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Sent by: Sister Umme Okasha

Taqwaa (Piety) is one of the most important Islamic ethics. Piety is normally refers to as Taqwaa in Arabic language, which is derived from the root 'waqaya' meaning 'to safeguard' or 'to abstain'. In the Islamic terminology it is defined as the action of restraining oneself from disobeying the commands of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa).

It is an act of self-restraint and self-control which is a positive quality bestowing an immunity upon the pious, and not a negative act or program. Meanwhile, every act of abstaining from sinning is not called as Taqwaa but the power of self-restraint and self-control responsible behind this abstaining is called Taqwaa.

The term Taqwaa is used for being conscious and cognizant of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa), of truth, of the rational reality, "piety, fear of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)". In the Quraan, this term is found at many places.

Since Taqwaa has no single worded-translation in many languages including English, it has been defined in various ways by different people and among whom, some are as follow: “Taqwaa means to be conscious of the existence of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa), acting toward pleasing Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa), fear Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) and seek protection from the anger of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) and His punishment. This protection is realized by doing what Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) commands, and refraining from everything that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) forbids. In brief, this protection is realized by obeying Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) which emanates only from the correct and strong belief in Him. This belief comprises the genuine love of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) as well as the genuine fear of Him.

“Taqwaa in Islam is one of the interpretations of Islamic insight people would understand…that is…surrender to the will of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa). Surrender to the will of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) is basically what Taqwaa is… " [2]

“Taqwaa is whereby a Muslim intentionally evades actions that lead to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)`s fury and displeasure and at the same time deliberately undertakes steps and acts that will gratify Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa). In other words, it permits a person to be always conscious for both Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)'s all-encompassing knowledge and characteristics and a reminder of their relationship and responsibility to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) as his creation and servant. Hence, the way to Taqwaa is through obedience of Allah, avoiding disobedience, and striving to stay away from doubtful matters” 

In broader term, Taqwaa is that “Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) does not miss you in the place where He has commanded you to be, and does not see (find) you where He has forbidden you from."

Here are some points that show the importance, blessings and benefits of Taqwaa. Even a cursory reading of the Quraan – Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)’s Words -- demonstrates the great importance of Taqwaa. How pleasing Taqwaa is to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) and how Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) responds to the Muttaqeen (those who possess quality of Taqwaa). Following are some of the blessings and benefits of Taqwaa:
(1) Guidance from the Quraan is received by the Muttaqeen:

ذَٰلِكَ ٱلۡكِتَٰبُ لَا رَيۡبَۛ فِيهِۛ هُدٗى لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ (2)

“This Book has no doubt in it - a guidance for the Muttaqeen,” (al Baqarah 2:2)

(2) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa)'s special closeness, help and support comes to those who have Taqwaa:

 إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ مَعَ ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَواْ وَّٱلَّذِينَ هُم مُّحۡسِنُونَ (128)

“Surely, Allah is with those who are Muttaqeen and those who are good in their deeds.” (an Nahl 16:128)

(3) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) gives His loyalty, protection and support (Wilaayah) to the Muttaqeen:

إِنَّهُمۡ لَن يُغۡنُواْ عَنكَ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ شَيۡ‍ٔٗاۚ وَإِنَّ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ بَعۡضُهُمۡ أَوۡلِيَآءُ بَعۡضٖۖ وَٱللَّهُ وَلِيُّ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ (19)

“They will never help you against Allah in the least. The wrongdoers are friends to one another, and Allah is the friend of the Muttaqeen.” (al Jaathiyah 45:19)

4) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) loves the Muttaqeen:

إِلَّا ٱلَّذِينَ عَٰهَدتُّم مِّنَ ٱلۡمُشۡرِكِينَ ثُمَّ لَمۡ يَنقُصُوكُمۡ شَيۡ‍ٔٗا وَلَمۡ يُظَٰهِرُواْ عَلَيۡكُمۡ أَحَدٗا فَأَتِمُّوٓاْ إِلَيۡهِمۡ عَهۡدَهُمۡ إِلَىٰ مُدَّتِهِمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ (4)

“Except those of the Mushrikeen (Polytheists) with whom you have a treaty, and they were not deficient (in fulfilling the treaty) with you, and did not back up any one against you. So fulfill the treaty with them up to their term. Surely, Allah loves the Muttaqeen.” (at Taubah 9:4)

(5) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) gives the Muttaqeen “Furqaan” (a criterion or sense) to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad and what is beneficial from what is harmful:

يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓاْ إِن تَتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّكُمۡ فُرۡقَانٗا وَيُكَفِّرۡ عَنكُمۡ سَيِّ‍َٔاتِكُمۡ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَكُمۡۗ وَٱللَّهُ ذُو ٱلۡفَضۡلِ ٱلۡعَظِيمِ (29)

“O you who believe! If you have Taqwaa of Allah, He will provide you with a criterion (to distinguish between right and wrong) and will write off your evil deeds and will forgive you. Allah is the Lord of great bounty.” (al Anfaal 8:29)

(6 & 7) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) provides beneficial solutions and ways out from difficulty and confusion for those who have Taqwaa, and Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) provides for the Muttaqeen from avenues that they did not even imagine:

فَإِذَا بَلَغۡنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَأَمۡسِكُوهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوفٍ أَوۡ فَارِقُوهُنَّ بِمَعۡرُوفٖ وَأَشۡهِدُواْ ذَوَيۡ عَدۡلٖ مِّنكُمۡ وَأَقِيمُواْ ٱلشَّهَٰدَةَ لِلَّهِۚ ذَٰلِكُمۡ يُوعَظُ بِهِۦ مَن كَانَ يُؤۡمِنُ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأٓخِرِۚ وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّهُۥ مَخۡرَجٗا (2) وَيَرۡزُقۡهُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحۡتَسِبُۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسۡبُهُۥٓۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بَٰلِغُ أَمۡرِهِۦۚ قَدۡ جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَيۡءٖ قَدۡرٗا (3)

“So, when they (the divorced women) have (almost) reached their term, then either retain them with fairness, or part with them with fairness. And make two just men from among you witnesses (of your either decision). And (O witnesses,) keep your testimony upright for the sake of Allah. That is what anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day is exhorted to do. Whoever has Taqwaa of Allah, He brings forth a way out for him, and provides him (with what he needs) from where he does not even imagine. And whoever places his trust in Allah, He is sufficient for him. Surely Allah is to accomplish His purpose. Allah has set a measure for everything.” (at Talaaq 65:2-3)

(8) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) makes matters easy for the Muttaqeen:

وَٱلَّٰٓـِٔي يَئِسۡنَ مِنَ ٱلۡمَحِيضِ مِن نِّسَآئِكُمۡ إِنِ ٱرۡتَبۡتُمۡ فَعِدَّتُهُنَّ ثَلَٰثَةُ أَشۡهُرٖ وَٱلَّٰٓـِٔي لَمۡ يَحِضۡنَۚ وَأُوْلَٰتُ ٱلۡأَحۡمَالِ أَجَلُهُنَّ أَن يَضَعۡنَ حَمۡلَهُنَّۚ وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجۡعَل لَّهُۥ مِنۡ أَمۡرِهِۦ يُسۡرٗا (4)

“And those women from among you who have despaired of (further) menstruation, if you are in doubt, their ‘Iddah is three months, as well as of those who have not yet menstruated. As for those having pregnancy, their term (of ‘Iddah ) is that they give birth to their child. And whoever has Taqwaa of Allah, He brings about ease for him in his affair.” (at Talaaq 65:4)

(9 & 10) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) forgives the sins of the Muttaqeen and makes their reward greater:

ذَٰلِكَ أَمۡرُ ٱللَّهِ أَنزَلَهُۥٓ إِلَيۡكُمۡۚ وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يُكَفِّرۡ عَنۡهُ سَيِّ‍َٔاتِهِۦ وَيُعۡظِمۡ لَهُۥٓ أَجۡرًا (5)

“This is the command of Allah that He has sent down to you. And whoever has Taqwaa of Allah, He will write off his evil deeds, and will give him a huge reward.” (at Talaaq 65:5)

(11) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) only accepts deeds from those who have Taqwaa; if a deed is not done with Taqwaa it will not be accepted:

وَٱتۡلُ عَلَيۡهِمۡ نَبَأَ ٱبۡنَيۡ ءَادَمَ بِٱلۡحَقِّ إِذۡ قَرَّبَا قُرۡبَانٗا فَتُقُبِّلَ مِنۡ أَحَدِهِمَا وَلَمۡ يُتَقَبَّلۡ مِنَ ٱلۡأٓخَرِ قَالَ لَأَقۡتُلَنَّكَۖ قَالَ إِنَّمَا يَتَقَبَّلُ ٱللَّهُ مِنَ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ (27)

“And recite to them the story of the two sons of ‘Adam rightly: When both of them offered a sacrifice, it was accepted from one of them, and was not accepted from the other. He said: ‘I will kill you’. He said: ‘Allah accepts only from the God-fearing’.” (al Maa'idah 5:27)

(12) Prosperity and success comes to the Muttaqeen:

يَسۡ‍َٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلۡأَهِلَّةِۖ قُلۡ هِيَ مَوَٰقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَٱلۡحَجِّۗ وَلَيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرُّ بِأَن تَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰۗ وَأۡتُواْ ٱلۡبُيُوتَ مِنۡ أَبۡوَٰبِهَاۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُونَ (189)

“They ask you about the new moons. Say: ‘They are indicative of time for the people, and of the Hajj. It is not righteousness that you come into your houses from their backs, but righteousness is that one has Taqwaa of Allah. So come into houses through their doors; and have Taqwaa of Allah so that you may be successful.” (al Baqarah 2:189)

(13) Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa) gives glad tidings in both this life and the Aakhirah (Hereafter) to the Muttaqeen, and that, in fact, is the greatest of rewards:

ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ وَكَانُواْ يَتَّقُونَ (63) لَهُمُ ٱلۡبُشۡرَىٰ فِي ٱلۡحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَفِي ٱلۡأٓخِرَةِۚ لَا تَبۡدِيلَ لِكَلِمَٰتِ ٱللَّهِۚ ذَٰلِكَ هُوَ ٱلۡفَوۡزُ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ (64)

“those who have believed and had Taqwaa of Allah. For them there is the good news in the worldly life and in the Aakhirah (Hereafter): there is no change in the words of Allah. That is the great achievement.” (Younus, 10:63-64)

(14) The Muttaqeen will be entered into Jannah (Paradise):

 إِنَّ لِلۡمُتَّقِينَ عِندَ رَبِّهِمۡ جَنَّٰتِ ٱلنَّعِيمِ (34)

“Surely, for the Muttaqeen there are gardens of bliss.” (al Qalam 68:34)

(15) The Muttaqeen will be spared from the Jahannam (Hellfire):

وَإِن مِّنكُمۡ إِلَّا وَارِدُهَاۚ كَانَ عَلَىٰ رَبِّكَ حَتۡمٗا مَّقۡضِيّٗا (71) ثُمَّ نُنَجِّي ٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَواْ وَّنَذَرُ ٱلظَّٰلِمِينَ فِيهَا جِثِيّٗا(72)

“There is none among you who does not have to arrive at it (Jahannam). This is undertaken by your Lord as an absolute decree, bound to be enforced. Then We will save those who have Taqwaa of Allah, and will leave the wrongdoers in it, fallen on their knees.” (Maryam 19:71-72)

(16) The Muttaqeen will have the special blessing of being seated the seat of sincerity, near to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta'aalaa), the Omnipotent Sovereign:

إِنَّ ٱلۡمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّٰتٖ وَنَهَرٖ (54) فِي مَقۡعَدِ صِدۡقٍ عِندَ مَلِيكٖ مُّقۡتَدِرِۢ (55)

“Of course, the Muttaqeen will be in gardens and rivers (Jannah), in a seat of Truth, near to the Omnipotent Sovereign.” (al Qamar 54:54-55)

(17) The Muttaqeen will be given the honor of being above the rest of creation on the Day of Judgment:

زُيِّنَ لِلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ ٱلۡحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنۡيَا وَيَسۡخَرُونَ مِنَ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْۘ وَٱلَّذِينَ ٱتَّقَوۡاْ فَوۡقَهُمۡ يَوۡمَ ٱلۡقِيَٰمَةِۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَرۡزُقُ مَن يَشَآءُ بِغَيۡرِ حِسَابٖ (212)

“Adorned is the present life for those who disbelieve, and they laugh at those who believe, while those who Taqwaa of Allah shall be above them on the Day of Qiyaamah (Resurrection). Allah gives provision to whom He wills without measure.” (al Baqarah 2:212)

(18) All fear of punishment and grief will be removed from the Muttaqeen:

يَٰبَنِيٓ ءَادَمَ إِمَّا يَأۡتِيَنَّكُمۡ رُسُلٌ مِّنكُمۡ يَقُصُّونَ عَلَيۡكُمۡ ءَايَٰتِي فَمَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰ وَأَصۡلَحَ فَلَا خَوۡفٌ عَلَيۡهِمۡ وَلَا هُمۡ يَحۡزَنُونَ (35)

“O children of Adam! If messengers from among you come to you conveying My Aayaat (Verses) to you, then, those who have Taqwaa of Allah and correct themselves will have no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (al A'raaf 7:35)

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