What is Taqwa? The terms ‘super religious and very pious are often used for people who are seen walking on the path Allah SWT has mapped out for them. The right word that should be used is that these are people who have Taqwa (conscious of Allah SWT). And such people who have Taqwa are known as Muttaqin.
Taqwa has been mentioned in the Quran more than 60 times. But the real question arises as to what is Taqwa? And how can I gain Taqwa?
1 – Meaning Of Taqwa
It is next to impossible to yearn to enter Jannah without obedience to Allah SWT, and obedience to Allah SWT can only be attained when we are conscious of the fact that He is watching and any and everything we do is being written down and recorded.
Taqwa has many meanings to it, often translated as fear of Allah SWT but it has a deeper meaning to it. Linguistically speaking, Taqwa is a ‘shield or protective barrier’, as Taqwa is derived from the word ‘Waqa’ which means to protect, safeguard or shield.
In other words, as scholars say, it can be defined as placing a barrier between yourself and Allah SWT’s punishment or protecting yourself from what angers Allah SWT. Taqwa also means to do what Allah SWT has permitted and refrained from what has been forbidden.
If we put it in more simple words, stay away from what Allah SWT has forbidden and embrace what is obligatory and desirable.
O you who believe! Fear Allah SWT as He should be feared.” (QURAN 3:102)
Here is a more detailed post on How To Be a Productive Muslim Who Allah Loves.
It is narrated by Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه that once the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked about
For what the people are admitted into Jannah the most.
Taqwa of Allah, and good character.”
And he was asked about that for which people are admitted into the Fire the most, and he said: “
The mouth and the private parts.” TIRMIDHI
2 – Taqwa In Our Daily Lives
When people think of Taqwa they started imagining spending most of their time on a Musallah (prayer mat) or doing Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah SWT) constantly or reading the Quran 24/7, this definitely must be a part of our daily routine but that is not it.
Taqwa has become difficult to attain in today’s day and date because of the accessibility of Haram, it is difficult but not impossible. It is a process that takes time and grows with the increase of faith in the heart of a believer until they become convinced that Allah is aware of everything.
Allah SWT has guided our affairs by Islam in such a way that anything we do set by the ways of Allah SWT and His Prophet becomes an act of Ibadah (worship), as simple as going to sleep. All the acts in our daily lives are done according to Quran and Sunnah helps us attain Taqwa.
The Messenger Of Allah ﷺ :
3 – Example Of Taqwa:
An incredible example that demonstrates Taqwa,
When Umar Ibn Al-Khattab رضي الله عنه asked Ubay Ibn Ka’ab رضي الله عنه about Taqwa.
Ubay رضي الله عنه said, “Have you ever taken a thorny path?”
Umar رضي الله عنه replied, “Yes I have.”
Ubay رضي الله عنه then asked, “So how did you travel along this thorny path?”
Umar رضي الله عنه replied, “I rolled up my garment and was cautious as to where I would tread to avoid being pricked by the thorns.”
So Ubay رضي الله عنه responded and said, “This is Taqwa.”
This further explains that a person is cautious where they tread. The thorn implies not entering into or embracing what Allah has prohibited. Like you would not step onto the thorn knowingly we are aware of it and will try our best to avoid it, the same goes with forbidden acts.
4 – Importance Of Taqwa In Islam
Taqwa and Islam come hand in hand, one is not possible without the other. Islam is based on Shahadah, Salah, Fasting, Zakah, and Hajj. Taqwa is having your daily affairs according to Quran and Sunnah. Both are put together to make you a Muttaqi (pious person).
5 – Types Of Taqwa in Islam
Taqwa can be classified into SEVEN grades or levels, Quran and Sunnah guide us through all these levels.
Refraining From Kufr
What is Shirk in Islam? 18 Things to Know About ShirkProtecting yourself from any act of Kufr or Shirk is the first level. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
Refrain From Misguided Acts
Misguided acts mean all those acts that have no basis in Islam, but have been passed down from our forefathers. Usually, those involve a lot of Biddah (innovation ) as well. Every Biddah can be a source of misguidance. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
Every Biddah is misguidance and every misguidance is in the hellfire.- NISAI
Refrain From Major Sins
We often hear about the importance of staying away from major sins.
What are major sins? Any sin that carries a specific legal punishment like adultery. Any sin that has been accompanied by a stern warning or explicitly stated by Quran as Haraam.
Abu Hurairah رضي الله عنه narrated that I have heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say:
What I have forbidden you, stay away from. What I have ordered you to do, do as much of it as you can. Verily, the people before you were destroyed only because of their excessive questioning and their disagreement with their prophets.- BUKHARI
This hadith leaves no doubt that we have to stay away from anything that is forbidden. And avoid asking useless questions or trying to find any logic behind anything. These levels need to be achieved if we want to increase our Taqwa.
Refraining From Minor Sins
There is no way to compile a list of all minor sins. Minor sin is an act of disobedience for which no specific punishment has been allotted. And this is also something people take very lightly. Little do they know that the piling up of minor sins can lead to our downfall.
What harm will come if I just listen to one song?
What harm will come if I shake the hand of a non-mahram woman or man just once?
This ‘just once’ is the gateway to more sins. Every time you commit a sin thinking just once. They will keep piling up. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
Beware of minor sins for they will pile up until they destroy a person.- AHMAD
Scholars say that minor sins are accompanied by shamelessness and it increases every time you commit a minor sin. It will reach a point where you will feel no guilt at all and you will term it as fun or enjoyment for yourself. There is a risk of them being counted as major sins if they persist. No minor sin is minor if you persist and no major sin is major if you seek repentance. For believers sins are a huge burden.
Ibn Masood رضي الله عنه said:
The believer regards his sins as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he fears may fall on him, whereas the sinner regards his sin as if a fly lands on his nose and he swipes it away. – BUKHARI
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said :
Refraining From Things That Are Doubtful
Islam has clearly defined Halal (permissible) and Haram (forbidden), but there are some matters in between that are doubtful that many people are unaware of.
There is a fine line between doubtful and Haram which can be easily overlooked. So try avoiding the things that are doubtful or ambiguous, which can easily lead you astray.
Doubtful means there is a lot of chance that it might displease Allah SWT, that should be enough reason for us to stay away from it. And even if the matter in question turns out to be Halal and we have kept away from it, we have done so with the intention of taqwa. No harm will come to a person if he avoids something Halal. Some scholars say
Makruh (disliked) is a step between a slave and haram; a person who commits makruh deeds a lot will commit harams. Mubah (permissible) is a step between a slave and makruh; a person who commits mubah deeds a lot will commit makruh.
On the authority Abi Ab’dillahi al-Nu’man ibn Basheer رضي الله عنه who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say:
Refraining From Evil Desires Of Nafs
Do what your heart desires or listen to what your heart says is a concept very much glorified, which usually leads us to do something that is not at all acceptable.
Nafs (self) that we should not let overcome us is mentioned in the Quran as well as Nafs ul Ammarah. By its very nature it directs us to wrong action, it is dominated by earthly desires. No one can get rid of its evil without the help of Allah SWT. This is a never-ending war between Shaitaan and
إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لَأَمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ
Indeed the nafs that overwhelmingly commands a person to do sin.-[12:53]
According to Imam Hassan Al Banna :
Your Nafs is your first battlefield, if you are victorious over it you will find other battlefields easier.
Refrain From Paying Attention To Something That Takes You Away From Allah SWT
Avoid everything that takes you away from the remembrance of Allah SWT. A simple example, if you do decide to seek out faults let it be yours. A believer is to be humble. Keep an eye on everything you do. The opposite of humility is pride and arrogance. Think well of people, be forgiving and patient.
Try to do acts that bring you closer to Allah SWT.
6 – How To Test Your Taqwa
We have a thermometer to tell the temperature, a blood pressure apparatus is used to find out your blood pressure. There is no way to gauge your taqwa, let alone pass comments on someone else’s life. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ pointed to his heart and said:
Taqwa is here. – TIRMIDHI
The only way to test your taqwa is to note your reactions in the following situations.
- When you are all alone. What do you do?
- When you are bored? What do you turn towards?
- When no one is around to appreciate your good deeds? Do you still do them?
- When you are in the company of people who are involved in bad habits? Do you join them because you want to fit in?
- What happens if you get angry , insulted or frustrated? How do you react?
- What if you are happy and content with how things are progressing in your life? What comes to mind when you think of yourself?
The answers to all these will tell you where you stand and how much work is cut out for you. There is no stopping even if you feel you are on track. Keep striving to do better and the ultimate goal should be to please Allah SWT only.
7 – How Do I Get Taqwa?
Since you are born a Muslim or accepted Islam, taqwa is like a default mechanism already built-in. We just need to tap into it and learn how to develop it.
Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq رضي الله عنه, the first Caliph of Islam.
One day his slave brings him some food, and Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq رضي الله عنه at that time was extremely hungry, he said Bismillah and began to eat this food and he started to indulge in the food.
His slave was astonished because Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه would usually ask his slave where he would get the food from, but today he didn’t ask him.
So the slave said, “Why didn’t you ask me where I got the food from today?” So Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه responded, “I am sorry. So where did you get your food from?”.
The slave answered, “In the Jahiliyah (pre-Islam), I did some witchery, and the people liked it, and in return, they gave me some food, and you’re eating it.”
When Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه realized that the source of this food came from Haram, making the food non Halal, and he did not know before that he went and vomited out the food he had just eaten, making sure there was no food left in his stomach.
The people said, “Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه you’re going to kill yourself”, he said, “By Allah, there is a little left, if it only comes out with my soul I do not mind.”
This is the level of Taqwa the companions of the Prophet lived with. It can be difficult to get to that level but we can always try. Here are some ways to increase taqwa.
- Make constant dua’a’ to Allah SWT, to keep your Taqwa from fading or diminishing.
- Repent constantly, especially with sins we repeatedly commit.
- Try to fight your Nafs from repeating the sin, thinking its okay i will ask for forgiveness later.
- Be thankful to Allah SWT for any act of worship you do, because Allah SWT has given you the oppurtunity and created easy circumstances that you can carry out your Ibadah.
- Read Quran with its meaning to understand what Allah SWT wants to tells us.
- Try to put what you learned into action, even if you have learned something as simple as the dua to enter the bathroom. Implement it in your life.
- Look up to those who had Taqwa, like the Sahabah, striving to do better each day.
- DON’T EVER consider yourself spiritually higher because you prayed 5 times a day. Slightest of arrogance can become the reason of Allah’s displeasure
- Fast other than the month of Ramadan- 6 days in the month of Shawwal, 9 days of the month of Dhul Hijjah, the white days 13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month. Mondays and Thursdays are recommended for fasting as well.
- Always try to place yourself in the company of people who remind you of Allah SWT and bring you closer to Him.
- Try to look at the glass half full, rather than trying to find faults in someone look for whats good.
- Know your enemy, Shaitan will try his best that you deviate from the right path but you have to hold on steadfast. Things might get rocky but the reward is worth it.
‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud رضي الله عنه reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to say:
8-Benefits Of Taqwa
Imam Malik said:
The Sunnah is like the Ark of Noah. Whoever got on board was safe. Who didn’t, drowned.
Safety comes in different ways. We can gain the following blessings from Taqwa.
- Allah will makes things easier for him, this doesn’t mean that he will not face any difficulties, it means Allah SWT will give him strength to withstand the hard times without losing faith.
“And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him ease in his matter.” (Quran-65:4)
- A way out of difficulties, Taqwa will serve as a divine guard against the trials of this world.
“And whoever fears Allah, He will make for him a way out.” (Quran-65:2)
- Allah will provide him from where he leasts expects.
“And He will provide for him from sources he could never imagine.” (Quran-65:3)
- He will be able to distinguish between the right and wrong.
“O you who believe! If you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion (furqan).” (Quran-8:29)
- Peace of heart and mind.
“It is He (Allah) who sent down tranquility into the hearts of the believers.” (Quran-48:4)
- Acceptance of our worship
Allah only accepts from the people of taqwa.“ (Quran-5:27)
- Allah SWT will save the Muttaqin from Hell fire.
Then We will save those who feared Allah. (Quran- 19:72)
- With time it becomes easier to control your Nafs.
Like a recipe needs to be followed to the tee to ensure an excellent output. The same is the case with Taqwa, the recipes have been provided, we have to make sure we follow them as said. May Allah SWT make it easy upon every Muslim to achieve Taqwa.