The Concept Of Taqwâ

Taqwâ is one of the most important concepts found in the Qur’ân and Sunnah. Indeed, al-Mubârakfûri calls it the foundation of the religion. [1] In numerous hadîth the Prophet [sall-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam] advised Muslims to have taqwâ. Whenever he sent an army out, he would advise them to have taqwâ of Allâh.

Indeed, this has been the command of Allâh for all the messengers. Allâh says:

“To Allâh belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. We have advised the people of the Scripture before you and you also [O Muslims] to have taqwâ of Allâh [fear Allâh and keep your duty to Him.” [An-Nisâ 4:131]

Commenting on this verse, al-Ghazzâli wrote:

“Does not Allâh have more knowledge than anyone concerning what is best for the human? Is He not their most sincere advisor and the more merciful and compassionate than anyone? If there were any characteristic better for a human, more comprehensive in its goodness, greater in its reward, more important for worship, weightier in its measure, more important in its substance, more rescuing in the long-run than this characteristic of taqwâ, then Allâh would have ordered His servants to have that other characteristic. Allâh has advised His most dear servants to have this characteristic out of His Perfect Wisdom and Encompassing Mercy. When He advised this one characteristic, and combined together his previous and later servants upon that characteristic and mentioned that characteristic only, you then know that it is the final goal beyond which there is none other and for which there is no other purpose. Allâh has combined together every advise, direction, guidance, instruction, teaching and reflection in that one advice, as is becoming His wisdom and mercy. And you also know by the fact that this one characteristic of taqwâ combines together all of the good of this life and the Hereafter, that is sufficient for all of the important matters that leads one to the highest ranks [in Paradise]. This foundation cannot be increased upon. It is sufficient for the one who sees the light, is guided and acts upon the light.” [2]

Furthermore, in numerous places in the Qur’ân, Allâh has quoted different prophets and messengers as advising their people and telling them that they must have taqwâ of Allâh. These are the most sincere of all who give advice. Such was the example of Sâlih, Lût, Mûsâ and others. For example Allâh says about Nûh:

“The People of Nûh belied the messengers. When their brother said to them: ‘Will you not have taqwâ of Allâh?’.” [Ash-Shu’arâ 26:105-106]

By Jamâl ad-Dîn M. Zarabozo
Commentary on the Forty Hadîth of Imâm an-Nawawî, Vol. 2, Pgs. 699-700

Footnotes:

1. Al-Mubârakfûri, Tuhfah, Vol. 8, Pgs. 154-155. One may note an emphasis in the Sharî’ah on the concept of “perfection” and “gurading,“ that is guarding against shirk, evil, sins and so forth.” Jâfar Shaykh Idrîs explained this concept by stating that the true nature of humans [the fitrah] is one of obedience to Allâh. This nature simply needs to be guarded and protected from straying and it will be led to Paradise. That is the reason for the emphasis on protection, guarding and taqwâ. [Jâfar Shaykh Idrîs, Personal Interview, Fairfax, VA, Feb. 1996]
2. Quoted in Ahmad Farîd, At-Taqwâ: Al-Ghâyah al-Manshuwudah wa ad-Durrah al-Mafqûdah [Riyâdh: Dâr as-Samî’, 1993], P.18

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