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Taqwa: A divine filter to determine our way of life

Taqwa: A divine filter to determine our way of life

Piety is the goal of worship; it gives special meaning to simple physical rituals in the eyes of Allah

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair (Reflections)

Published: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 12:43 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:16 PM

KT photo by Shihab

“The noblest, most honourable of you in the sight of God is the most advanced of you in Taqwa.” — Holy Quran, 49:13.

The fact is that those who call themselves ‘Muslims’ need to infuse their hearts with ‘Taqwa’ if they want to be viewed by Allah as true believers. In the English language, Taqwa has been translated and interpreted in various ways. It may mean piety, righteousness, fearful of Allah, being God conscious and so on.

A heart infused with Taqwa is, therefore, 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.

It is Taqwa that gives meaning to our simple worship rituals that otherwise would be nothing. Haven’t we pondered on what the physical actions of salah (prayers) such as bowing and prostrating would mean without a heart infused with Taqwa?

What makes the hunger and thirst (when fasting) of a believer different from the same actions of a non-believer? How would the physical acts of going between the two mountains of Safa and Marwa (during Haj and Umrah) become valuable in the eyes of Allah? 

It’s the Taqwa in our hearts that provides these simple physical rituals a special meaning in the eyes of Allah. Let’s ensure, therefore, that our worship is not limited to empty acts but is rather adorned with Taqwa.

The concept — even the actual word — of Taqwa is unique to the Quran and the religious system of Islam. Its comprehensive meaning encompasses the spiritual and material; its roots are established in this world, while its branches, leaves, flowers and fruits are located in the Hereafter. One cannot understand the Holy Quran without considering the meaning or content of the fascinating and wonderful concept of Taqwa, and one cannot be muttaqi (pious) if one does not adhere consciously and continually to the practices and concepts outlined in the Holy Quran.

The most lovable act in God’s sight is piety (Taqwa), His most purified servants are the pious, and His matchless message to them is the Holy Quran. In this world, the pious have the Holy Quran; in the Hereafter, they enjoy God’s vision and pleasure. In order to recall the importance of piety, the Almighty decrees: “Fear God and be devoted to Him as He should be feared and devoted to (Holy Quran 3:101).”

Piety, which is the conscious performance of good and avoidance of evil, prevents individuals from joining the lowest of the low and causes them to advance on the path of the highest of the high. For this reason, one who attains piety has found the source of all good and blessing.

Piety is an invaluable treasure, the matchless jewel in a priceless treasure of precious stones, a mysterious key to all doors of good, and a mount on the way to Paradise. Its value is so high that, among other life-giving expressions, the Holy Quran mentions it 150 times, each mention resembling a ray of light penetrating our minds and spirits.

The right place for piety and abstinence is the heart. If one has piety and fear of Allah in his heart, then he is sincere and performs his duties perfectly in obedience to Allah.

Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) stated: “There is a piece of flesh in man’s body; if it is  good the whole body is good, if it is bad the whole body is contaminated. Understand it! That  piece of flesh is the heart.” From this tradition we know that of all the organs of the body, the most reformable organ is the heart.

Allah has made piety the goal of worship — prayer, fast, Zakat and Haj. Allah has commanded the maintenance of piety and abstinence.

(The writer is a former Khaleej Times staffer)

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