In the first part of this series, we learned what taqwa in Islam is and had a brief introduction on how we can be of the muttaqeen. In this article, we will explore action points and practical steps to attain taqwa and become of those whom Allah SWT loves.
#1 Hold yourself accountable
Maintain a diary for this. Write down the significant deeds you did today,
- Prayed on time or missed it?
- Read Quran or not?
- Helped family?
- Indulged in a secret act of charity (even $1 with sincere intentions will do)
- The sins you indulged in (let this be only between you and Allah)
Now, at night, when you look at your diary, hold yourself accountable. For all the times you faltered and erred, seek Allah’s forgiveness immediately and repent. This is one of the quickest ways to clean your book of deeds from sins. By doing so, you are looking at ways to improve your day-to-day life, in turn improving your station in jannah manifold.
#2 Dhikr – Angels will surround you
Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “Allah, the Exalted, has teams of angels who go about on the roads seeking those who remember Allah. When they find some people remembering Allah they call to one another and say, `Come to what you are looking for;’ and they surround them with their wings till the space between them and the lowest sky is fully covered.
Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, asks them (although He is best informed about every thing): `What are my slaves saying?’ They say: `They are glorifying Your Tasbih, Tahmid, Takbir, Tamjid, (i.e., they were declaring Your Perfectness, praising, remembering the Greatness and Majesty of Allah).’ He asks: `Have they seen Me?’ They reply, `No, indeed, they have not seen You.’ He asks: `How would they act if they were to see Me?’ Thereupon they reply: `If they were to see You, they would engage more earnestly in worshiping and glorifying You and would extol You more.’
He would say: `What do they beg of Me?’ They say, `They beg You for Your Jannah.’ Allah says, `Have they seen My Jannah?’ They say, `No, our Rubb.’ He says: `How would they act if they were to see My Jannah?’ They reply, `Were they to see it, they would more intensely eager for it.’ They (the angels) say, `They seek Your Protection.’ He asks, `Against what do they seek My Protection?’ They (the angels) say, `Our Rubb, from the fire of Hell.’ (He, the Rubb) says, `Have they seen the fire of Hell?’ They say, `No. By Your Honor, they have not seen it.’ He says: `How would they act if they were to see My Fire?’ They say: `If they were to see it, they would more earnest in being away from it and fearing it. They beg of Your forgiveness.’
He says: `I call you to witness that I hereby grant pardon to them and confer upon them what they ask for; and grant them protection against what they seek protection from.’ One of the angels says: `Our Rubb, there is amongst them such and such slave who does not belong to the assembly of those who are participating in Your remembrance. He passed by them and sat down with them.’ He says: `I also grant him pardon because they are the people by virtue of whom their associates will not be unfortunate‘.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
Have you often wondered how you could gain Allah’s forgiveness? The aforementioned hadeeth is for you! All you have to do is sit with an attentive heart and indulge in dhikr. In turn, you obtain Allah’s forgiveness and blessings in the presence of angels themselves!
Being mindful of Allah and remembering Him, especially during your free time is one of the most powerful ways to attain taqwa because man tends to sin most when he is not keeping himself busy. It is easy to waste time on insignificant matters, or indulge in acts which Allah dislikes when you have a lot of time on your hands. So, remember to indulge in some dhikr, dua and repentance the next time you are free. Even before you realize it, you will see your life transform into one filled with ibadah, taqwa and imaan.
Nothing can beat the power of Quran. The words of Allah have power and barakah which need to be experienced, because no amount of words can do justice to what the Quran can do.
You may feel you have no time to read the Quran, however this should not stop you from opening the glorious book of Allah.
Indulge in bite sized reading: For example, if you cannot read an entire page, read a small paragraph or maybe even just about 2-3 verses per day as per your convenience. The goal is to start slowly and maintain consistency while doing so.
Understand what you are reciting by using an authentic translation of the Quran.
Ponder over what Allah has to say and take one verse and act upon it; understand the tafseer of this particular verse and implement it in your life. This is how you LIVE the Quran.
Next step is to impart what you’ve learned with friends and family. Make this a family affair where you gather all the family members around and discuss about the verse you read on that particular day. Ask your children what they learned from the verse, ask your spouse his/her reflections, and write down what all of you learned. This is how you maintain a diary of your personal Quranic reflections. Imagine reading all your thoughts during the weekend or towards the end of the year? Imagine how much you would have learned from each other and about the Quran?
This is an activity that comes with immense blessings and rewards from Allah. Additionally, getting close to Allah’s Book gives you a natural shield against sins and helps you build your fort of taqwa in a much stronger manner because the more you learn what Allah has to say, the more your heart will feel empowered to implement His words. This really works! Try it for yourself and see the difference. Indulge as a family to make the Quran your best companion.
No amount of repentance is too less. Let the tears of regret flow, open your prayer mat in the depths of night, and repent for every time you erred and start afresh the next day.
#5 One Sunnah a day
Recite or memorize one dua/dhikr which our Prophet (SAW) taught us. Every step you take closer to the sunnah of our Prophet (SAW) is one step closer to Allah and what He loves!
What better way to strengthen all the aforementioned activities other than salah? Prayer is your personal shield against hell-fire, your unique ticket into paradise and your own personal connection with Allah, which no one can interfere with. Salah keeps you away from sins, protects you from Shaitan, and helps your taqwa levels skyrocket.
For those of you who have been struggling to pray or are irregular in your salah, don’t lose hope or despair. Start with the fardh rakats of each prayer and once you get comfortable with it, start adding the sunnah rakats.
For those of you who have a habit of delaying your salah, make it a point to start praying at least one prayer on time. Once you get used to this routine, begin adding the next prayer to your list and so on.
If you are of those people who pray on time, mashaAllah, spend some time reading the Quran or engage in extra istighfar.
No matter what state your imaan is in, don’t ever give up on salah!
Using any or all of the aforementioned points are extremely beneficial in helping you live a life of taqwa. Now, it’s over to you! What are some ways in which we can build up on our taqwa? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.