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Chapter 2. Merits Of Taqwa In The Quran & Sunnah

In the Quran:

'O you who believe! Fear (acquire taqwa of) Allah and Jet every soul see what he has sent forward for tomorrow. Fear Allah! Verily Allah is aware of what you do.' [Surah Hasr]

Imam Qurtubi (rh) says this with regards to obeying His commandments: respect His prohibitions, fulfil His obligations and abstain from sins. Tomorrow refers to the Day of Judgement because the Arabs used the word tomorrow to signify the future. Some say that it is used to signify the inevitable as a poet said:

'Tomorrow is imminent for those who look.'

Hasan (rh) and Qatada (rh) say that the Final Hour has been referred to as tomorrow as if it will actually occur tomorrow. The meaning of that which he has sent forward refers to both good and bad.

The command 'Fear Allah' has been repeated for emphasis. Some say the first 'Fear' refers to repenting from past sins and the second refers to refraining from sins in the future. [Tafseer Qurtubi]

Imam lbn Kathir (rh) says: 'Allah commands us to fear Him. This includes doing what He has ordered and refraining from that which is reprimanded. The phrase 'Let each soul see' means to take an account of one's own actions before being audited and to see what one has invested in the form of good deeds which can be presented in front of Allah.' [Tafseer ibn Kathir]

lbn Qayyim (rh) says: 'That this (proceeding) verse shows the necessity of taking an account of one's action.'

'O you who believe! Fear Allah as He is supposed to be feared and die not unless you are in the state of complete submission.'

Ibn Masood's commentary about this verse has already been quoted. (Page 3)

lbn Abbas, says: 'as He is supposed to be feared' means that they strive in His path as they should: they do not care about any one criticising them and they establish justice even against their own kith and kin. The phrase 'and die not..' means they preserve Islam in both health and sickness so that they are able to die in that state it.'

Syed Qutb (rh) says: 'Fear Allah' - as He deserves to be feared - is without any limitations. Let the heart strive to reach its limits. And as long as the heart is absorbed in the pursuit of this (taqwa) it will discover new horizons and experience different yearnings. This is the depths of Iman, this is the fear of Allah which reaches a climax when it dies in the state which is due to Allah. This is the constant taqwa and awareness which does not falter or lapse for a single moment. 'Fear Allah' - as He deserves to be feared - is without limitations. Let the heart strive to reach its limits.

'And the heavens and the earth belong to Allah alone. We bad advised those who were given the Scripture before you and We advise you also to fear Allah.'

lbn Kathir (ra) says that Allah instructs you just, as He instructed others before you, to fear Him and no one else.'

Syed Qutb says: 'Fearing Allah guarantees the reformation of the heart. So Allah wishes to advise people so that He can help them in need and protect them in distress if they listen to His advice. If not, He is able to bring another group of people to replace them. He wants them to fear Him for their own benefit and for their betterment.'

'O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from the Fire whose fuel will be people and stones (idols). It (the fire) will be supervised by harsh and robust angels who do not disobey Allah in His command and do exactly what they are ordered to do.'

Ali says: 'Protect yourselves with your actions and protect your families by advising them.'

Qatadah (rh) says: 'Command them with the instructions of Allah; prevent them from disobeying Him and assist them in both regards. If they disobey Him, reprimand them and deter them.'

Sabouni says: 'O you who believe in Allah and His messenger and submit to Him' Guard yourselves, your spouses and your children from a scorching fire. You can achieve this by abstaining from sins, doing good deeds and educating them.'

Syed Qutb (rh) says: 'The burden of the believer with regards to himself and his family is tremendous and frightening. The terrifying Fire is waiting for him and his family to pass by it. He has to guard himself and his family from falling into it 'Whose fuel will be people and stones.' People have been relegated to the status of stones (used for brimstone). So how frightening is this fire which will be lit with stones and painful will be its punishment which comprises torment and disgrace combined. So it is up to the believer to protect himself and his family from this fire before he loses all opportunities.'

'And take provisions for yourselves, for the best of provisions is Taqwa. So fear Me, O people of understanding.'

lbn Kathir (rh) says: 'Since Allah instructed them to make provisions in this world, He informed them about the provisions of the Hereafter, namely Taqwa. This is similar to the verse: 'And ( we have given you clothing as) beauty. And the garment of Taqwa, that is much better.' (Surah Al 'Araaf (7): 25) Since Allah mentioned the apparent clothing, He guided them towards inner clothing which is Taqwa and stated that is much better than apparent beauty.

Al-'Aashi, the poet says about this:

'When you travel without any provisions and then, after death, meet someone who has, you will regret that you are not like him and that you did not prepare as he did.'

Another poet says:

'Death is a sea whose waves covet and devours all the ploys of the swimmer. O nafs! I am talking to you so listen lo the advice of a concerned well-wisher. Nothing will accompany man to his grave, save Taqwa and good deeds.' 'So fear a day when all will be returned to Allah and then each soul shall be requited according to its deeds and will not be wronged.'

Ibn Kathir (rh) says: 'Allah admonishes His servants and reminds them of the termination of the world and the inevitability of the Hereafter and its procedures. It has been narrated that this was the last verse to be revealed in the Quran. The Prophet (SAW) lived for seven nights after the revelation of this verse.

Sabouni says: 'Allah warns His servants about that terrifying day when only good deeds will be of any avail. Revelation ended with this comprehensive verse which reminds people about the difficult day' (The last revelation emphasised the concept of Taqwa).

'O you who believe! Fear Allah and be among the truthful.'

Ibn Kathir (rh) says: 'Be truthful and stick to it so that you may become among those who are (truthful). This will deliver you from destruction and create openings in your affairs.'

Sabouni says: 'This means that you should observe Allah in all your actions and statements and that you should become among the truthful who make good their faith in their intentions and actions.

'O mankind! Fear Allah your Lord. Certainly, the quake of the Hour is a tremendous phenomenon.'

Sabouni says: 'This is an address to all people. Fear the punishment of Allah and obey Him by following His commands and abstaining from His prohibitions. Some scholars have summed up Taqwa as: 'He should not see you where He has prohibited you to be and He should not find you absent where He has ordered you to be.' The command for fearing Allah is explained by: 'the quake of the Hour is a tremendous phenomenon.

There are many more verses on this subject. A few are sufficient for us to understand that Allah has not created us in vain or without any purpose. He has created us as He himself says: 'We have created Jinn kind and Mankind only so that they can serve Me.'

This is apparent from this account that we will need provisions for our journey to allow us to reach our destination (Allah) and enjoy His Paradise and Pleasure. Those provisions are in Taqwa. And in the same way that Allah has commanded us to acquire Taqwa, so has His Messenger.

Muadh ibn Jabal says that the Prophet said: 'Fear Allah wherever you are, follow up a mistake with kindness (for it will obliterate it) and approach people with good manners.

Irbad ibn Sariyah, says that the Prophet admonished us with a sermon that made our hearts tremble and our eyes water. 'O messenger of Allah! It was like a farewell sermon, so advise us!' we asked. He said: 'I advise you to fear Allah and to listen and obey even if a slave is appointed a leader over you. Those who live among you will see a great deal of disputes. So hold firm to my Sunnah (way) and the Sunnah of the rightly guided khalifahs. In fact, bite on to them with your jaws. Stay away from innovations because all innovations are misguidances.'

Abu Said Khudri says that the Prophet said: 'The world is sweet and lush. Allah has deputised you in it so He will see how you fare in it. So beware of the world and beware of women because the first temptation among the Children of Israel was women.

Abu Said Khudri reports that the Prophet said: 'Do not keep the company of anyone except a believer and make sure no one eats your food except a pious person.' [Abu Dawud and Tirmidhi]

The Prophet himself used to ask Allah to grant him Taqwa. Ibn Masood says that the Prophet used to say (in supplication):

'O Allah! I ask you for guidance, taqwa, chastity and wealth (independence).' [Muslim]

It is because of its importance that we find the companions were preoccupied with taqwa and used to exhort one another to it. This is because they understood that the best of provisions for this world and the Hereafter is taqwa.