Ramadan – The road to piety (Taqwa)
One of the top notch qualities that Allah swt repeatedly exhorts us to inculcate, out of His infinite mercy and love towards us, is Taqwa – piety. The high regard that Allah swt has for this quality can be simply summed up from the below aayah
[49: 13] O mankind, We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into races and tribes, so that you may identify one another. Surely the noblest of you, in Allah’s sight, is the one who is most pious of you. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.
Scholars also quote the aayah [8:34] where Allah swt mentions that the “Friends of Allah are those that are pious” in the context of the benefits of gaining Taqwa. What more can a muslim dream of, than the ultimate gift of being included as a friend of the beloved Lord, the most High. Thus, the quality of Taqwa transcends beyond just being a virtue to being an aspirational goal for a muslim who aspires to gain the pleasure, love and friendship of Allah swt.
The simple meaning of taqwa is to have “fear of Allah swt“, it refers to a state where the humble slave refrains from all activities that Allah swt has forbidden for us to do, whether it be related to actions of eyes (lustful glances etc), actions of the tongue (lies, backbiting, slander etc), of the ears (music, listening to backbiting etc), of the thoughts (deliberately harbouring evil thoughts, thinking of someone to be sinning etc) – and of any other part of the body. There are sins that are committed by these physical aspects of a body and there are other sins – the ones related to the heart, like ostentation (riya), pride(kibr), jealousy(hasad), hatred (bughz) etc.
It is Obligatory upon every muslim to strive to rid oneself of all these vices – thereby becoming a muttaqi!
The scholars have opined that there are three levels of this virtuous habit:
1. The taqwa of the ordinary people (awaam)- where a person commits a sin and then repents. Though committing the sin is contrary to taqwa, the fact that he/she is remorseful over it is an indication of the fear of the Almighty.
2. The taqwa of the pious people (khawas)- where a person refrains from committing any sin with lots of effort and determination.
3. The taqwa of the top notch pious people (akhsul khawas) – where a person not only has a certain command on level 2 but also works on his ibadah and makes it beautiful, and yet, has a remorse and repents in front of Allah swt over them not being upto the standards befitting the praise of Allah swt.
How to achieve Taqwa:
Various ayat of the majestic Quran and the contexts of Hadith have cited du’a (supplications), pious companionship, having a humble and respecting disposition as ways to attain taqwa.
And another major source of attaining taqwa is the holy month of ramzan. Allah swt says in the majestic quran:
[2:183] O you who believe, the fasts have been enjoined upon you as they were enjoined upon those before you, so that you may be God-fearing.
Thus, by observing the fasts of ramadan in the right spirit, not just staying hungry from dawn till dusk but protecting oneself from all sorts of sins we can attain this beautiful virtue – and become friends of Allah swt, reaping the numerous bounties that Allah swt has offered for those who inculcate this quality in themselves.
May Allah swt bless the entire Ummah with this beautiful quality ..aameen!!