Having Taqwa, Attaining Tazkiyah

Allaah SWT commands:
O Believers! Adopt Taqwa of Allaah; watch what each of you provides for Tomorrow (Hereafter); and again, maintain Taqwa of Allaah. Indeed, Allaah is aware of what you do. And do not be like those who forgot Allaah, and as a consequence, He caused them to forget their souls (their own well-being). Al-Hashr 59:18-19

The attitude and approach of a Muslim towards the affairs of life that distinguishes him from a non-Muslim is called Taqwa. It is a paradigm shift resulting from a continual awareness, remembrance and consciousness of Allaah brought about by a true faith in Allaah (Eeman).

Taqwa is an attitude of keeping one’s duty to Allaah and a paradigm of care, caution and avoidance in the following sense:
  • Being willing, eager and careful to fulfill one’s duties to Allaah in every aspect of life.
  • Being conscious of our accountability to Allaah and being mindful that He is well aware of all our actions, intentions, thoughts and behaviours.
  • Being cautious not to get involved in anything that is prohibited or leads to something that is prohibited by Allaah.
  • Being particular about maintaining a lifestyle that will avoid incurring the displeasure or punishment of Allaah.

As per the paraphrased discussion between Ubayy Bin Ka’ab and Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them) Taqwa is: Living one’s life as carefully as one holds his clothes closer to his body while passing through a dense jungle of thorny bushes in order to protect his clothes from being caught in any of the thorns.

To capture all the aspects of Taqwa in translation is difficult. Hence, different scholars have translated Taqwa as being God conscious, keeping one’s duty to Allaah, or fearing Allaah. In fact, Taqwa is all these things.

Taqwa is the source of all virtues and goodness. It is the catalyst that reforms a person from inside. Once a person’s paradigm shifts genuinely towards Taqwa, he embarks on a path of continuous self-improvement. He monitors his own thoughts, motives and actions to ensure that they remain pure and aligned with the guidance of Islam. He becomes motivated, eager and enthusiastic to do good, or rather excel, in his ethics, morals, dealings, human relations, and every aspect of his conduct in day to day life. He tries his best to avoid any bad behaviour in any affairs of life. Good actions please him. Mistakes give him anxiety, in which case he immediately repents, seeks Allaah’s forgiveness and makes up for them by doing more good. He loves Allaah’s creations and cares for them. He becomes generous, gracious, forgiving and kind. He becomes a champion for the rights of the weak, neglected, disadvantaged and persecuted people of the society. He courageously stands up and struggles for the establishment of justice, fairness, equity and equality of all people. He dedicates himself selflessly, never expecting or accepting any thing or any benefit in return because his goal is Allaah’s pleasure, mercy and forgiveness.

This process of ongoing, continuous self-improvement in terms of one’s thoughts, motives and actions regarding all affairs of one’s life is called Tazkiah (Purification).

Thus, true faith makes a person continually remember Allaah with love and awe. This all results in an attitude of Taqwa which, if properly understood and adopted, results in purification (Tazkiah). The result is a person at his/her best – the best a human being can be.

For such a person, the good news is:
Successful is indeed he who purifies. Al-A’alaa 87:14

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