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Taqwaa (piety) forms part of the basic essentials of Islam. It means to observe the Divine commandments conscientiously and scrupulously and to avoid all forbidden, wicked and shameful things, believing wholly and firmly in the Great Requital of the Last Day and fearin Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) and His wrath and punishment. In other words, it demands of us, on the one hand, to carry out, thoroughly and well, the duties prescribed by the Almighty and to fulfill zealously the rights of men who have a claim on us according to the Divine law, and, on the other, to refrain strictly from doing anything that has been prohibited by Him. It calls on us to make the fear of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) our constant companion. Both in the Holy Quraan and the Traditions a very great emphasis has been laid on Taqwaa and righteousness and it has been urged on us most forcefully and persistently to cultivate it in ourselves. Some of the relevant verses of the Holy Quraan are:

O ye who believe! fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam.    [III-102]

So fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) as much as you can; listen and obey.

O ye who believe! fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) and let every soul look to what (provisions) he has sent forth for the morrow. And fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa); for Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.    [LIX-18]

The Quraanic verses, further, reveal that there is a great favour of the Lord even in this world on those who fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) and practise Taqwaa and righteousness. Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) shows special munificence to them and makes His help available to them in thousand ways:

And for those who fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa)  He (ever) prepares a way out and He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine.    [XLV:2-3]

The Holy Quraan also tells that those who lead a life of Taqwaa and righteousness become the Friends of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa), and, then, for them there is neither fear nor shall they ever grieve.

Behold! verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear nor shall they grieve, those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil; for them are Glad Tidings in the life of the world and the Hereafter.   [X-62-64]

Some of the wonderful boons and blessings that await the pious. and the righteous in the Hereafter have been revealed briefly in the following verses:

Say: shall 1 give you glad tidings of things far better than those? for the righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternalhome with Companions (pure and holy) and the good pleasure of Allah For in Allahs sight are (all) His servants.    [111:15]

And verily, for the Righteous is a beautiful place of (Final) Return. Gardens of Eternity whose doors will ever be opened to them; therein will they recline (at ease); therein can they call (at pleasure) for fruit in abundance and (delicious) drink; and beside them will be chaste women restraining their glances (companions): equal age. Such is the promise made for the Day of Account! Truly, such will be Our Bounty (to you) It will never fail.     [XXXVIII:49-54]

In the Holy Quraan., again men of Taqwaa are given the very special tidings of place of exceptional nearness to Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) in the Hereafter:

As to the Righteous they will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers in an Assembly fo Truth in the presence of a Sovereign Omnipotent.     [LIV:54-55]

The sole criterion of honour and superiority with Allah (Subhaanahu Wataalaa) is Taqwaa.

Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you.  [XLIX:13]

Similarly, it has been declared by the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaibe Wasallam) in one of his Traditions that:

Nearest and dearest to me are those who possesses the virtue of Taqwaa (no matter what race or nationality they belong to or which country they live in).

Taqwaa (i.e. fear of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) and a over powering anxiety for the Hereafter) is the root of all virtue. It is the measure of all goodness. We will be as good and noble and as free from what is bane and corrupt as there is Taqwaa in us.

Some other Traditions of Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) are:

A holy Companion once said to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam), O Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam)! I have heard so many of your valuable sayings That I fear I may not be able to remember them all. So I request you for a comprehensive advice which may suffice for me always. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam) replied, Fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) in proportion to your knowledge and make that fear and Taqwaa the guiding principles of your life.

He who has fear will set out early and he who will set out early will reach the destination in time.

The fortunate and the successful, indeed, are those who fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) and prepare for the life to come.

Even a single tear shed out of fear of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) and of His anger and punishment carries a great value in His eyes.

There are two drops, says the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam), and two marks than which nothing is more precious to Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa). Of the two drops so exceedingly dear to Him, one is the tear that may have fallen from the eyes of anyone out of His fear, and the other is the drop of blood that is shed in His path. Similarly, of the two marks one is the mark sustained in the path of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) (i.e. the scar left behind by a wound sustained in Jihad), and the other is the mark which may have developed as a result of the carrying out of a religious obligation (as for example, the marks one often sees on the forehead and knees of those who offer the Salaah regularly).

We will take up one more Tradition of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihe Wasallam). It says:

Never can he go to hell who weeps in the fear of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa).

The sum and full substance of the entire discussion is that it is great, indeed, to be blessed with true fear of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) and a genuine solicitude for the Hereafter. It can literally revolutionise ones whole existence.

Brothers! Know it thoroughly and well that one who is Allah-fearing in this transitory world will have absolutely nothing to worry in the Hereafter. He will have neither fear nor anxiety. He will dwell in eternal peace, comfort and happiness by the Grace of Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa). On the contrary, he who is not Allah-fearing and shows no concern for After-life and refuses to look beyond the pleasures of material existence for him. There will be terrible anguish and distress in the life to come. For thousands of years he will be shedding tears of blood.

The surest way to develop Taqwaa, i.e. Allah-fearingness and solicitude for the Hereafter is to avail oneself of the company of the devout servants of the Lord who fear Him and obey His commands honestly. Then there are good and reliable religious books which should be read regularly, and, if a person is illiterate, he should have them read out to him by others. Lastly, it is advisable to meditate in solitude on death and on the rewards one is going to get from Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa) for ones, good, and virtuous deeds and the punishment that is going to be awarded by Him for ones sins and transgressions against the Divine Law. One should dwel mentally on ones state and visualise what is going to happen in the grave. What will ones condition be when men will be raised up again on the Last Day and produced before Allah (Subhaanahu Wataaalaa)? What will one do when the balance-sheet of ones conduct on the earth will be unrolled? Where will one, then hide ones face?  

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