How to achieve Taqwa?

18 09 2007

Taqwa (of Allah swt) means: taking protection from the anger of Allah and his punishment. This protection is realised by doing what Allah (swt) commands, and refraining from everything that Allah forbids. In brief, this protection is realised by obeying Allah which emanates only from the correct and strong belief in Him. This belief comprises the genuine love of Allah as well as the genuine fear of Him.

Question is, how can we achieve taqwa in our life?

We can answer this question in a general way based on the definition of taqwa that I mentioned; taqwa can be achieved by doing everything that increases and strengthens link between belief and actions, and doing everything (sayings and actions) that increases the love of Allah (swt) and increases the fear of Him (swt).

Taqwa can be achieved in three ways:
The first way to achieve taqwa of Allah (swt) is reciting the Qur’an reflecting upon its meanings and implementing its verses. Allah (swt) says in surat Al-Baqarah, (verse 121), what can be translated as, {Those to whom We gave the book (the Qur’an) recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones that believe therein. And who disbelieves in it (the Qur’an), those are the losers.}

Imam Ibn Katheer says about this verse that Ibn Mas’oud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, ”By the one whose hand my soul is in, the real recitation of Qur’an is to adopt its halal and refrain from doing its haram, and recite it exactly like Allah (swt) has revealed it, without altering the meaning of its words, and without interpreting anything from it except the way it is to be interpreted, so it is to be followed faithfully.” Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, said about reciting the Qur’an the way it should be, ”They (the ones who really recite Qur’an) are the ones who, when they pass by a verse of mercy, asked it from Allah (swt) and when they pass by a verse of punishment, they seek refuge from it, like the prophet (saw) used to do”.

Indeed, this is the real recitation of Qur’an that leads to the knowledge of Allah (swt) and to the knowledge of His names, attributes, reward, and punishment. About this knowledge, the Prophet (saw) said, ”I am the most knowledgeable person, among you, about Allah and I fear Him more than you do.” Whoever does not know Allah does not fear Him. For this reason, Allah (swt) specifically categorised those who fear Him only with those who have knowledge of Him. Allah (swt) says in surat Fatir, (verse 28), what can be translated as, {…It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah.}

This shows the greatness of the true recitation of Qur’an and the great effects it has on the lives of people and their behavior and conduct, and the greatness of reward for reciting, reflecting and understanding it.

Allah (swt) stresses that the purpose of revealing the Qur’an in Arabic; an understandable and clear language, with a lot of warnings in it, is to help people attain taqwa and wake them up from their absent-mindedness. Allah (swt) says in surat Taha, (verse 113), what can be translated as, {And thus We have sent it down as a Qur’an in Arabic, and have explained therein in detail the warnings, in order that they may have taqwa, or that it may cause them to learn a lesson from it.}

Allah (swt) stresses that the purpose of revealing the Qur’an to Muhammad (saw) is to help people reflect upon his verses and understand them, so the verses will be a reminder for them. Allah (swt) says in surat Saad, (verse 29), what can be translated as, {(This is) a book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its verses, and that men of understanding may remember.}

Allah (swt) scorns the people who do not reflect upon Qur’an and do not understand its meanings. Allah (swt) says in surat Muhammad, (verse 24), what can be translated as, ‘{Do they not then think deeply in the Qur’an, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding)?}

Every verse that Allah (swt) revealed in the Qur’an is to help guide the people to achieve taqwa. Allah (swt) says in surat Al-Baqarah, (verse187), what can be translated as, {Thus does Allah make clear His ayat to mankind that they may become Al-Muttaqun.}

Why do we see so many Muslims today, reciting Qur’an so frequently without any positive effects on their lives?

We let two companions of the Prophet (saw) answer this question. They are Abdullah Bin Omar and Jundob, may Allah be pleased be with them (this is reported, authentically, by Imam At-Tabarani.), ”I lived a period of my life when some of us (the companions) would attain the Iman before Qur’an, while the surah was being revealed to the prophet (saw.), so we learn its halal and its haram and learn to reflect upon it. Then, I saw people who would attain Qur’an before the belief, so they read between the Fatiha and the end of the book without knowing what commands them and what forbids them and where to reflect; reading it like throwing away bad dates.”

So, no one will benefit from the recitation of the Qur’an if it is not preceded with the correct belief, which will turn this recitation into a reality. Also, no one will benefit from the recitation of the Qur’an unless they understand the halal and haram, and the verses of glad tidings of Paradise and the verses of the warning of Hell Fire.

What are the reasons that make us not reflect upon the meanings of Qur’an when we recite it?

There are two main reasons:
Firstly, weakness in the belief and absent-mindedness when reciting Qur’an. So, many of us recite Qur’an symbolically without any life in it to the extent that many of us look for the beautiful voice and great harmony when checking out the different reciters, and react and get affected by the voice and harmony, not by his appreciation for the meanings.

‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said to a certain man ”You are in a time when men of understanding (fuqaha’) are many and Qur’an reciters are few, when the hudud(limits) defined in the Qur’an are guarded and its letters are neglected, when few people ask and many give, when they make the prayer long and the khutba short, and put their actions before their desires. A time will come upon people when their fuqaha’ are few but their Qur’an reciters are many, when the letters of the Qur’an are guarded carefully but its hudud are neglected, when many ask but few give, when they make the khutba long but the prayer short, and put their desires before their actions.”

Secondly, our weakness in the Arabic language which Qur’an is revealed in. Many native Arabs do not understand many of the words in the Qur’an that they recite and do not exert any effort to understand the meanings of those words. The brief interpretation of Qur’an can help them a lot and there are many available resources.

As to the non-Arabic speakers, the problem is worse. It can be solved by referring to more than just one translation of the meaning of the Qur’an. They should not depend on one translation because the translator chooses from the language the word that is closest to the meaning of the Arabic word and ignores, on many occasions other words that carry different meanings.

In conclusion, indeed, reciting Qur’an lively leads to the taqwa of Allah, and every verse in Qur’an increases the belief of the believers, while at the same time increases the ungratefulness of the non-believers. Allah (swt) says in surat At-Tawbah, (verses 124&125), what can be translated as, {And whenever there comes down a surah, some of them say: ”Which of you has his iman increased by it ? As for those who believe, it has increased their iman, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt, and they die while they are disbelievers.}

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15 responses

19 09 2007
Sumera

Having Imaan, taqwa and obtaining ihsaan is not as easy as people assume it to be. Some mistakenly perceive taqwa to mean being aware of Allah in all that you do, but it doesnt just stop there (as you pointed out)

JazakAllahu Khayr Tia :D

19 09 2007
Observor

Nice blog! can I ask qustion? Is taqwa love of Allah or fear of Allah (swt)?

24 04 2013
mushtaq ahmed

What i perceive , Taqwa is restraining from evil deeds out of either fear / love or both of Allah SWT.

20 09 2007
Tia

Taqwa is a concept from which result actions.

(In brief, this protection is realised by obeying Allah which emanates only from the correct and strong belief in Him. This belief comprises the genuine love of Allah as well as the genuine fear of Him.)

22 09 2007
amal

although I know arabic I do not actualy understand all of the quran , But it really is not easy learning classical arabic ( deep) , I find reading the tafsir of the quran has given me a better understanding . Read a surah then go and sit down and read the tafsir , it really gave me a an insight into the hadeeths and how they came to the interpretation.

25 09 2007
Hasmita

I am the same Amal, I ve been reading Quran with Tafseer, its really helping me focus and get the maximum out of it.

24 02 2008
amatur rahman safiya

salaamun alaikum,mashallah,the description of taqwa is sone v wonderfully,i’ve read recently from many web sites,i’m a convert,my iman was very deep and wonderful in the frst years of my conversion,it decreasws and increases,i was almost into materialistic world for the last few years,i felt loist &unhappy,now again i’m back to the track of nearness of ALLAH,ALHAMDULLILLAH.I FEEL the first thing is we have become v busy with our matrialistic world, we want to be more ambitious,we don’t want to wind up our work as the practice of our Nabi(saws),one of my teacher said that we must try to wind up our work by asr,and get ready for the worship,it doesn’t mean only salah,it means to read quran &reflect upon it,test our imaan,guage it,try to ask more from the knwledgeble people.thanks ur article has helped me in my search of taqwa topics,& also increased my taqwa.alhamdulillah.

25 02 2008
Tia

Wa alaykum assalam. jazakAllahu khair for dropping by and your most valuable contribution to this discussion.

10 09 2009
sandrar

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

27 11 2009
muhammed arafat shaikh

assalamalaikum again another serious flaw affecting the non arab muslims is that especially is that of in the indian subcontinent where muslims recite HOLY QURAN in arabic without understanding since they know how to read arabic but do not understand it,here too although those muslims in the indian subcontinent although have faith in HOLY QURAN but do not derive the true benefit as they do not understand what is being read and only a few muslims read HOLY QURAN by understanding through translations.we should always remember that the sunnah of the prophet muhammed(pbuh) and his companions was to read HOLY QURAN with both FAITH and UNDERSTANDING,ALLAHHAFIZ.

18 05 2011
sister

salaams,

You stated at the beginning of the article that Taqwa can be achieved in 3 ways.
You’ve mentioned Quraan/Knowledge

but I cant find the other 2? Jazak Allaah Khayr

4 10 2011
Khadra

Allhamdulillah, Asalaamu Alaikum warahmatullah. Qur,an is a solution for every one in the wold, but me i read Qur, aan and i love to understand one by one but sorry i don’t know Arabic. and same times my taqwa is not clear, and plz ask for allah to increase my TAQWA insha allah w.s

10 12 2011
Guacelucas

you definitely love for more detail online

10 12 2011
muhammed arafat shaikh

TAQWA is to become righteous in the sight of ALLAH by cultivating and practising the teachings of ISLAMIC beliefs,commandments and values and thereby purifying one own’s self.

17 08 2012
syed

Excellent article…i witnessed and experinced it this Ramadan myself when i decided to recite Quran aya by aya with meaning….and what a profound effect it has upon you when you finish reciting in one month…you get the msg that Allah swt is conveying….reading on bits and pieces that i did before has no effect..
jAk for this great article

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