The concept of taqwaa is always linked to ibaadah in the
Quran. 'Ibaadah can be defined as: to do what Allah has commanded
and to avoid what He has prohibited. 'Ibaadah has also been defined
as a concept that includes all actions that Allah loves and approves of,
whether they are actions of the heart, the toungue or the limbs. So
taqwaa is linked with doing what is correct and avoiding that which
is wrong. Taqwaa is the fruit of doing the actions of 'Ibaadah.
In other words, if one does what Allah has commanded him to do, and abstains
from that which he has been forbidden, he will achieve taqwaa. Allah
mentions in His Book ( that means ):
" O you who believe ! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was
prescribed for those before you, that you may become muttaqoon (
those who have taqwaa or piety )." [ Al-Baqarah 2:183 ].
In this aayah and in many others, Allah has shown us that taqwaa
is the result or fruit of doing actions of ibaadah.
The meaning of Taqwaa
Now that we have clarified how to achieve taqwaa, we define what
the concept of taqwaa means. Taqwaa means: to cleanse or
purify the heart and the soul. This fact is proven by some ayaat
in Suorat ush-Shams in which Allah (T) says (what means)
" By the sun and its brightness, by the moon as it follows it,
by the day as it shows its brightness, by the night as it conceals it,
by the heaven and its wondrous make, by the earth and all its expanse,
and by the soul and He Who perfected it in proportion, then He showed it
what is wrong for it and what is right for it - indeed he suceeds who purifies
it, and he fails who corrupts it." [ Ash-Shams 91:1-10 ].
Allah begins this soorah by taking seven oaths. Whenever Allah
begins a soorah or an ayaah with an oath, He (T) does so to bear witness
to the fact that whatever follows this oath is very important and essential for
us to understand. Therfore, we should pay very close attention to what is being
said, and reflect upon its meanings. To cleans one's heart and to purify the
soul, one must perform righteous actions that Allah has enjoined upon us, and
our destruction lies in doing the actions that Allah has forbidden. As Allah is
the Guardian and Protector of the Soul, we should do every good deed hoping for
Allah's Mercy and fearing His Punishment, having full reliance and trust in Him
Purification of the Soul
Among the missions of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam) Allah sent him with the command to
purify the souls of the Muslims in particular, and of mankind in general. Allah
(T) says (what means)
" He it is who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger from
among themselves, reciting to them His ayaat, purifying them, and
teaching them the Book and the Hikmah, while before they had been
in error." [ Al-Jumu'ah 62:2 ].
In this ayaah the word Hikmah is often translated as wisdom.
Immam ash-Shafi', one of the greatest scholars of Islaam, said that when
Allah mentions Hikmah in the Qur'aan it refers to the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)In addition to
this ayaah, we see that the Prophet (sallallaahu alaihi wasallam)was sent with three tasks:
1) To teach the Qur'aan.
2) To teach the Sunnah.
3) To show the means of purifying the soul.
This purification is obtained by doing the proper acts of 'ibaadah and by avoiding sins and disobedience.
Conditions for Attaining
How does a person know that his acts of 'ibaadah are helping
him to achieve taqwaa ? To develop taqwaa, one must fulfill
the following conditions:-
1) Ikhlaas, sincere intention that the act is performed purely
for the pleasure of Allah, out of love for Him, while hoping for His reward
and mercy, as well as fearing His anger and punishment if He is disobeyed.
2) To do the deed in accordance with the authentic Sunnah. To
have the necessary knowledge of the 'ibaadah that is being performed. To know how the
the action and proper times for the performance of that action.
Concerning Ikhlaas, it must be present both before and after
performing the deed, with no riyaa or sum'ah ( doing things
to be seen or heard by people ). For instance, after doing a good deed,
someone tells others, " Look at all the good I have been doing ",
or " I'm such a marvelous person because I do such and such".
This formula, if used to achieve taqwaa, is scientific, in that
if you follow it, while fullfilling all of its conditions and their rights,
you will achieve taqwaa in shaa a 'Llaah.