“O you who believe, fasting has been prescribed for you as it has been prescribed for those before you, so that you may attain taqwa.” [Noble Quran 2:183]
What is Taqwa?
Taqwa is commonly described as “God Consciousness and piousness”, i.e. being constantly aware of the presence of Allah, that he is seeing, hearing and knows all your actions, thoughts and intentions. But like most people I am sure you know that, who doesn’t as the Imam every Juma lectures on it.
Effects of Taqwa on our lives
However, have we ever thought of the implications that Taqwa has on our lives? The actions we do as a result of having rising level of taqwa. Is our heart infused with an attitude that allows us to freely and firmly follow the teachings of Islam in any and all circumstances?
Taqwa is the connection that we have internally from our hearts and minds directly to Allah without any third party involvement. As Allah does not need our sacrifices, worships or money, He states:
“It is neither their meat nor their blood that reaches Allah, but it is Taqwa (piety, etc.) from you that reaches Him. Thus have We made them subject to you so that you may glorify Allah for His guidance to you…” (Surah Al-Hajj: 37).
From this verse we understand the implications taqwa has on our lives, as we can sacrifice many things but without the correct intentions and sincere actions, and eagerness of gaining reward, we can easily fall short of the unlimited rewards that await actions done with taqwa. We must mould our life to continuously understand and develop our taqwa, think of it as a progression ladder, the way we struggle and put time and effort for the progression in our careers, businesses, we must also focus on our taqwa career progression ladder one step at a time consistently.
Why should we have Taqwa?
Simple answer is, if you believe you will return to the Creator who created you and he will judge you according to the criteria and regulations He set for you, then the most logical advice would be to “do as you’re told, or die trying”.
Other reasons that could also provide an incentive to gain taqwa:
1. The most respected, honoured and closest to Allah is the one who has the highest level of taqwa:
O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.(49:13)
(This verse also eliminates discrimination, tribalism and any sort of self-honour or superiority, this is a discussion for another day inshallah.)
2. It enhances the quality of life, being more socially aware of others as a result gaining respect and privileges.
3. The Quran will act as a source of guidance, as mentioned in Surah Baqarah the opening line:
This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah (2:1)
4. Taqwa builds your personal level of conscious power empowering you to take control of your life, setting goals, committing to them and achieving them.
How to Gain Taqwa?
As anything in life the easiest way to gain or achieve anything is to have a goal and then break it down into steps, and categorising which are priority.
These three are the main building blocks of Taqwa, without one it will be very difficult to hold on to the Goal. Each category can be broken down into tasks or actions which we must do or not do to meet the requirement of the category.
Do the Obligations
No it’s not just the five pillars. The five pillars are just the basics, the foundation of our religion. Other obligations which fall into the category could be:
- Respect of parents
- Taking care of neighbours
- Honouring your word
- Help the needy
Etc… I will write a comprehensive list in the near future inshaallah.
It could be argued that these fall into the good character category, yes, it could however they would merge between the two based on circumstances, for e.g. to offer food to your neighbour is from good character, however if your neighbour is hungry and has no food and you are aware that they will go sleep hungry then that would also become an obligation to ensure your neighbour has eaten food.
The obligations act as the life blood for our taqwa.
Refrain from the Major Sins
Major sins acts as the cancer in our body eating away at the blood cells and organs, spreading diseases across our body resulting in loss of life, similarly major sins eats away our deeds and eventually takes away any taqwa we many possess, so much so that we do not feel guilty or remorse for the sins that we commit. (May Allah save us from such a state. Ameen).
Major sins include:
01. Associating anything with Allah
03. Practising magic
04. Not Praying
05. Not paying Zakat
06. Not fasting on a Day of Ramadan without excuse
07. Not performing Hajj, while being able to do so
08. Disrespect to parents
09. Abandoning relatives
10. Fornication and Adultery
13. Wrongfully consuming the property of an orphan
14. Lying about Allah and His Messenger
15. Running away from the battlefield
16. A leader’s deceiving his people and being unjust to them
17. Pride and arrogance
18. Bearing false witness
19. Drinking Khamr (wine)
21. Slandering chaste women
22. Stealing from the spoils of war
24. Highway Robbery
25. Taking false oath
27. Illegal gain
28. Consuming wealth acquired unlawfully
29. Committing suicide
30. Frequent lying
31. Judging unjustly
32. Giving and Accepting bribes
33. Woman’s imitating man and man’s imitating woman
34. Being cuckold
35. Marrying a divorced woman in order to make her lawful for the husband
36. Wilfully not protecting oneself from urine
38. Learning knowledge of the religion for the sake of this world and concealing that knowledge
39. Betrayal of trust
40. Recounting favours
41. Denying Allah’s Decree
42. Listening (to) people’s private conversations
43. Carrying tales
45. Breaking contracts
46. Believing in fortune-tellers and astrologers
47. A woman’s bad conduct towards her husband
48. Making statues and pictures
49. Lamenting, wailing, tearing the clothing, and doing other things of this sort when an affliction befalls
50. Treating others unjustly
51. Overbearing conduct toward the wife, the servant, the weak, and animals
52. Offending one’s neighbour
53. Offending and abusing Muslims
54. Offending people and having an arrogant attitude toward them
55. Trailing one’s garment in pride
56. Men’s wearing silk and gold
57. A slave’s running away from his master
58. Slaughtering an animal which has been dedicated to anyone other than Allah
59. To knowingly ascribe one’s paternity to a father other than one’s own
60. Arguing and disputing violently
61. Withholding excess water
62. Giving short weight or measure
63. Feeling secure from Allah’s Plan
64. Offending Allah’s righteous friends
65. Not praying in congregation but praying alone without an excuse
66. Persistently missing Friday Prayers without any excuse
67. Usurping the rights of the heir through bequests
68. Deceiving and plotting evil
69. Spying for the enemy of the Muslims
70. Cursing or insulting the good Companions of Allah’s Messenger (s)
Do a Self-Analysis Right NOW!!!
Go down the list and honestly answer to yourself if you are guilty or not of the sin, don’t worry no one’s going to bite you, not yet anyway. If you have identified any, immediately repent, and make a firm resolve not to do it, and make a personal note of it. Don’t turn the page, do it now then turn the page. Done, good you can now turn.
Now take the identified weakness and make a plan of improvement.
|37. Showing Off||
Etc…. Whatever works best for you, remember to sit down and really think of some solutions, it is also wise to share with loved ones that care about you and want you to change, such as Mother, Father, wife.
|50. Treating others unjustly||1. Apologise2. Think before you make a decision3. Begin regular mushwarat i.e. consultation, meetings in your house, work etc… and be sure to provide enough opportunity for all to express themselves.||1. Immediately2. At the time of a situation when there is a possibility of injustice.3. Daily, weekly when you feel it is most effective|
The above mentioned is only for guidance purposes, as every individual’s situation would be different, therefore different remedies would be needed to cure those weaknesses. However, the key is to identify and overcome self-deception that you are free from error. Once you have broken the wall of arrogance and self-deception, personal development and progress would become natural and you would reach new heights in this world and the next. Insha Allah.
Tips to Increase Taqwa
After doing the obligations and refraining from the major sins, it is very important that we continue to further develop our relationship with Allah by continuing to develop our character and increase our worship. Below is a list of tips taken from various websites and books on how to increase taqwa, I have divided them into two sections. Take few tips and make a plan of action for them and give yourself a target, then review, reflect and re-plan.
I will leave you with an easy to implement formula of success given by the Prophet (Pbuh) at the time of the farewell Hajj:
Abu Umama Sudayy ibn ‘Ajlan al-Bahili said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, speaking in the Hajj of Farewell. He said, ‘Fear Allah, pray your five prayers, fast your month, pay the zakat on your property and obey your amirs (Leaders) and you will enter the Garden of your Lord.” [at-Tirmidhi]
There are many more, please share your thoughts in comments section below.