Taqwa

• Text of the speech (with modifications) given by me in Unity Public school, Chennai after Ramadan 2012 CE • Inspired by the works of Imam GHazali, Imam ibn Qayyim and Imam ibn Rajab Hanbali, may Allah (سبحانه وتعلى) have mercy upon them all. • All translations of the aayat of Qur'an have been taken from 'The Noble Qur'an' by Dr Taqi ud din Hilali and Dr Muhsin Khan

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The root of the word ‘Taqwa’ gives us the meaning of ‘protecting and preserving’ and can be literally used with reference to someone as ‘he protected himself from harm’. However when the translators of the meanings of the Qur’an began their translations they translated this word as ‘God-consciousness’, as done by Muhammad Asad, sometimes as ‘self-restrain’, as done by Abdullah Yusuf Ali and sometimes as ‘warding off evil’ as done by Pickthall giving a fair glimpse of the Islamic connotations of this word. Nevertheless, in Islam, this word covers an ocean of meanings and its dimensions are diverse, so much so that huge volumes have been written just to convey what this single word implies.


In addition to changing the belief system, social system, psychology and philosophy of human beings Islam also gave many words frequently uttered by people superfluous meanings. These words Sawm, hadith, Sunnah, Qur’an, zakat, marfu’, mawquf etc have new implications now. These were not present before Allah perfected His religion and chose it for the whole of mankind till the Day of Judgment. And same is the case for the word ‘Taqwa’.  

It appears that the point at which Jibrael descended with the first revelation to Muhammad bin Abdullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) was a crucial point at which the whole world along with whatever is in it physical and non physical both was undergoing filtration, whatever pure came out, which was insignificantly less than what was left behind was then build up strong with many additions and a complete code and set of life was formulated- Islam. And thus Islamic concept is not to have a ‘radical change’- whereby whatever exists in society is rejected from top to bottom, which unfortunately has caught up our minds, rather Islam believes in ‘reformation’; whatever good is in society Islam confirms and applauds it and whatever evil is there, Islam removes it and substitutes it by good.


This also, in itself is a miracle of our Leader and beloved Rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) for no individual can influence so many fields in one life time. Leonardado da vinci is celebrated as a philosopher, engineer, artist, scientist and mathematician yet his sphere of influence is limited and that of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) is unlimited. At the top of that in every field he is the best of all, from social leader to military general, amazing teacher, impressive ruler, great psychologist, a downright economist, distinguished organizer, unspeakably tolerant, profoundly generous, go on, a person whose way of living, standing, sitting, sleeping, eating, drinking, talking, travelling, buying, selling, praying, fasting, has been constantly imitated letter-perfect by millions of Muslims since ages. To his Prophet-hood we attest and we bear witness to what he brought with him, la ilaha illallah Muhammadur rasulullah (صلى الله عليه وسلم). His sphere of influence didn’t even spare the Arabic words and thus he was (صلى الله عليه وسلم) a unique person in the history of mankind.


It is he (upon him be peace and blessings of Allah) who taught his companions what Taqwa is and imbibed in them its implications and thus we find them speaking about this subject in an astonishing fashion. Ali, the fourth caliph of Islam describes Taqwa as a combination of four things, he says, “Taqwa is to fear Allah the Almighty, to act upon revelation, to be content with little and to prepare for the day of travel (that is the day of judgement)”. Abu Darda (رضى الله عنه), another companion of Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) who was appointed as a preacher in Damuscus by Umar bin Khattab (رضى الله عنه) said, “The complete form of Taqwa is to fear Allah so much that one begins to fear Him from the potential sin in a mustard seed and until one leaves what might be halal (permitted) in the fear that it could be haram (prohibited). This is substantiated by the aayah,