Be conscious of Allah

Be conscious of Allah wherever you go.


Taqwa can be compared to walking through a narrow path with thorny bushes on both sides and a person passing through it tries his level best to save his clothes from being torn. The thorns are the sins and the clothes is one’s Eeman.
Linguistically Taqwa means forbearance, fear and abstinence, but in the Islamic terminology, Taqwa has a distinct meaning. Taqwa is a high state of heart, which keeps one conscious of Allah’s presence and His Knowledge, and it motivates him to perform righteous deeds and avoid those, which are forbidden.
The essence of Taqwa is to make a shield (which guards) against Allah’s anger and punishment. That shield is to obey His commandments and abstain from His punishment. [as explained by Ibn Rajab (rahimahullah) in Jami al-Uloom wal-Hikam (190/191)]
Allah says:
O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah, as you should have of Him and do not die except as Muslims.” [Soorah aal-Imraan (3): 102]
Ibn Mas’oud (radhiallahu anhu) said speaking about this verse, Allah is meant to be obeyed, and not disobeyed; remembered at all times, and not forgotten; and to be thanked; and we are not to be ungrateful to Him.”
The advice from Allaah to the first and the last is to command with taqwaa; Allaah mentions:

{…And verily, We have recommended to the people of the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allâh…} [An Nisaa 4:131]

Likewise, this was the advice of the Messenger of Allaah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) to Mu’aadh ibn Jabal when he sent him to Yemen. He said to him: 

Have taqwaa of Allaah wherever you are and follow a bad deed up with a good one and it shall wipe it out and have good character in dealing with the people.”

Talq Ibn Habeed (a tabi’e) said: “Taqwa (piety) is that you act in obedience to Allah, and hope in His Mercy, upon a light from Him; and Taqwa is leaving acts of disobedience to Allah out of fear of Him, upon a light from Him.” [(Saheeh) by Shaikh al-Albanee. Related by Ibn Abee Shaybah in Kitaabul-Emaan (no: 99)]
Taqwa alone is the criterion of greatness in the Sight of Allah
Allah says:
O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa (God-consciousness, fearing Allah). Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” [Soorah al-Hujurat (49): 13]

The most honorable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa (God-consciousness, fearing Allah).

Allah has erased all distinctions of racism, cast and color and made all human beings equal. He has established a unique criterion for greatness and that is Taqwa. Taqwa is the essence of the teachings of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).
Whenever Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) sent his Sahabah (companions) on a military expedition, he would advice them to have deep-rooted Taqwa of Allah and he would also advise the rest of his military party likewise.
The Pious Predecessors (salaf as-Saalih) continued this practice of giving mutual advice of Taqwa after Allah’s Messenger r passed away. Umar Ibn Khattab (radhiallahu anhu) wrote to his son, Abdullah: “To proceed: ‘Verily I advise you to have taqwa (fear) of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic, for whoever fears Him, Allah will protect him, and whoever gives a loan to Him, Allah will reward him, and whoever thanks Him, Allah will increase Him.”
In one verse of the Qur’aan Allaah says:
{Verily, the Muttaqûn (the pious) will be in place of Security (Paradise). Among Gardens and Springs} [ Ad-Dukhan 44:51-52]

Allaah mentions:
{Verily, for the Muttaqûn, there will be a success (Paradise); Gardens and vineyards} [ An-Nabaa 78:31-32]

Allaah says:

{Verily, the Muttaqûn (the pious. See V.2:2), will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (Paradise). In a seat of truth (i.e. Paradise), near the Omnipotent King (Allâh, the One, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour).} [ Al-Qamar 54:54-55]

And Allaah says:

{…And whosoever fears Allâh and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine…} [At-Talaaq 65:2-3]

Some benefits of Taqwa:

1. Taqwa is a means by which a believer performs righteous deeds and Taqwa causes the righteous deed to be accepted by Allah.
Allah says:
O you who believe! Have Taqwa (fear) of Allah and always speak the truth. He will direct you to do righteous and correct actions and will forgive you your sins and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger has indeed attained a great achievement.” [Soorah al-Ahzaab (33): 70]
and: Verily Allah accepts only from those who are the muttaqoon (those who posses Taqwa).” [Soorah al-Maaidah (19): 71-72]
2. Taqwa makes one deserving of Allah’s Pleasure and Love. Allah says:
Verily, the most honorable of you in the Sight of Allah is that (believer) who has Taqwa.” [Soorah al-Hujurat (49): 13]
and: Whoever fulfills his pledge and has Taqwa of Allah much, then indeed, Allah loves those who are muttaqoon (those who posses Taqwa).” [Soorah Aal-Imraan (3): 76]
3. Taqwa causes sins to be forgiven and increases rewards. Allah says:
And whoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him. He will remit his sins from him, and will enlarge his rewards.” [Soorah at-Talaaq (65): 5]

Allah will forgive sins.

4. Taqwa keeps one steadfast on the Straight Path and protects him from deviation.
Allah says:
O you who believe! Have Taqwa of Allah. He will give you a Furqaan (criterion to judge between right and wrong).” [Soorah al-Anfaal (8): 29]
Imaam Ibn al-Katheer (rahimahulla) said in his Tafseer, ‘Ibn Abbas, as-Sudde, Ikrimah, adh-Dahhak, Qataadah and Muqaatil, Ibn Huyyan, all said about ‘Furqaan’ that it means a way out (from difficulty).
Mujaahid added: ‘A way out from difficulty both in this world and in the Hereafter.’ In a narration from Ibn Abbas, he said: “It means, ‘Salvation’ and in another narration from him ‘being helped.’ Muhammad Ishaaq said that it means: ‘A criterion to judge between truth and falsehood.’ This explanation from Ibn Ishaaq is the most general of what has proceeded and it is a necessary consequence of it. Since whoever has Taqwa of Allah by obeying His commands and abandoning what He has prohibited, will be given the ability to recognize truth from falsehood.
This will be the cause for his salvation, his being helped; and the cause for his worldly affairs being made easier and his happiness on the Day of Judgment. It will be the cause for his sins to be expiated by Allah, and his being granted forgiveness and Allah shielding him from the people. It will likewise be the cause of him being the recipient of a great reward from Allah, as He the Most High says:
O you who believe! Have Taqwa (fear) of Allah and believe in His Messenger; and He will provide you with a light by which you will walk.” [Soorah al-Hdeed (57): 28]

How to achieve Taqwa?

Allah says:
O mankind! Worship your Lord, Who created you and those who were before you so that you may become al-Muttaqoon.” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 21]
Thus, Taqwa is the fruit of Eebadah (worship) and and can only be achieved by performing acts of Eebadah. Therefore we often find Allah mentioning Taqwa with Eebadah, he said regarding the fasts of Ramadaan:
O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become muttaqoon (those who posses Taqwa).” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 183] 

Who is the most righteous?

Allah says:
And whosoever honors the symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” [Soorah al-Hajj (22): 32] 
Thus, Taqwa inhabits the heart and it is only within the capability of Allah to know what the hearts conceal. Therefore, judging people’s righteousness and spirituality is beyond the ability of a human, Allah pointed out to this fact when he said:
There is among people, he whose speech will dazzle you in this life and he will claim that Allah is witness (to the sincerity of) what is in his heart, yet he will be among the most vicious enemies (of mankind).” [Soorah al-Baqarah (2): 204]
It is mentioned in the Qur’aan that Allah chooses His Awliya (singular ‘wali’ ling. meaning Friend) from His creations based upon their righteousness.
Allah mentioned the characteristics of His Walee saying:
Verily, Awliya of Allah are those who are not overcome by fear of grief; they are those who believe and have Taqwa.” [Soorah Yoonus (10): 62-63]
Verily, His close friends (Awliya) are only those with Taqwa but most of them do not realize it.” [Soorah al-Anfaal (8): 34]
Thus, a Walee of Allah is he, who has Eeman, Taqwa and fear of Allah.
Unfortunately, many Muslims have exaggerated in this matter and specified some individuals to be ‘Awliya of Allah’, while assuming piety and righteousness for them. This practice is incorrect because the characteristics, which Allah mentions about His Awliya (Eeman and Taqwa) are matters of the heart and knowing them is beyond the capability of a human. Also, because these characteristics are present in every believer in varying degree, therefore, to specify some individuals to these qualities is unjust.
This practice of elevating people to specific ranks of piety and giving them certain status is a practice imported from Christianity and Hinduism. It was the practice of the Christians that they would elevate some individuals to great ranks for whom they assumed spirituality. And this was the main cause, which destroyed their religion.
It is also seen that tombs are built at the graves of these so-called ‘Awliya of Allah’ and prayers are directed to them, either believing them to be intercessors or benefactors. This practice is in complete contradiction to the teachings of Islam. Islam teaches worship of One True Lord and fearing Him alone.

Taqwa and manners

Story of Zam Zam water

Narrated Ibn Abbas:
The first lady to use a girdle was the mother of Ishmael. She used a girdle so that she might hide her tracks from Sarah. Abraham brought her and her son Ishmael while she was suckling him, to a place near the Ka’ba under a tree on the spot of Zam-zam, at the highest place in the mosque.
During those days there was nobody in Mecca, nor was there any water So he made them sit over there and placed near them a leather bag containing some dates, and a small water-skin containing some water, and set out homeward.
Ishmael’s mother followed him saying, “O Abraham! Where are you going, leaving us in this valley where there is no person whose company we may enjoy, nor is there anything (to enjoy)?” She repeated that to him many times, but he did not look back at her Then she asked him, “Has Allah ordered you to do so?” He said, “Yes.” She said, “Then He will not neglect us,” and returned while Abraham proceeded onwards, and on reaching the Thaniya where they could not see him, he faced the Ka’ba, and raising both hands, invoked Allah saying the following prayers:
‘O our Lord! I have made some of my offspring dwell in a valley without cultivation, by Your Sacred House (Kaba at Mecca) in order, O our Lord, that they may offer prayer perfectly. So fill some hearts among men with love towards them, and (O Allah) provide them with fruits, so that they may give thanks.’ (14.37)
Ishmael’s mother went on suckling Ishmael and drinking from the water (she had).
When the water in the water-skin had all been used up, she became thirsty and her child also became thirsty.
She started looking at him (i.e. Ishmael) tossing in agony; She left him, for she could not endure looking at him, and found that the mountain of Safa was the nearest mountain to her on that land. She stood on it and started looking at the valley keenly so that she might see somebody, but she could not see anybody.
Then she descended from Safa and when she reached the valley, she tucked up her robe and ran in the valley like a person in distress and trouble, till she crossed the valley and reached the Marwa mountain where she stood and started looking, expecting to see somebody, but she could not see anybody. She repeated that (running between Safa and Marwa) seven times.”
The Prophet said, “This is the source of the tradition of the walking of people between them (i.e. Safa and Marwa). When she reached the Marwa (for the last time) she heard a voice and she asked herself to be quiet and listened attentively. She heard the voice again and said, ‘O, (whoever you may be)! You have made me hear your voice; have you got something to help me?”
And behold! She saw an angel at the place of Zam-zam, digging the earth with his heel (or his wing), till water flowed from that place. She started to make something like a basin around it, using her hand in this way, and started filling her water-skin with water with her hands, and the water was flowing out after she had scooped some of it.”
The Prophet added, “May Allah bestow Mercy on Ishmael’s mother! Had she let the Zam-zam (flow without trying to control it) (or had she not scooped from that water) (to fill her water-skin), Zam-zam would have been a stream flowing on the surface of the earth.”
The Prophet further added, “Then she drank (water) and suckled her child. The angel said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid of being neglected, for this is the House of Allah which will be built by this boy and his father, and Allah never neglects His people.’
The House (i.e. Kaba) at that time was on a high place resembling a hillock, and when torrents came, they flowed to its right and left. She lived in that way till some people from the tribe of Jurhum or a family from Jurhum passed by her and her child, as they (i.e. the Jurhum people) were coming through the way of Kada’.
They landed in the lower part of Mecca where they saw a bird that had the habit of flying around water and not leaving it. They said, ‘This bird must be flying around water, though we know that there is no water in this valley.’ They sent one or two messengers who discovered the source of water, and returned to inform them of the water.
So, they all came (towards the water).” The Prophet added, “Ishmael’s mother was sitting near the water. They asked her, ‘Do you allow us to stay with you?” She replied, ‘Yes, but you will have no right to possess the water.’ They agreed to that.” The Prophet further said, “Ishmael’s mother was pleased with the whole situation as she used to love to enjoy the company of the people.
So, they settled there, and later on they sent for their families who came and settled with them so that some families became permanent residents there. The child (i.e. Ishmael) grew up and learnt Arabic from them and (his virtues) caused them to love and admire him as he grew up, and when he reached the age of puberty they made him marry a woman from amongst them.
After Ishmael’s mother had died, Abraham came after Ishmael’s marriage in order to see his family that he had left before, but he did not find Ishmael there. When he asked Ishmael’s wife about him, she replied, ‘He has gone in search of our livelihood.’ Then he asked her about their way of living and their condition, and she replied, ‘We are living in misery; we are living in hardship and destitution,’ complaining to him.
He said, ‘When your husband returns, convey my salutation to him and tell him to change the threshold of the gate (of his house).’ When Ishmael came, he seemed to have felt something unusual, so he asked his wife, ‘Has anyone visited you?’ She replied, ‘Yes, an old man of so-and-so description came and asked me about you and I informed him, and he asked about our state of living, and I told him that we were living in a hardship and poverty.’
On that Ishmael said, ‘Did he advise you anything?’ She replied, ‘Yes, he told me to convey his salutation to you and to tell you to change the threshold of your gate.’ Ishmael said, ‘It was my father, and he has ordered me to divorce you. Go back to your family.’ So, Ishmael divorced her and married another woman from amongst them (i.e. Jurhum).
Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished and called on them again but did not find Ishmael. So he came to Ishmael’s wife and asked her about Ishmael. She said, ‘He has gone in search of our livelihood.’ Abraham asked her, ‘How are you getting on?’ asking her about their sustenance and living.
She replied, ‘We are prosperous and well-off (i.e. we have everything in abundance).’ Then she thanked Allah’ Abraham said, ‘What kind of food do you eat?’ She said. ‘Meat.’ He said, ‘What do you drink?’ She said, ‘Water.” He said, “O Allah! Bless their meat and water.”
The Prophet added, “At that time they did not have grain, and if they had grain, he would have also invoked Allah to bless it.” The Prophet added, “If somebody has only these two things as his sustenance, his health and disposition will be badly affected, unless he lives in Mecca.”
The Prophet added,” Then Abraham said Ishmael’s wife, “When your husband comes, give my regards to him and tell him that he should keep firm the threshold of his gate.’ When Ishmael came back, he asked his wife, ‘Did anyone call on you?’
She replied, ‘Yes, a good-looking old man came to me,’ so she praised him and added.’He asked about you, and I informed him, and he asked about our livelihood and I told him that we were in a good condition.’ Ishmael asked her, ‘Did he give you any piece of advice?’
She said, ‘Yes, he told me to give his regards to you and ordered that you should keep firm the threshold of your gate.’ On that Ishmael said, ‘It was my father, and you are the threshold (of the gate). He has ordered me to keep you with me.’
Then Abraham stayed away from them for a period as long as Allah wished, and called on them afterwards. He saw Ishmael under a tree near Zamzam, sharpening his arrows. When he saw Abraham, he rose up to welcome him (and they greeted each other as a father does with his son or a son does with his father).
Abraham said, ‘O Ishmael! Allah has given me an order.’ Ishmael said, ‘Do what your Lord has ordered you to do.’ Abraham asked, ‘Will you help me?’ Ishmael said, ‘I will help you.’ Abraham said, Allah has ordered me to build a house here,’ pointing to a hillock higher than the land surrounding it.”
The Prophet added, “Then they raised the foundations of the House (i.e. the Ka’ba). Ishmael brought the stones and Abraham was building, and when the walls became high, Ishmael brought this stone and put it for Abraham who stood over it and carried on building, while Ishmael was handing him the stones, and both of them were saying, ‘O our Lord! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.’ The Prophet added, “Then both of them went on building and going round the Ka’ba saying: O our Lord ! Accept (this service) from us, Verily, You are the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.” (2.127)
[Sahih Al-Bukhari Volume 4, Book 55, Number 583]

The Story of a Mujahid who fought for the sake of Allah

Is not He (better than your gods) Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations. Is there any ilah (god) with Allah? Little is that you remember!
-Surah An-Naml (27:62)

Allah says here:

(Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him,) meaning, Who is the only One to Whom the person in desperate need turns, and the only One Who can relieve those who are stricken by harm Imam Ahmad reported that a man of Balhajim said: “O Messenger of Allah, what are you calling for” He said: (I am calling people to Allah Alone, the One Who, if you call on Him when harm befalls you, will relieve you; and when you are lost in the wilderness, you call on Him and He brings you back: and when drought (famine) strikes, you call on Him and He makes your crops grow.) He said: “Advise me.” He said: (Do not slander anyone and do not think of any good deed as insignificant, even if it is only meeting your brother with a cheerful face or emptying your vessel into the vessel of one who is asking for water. Wear your lower garment at mid-calf length, or — if you insist — let it reach your ankles, and beware of lowering the garment below the ankles along the ground, for it is a form of showing-off, and Allah does not like showing-off.)

In his biography of Fatimah bint Al-Hasan Umm Ahmad Al-`Ajaliyyah, Al-Hafiz bin `Asakir reported that she said:

“One day the disbelievers defeated the Muslims in a battle. There was a good horse which belonged to a rich man who was also righteous. The horse just stood there, so its owner said, `What is the matter with you Woe to you! I was only preparing you for a day such as this.’ The horse said to him: `How can you expect me not to perform badly, when you delegated my feeding to the grooms, and they mistreated me and only fed me a little’ The man said, `I make you a promise before Allah that from this day on, only I will feed you from my own lap.’

So the horse began to run, and his owner was saved, and after that he only ever fed the horse from his own lap. This story became well known among the people, and they started to come to him to hear the story from his own lips. News of this reached the king of Byzantium, and he said: `A city where this man is, will be kept safe from harm.’

He wanted to bring the man to his own city, so he sent an apostate (a man who had left Islam) who was living in his city to go to him, and when he reached him, he pretended that his intentions towards Islam and its followers were good, so the Mujahid trusted him.

One day they went out walking along the shore, but the apostate made a pact with another person, a follower of the Byzantine king, to come and help him take the Mujahid prisoner. When they made their move, he lifted his gaze to the sky and said, `O Allah! He has deceived me by swearing in Your Name, so protect me in whatever way You will.’

Then two wild animals came out and seized them, and the Mujahid came back safe and sound. ” The Inheritance of the Earth

(and makes you inheritors of the earth,) means, each generation inherits from the generation that came before them, one after the other, as Allah says:

(if He wills, He can destroy you, and in your place make whom He wills as your successors, as He raised you from the seed of other people) (6:133),

(And it is He Who has made you generations coming after generations, replacing each other on the earth. And He has raised you in ranks, some above others) (6:165),

(And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: “Verily, I am going to place generations after generations on earth.”) (2:30) meaning, people who will come after one another, as we have already stated. Allah’s saying:
(and makes you inheritors of the earth,) means, nation after nation, generation after generation, people after people.

If He had willed, He could have created them all at one time, and not made some of them the offspring of others. If He had willed, He could have created them all together, as He created Adam from dust. If He had willed, He could have made some of them the offspring of others, but not caused any of them to die until they all died at one time; in this case the earth would have become constricted for them and it would be too difficult for them to live and earn a living, and they would have caused inconvenience and harm to one another.

But His wisdom and decree ruled that they should be created from one soul, then their numbers should be greatly increased, so He created them on the earth and made them generation after generation, nation after nation, until their time will come to an end and there will be no one left on earth, as Allah has decreed and as He has completely counted out their numbers. Then the Resurrection will come to pass, and each person will be rewarded or punished according to his deeds. Allah says: 

(Is not He Who responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil, and makes you inheritors of the earth, generations after generations Is there any god with Allah) meaning, is there anyone else able to do that, or a god with Allah worth worshipping — while you know that He is the only one who can do that, having no partners
(Little is that you remember!) meaning, how little they think about that which would guide them to the truth and show them the straight path.
[Tafsir ibn katheer]