December 12, 2006

The Value of Taqwa in Our Lives

Khutbah from the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS)
8 December 2006 / 17 Zulkaedah 1427

Dear Brothers,

Let us try to achieve taqwa towards Allah (swt) in the best way that we can. Because only with taqwa can we attain happiness in our lives here and in the hereafter. Allah (swt) mentioned in surah Ali-Imran, verse 102:

“You who believe, be mindful of God, as is His due, and make sure you devote yourselves to Him till your dying moment.”

Let us look at the verse that was just mentioned. Why did Allah (swt) order us to be righteous and pious towards Him? What exactly is the importance of taqwa to the point whereby it is mentioned every single time the Friday sermon is being delivered? The answer is because, with taqwa, you will be able to find all the goodness of life here and in the hereafter.

With being pious to Allah (swt), a person will be able to gain respect, guidance and happiness, as well as Allah Almighty’s blessings. Moreover, the reminder of being pious and righteous as something vital and important has been the main message by Allah (swt), not only to us but also those before us. In surah An-Nisaa’, verse 131 Allah (swt) says:

”We have commanded those who were given the Scripture before you, and We command you, to be mindful of God. Even if you do ignore Him, everything in the heavens and earth belongs to Him, and He is self-sufficient, worthy of all praise.”

Therefore, there is no true goodness or success that we may attain in this life and in the hereafter except by first attaining taqwa. And, conversely, taqwa is the main shield for us to abstain from any badness or evil.

Because taqwa is so important in our lives, we need to know how to attain it and live life with full consciousness of Allah’s presence.

My dear brothers,

So what is taqwa? Does it mean to be “fearful,” just like most of us have understood it all this while? If that is the definition of taqwa as we have understood it, then it does not fully comply with the true meaning of taqwa as intended in the Qur’an as if there is more meaning behind it.

A simple definition of taqwa would be: to perform every act commanded by Allah, and to refrain from all things prohibited by Allah (swt)."

Looking at the meaning of the word taqwa as explained by al-Imam al-Ghazali rahimahu'llah; he has given it three meanings: they are fear, obedience, and the cleansing of oneself from all sins. As we combine these three elements into our lives, only then will we be able to leave a deep and meaningful impression.

So the question now is: how do we develop all three elements in ourselves?

Firstly: we need to know that taqwa is not achievable by simply dreaming of it. It is something that is very valuable. To achieve it, we’ll need to find the key to strengthen our taqwa. Thus, in the end, it all comes down to knowledge.

The status and importance of knowledge is very high. Only with knowledge can a person know of Allah (swt). As mentioned in the holy Qur’an:

“We shall show them Our signs in every region of the earth and in themselves, until it becomes clear to them that this is the Truth. Is it not enough that your Lord witnesses everything?” [Fussilat, 41:53]

With knowledge a person’s taqwa will increase toward Allah (swt). By knowing Allah’s greatness, we will feel that we are too small if we were to face Him. As we learn more about Allah’s blessings and love towards ourselves, our hopes to Him for more blessings will never stop. And the more we know about His promises, we will be more careful of what we do throughout our entire lives here on earth.

Secondly: It is very important that we strengthen our taqwa. It will never be achieved if not nourished and strengthened.

The strength of a person’s taqwa is related to the person’s sincerity in obeying Allah (swt) and His Messenger (saw).

Let us take a moment to look at our daily actions; are we measuring and carefully considering every act that we do? Think about what Rasulullah (saw) said in a hadith:

From Abi Hurairah (ra), he said: I heard Rasulullah (saw) say: Leave the things that I prohibit you from doing. For the communities before you were destroyed because they questioned a lot and their many misunderstandings with their Prophets. So when I prohibit you from doing something, then leave it. And when I command you to do something, perform it with your utmost ability. (Narrated by Imam al-Bukhari)

My fellow Muslims,

Look, our beloved Prophet (saw) required us to do what he has ordered us to do within our own limits and abilities. But as for the things that he forbade us from, he warned us not only to refrain from them, but also not to ask too many questions about them.

If we unfold this matter deeper, we will realize that the act of doing bad deeds will affect a person’s faith negatively. Subsequently, a person’s taqwa to Allah (swt) will also slowly disappear.

Just look at the problems that our community is facing: divorces, addictions, theft, fornication, and other things happening amongst the people of our community.

We need to deal with these problems in the best way that we can. Counseling and rehab sessions are not sufficient. We need to also include some advice on iman and taqwa. We need to explain that what Allah (swt) has prohibited us from doing will only lead to the destruction of oneself and the community.

My brothers,

Taqwa, other than knowledge and faith, also needs ihsan or kindness for it to be perfectly complete.

With ihsan we can clear ourselves from all the bad habits and characteristics. And with ihsan, we will be able to be more prepared to perform every obligation with wisdom and patience. Allah (swt) said:

"Say, ‘[God Says], believing servants be mindful of your Lord! Those who do good in this world will have a good reward -God’s earth is wide - and those who persevere patiently will be given a full and unstinting reward.” [az-Zumar, 39:10]

A person who is pious to Allah (swt) will become a Muslim who will have a good relationship with Allah Almighty and also to his fellow beings. The righteousness of a person, which is placed in the heart, can only be seen by the person’s actions. Every step and every move of a righteous person will be monitored by Allah (swt) and blessed by Him.

Thus, Let us increase our taqwa by having full consciousness and making full use of what we have heard here in today’s sermon. May all of us be included amongst those who are Muttaqin (pious), insyaAllah.

Ihsan: Kindness, goodness, virtue, doing the best.
Iman: Belief, faith and acceptance of Allah (swt) and his messenger. Belief consists of believing in Allah, his angels, his books, his messengers, the last day, the garden and the fire, and that everything, both good and bad, is by the decree of Allah.
InsyaAllah: The Bahasa Melayu spelling of Insha’Allah, meaning, “If God wills” or “God willing.”
Muttaqin: Pious, righteous and God-fearing.
Radhiallahu 'anhu (ra): This is an expression to be used by Muslims whenever a name of a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (saw) is mentioned or used in writing. The meaning of this statement is: "May Allah be pleased with him."
Rahimahu'llah: "May Allah have mercy on him."
Rasulullah: The Prophet of God, Muhammad (saw).
(saw): These letters are abbreviations for the words “Salla Allahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam,” which means, “may the blessing and the peace of Allah be upon him.” When the name of Prophet Muhammad is mentioned, a Muslim is to respect him and invoke this statement of peace upon him.
(swt): These letters are abbreviations for the words of “Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala.” When the name of Almighty Allah is pronounced, a Muslim is to show his respect to Him by reciting this. The meaning of this statement is that Allah is purified of having partners or a son.
Taqwa: The condition of piety and God-consciousness that all Muslims aspire to achieve or maintain. It can be said that one's taqwa is a measure of one's faith and commitment to God. The love and fear that a Muslim feels for Allah (swt). A person with taqwa desires to be in the good pleasures of Allah (swt) and to stay away from those things that would displease Allah (swt). He is careful not to go beyond the bounds and limits set by Allah (swt).

1 comment:

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