what is enjoined.

The importance of Taqwa: In hundreds of verses of the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty has emphatically explained the importance of Taqwa or fearing Allah. It is right now not possible for me to mention all these verses here. However, the translation of some verses is being mentioned here. “O you, who believe, fear Allah, as He should be feared.” (Surah Aal Imran: v. 102).“O you who believe, fear Allah and speak straightforward words.” (Surah al-Ahzab: v. 70).“O you who believe, fear Allah and be in the company of the truthful.” (Surah al-Taubah: v. 119).“O you who believe, fear Allah, and everybody must consider what he (or she) has sent ahead for tomorrow.” (Surah Al-Hashr: v. 18).Taqwa is not such an act that may be specific for this Ummah alone. It is instead required from every person who came since the beginning of this world and would come till the Day of Judgment to lead the life in fear of Allah. Allah says: “we have ordered those who were given the books before you, and (ordered) you yourselves to fear Allah.” (Surah al-Nisa: v. 131).

Allah Almighty has also commanded His beloved Prophet (PBUH) to fear Him. Thus, He says in the Surah Al-Ahzab (v. 1): “O Prophet, fear Allah.” Allah Almighty,Whogives honour to His believer slaves even in unfavourable circumstances, says in the Holy Quran that wealth or position does not have any values. Instead, it is only the fear of Allah which bringshonour to man. The more one fears Allah in this mortal world the more honours one will get in the court of Allah. Thus, Allah Almighty says: “Surely, the noblest of you in the eyes of Allah is the one who is most pious of you.”

It is not easy to have fear of Allah every time in life, whether it is worship, dealing or social affair. But the Satan, our innerself and the society drive us to the opposite direction. Therefore, Allah Almighty had mercy upon His slaves and said: “So, observe taqwa (total obedience to Allah in awe of Him) as far as you can.” (Surah Al-Taghabun: v. 16).It means that man should fear Allah in his life as much as he can. If someone happens to commit any mistake, he should immediately seek the pardon of Allah. It is hoped that He will forgive him. But it does not mean that we should cheat even in Taqwa, as Allah says: “O you, who believe, fear Allah as He should be feared.” (Surah Aal Imran: v. 102).

While on the journey for Hajj as well as in normal life, a man wants to equip himself with numerous things, so that he can easily fulfil his worldly needs. Allah says: “Take provisions (while on a journey for Hajj) along, for themerit of (having) provision is to abstain (from begging), and fear Me, O men of understanding!” (SurahAl-Baqarah: v. 197).It means that adopting the worldly measures in not against the Shariah. But the best provision is piety, the fear of Allah. In verses two and three of Surah al-Talaq, Allah Almighty made it clear that the person adopting piety will have success in both the worlds. “Whoever fears Allah, He brings forth a way out for him and provides him (with what he needs) from where he does not even imagine.” At another place, the Quran says: “O you who believe, if you fear Allah, He will provide you with a criterion (to distinguish between right and wrong) andwill write off your evil deeds and will forgive you.” (Surah al-Anfal: v. 29).

The benefits of Taqwa: Allah Almighty has mentioned many benefits of Taqwa. Some of them are explained below. “Piety brings guidance.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: v. 2). It makes man aware of the criterion with which he can distinguish between the right and the wrong (Surah Al-Anfal: v. 29).It removes agony and brings vastness in the livelihood (Surah al-Talaq: vv. 2, 3).It brings help from Allah (Surah al-Nahl: v. 128).It provides man with the closeness to Allah (Surah Al-Jathiya: v. 19).It brings the love of Allah (Surah Al-Taubah: v. 7).It creates ease in the worldly affairs (Surah al-Talaq: v. 4).It causes the sins to be forgiven and brings big reward (Surah al-Talaq: v. 8).Good deeds are accepted through it (Al-Maidah: v. 28).It brings success. (Surah Aal Imran: v. 130) It brings glad tidings from Allah (Surah Yunus: vv. 62, 64).It keeps man away from the Hell which is indeed the worst dwelling (Surah Maryam: vv. 71, 72).It will make a  man enter the Paradise which is the greatest wish of every person (Surah Nun: v. 34).

The relationship between the Taqwa and the fundamental pillars of Islam:

Taqwa and Salah:Allah says in the Holy Quran: “Surely Salah restrains one from shameful and evil acts.” (Surah Ankabut: v. 45) Taqwa is actually to refrain from the shameful and evil acts.

Taqwa and Sadaqah: Allah Almighty says: “Take Sadaqah (obligatory alms) out of their wealth through which you may cleanse and purify them, and pray for them.” (Surah Al-Taubah: v. 103).Zakah is not a tax which a Muslim pays to the government. Likewise, paying Zakah is not a favour of the rich person to the poor. Instead, every Muslim needs to pay Zakah according to the command of Allah for purification of his self, as he needs medicine for thecure of his body. It is only the fear of Allah that leads man to spendhis wealth which is so beloved to manaccording to the command of Allah. And this fear of Allah is the base for piety.

Taqwa and fasting: Fasting is among the acts which help a man gain Taqwa. In the Holy Quran, Allah Almighty has explained the same wisdom behind obligation of the fasting. Allah says: “O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that youmay be God-fearing.”Fasting creates an ability to control the baser desires, and this is the base for Taqwa.

Taqwa and Hajj: By starting the Surah al-Hajj with the teaching of Taqwa, Allah Almighty taught man that arrival of big crowds from far and wide to perform Hajj reminds us of the Day of Judgment when the breastfeeding mother will also forget the babies which she had breastfed. In short, the teachings of the acts of Hajj also suggest that we should prepare for our next life. And, obviously, this is possible only because of fear of Allah in the heart, which is actual piety.

How to adopt Taqwa: Taqwa can be attained very easily by adopting the attributes of the people of Taqwa as explained in the Holy Quran. We should always keep in mind that Allah Almighty is watching us and that we will be held accountable to Him for every deed of our life whether we are in the mosque in front of Allah or at home with our children, in the market with the customersor at public place with people, in the Darul Hadith teaching the lessons of hadith or in the college teaching the lessons of modern science, sitting in the mosque and reciting the Holy Quran and studying maths in any institution. We should understand that this worldly life is the first and last chance to get success in the eternal life of the hereafter. The angel of death can snatch the soul from our body anytime. We should truly repent to Allah right now and lead the subsequent days of our life according to the ways of the Prophet (PBUH)instead of badly regretting in the hereafter. If we equip ourselves with piety, we will be safe from the Hell fire and enjoy the great bounties of Allah in the Paradise that we have not even imagined. The Prophet (PBUH) was once asked as to which thing is the greatest factor that leads man to Paradise. He replied: Taqwa and good morals. After that, he was asked as to what is the greatest factor that leads man to the Hell. He said: mouth and private parts (Sunan Ibn Majah).Mouth refers here to eating unlawful livelihood, backbiting others or speaking lie, while private parts refer to adultery. In short, Taqwa is generally attained by three things: (1) Acting upon the divine injunctions and avoiding the sins, (2) Acting upon the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and avoiding the undesirable things, (3) and avoiding even the doubtful and some permissible things, as the Prophet (PBUH) said: No one can become pious unless he avoids some permissible things in which there is no problem, to avoid things in which there is problem (Sunan Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah, Hakim, Baihaqi).

Dr. Mohammad Najeeb Qasmi

http://www.najeebqasmi.com/