In Surah Fatiha, we ask Allah to guide us. In surah Baqarah, Allah tells us that the guidance we have been searching for, lays right here, in front of us – the Quran
Allah says, “That is the Book about which there is no doubt, guidance for those conscious of Allah (people of taqwa)…” (Chapter 2: Verse 2)
Quran holds secrets to those who are willing to spend time with it. It can cleanse your heart from jealousy, malice, hatred, ill feelings and envy if you choose to look at it as a source of soul cleanser. It will help your heart and mind heal, even when you feel the world beneath your feet is cracking in pieces. It will help you rise from the ashes even after you’ve hit rock bottom. It will provide comfort and peace which no person or materialistic thing can ever provide, but only if you choose to open it, read it and ponder on what Allah has to say to you. It can be the greatest source of guidance to help you wade through dunya and akhira. In the second verse of surah Baqarah, we learn that the people of taqwa receive guidance.
Now in this article, let us look at how we can be the people of taqwa in order to receive guidance from this glorious book that was specially sent to us, the ummah of Muhammad ﷺ.
Who is it who will receive guidance?
Allah says in the second verse that only those with taqwa (muttaqeen) will get guidance from the Quran.
Taqwa is usually understood as piety or righteousness. When we understand the word in a deeper context, taqwa simply means to take protection. It is a shield that protects you from the anger/disapproval/punishment of Allah swt.
- To indulge in things that please Allah, and
- To abstain from that which Allah disapproves or dislikes
Seems easy doesn’t it?! Unfortunately, we tend to falter many times over on this aspect. Quite often, we forget that there is more to this life than just the temporary little pleasures. Therefore, we tend to forget praying our salah on time because there was something more exciting on the TV. We tend to delay our prayers even after the adhaan was called because texting our friends, indulging in vain talk or just lazing around seemed more exciting than pulling the prayer mat out. We find it easy to disrespect our parents and talk to them in a rude manner knowing full well that Allah dislikes it.
These are just a handful of examples we do on a daily basis. So what happens when we are constantly engaging in something that Allah does not approve of? We lose the shield of taqwa. And once that happens:
- We become of those who are not guided, and
- We are easily prone to attacks from Shaitan.
Let’s take an example:
Imagine yourself holding a shield that is protecting you and your family from a raging fire right outside your house. Now imagine slowly letting your guard fall off, and the shield drops down bit by bit in front of you, exposing you to the ferocious fire that is right in front of you. Wouldn’t you do everything within your capacity to save yourself and your loved ones from that fire? This is exactly how taqwa works. When you are in a constant state of taqwa, you are consistently protecting yourself from Allah’s anger, punishment, hellfire and Satan. The moment you stop keeping yourself and your heart in check, you lose this shield, making you vulnerable in dunya and akhirah.
The five levels of taqwa
Ibn Juzay al-Maliki wrote, “The degrees of taqwa are five:
- Being cautious of falling into disbelief. This is the station of submission to Allah.
- Being cautious of falling into sin and evil. This is the station of repentance.
- Being cautious of doubtful things. This is the station of carefulness.
- Being cautious of the permissible. This is the station of indifference. Ibn al-Qayyim said, “There are some people who will observe the obligations and avoid the prohibited. However, Shaytan will busy them with the permissible acts until the fail to make use of their extra time.”
- Being cautious of letting anything enter the heart save Allah. This is the station of witness.
The quickest way to attain taqwa
Before you do or say something, ask yourself, will Allah be pleased with me for this, or is this something that He disapproves. It is that simple! When you talk, ask yourself is this beneficial for me in this world and the hereafter or would I be indulging in backbiting, gossiping or just wasting my time in useless speech, when I could indulge in dhikr and repentance?
When you buy something, ask yourself is it for a halal or haram purpose?
When you feel like losing your temper on your loved ones or parents, ask yourself is this really worth it? Is it worth me losing my protection from hellfire? Is this anger more important than Allah’s likes and dislikes?
When you are tempted to waste time, ask yourself how heavy this would weigh on the Day of Judgment or in your grave when you would be counting (and regretting) every good deed you missed packing into your bag. Keep your thoughts, deeds and actions in check, and you have a greater chance of being of those with taqwa.
In the next article, we will look at ways to attain taqwa, and how you can become mutaqeen inshaAllah.