Thursday, April 17, 2014

Taqwa

Presented by: Sister Sara

Definition of Taqwa:


Being mindful of one’s relationship with Allah our Lord is an individual obligation whose foundation is knowledge, and whose life is practice according to Islam. Allah call’s the believers, ordering them to be cautious: “Oh you who believe, be cautious of Allah.”


The origin of the word Taqwa is from the Arabic root letters waw qaf yaa’ (waqa) (meaning shield) and its verb is from the word “Ittaki”. Ittaki means to be careful or to be protected or to be cautious. Taqwa is an internal compass on the path that leads towards Allah. The broader meaning and character of Taqwa is to develop one’s behavior, so as to be cautiously aware in the worship of Allah and attain nearness to Him and in so doing, also attain his pleasure and increase our hope in JANNAH.


This consciousness and fear of Allah is understood as a protection and a shield against wrongdoing. When we abstain of evil through this fear, consciousness and establishing a cautious awareness of Allah, ultimately develops one’s love of Him.


The messenger of Allah said in a Hadith, reported in the Sahih Muslim that, “Taqwa is here”, and he pointed to his chest.
عـن أبي ذر جـنـدب بـن جـنـادة ، وأبي عـبد الـرحـمـن معـاذ بـن جـبـل رضي الله عـنهما ، عـن الرسول صلي الله عـليه وسلم ، قـال : ( اتـق الله حيثما كنت ، وأتبع السيئة الحسنة تمحها ، وخالق الناس بخـلـق حـسـن ).
رواه الترمذي [ رقم : 1987 ] وقال : حديث حسن ، وفي بعض النسخ : حسن صحيح
On the authority of Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junaadah, and Abu ‘Abd-ir-Rahmaan Mu’aadh bin Jabal (radi allahu anhuma1) that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said :
Have Taqwaa (Fear) of Allah, [Be pious] wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people.
It was related by at-Tirmidhee.


The Glorious Qur`an illustrates this in Surah 49 Al Hujurat (the Inner Apartments), Verse 13:


يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ


“O mankind! We created you from a single (pair) of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise (each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you (Muttaqi). And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted (with all things).”


In Surah 53 An Najm, Verse 32 reminds us that:
فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ ۖ هُوَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَنِ اتَّقَىٰ
“Hold not yourself purified. Allah knows best who has Taqwa.”


The four verses in Surah 2 Al Baqarah Verse 2-5 summarizes the guiding principle in the Noble Qur`an for the people of Taqwa:
ذَ‌ٰلِكَ الْكِتَابُ لَا رَيْبَ ۛ فِيهِ ۛ هُدًى لِّلْمُتَّقِينَ 2 .  الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ وَيُقِيمُونَ الصَّلَاةَ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ 3 .  وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِمَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ وَمَا أُنزِلَ مِن قَبْلِكَ وَبِالْآخِرَةِ هُمْ يُوقِنُو نَ4   . أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ5   


2. This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear (or are conscious) of Allah (Taqwa).
3. Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them;
4. And who believe in the Revelation sent to you, and sent before your time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter.
5. They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper.
The Muttaqun are those that believe, fear Allah and look to what He has ordained in carrying out His actions to avoid His displeasure and sadness. These people are involved and active in his/her life with the Ummah (the Muslim community), concerned with the affairs of humanity, whilst at the same time praying , fasting, spending in Allah’s cause, having good morals, are forgiving and just. All these descriptions can be attributed to a person who has Taqwa and will be assured and successful in the Hereafter.


Why we need Reminders
The ultimate remembrance or reminder is the Quran.
Allah says:
Remind (them) with the Quran
وَذَكِّرْ بِهِ
[Surah Al-An'am:70]


Even if we know about taqwa we need to be reminded because we forget. Why does Allah mention taqwa repeatedly in the Quran? To remind us.


Relation Between Obedience & Mercy
Allah says:
And obey Allah and the Messenger, that you (all) may be shown mercy
وَأَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ
[Surah Al-Imran:132]


If you are hopeful for the mercy of Allah it depends on your obedience to Allah and His Messenger (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam). If you hope for Allah’s mercy you must be obedient to Him.


Allah says:
وَسَارِعُوا إِلَىٰ مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّن رَّبِّكُمْ وَجَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمَاوَاتُ وَالْأَرْضُ أُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ
And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous (muttaqeen).
[Surah Al-Imran:133]


Sari’oo means running towards something. Allah describes in the ayaat before as people running towards dunya. Now he says run towards forgiveness. We run towards things we are in need of. So we need to acknowledge that we are in need of Allah’s forgiveness. We are not free of sin.


And the second incentive is, run towards Jannah that is prepared for the muttaqeen, those who are truly cautious, afraid and careful. What are the qualities of these people of Taqwa? Allah goes on to describe them.


First Quality
Allah says:
الَّذِينَ يُنفِقُونَ فِي السَّرَّاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ
Those Who spend [in the cause of Allah ] during ease and hardship
[Surah Al-Imran:134]


If anyone else sells you something without showing you the product you wouldn’t buy it. But we have not seen Jannah yet we trust Allah. So Allah is selling Jannah. But selling involves an exchange and everything we have is Allah’s anyway, so what is the exchange? There is no exchange, but Allah speaks in terms we will understand, because we are greedy and always look for a good deal. Spending here also includes spending energy and not just money, Allah did not say amwaal (wealth, assets) but anfaq, includes wealth, time, youth, energy, priority, planning. It means sacrificing for Allah, losing and letting go of the things we love for the sake of Allah to get this attribute of Taqwa.


Second Quality
Allah says:
وَالْكَاظِمِينَ الْغَيْظَ
And who restrain (swallow) their anger
[Surah Al-Imran:134]


The verse implies those who swallow their anger consistently, ism faa’il is used. Swallowing anger meaning controlling yourself as if the anger is not even there, when you swallow food it’s gone. So when you get angry you swallow your anger as if it’s not even there, not showing it. If little things always make us upset and annoy us how do we expect Allah to forgive our big sins? This shows a lack of restraint.


Abu Huraira narrates the Prophet said:
The strong person is not he who is able to physically overcome people. The strong person is he who overcomes his rage when he is angry.
[Sahih Bukhari, Volume 8, Book 73 (Kitab Al-Adab), Hadith 135, also in Sahih Muslim, Ahmad]


Ibn Abaass narrates the Prophet said:
He who gives time to a debtor or forgives him, then Allah will save him from the heat of Jahannam (Hell-fire). Behold! The deeds of Paradise are difficult to reach, for they are on top of a hill, while the deeds of the Fire are easy to find in the lowlands. The happy person is he who is saved from the tests. Verily, there is no dose of anything better to Allah than a dose of rage that the servant controls, and whenever the servant of Allah controls it, he will be internally filled with faith.
[Musnad Ahmad, classed as Sahih]


Third Quality
وَالْعَافِينَ عَنِ النَّاسِ ۗ وَاللَّهُ يُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِينَ
Allah says:
and who pardon the people – and Allah loves the doers of good (who excel in good);
[Surah Al-Imran:134]


Forgiving vs Forgiving out of Love Allah does not say “ghafireen” but “afeen”, meaning those who not only forgive, but forgive out of love. This ayah means They forgive those who treat them with injustice. Therefore, they do not hold any ill feelings about anyone in their hearts, and this is the most excellent conduct in this regard, which is why Allah describes them as Muhsineen. Forgiveness by definition means forgiving those who don’t deserve it. You are not forgiving for their sake, but your sake, so you can be part of the people of Taqwa.


Allah says
إِنَّ الشَّيْطَانَ يَنزَغُ بَيْنَهُمْ
Shaytaan will no doubt try to cause dissent among you.
[Surah Al-Israa:53]


Abu Bakr and the accusation against his daughter Aisha Take the example of Abu Bakr. There is no man that loved Rasulullah (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) more than Abu Bakr, his loved surpassed anybody else’s love. Moreover, his daughter was married to Rasulullah. So Abu Bakr loves Rasulullah is the messenger and because he is family. The daughter of Abu Bakr and wife of Rasulullah was accused in an ugly way (in surah Nur) by someone who he gave an allowance. Abu Bakr had every right to be angry and punish this man, how did he exact his anger? He discontinued the allowance he gave to his man. That’s all. What a big heart. Allah set such a high standard for him. Allah gives him advice in the Quran.


Allah says:
وَلْيَعْفُوا وَلْيَصْفَحُوا ۗ أَلَا تُحِبُّونَ أَن يَغْفِرَ اللَّهُ لَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
and let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.
[Surah Nur:22]


So is your anger and revenge worth more, or is the forgiveness of Allah worth more? If Allah’s forgiveness is worth more, you will forget about whether the person who wronged you deserves it or not, whether they are a nice person or not.


Fourth Quality
Allah says:
وَالَّذِينَ إِذَا فَعَلُوا فَاحِشَةً أَوْ ظَلَمُوا أَنفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللَّهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوا لِذُنُوبِهِمْ وَمَن يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ إِلَّا اللَّهُ وَلَمْ يُصِرُّوا عَلَىٰ مَا فَعَلُوا وَهُمْ يَعْلَمُونَ
And those who, when they commit an immorality or wrong themselves [by transgression], remember Allah and seek forgiveness for their sins – and who can forgive sins except Allah ? – and [who] do not persist in what they have done while they know.
[Surah Al-Imran:135]


Allah here is talking about the muttaqeen doing any act of shamelessness. Whether it was a gaze that we hid or a sin we did in the middle of the night or a Fajr prayer we missed. The muttaqeen are being described that they may fall into these traps. This is easier to understand now than ever before. You can’t take a 10 minute trip without being exposed to fahsha 100s of times. They will make mistakes, but there is something they do after the mistake. They remember Allah.


A Trick of Shaytaan When you do something bad and you are responsible to someone for that act, you avoid contact with them, because you know you have disappointed them. When we sin who have we disappointed? Allah. So shaytaan comes to you and says will you do good after you have sinned? You are a hypocrite, two faced. So he keeps you in sin, makes you feel embarrassed to go in front of Allah and keeps you in sin. The true muttaq as soon as he does something wrong he remembers Allah right away (not fa or thumma dhakarullah but dhakarullah).


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