Taqwā and its Benefits

By Hadrat Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

After the passing of Ramadān, it is important that we remind ourselves of the most important lesson the blessed month left us with, that of bringing Taqwā into our lives and doing our utmost to hold fast to it, until we breathe our last.

The importance of Taqwā cannot be over emphasised. Allāh ta‘ālā has mentioned the word Taqwā in the Glorious Qur’ān around 70 times in the imperative form and over 250 times in its various derivative forms. The Glorious Qur’ān begins with the statement:

This Book has no doubt in it – a guidance for the Muttaqīn. (2:2)

In other words, though in principle the Glorious Qur’ān is a guidance for all, only those who develop the quality of Taqwā can truly benefit from it.

 

Definition of Taqwā

Taqwā has been defined in many ways; the summary and conclusion of which is that a person creates a barrier between himself and the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. Consequently, he will never plan to commit a sin, rather he will exert all efforts to abstain from any form of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. The result of this will be every type of success in both worlds. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

…And fear (disobeying) Allāh so that you may become successful. (3:200)

 

Benefits of Taqwā

There are many benefits for the one who adopts Taqwā as stated in the Glorious Qur’ān: 

1. Allāh ta‘ālā will make all matters easy for him. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

.…And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh, He shall bring about ease for him in his affair. (65:4)

2. Allāh ta‘ālā will provide him with a solution to all his problems. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

.…And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh, He shall bring forth a way out for him, (65:2)

3. Allāh ta‘ālā will sustain him from all aspects. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

(And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh).… And shall provide for him (what he needs) from where he does not even imagine (65:3)

4. Allāh ta‘ālā will be with him and assist him. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

Surely, Allāh is with those who adopt Taqwā (16:128)

….be sure that Allāh is with the Muttaqīn (9:36)

5. Allāh ta‘ālā will forgive his sins. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

.…And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh, He shall cancel (forgive) his sins… (65:5)

6. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him a huge reward. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

(And the one who fears (disobeying) Allāh)….He shall give him a huge reward. (65:5)

7. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him Mercy in both worlds. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

And this (Qur‘ān) is a blessed Book We have sent down. So follow it and adopt Taqwā, so that you may be favoured with mercy. (6:55)

And My Mercy extends to everything. So, I shall write it (i.e. the mercy) for those who adopt Taqwā, and pay Zakāh, and those who do believe in Our verses… (7:156)

8. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him safety from all fear and grief. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

…those who adopt Taqwā and correct themselves will have no fear, nor shall they grieve. (7:35)

9. He will gain the upper hand over Shaytān. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

Surely when the Muttaqīn are touched by the temptation (to do evil) from Shaytān, they become conscious (of Allāh), and their eyes instantly open (i.e. they realise Shaytān’s plot and ignore the temptation). (7:201)

10. He will become beloved to Allāh ta‘ālā. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

Surely, Allāh loves the Muttaqīn. (9:4)

11. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him safety from enemies. Allāh ta‘ālā states:

If you keep patience and adopt Taqwā, their cunning shall not harm you at all. (3:120)

12. Allāh ta‘ālā will grant him the ultimate success in the form of Jannah. Allāh ta‘ālāstates:

Here is the description of the Paradise promised to the Muttaqīn: underneath it the rivers flow; its food is everlasting and (so is) its shade. This is the ultimate abode of the Muttaqīn … (13:35)

 

The Acquisition of Taqwā

In order to become deserving of these priceless benefits, it is very important that we make a serious effort to bring Taqwā into our lives. Allāh ta‘ālā through His infinite mercy informs us how to achieve this, as when Allāh ta‘ālā commands the adoption of Taqwā in the Glorious Qur’ān, He follows this with another command which is a way to acquire Taqwā. The following actions are a summary of these commands, which if inculcated, will ensure a person acquires Taqwā:

1. Submission to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, as one should with regards to Allāh, and let not yourself die save as Muslims (totally submitted to Allāh). (3:102)

The submission of the body and soul to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā enables us to inculcate the essence of Taqwā in our lives. Submission to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā was the highlight of the life of Sayyidunā Ibrāhīm ‘alayhis salām who is duly remembered in these blessed months. Taking lesson from episodes of submission by the Ambiya‘alayhimus salām and the pious predecessors gives us an insight into the reality of submission. Only when we try to emulate such submission to the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā, will the great quality of Taqwā diffuse into a person’s heart.

2. Adopting correct speech.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, and speak in straightforward words. (If you do so,) Allāh will correct your deeds for your benefit, and forgive your sins for you. Whoever obeys Allāh and His messenger achieves a great success. (33:70-71)

The importance of speaking in a truthful and just manner and speaking of good things, in particular the remembrance of Allāh ta‘ālā, must not be taken lightly. The guarantee of Jannah has been promised by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam to the person undertaking to use his tongue correctly. Being mindful of what one utters will assist in bringing a reformation to the heart and develop Taqwā.

3. Contemplating the Day of Reckoning.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, and each person must consider what he (or she) has sent ahead for tomorrow. (59:18)

Keeping a watchful eye over one’s actions and reflecting on how they will be judged by Allāh ta‘ālā on the Day of Resurrection, will lead a person to adopt Taqwā.

4. Being conscious that Allāh ta‘ālā is All-Seeing and All-Knowing.

Allāh ta‘ālā states:

…And fear (disobeying) Allāh. Surely Allāh is fully aware of what you do. (59:18)

Recognising the fact that Allāh ta‘ālā is fully aware of our actions and is recording every minute detail of our lives, is sufficient for a person to create a barrier between himself and the disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā.

5. Adopting pious company.

The above four methods of acquiring Taqwā all share a common trait, that of being fully aware and alert at all times. Whilst living in this world we become engrossed in our daily lives, which leads to negligence and absent mindedness. Therefore, it is imperative that we frequently adopt some form of reminder for ourselves. The adopting of pious company gives a person a two-fold benefit in the endeavour to bring Taqwā: it serves as a constant reminder of the need to acquire Taqwā; and the company of the pious is in itself an effective tool for the acquisition of Taqwā. Allāhta‘ālā states:

O you who believe, fear (disobeying) Allāh, and be in the company of the truthful (i.e. pious). (9:119)

And regarding the truthful, Allāh ta‘ālā says:

Those are the ones who are truthful, and those are the Muttaqīn. (2:177)

May Allāh ta‘ālā grant us all the tawfīq to strive for the great quality of Taqwā. Āmīn.

© Riyādul Jannah (Vol. 25 No. 8, Aug 2016)


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Shaykh Muhammad al-Mukhtar al-Shinqitee (Hafidhahullah)

An extremely beautiful clip from one of the most amazing scholars and worshippers of our time, Sheikh Muhammad Mukhtar Ash-Shinqiti (Hafidhahullah), from the holy city of Madinah. A translated extract from his lecture “Al Hayaat At-Tayyibah” (“The Goodly Life”), in which he discusses the realities of the life of this temporary world and man’s relationship with it, and most importantly his relationship with his Creator.

Translation: The Goodly Life

Transcript

“The Goodly Life”
Sheikh Muhammad Mukhtar Ash-Shinqiti

Life, is either for a person, or against him
It’s hours and seconds, days and years pass him by
Leading him (by his actions) to the Love and Good Pleasure of Allah
until he is amongst the people of Ultimate Success and the Gardens of Paradise
or they are against him, leading him (by his actions) to the Fires of Hell
and to the Anger of the One, the Just Ruler [Allah]

Life, either it will make you laugh & rejoice for an hour
over which you will cry for an eternity (in the Hereafter)
or it will make you cry for an hour
over which you will laugh & rejoice for an eternity (in the Hereafter)

Life, is either a great blessing for a person,
or an adverse affliction against him

This is a life which was lived by the earliest generations
by our fathers and forefathers
and by all those who preceded us
All of them, returned to Allah with what they used to do [their deeds]

“Life” refers to every single moment that is lived within it
and every hour spent within it
And within all of these, we live a life that is either for us or against us

Thus, the successful and happy person
is the one who sees life, and recognises it’s reality and true nature
For by Allah, it is a life that frequently causes some people to weep, their tears never drying
and frequently makes others laugh, their laughs and joys then never to return

My beloved, Allah has made this life as a trial, a test,
an exam, in which is made apparent the true nature of His slaves
Thus happy is the one who is made successful (in this exam) by the Mercy of Allah
while miserable & banished (from salvation) is the one upon whom the Pleasure of Allah becomes forbidden (through this exam)

(Know) for every hour that you live, either Allah is pleased with you in this hour (by your deeds)
or the opposite, we seek refuge in Allah from that
Therefore (by this hour) either you come closer to Allah
or you stray further from Him

Thus it may be, that you live a single moment of love and obedience to Allah (by your actions)
by which are forgiven the inequities of your life
and a lifetime of sins
And it may be that you live a single moment in which you deviate purposely from the Path of Allah
distancing yourself from His obedience
which then becomes a cause of misery & distress, for the rest of your life
We ask Allah for His Safety and Pardoning

In this life there exist two seperate ‘callers’
The first, is anything that calls to the Mercy, the Good Pleasure and the Love of Allah (be they thoughts or actions)
The second type of caller, is anything which invites to the opposite of that
(Such as) a desire or lust that incites one to evil
or a sudden sinful whim that may result in an evil ending (dying in bad or sinful circumstances)

Thus it may be, that a person within a moment of his life, weeps;
a weeping of regret and repentance over his negligence towards his Lord;
and by (these tears) Allah changes his evil deeds into good deeds (on his record)

But how many a people continue to commit sins?
how many a people still indulge in evil?
how many a people continue to distance themselves (from Allah),
frequently travelling away from their Lord (by their actions)?
Thus all of them are distant from the Mercy of Allah
unbeknownst to them, strangers to the Good Pleasure of Allah

Then comes upon them that hour, that exact moment (of penitence),
which is what we are referring to, by “the goodly life”,
in order that they shed tears of regret and remorse,
and that a reason for anguish in the heart may be ignited,

Such that the person realises how long his alienation from Allah has been
and how long his absence from his Lord truly has been
so that he may then say, “Indeed I am turning to my Lord repentant, remorseful,
and in hope of His Mercy and Good Pleasure!”

This time (of penitence) is a person’s key to happiness and contentment,
the time of regret.
It is as the scholars say,
“Indeed man sins a great deal,
but if he is truly sincere in his regret and repentance,
Allah will change his sins into good deeds”
Thus his life too then becomes pure and goodly,
by the purity and truthfulness of that regret and repentance
and by the sincerity in the very distress and pain felt within himself

We ask Allah the Greatest, Lord of the Honourable Throne,
to give life to this blessed caller to His Mercy, within our hearts
and to the pain we should feel when we are neglectful towards Allah and His Commands

My beloved, every single one of us needs to ask themselves a question,
we need to ask ourselves day and night,
How many nights are spent awake in activity?
and how many hours are passed (in this way)?
How many have laughed in this life?
And (most importantly) was Allah Pleased with this laughter?

How much of this time was spent in entertainment and enjoyment in this life?
Was this enjoyment one that Allah was Pleased with?
How many nights were spent awake (in activity)?
Was this staying awake (and what you did in those nights), pleasing to Allah?

And so on and so forth,
(These are) questions that he should be asking within himself
But a person might wonder why he should be asking these questions (i.e. what’s the point)?

Yes! You must ask yourselves these questions
as passes not the instant of a blinking of an eye,
nor a fleeting moment in your life,
except that you are living in and experiencing the Blessings of Allah!

Thus it is from great respect and humility towards Allah
that a person remains constantly aware of the greatness of the Blessings bestowed upon him

From this humility is to truly feel and acknowledge that the food we eat,
belongs to and is provided by Allah

And that we quench our thirst with a drink created by Allah
And that we are shaded and sheltered by a roof provided by Him
And that we walk forth upon a ground provided by Him
And that without doubt we are living in and experiencing His every Bounty and Mercy
So what could we possibly have to offer Him in return?

(So it’s important) a person asks himself these questions.

(For example) doctors say that there exists a substance in a person’s heart,
that if it were to increase or decrease by 1%
he would die instantly…
So (think) in which courtesy and kindness,
which mercy and compassion from Allah does mankind enjoy, experience and live in!

(Even if) a person asks himself about the Mercy of Allah alone,
When he wakes up in the morning,
possessing his hearing
possessing his sight
possessing his physical strength,
who is the one safeguarding his hearing?
Who is the One safeguarding his sight?
Who is the One safeguarding his intellect?
Who is the One safeguarding his very soul?

He must ask himself, who is the One protecting all of these things?
Who is the One who Bestowed him with good health and wellbeing?

(Think of) those who are sick, lying on white beds (in hospital)
those who are sighing and in pain (from illness),
By Allah, through these great blessings Allah conveys His Love for us,
The great blessings of good health, wellbeing, security and safety
All of these are provided purely so that we may live a goodly life

Allah, praised & exalted is He, desires two things from His slave:
The first is that he carry out his obligatory duties (e.g. prayer)
and the second, is the abandonment of all Allah has forbidden and held him back from

As for the one who claims that closeness to Allah
entails a life of suffering or limitations
Then such a person without doubt has erred greatly in how he perceives Allah

For, by Allah, if you do not purify and make good your life by closeness to your Lord,
you will never be able to do so by way of anything else

And if you do not purify and adorn your life by carrying out your obligatory duties to Him,
and abandoning all that He has forbidden,
Then by Allah, you will never be able to so by way of anything else

A person may experience every single pleasure life has to offer
but by Allah, he will never experience anything more pleasurable,
more beautiful than servitude to Allah
by carrying out his obligations to Him
and leaving all that He has forbid him from

(In life) you are subjected to two choices,
whenever you are faced with a matter,
you have the choice to either do it or not do it

If you decide to go forth and do anything in this life,
ask yourself, “Has Allah permitted you to do this thing, or not?”

Since the human being himself is owned by Allah
the hearts are all owned by Allah
and the souls are all owned by Allah

Thus a person should,
whenever he wants to do something or hold back from it,
ask himself, will Allah be pleased with you (by this action)?
If so, then let him proceed
Or, will Allah not be pleased by this action?
If not then he should hold himself back.

For, by Allah, a person does not proceed with an action nor hold back from it,
requesting Allah’s Mercy (and counsel in the decision),
except that he pleases his Lord in the process

Therefore true happiness and a goodly life are only to be found in closeness to Allah

Closeness to who?
To the King of Kings
the Controller of the Heavens & the Earth
To whom belongs the Ultimate Command, all creation
and the perfect arrangement and measure of all that exists

Thus you may find that man is always
in a state of anxiety and weariness
You may find an individual who has everything he desires
But by Allah, you will find most of those who have all they desire
suffer from mental or psychological problems,
from anxiety and depression,
most of them are extremely unhappy and dissatisfied with their lives

Go and look for the wealthiest person
and you’ll most likely find him to be from
the most miserable people in life

And has made the sweetness and savour of life to be found,
in being close to Him

And has placed the key to a pleasurable, amiable life,
in a pleasurable, amiable relationship with Him

(If we look at just) one prayer that a person performs
from the 5 obligatory daily prayers;
at the moment of completing his bowing and prostrating
and completing his servitude to his Lord,
then at leaving the place of prayer,
he feels a great sense of ease and peace within himself!

By Allah, even if he were to spend all the wealth on the earth
(in attempt to buy this feeling)
He would be unable to seek a way to it.

Thus the goodly life is found only in closeness to Allah
A pleasant, comfortable life will only be found by a closeness to Allah
If a person does not purify and make good his life
through this close relationship,
then by who (or what) will he….?

 

Why Earthquakes Occur

Having just experienced an earthquake last night in the East Midlands and with similar tremors occurring in other parts of the world recently, we would like to share with you an editorial of the respected Shaykh-ul-Hadīth, Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh which appeared in the monthly journal ‘Riyādul Jannah’ after the earthquake that occurred in February 2008 in the UK.

Why Earthquakes Occur
by Shaykh Mawlānā Muhammad Saleem Dhorat hafizahullāh

At 12:56am on 27th February the UK was shaken by an earthquake of a significant enough magnitude to make the headlines. Buildings shuddered, furniture shook, and people were woken from their sleep. By morning, everyone was talking about it.

The largest earthquake to strike the UK in over 25 years was regarded by most people as no more than an exciting incident. Their curiosity was satisfied by scientific explanations, and there their interest ended. They did not see the shaking of the earth beneath their feet as an opportunity to learn valuable lessons.

The question we need to ask is: ‘Why do earthquakes occur?’

We can learn a lot about the world around us by using the ‘aql (intellect) that Allāh ta‘ālā has given us. ‘Aql, however, has its inherent limitations, and as believers we should not remain content with the often incomplete picture of events that it can present. Where ‘aql reaches its limits, wahy (Revelation) takes over. As Muslims, we should turn to the teachings of our beloved Nabī Muhammad sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam to understand the significance of the recent earthquake.

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam has declared the cause of earthquakes to be disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā exceeding limits. Whatever the scientific explanation may be – and there is no need to reject or ignore scientific explanations – Allāh ta‘ālā made the earth shake. Allāh ta‘ālā uses physical agencies to bring about physical events in the universe, e.g. a child is born as a result of the union of its parents, yet Allāh ta‘ālā is the Originator; He gives children via the agency of the parents. Allāh ta‘ālā may cause an earthquake to occur through the means of huge stresses building up at fault lines in the earth’s crust or, if he wishes, without it. But, in either case, it is Allāh ta‘ālā Who causes earthquakes.

Allāh ta‘ālā first causes small earthquakes, like the 5.2 quake felt in the UK, which do not result in any major harm. They do, however, affect the hearts of people, causing a moment of fear, awe and a sense of one’s mortality. These minor earthquakes can be described as wake-up calls from Allāh ta‘ālā, inviting His servants to take stock of their lives and turn to Him in repentance. In this way, they are a mercy from Him. It is reported that on the occasion of an earthquake occurring in the time of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam he turned to the Sahābah radhiyallāhu ‘anhum and said: ‘Your Rabb wants you to turn to Him in repentance, so repent.’

Allāh ta‘ālā states in the Glorious Qur’ān:
Calamities have appeared on land and sea because of what the hands of men have earned, that Allāh may make them taste a part of what they have done, in order that they may turn back. (30:41)

When people do not heed these warnings and continue to disobey Allāh ta‘ālā, He may repeat the wake-up calls of magnitude 4 or 5 before suddenly unleashing a magnitude 8 quake, resulting in Qiyāmah-like scenes. Whole localities are razed to the ground, as if they had never existed. And these things are not hypothetical, they are happening now, in our lifetime.

Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam foretold that as Qiyāmah nears, earthquakes will become more frequent, a prediction we are seeing come true with our very eyes. The reason for the increase in earthquakes foretold by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is an increase in disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā.

When, as a result of excessive disobedience, a large earthquake occurs anywhere, the Qur’ānic principle is that everyone, good and bad, is afflicted.
And beware of a scourge that will not afflict the wrongdoers among you only… (8:25)
Everyone suffers: people die or suffer bereavement, injury, fear, financial loss, anxiety and depression etc. The victims of a catastrophic earthquake can be divided into four groups:

1. Good people who die. They are classified as shuhadā (martyrs) and will enter Jannah. Their suffering will be a means of elevating their status in Jannah.

2. Bad people who die. Due to their disobedient and unrepentant ways they will be destined for Jahannam. Their suffering will be a punishment.

3. Good people who survive. The calamity is a test for them. By remaining patient and content with taqdīr and the Will of Allāh ta‘ālā they will be rewarded with closeness to Him.

4. Bad people who survive. The calamity is a warning and admonition for them to repent and change their ways.
What we need to do

1. Accept that the earthquake was a result of disobedience to Allāh ta‘ālā. Each individual should think: ‘Out of all the disobedient people, I am top of the list. It was because of me that the earthquake struck.’

2. Thereafter, make tawbah and istighfār with sincerity.

3. When the earth quakes, so does the heart. Treat it as an opportunity to rectify your life. Make use of the fear that developed in your heart. Think: ‘I commit many sins; what if the earth had split and swallowed me up? Allāh ta‘ālā has saved me. O Allāh, forgive me.’

4. Give sadaqah. Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam said:
‘Truly, sadaqah extinguishes the anger of the Rabb and prevents an evil death.’ (At-Tirmidhī)

5. Having experienced the disturbing effects of a small earthquake, try to imagine Qiyāmah. What will the mighty earthquakes of Qiyāmah and the Resurrection be like?
It is very serious that the land we live on shook; it means that so much disobedience is taking place on it that Allāh ta‘ālā is displeased. We must turn to Allāh ta‘ālā and do tawbah, istighfār and rectify our lives. We should also have concern in this regard for those around us. May Allāh ta‘ālā make this earthquake a mercy for us and may it prompt us to change our lives for the better. Āmīn.
© Riyādul Jannah