How a Christian Taught me About Taqwa
“And be cautious of Me, O you of understanding.” (Al Qur’an, 2:197)
بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful
Alhamdulillah, praise be to Allah who has guided us to Islam. And had He not guided us we would have been astray.
وَاذْكُرُوهُ كَمَا هَدَاكُمْ وَإِن كُنتُم مِّن قَبْلِهِ لَمِنَ الضَّالِّينَ
And remember Him, as He has guided you, for indeed, you were before that among those astray. (Al Qur’an, 2:198)
He chose for us Islam as religion, and made our hearts satisfied with it and made us hate disbelief and defiance.
وَلَٰكِنَّ اللَّهَ حَبَّبَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْإِيمَانَ وَزَيَّنَهُ فِي قُلُوبِكُمْ وَكَرَّهَ إِلَيْكُمُ الْكُفْرَ وَالْفُسُوقَ وَالْعِصْيَانَ
But Allah has made you love belief, and adorned it in your hearts, and He has made disbelief, defiance and disobedience hateful to you.(Al Qur’an, 49:7)
All the Messengers of God had the same religion, the same God and the same message of the One God.
Narrated Abu Huraira, Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said,
أَنَا أَوْلَى النَّاسِ بِعِيسَى ابْنِ مَرْيَمَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ، وَالأَنْبِيَاءُ إِخْوَةٌ لِعَلاَّتٍ، أُمَّهَاتُهُمْ شَتَّى، وَدِينُهُمْ وَاحِدٌ
I am the nearest of people to Jesus, the son of Mary in this world and the hereafter. The prophets are paternal brothers; their mothers are different, (but) their religion is one. (Bukhari, 3443)
Allah the Exalted says:
مَا كَانَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ يَهُودِيًّا وَلَا نَصْرَانِيًّا وَلَٰكِن كَانَ حَنِيفًا مُّسْلِمًا وَمَا كَانَ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ
Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was a Hanif (turning away from falsehood and to Allah), a Muslim (submitting to Allah). And he was not of the polytheists.(Qur’an, 3:67)
The Meaning of Taqwa
To proceed, it was 2014 or so, and I was trying to understand the meaning of Taqwa. Taqwa is one of the most important teachings of Islam.
وَتَزَوَّدُوا فَإِنَّ خَيْرَ الزَّادِ التَّقْوَىٰ ۚ وَاتَّقُونِ يَا أُولِي الْأَلْبَابِ
And take provisions, but indeed, the best provision is Taqwa. And be cautious of Me, O you of understanding. (Al Qur’an, 2:197)
Taqwa implies “to be cautious”.
Taqwa involves fearing Allah, protecting oneself from sin and displeasing Allah, and being on guard against sin.
The Prophet ﷺ said, as narrated by Abu Huraira:
التَّقْوَى هَا هُنَا
Taqwa is here
And he pointed towards his chest thrice. (Muslim, 2564a)
Muttaqeen are people who have taqwa.
‘Atiyyah As-Sa’di reported that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
لاَ يَبْلُغُ الْعَبْدُ أَنْ يَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُتَّقِينَ حَتَّى يَدَعَ مَا لاَ بَأْسَ بِهِ حَذَرًا لِمَا بِهِ الْبَأْسُ
The slave (of Allah) shall not reach (the state of) being among the Muttaqin until he leaves what there is no harm in out of caution for its harm. (Tirmizi, 2451, Hasan — Darussalam)
I Understand Taqwa from a Christian
In any case, I was struggling to understand this concept, because different translations had different expressions for the word. Which one was right?
At that time, I met a Christian at Uni. He was a medical student, originally from Malaysia, and he was very worried about the sun.
He was taking all sorts of precautions. Staying inside. Hesitant about the outdoors. Sunscreen, and maybe a cap. When I saw this things clicked. I understood what Taqwa was. The different definitions and meanings I read all made sense.
He had just shown me taqwa (caution) for the sun. He was taking steps to protect himself from it.
We should have taqwa of our Lord, and protect ourselves from what He dislikes.
So Why Have Taqwa?
Dear readers, it is important we have taqwa in our life. Taqwa of Allah is the means of our success and salvation. Allah says:
يَوْمَ نَحْشُرُ الْمُتَّقِينَ إِلَى الرَّحْمَٰنِ وَفْدًا
On the Day We will gather the pious to the Compassionate as a delegation. (Al Qur’an, Surah Maryam, 19:85)
The word translated “pious” is “muttaqeen or the people of taqwa.
Allah further says:
إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَهَرٍ * فِي مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِندَ مَلِيكٍ مُّقْتَدِرٍ
Indeed, the pious will be among gardens and rivers,
In a seat of truth near a Mighty King.
(Al Qur’an, Surah Al Qamar, 55:54–55)
And Allah says:
وَمَن يَتَّقِ اللَّهَ يُكَفِّرْ عَنْهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِ وَيُعْظِمْ لَهُ أَجْرًا
And whoever is cautious of Allah — He will expiate for him his misdeeds and make great for him his reward. (Al Qur’an, Surah At-Talaq, 65:5)
Good Treatment to Non-Muslims
The Christian who taught me about Taqwa, I pray for him that Allah guides him.
If you have non Muslim neighbors, colleagues and class mates, treat them with mercy and let Islam be shown through your character to them. Allah says:
لَّا يَنْهَاكُمُ اللَّهُ عَنِ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُقَاتِلُوكُمْ فِي الدِّينِ وَلَمْ يُخْرِجُوكُم مِّن دِيَارِكُمْ أَن تَبَرُّوهُمْ وَتُقْسِطُوا إِلَيْهِمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُحِبُّ الْمُقْسِطِينَ
Allah does not forbid you from those who do not fight you because of religion and do not expel you from your homes — from being righteous toward them and acting justly toward them. Indeed, Allah loves those who act justly. (Al Qur’an, Surah Al Mumtahinah, 60:8)
May Allah grant us beautiful character and sublime manners.
A Beautiful Dua for Taqwa
As Conclusion, here is a beautiful dua for Taqwa from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ
Zaid b. Alqam reported: “I am not going to say anything but that which Allah’s Messenger ﷺ used to say. He used to say:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ وَالْجُبْنِ وَالْبُخْلِ وَالْهَرَمِ وَعَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ
اللَّهُمَّ آتِ نَفْسِي تَقْوَاهَا وَزَكِّهَا أَنْتَ خَيْرُ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا أَنْتَ وَلِيُّهَا وَمَوْلاَهَا
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ لاَ يَنْفَعُ وَمِنْ قَلْبٍ لاَ يَخْشَعُ وَمِنْ نَفْسٍ لاَ تَشْبَعُ وَمِنْ دَعْوَةٍ لاَ يُسْتَجَابُ لَهَا
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from incapacity, laziness, cowardice, miserliness, decrepitude (old age) and the torment of the grave.
O Allah, grant my soul its taqwa (piety) and cleanse it, for You are the best of (those) who cleanse it. You are its Guardian and Master.
O Allah, I seek refuge in You from the knowledge which does not benefit, from the heart that does not fear/is not humble, from the soul that does not feel contented and the supplication that is not responded. (Muslim:2722)