Imagine the value of a guide who carefully advises a traveler on his journey; about the direction to choose, the signs to look out for and the provisions to take to most effectively reach the destination.
Now image the Guide of all Guides, lovingly advising His travelers through His Kingdom, to His Ultimate Gardens, with the best advice:
And make provision for yourselves; the best provision is taqwa. (Quran, 2:197)
And wasn’t taqwa the very goal of all your efforts in Ramadan? The hunger, the thirst, the tiredness, charity and good deeds? Now there’s a question you need to ask yourself to be able to move forward: what do you want to achieve after Ramadan?
Let’s discover 5 tips on how to keep your taqwa boosted post-Ramadan!
Taqwa comes from the root “waaw-qaaf-yaa“, which points out to protecting, preserving, and guarding. And Allah mercifully inspired us with a protecting awareness to both do good deeds and to guard ourselves against His displeasure.
That’s taqwa: your fear to lose Allah’s love. And Allah Himself told you it is your best provision, the conscience you need to keep yourself moving in the right direction, which is Paradise.
One Verse, Five Characteristics of the Muttaqeen
In the very beginning of the Quran, Allah, the Most High, says that this Book was revealed as a guide for those who have taqwa; and then gives us a checklist of how you can belong to these people with taqwa (mutaqqun):
Alif, Lam, Meem. This is the Book about which there is no doubt, a guidance for those conscious of Allah (muttaqeen) – Who believe in the unseen, establish prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them, And who believe in what has been revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what was revealed before you, and of the Hereafter they are certain [in faith]. Those are upon [right] guidance from their Lord, and it is those who are the successful. (2:1-5)
5 Taqwa Boosters
Let’s discover practical action points based on these five characteristics to boost your taqwa!
1. Act upon your belief in the unseen. “Who believe in the unseen…”
This includes all of Allah’s creation which we cannot perceive, for example: the angels, jinns and the Hereafter. Now, you can interact with the unseen through ways of the Sunnah that will boost your taqwa.
Read the last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah (“aamanar-Rasul”) before you go to sleep with full conviction (Quran 2:285-286). You will thereby affirm your belief in Allah, His Angels, His Books, His Messengers, destiny and the Hereafter, get protection (from the harm of the seen and unseen) and revive a sunnah at the same time!
The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
If somebody recited the last two verses of Surah Al-Baqarah at night, that will be sufficient for him. (Al-Bukhari)
There are different acts mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah which bring about rewards related to the angels. For example, when you make wudu before sleep, an angel sleeps with you and supplicates for you, at the time of Fajr the angels witness your recitation of the Quran, when you visit the sick, or supplicate for others, angels supplicate for you etc. Seek out these deeds and interact with the angels!
2. Establish your prayer… “who Establish prayer…”
Allah said “yuqimoon as-salah“, establish the prayer, which means not to just pray, but to make your prayer the priority of your day, pray it in the proper time and in the proper way. Your prayer reflects your taqwa; improving and maintaining your prayer will improve and maintain your taqwa.
Make a simple action plan to improve your prayer, wherever you stand with your salah at this moment. For example:
– Start with supplication, ask for tawfeeq (ability) to truly establish the prayer in your daily life. You can use the dua’ of Ibrahim (peace be upon him) for yourself and your offspring:
My Lord! make me establish prayer and from my offspring (too), O our Lord, and accept my prayer). (Quran, 14:40)
– Focus on praying your five obligatory prayers; if you do so consistently, focus on praying them on time. From there focus on praying them at their best (earliest) time; then, add different levels of concentration etc.
– Enhance your prayer, by adding sunnah acts. Use this handy booklet outlining sunan of salah.
3. Give daily charity…. “Spend out of what We have provided for them…”
This shows us two important things: spending in sadaqah is a taqwa-booster and whatever you spend, it was Allah who provided it to you in the first place.
Set yourself a daily sadaqah (charity) target, for example each day you do at least one act of sadaqah with your money, one with your body and one secret act of charity.
Money: Set up a standing order for one year to sponsor an orphan or widow (this will be daily sadaqah!).
Body: Each day consciously smile at someone, give a compliment, help someone with a simple task, teach someone one sunnah or good deed, choose to speak gently, forbid an evil, share food with a neighbor, give a good advice, however small as long as you make the intention it is sadaqah.
Secret: Aim to do one act of charity no one knows about but yourself, it can be as simple as making a dua’ for someone in their absence!
Guard your duha prayer. Imagine you can give charity on behalf of every bone in your body. The Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
In the morning, every single joint of yours must pay a sadaqah (charity). Every SubhanAllah is a sadaqah, every Alhamdulillāh is a sadaqah, every La Ilaha Illa Allah is a sadaqah, every Allahu Akbar is a sadaqah, every commanding good is a sadaqah, and every forbidding evil is a sadaqah, and all this is accomplished through two rakʿahs one can pray in Duha [prayer]. (Muslim)
The duha prayer can be two rakah prayer which you may pray anytime after sunrise until before about 30 minutes before Dhuhr. Inspire others!
4. Make the Quran part of your daily routine… “who believes in what has been revealed to the Prophet”
This points to the Book of Allah, supplemented by the Sunnah. Your belief in the Quran is linked to your taqwa, and belief needs to be shown by giving the Quran an active role in your day. The more Quran in your day; the stronger your taqwa will be!
Remember, consistency and small steps are key.
Pick at least one verse a day, read it in Arabic if you can, read the translation and think of a way to apply that vere in your life.
Learn the meaning of at least one word from the Quran. Here’s a 80% of the words of the Quran list, learn them and you’ll only need to learn two out of nine words in each line of the Quran!
5. Make the Hereafter a daily reality. “…of the Hereafter they have yaqeen…”
The Hereafter is part of the unseen mentioned above, however Allah, the Most High, emphasizes how important it is to be completely certain there is a world waiting for us after our bodies die in this world. There is a Day we will be judged, a breath-taking, eternal Paradise, a raging, never-ending Fire and an opportunity to see the Creator of it all.
And this very belief can be the ultimate motivator to daily refocus on what counts most: the deeds we send forward!
Daily ask for tawfeeq to do good deeds and for Allah, the Most High, to accept them from you. Use this beautiful supplication, which is a sunnah to say before the salam at the end of prayer and share it:
Allahumma a’innee ‘alaa dhikrika wa shukrika wa husni ‘ibadatika. (O Allah! Assist me in remembering You, in thanking You, and in worshipping You in the best of manners.) (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, An-Nasa’i)
Make it a daily habit to simply ask Allah to accept a good deed after you did it.
Daily remember Paradise and the Hellfire by reviving this sunnah. Each day ask three times for Paradise and for protection from the Fire and they will supplicate for you in return.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
Whoever asks Allah for Paradise three times then Paradise will say: ‘Oh Allah! Enter him into Paradise!’ And whoever seeks protection with Allah from the Fire three times , the Fire will say: ‘Oh Allah! Protect him from the Fire! (At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
You can say: “Allahumma innee as’aluka al Jannah”. (O Allah, verily I ask you for Paradise and “Allahumma ajirnee min an Naar” (Oh Allah, protect me from Hell).
A Supplication for Taqwa!
Start your journey through the coming year by using (and conveying) this beautiful Prophetic supplication for taqwa from the bottom of your heart:
“Allahumma Aati nafsee taqwaahaa, wa zakkihaa, Anta khayru man zakkaahaa, Anta Waliyyuhaa wa Mawlaahaa…” (O Allah! Grant my soul its dutifulness (taqwa), and purify it, You are the One to purify it: You are its Guardian and its Lord). (Muslim, Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i)
Praying you will benefit.