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Chapter 3. Exhortation Of The Predecessors To Taqwa

My dear Muslim brother! You should be informed that the predecessors - may Allah be pleased with them - always exhorted one another towards taqwa.

Abu Bakr used to say in his khutba: 'I advise you to observe taqwa and to praise Allah as He deserves to be praised. Mix hope with fear and combine importunity with asking (for help). Allah has praised Zakariyah and his family:

'They used to race towards goodness, invoke Us with hope and fear and they were devout to Us.' [Surah Anbiyah 90]

When Abu Bakr was about to die, he called Umar and advised him first and foremost to fear Allah. Umar wrote to his son:

'I advise you to fear Allah, for whoever fears Him has protected himself from His punishment. Whoever offers Him a loan, He will repay (reward) him and whoever thanks Him, He will give him more. Make taqwa your goal and the polish of your heart.

Ali deputised someone for an expedition and said:

'I advise you to fear Allah Whom you have to meet and besides Whom you have no destination. He controls the world and the Hereafter.'

Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (rh) wrote to a man:

'I advise you to observe fear of Allah Who accepts nothing except that (taqwa), Who shows mercy only to its adherents and Who rewards only on its account. There are many who preach it, but few who practice it. May Allah make us all among those who have taqwa.'

When Umar (rh) became khalifah he gave a sermon and said: 'I advise you to fear Allah and be good because He is with those who fear and do good.'

A man was about to leave for Haij and asked him (Umar) to advise him. He said: 'Fear Allah, for whoever fears Him will never feel lonely.'

Shu'ba says that whenever he used to prepare for a journey, he would ask Hakam if he (Hakam) required anything. He would say: 'I advise you with the words of the Prophet hen he advised Muadh *: 'Fear Allah wherever you are, follow up a mistake with kindness for it will erase it and approach people with good manners.'

A predecessor wrote to one of his brother:

'I advise you to fear Allah because it is the best thing you can hide, the most beautiful thing you can reveal and the most valuable thing you can treasure. May Allah help us both to observe it and give us both its reward.'

Another person wrote to his brother:

'I advise you and myself to observe taqwa for it is the best provision for the world and the Hereafter. Make it a means towards every good deed and a deterrent against every evil. Allah has guaranteed those with taqwa deliverance from their anxieties and provisions from unexpected quarters.

When Ali returned from the Battle of Siffin, he passed by a graveyard outside Kufa and said:

'O you who live in houses that create loneliness and in deserted places! You who live in darkening graves! O people of dust and alienation! O people of isolation and loneliness! You are, for us, scouts and we, for you, followers.

The houses? Well, they have become inhabited again. The wives? They have remarried. The wealth? It has been distributed. This is the news we have for you. What news do you have for us?

Then Ali turned towards his army and said:

'If they were permitted to speak, they would inform you that the best provision is taqwa.' [Nahjul Balagha]