Bismillah Hirahaman Niraheem
Taqwa, the essence of the righteous, can be roughly translated as fear of Allah or God-consciousness. It is derived from the root word wa-qa-ya meaning shield or barrier. In a broader sense, this consciousness and fear of Allah acts as a protection and a shield against wrongdoing. It is the balance between fear of Allah and love for Allah. The fear of Allah is out of the love for HIM. There are various hadith and ayat in Quran about taqwa, characteristics of people of taqwa and its fruits.
HADITH ON TAQWA
The Prophet (SAW) said, <<The most common thing which leads people to Paradise is taqwa of Allah and good conduct, and the most common thing which leads people to the Hell Fire is the mouth and the private parts.”>>[Tirmidhi]
Tafseer ibn Kathir mentions that Atiyah As-Sa’di said the Propeht (SAW) said, <<The servant will not acquire the status of those with taqwa until he abandons what is harmless out of fear of falling into that which is harmful.>> [Ibn Majah, Tirmizi]
The messenger of Allah(SAW) said <<Taqwa is here>>, and he pointed to his chest.[Sahih Muslim]
Umar ibn Khattab (RA) asked Ubbay ibn Kaab (RA), What is the meaning of Taqwa? Ubbay ibn Kaab said, O Amir ul Muminin, have you walked on a field that had a lot of thorny plants? Umar said, Yes, Ubbay ibn Kaab said, So what did you do? Umar replied, I lifted up my clothes and I was very careful,Ubbay ibn Kaab said, That is Taqwa.
A person once asked the Prophet(SAW), “O Messenger of Allah! Give me some advice!” He replied, “I advise you to fear Allah because it is the head of everything.”
There was a time when Umar bin al-Khattab merely said a two-word khutba. He said, “Ittaqullah!” Fear Allah! And with that, he led the Friday Jum’ah prayer.
CHARACTERISTICS OF MUTTAQEEN IN QURAN
The people of Taqwa are called the Muttaqeen. Allah describes in various ayat of the Quran about the characteristics of the Muttaqeen.
1) Surah Baqarah
“This is the book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, for the muttaqeen. Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them. And who believe in the revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and believe in the Hereafter with certainty. They are on (the guidance) from their Lord and it is these who are the successful ones.” [2:2-5]
“It is not Al-Birr that you turn your faces toward East or West, but Al-Birr is to believe in Allah and the Last Day, and the Angels, and the Book and the Messengers, to spend of your substance out of love for Him, for your kin, for orphans, for the needy, for the wayfarer, for those who ask, and for the ransom of slaves; to be steadfast in prayer and practice regular charity; to fulfill the contracts you have made; to be firm and patient, in pain and adversity. Those are the truthful and those are the muttaqeen.”[2:177]
3) Surah Aal Imran
“Yes, whoever fulfils his pledge and fears Allah much; then verily Allah loves those who are Al-Muttaqeen.”[3:76]
4) Surah Al-Araf
“Verily, those who are Al-Muttaqeen, when an evil thought comes to them from Saitan, they remember(Allah), and they then see (aright).”[7:201]
5) Surah Al-Anbiya
“Those who fear their Lord in their most secret thoughts, and who hold the Hour(of Judgement) in awe.”[21:49]
6) Surah Adh-Dhariyat
“Verily the Muttaqeen will be in the midst of gardens and springs. Taking joy in the things which their Lord has given them. Verily, they were before this muhsineen. They used to sleep but little by night(invoking their Lord and praying with fear and hope). And in the hours before dawn, they were (found) asking (Allah) for forgiveness. And in their property there was the right of the Saail(beggar who asked) and the Mahrum(poor who did not ask others).“[51:15-19]
7) Surah Al-Lail
“And the muttaqeen will be far removed from it(Hell). He who spends his wealth for increase in self-purification. And who has (in mind) no favour from anyone to be paid back. Except to seek the Countenance of his lord, the Most High.”[92:17-19]
These ayat describe the characteristics of people of taqwa as follows
- Belief in the Unseen. They believe in Allah, Angels, Holy Books, Allah’s messengers, Day of resurrection and divine preordainments. It also includes belief in what Allah and His Messenger(SWS) informed about the knowledge of the matters of the past, present and future eg. News about the creation of the heavens and earth, botanical and zoological life, the news about the nations of the past and about Paradise and Hell.
- Establish regular prayer.
- Pay zakat regularly
- Give sadaqah to both beggar and deprived seeking Allah’s pleasure alone.
- Fear and love Allah.
- Believe in Quran, Torah, Injeel and Zabur.
- Have no doubt about the Hereafter and fear the Day of Judgement.
- One who fulfils his oaths and contracts
- Who is patient in times of suffering and adversity
- Who are truthful
- Fear Allah even in their thoughts.
- Stay awake for most part of the night seeking Allah’s forgiveness.
- Who remember Allah when an evil thought from shaitan comes to their mind.
In short the Muttaqeen believe firmly in Allah and follow the basic Islamic principles. They fear Allah(abstain from what He has prohibited) and love Him(perform all good deeds he has ordained).
Fruits of taqwa from Quran(next post inshaAllah)
Footnotes:  Interpretation of the meaning of The noble Quran by Dr.Muhammad Al-Hilali.