Striving to be a good Muslim has become harder than ever in this messed-up world. To be successful in gaining rewards in this life and the Hereafter, the best quality to have is taqwa.
Taqwa means to love Allah the Almighty and be aware of His presence at all times.
Almighty Allah is aware of all we do publically and in secret. The one with taqwa does things out of love for Him, endeavoring not to do anything against Allah the Almighty.
The People of Taqwa
People of taqwa are those who are obedient to Allah the Almighty, obeying His commands and living a life of purity.
Taqwa is not just piousness but includes self-awareness, righteousness, and virtue. It is modesty and decency; respect for oneself, others, and Allah Almighty.
Taqwa is having a conscience and feeling remorseful when having done wrong. It is empathy, compassion, and forgiveness for others, being a person of integrity, and to have a soft heart.
When asked about taqwa, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) pointed to his heart and said:
Taqwa is here! (Muslim)
The people of taqwa are God-conscious; obeying the rules of Allah the Almighty not just by fearing His punishment, but the thought of separation from Him is worse than that.
Taqwa creates a sense of discipline and awareness; praying five times and fasting supports discipline.
Discipline makes us responsible in all areas of our life, and we do this because we care about others and ourselves. It is our duty towards God to be disciplined and responsible.
O ye, who believe, fear God and be with those who are true in word and action. (Quran 9:119.)
When We Fail
We are human. Everyone falls short of obligations, and the fact that Allah the Almighty is always watching, we knowingly engage in secretive and forbidden things.
Sometimes we forget Allah the Almighty altogether. We become arrogant and do whatever we want, but for that, we will pay the consequence in this world and the Hereafter.
In making our lives godless and miserable, we feel too ashamed to face Allah the Almighty. Some may not return to Allah the Almighty fearing hypocrisy, falling further into sin without restraint.
Allah the Almighty loves those who repent sincerely and try to fix their mistakes. If someone was hurt, seek their pardon and ask the forgiveness of Allah the Almighty, seeking redemption and return to being among the people of taqwa instead of avoiding obligations.
O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. (Quran 39:53.)
Those who repent and reject shirk, recognizing the truth of Allah the Almighty, practice self-restraint and virtue, will receive a reward in this life and the next.
Striving to please Almighty Allah prevents us from creating a wall between ourselves and Him.
Balancing love and fear of Almighty Allah motivates believers of taqwa to good behavior or one who submits to Allah the Almighty without questioning.
Adab is the practice of having good behavior; to be honest, show good manners, being selfless toward others, and gratitude for what Allah the Almighty has given us; this is practicing taqwa.
Good behavior brings us closer to Almighty Allah. We should instill adab in our children, teaching them to think selflessly, to have good manners, and to respect others. Children learn adab through our example, through the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah, and the model of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him).
O you who believe, fear Allah and be with those who are true. (Quran 9:119.)
The Reward of Taqwa
What is the reward in this life and the Hereafter for those who have taqwa? Peace of mind.
Life with taqwa is more comfortable in the sense of refraining from sin and not having to bear its consequences. When we follow Allah the Almighty, using common sense, awareness of our actions and their effects, Allah the Almighty offers a way out of every difficulty.
And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide for him from sources he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Indeed Allah has set a measure for all things. (Quran 65:3.)
By following the Quran, and our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), we have a protection against the trials of this world and the Hereafter. We are promised unexpected rewards in this world and the Hereafter through the guidance of Allah the Almighty.
But We shall save those who guarded against evil, and We shall leave the wrong-doers therein, (humbled) to their knees. (Quran 19: 72.)
We should remember Allah the Almighty often. We should know the actual meaning and Tafseer of the Quran. People of taqwa remember Allah the Almighty, feel gratitude to Him and repent always. Those who have taqwa are in awe of the beauty of creation, and aware that everything passes away, knowing death can happen anytime.
Actions Not Wasted
Seeking taqwa is never wasted time. Remember that those who have taqwa will be admitted to heaven and pardoned on the Day of Judgment. Paradise will be more beautiful than this world.
All of us have faults, and God will weigh what we did in this world. He is Merciful and Kind. He will be a fair judge.
Why Should We Practice Taqwa?
If we practice taqwa, we are less likely to fall into the pitfalls and dire situations of life. We do not hurt others. Being closer to Allah the Almighty, we do not suffer from the separation that could bring us suffering.
When we go through difficulties in life, we know that Allah the Almighty is with us.
One of the qualities that people of taqwa have is that they have patience and have great faith in Allah the Almighty, and this is what all of us should have.
To develop taqwa, we should bring ourselves into account, continually put our actions in check, pray, fast, meditate, and follow the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) and the teachings of the Quran.