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In today’s Al-Arbaeen An-Nawawi’s class we studied a beautiful hadith that is the summary of how to live life as a good muslim. It talks about the three interactions we have in our life: our relationship with Allah (SWT), then with ourselves and finally with fellow beings. It states on the authority of Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junadah (RA), and Abu ‘Abd-ir-Rahman Mu’adh bin Jabal (RA) that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “Be conscious of Allah (SWT) wherever you are. Follow the bad deed with a good one to erase it, and engage others with beautiful character.” [Tirmidhi]

The first characterstic highlighted is fearing Allah (SWT) wherever you are. The Arabic word used in the above Hadith is “Itaqi” literally meaning shield and according to the Islamic terminology, it means protecting oneself from Allah’s anger and the fire of Hell. Itaqi can also be translated as Piety/Taqwa – Fear of Allah (SWT).

Taqwa encompasses one’s whole life. According to Abu Hurairah (RA), Taqwa means to walk on a thorny path yet avoid being pricked implying that one should spend one’s life in a way so as to avoid being led
astray. According to few other Sahabas, Taqwa is like a light (Noor) that leads us to obeying Allah (SWT) and discourages us from His disobedience, as the second verse of Surah Al-Baqarah states: “Guidance for the
God-fearing.” [2:2]

There are immense benefits of Taqwa, few of them are as follows. Pious people are awarded true guidance. They become close to Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) becomes their guardian. They are given the ability to
distinguish between right and wrong. Their wishes are fulfilled. Their hardships become ease. Allah (SWT) facilitates them in everything. Their deeds are accepted; good deeds magnified and bad deeds erased.
They are amongst the high achievers. They will receive glad tidings. They will be given the highest place in Jannah i.e. Jannat ul Firdous and would be saved from hell Fire. And to top it all, Allah (SWT) loves them as stated in Surah Al-E-Imran: “So surely Allah (SWT) loves them who are conscious of Allah (SWT).” [3:76]

After analyzing the benefits of Taqwa, one wishes to attain it. However, be mindful that Taqwa is not like one decides to acquire it and in a spur of moment he becomes pious. My dear friends, it’s a whole long journey with continuous effort throughout one’s life. The first step towards developing Taqwa is being conscious of the punishments of this world and the Hereafter and similarly looking forward to the gifts of fearing Allah (SWT) in both the worlds. Secondly, fearing accountability. Thirdly, always keeping in mind that Allah (SWT) is watching us. Furthermore, identifying and understanding the greatness of Allah (SWT); sincerely, honestly and truthfully loving Him. Also, realizing and submitting to the fact that all our blessings are an honor from Allah (SWT) and not because of our efforts. These are all ways to develop taqwa that lead to the pious person always emerging as a successful individual.

The second relationship we have in this life is with ourselves as we go about our daily affairs, good or bad. And the principle for this interaction is that whenever we do something wrong or sinful we should follow it with a good deed as is stated in the Holy Quran: “Surely, good deeds erase bad deeds.” [11:114]. One should try to make it a habit to offer two rakah Salat Al Tawbah after every bad deed. The wisdom behind is that regardless of when we commit a sin, then realize it and want to undo it, Satan whispers to us: “Let it be, you are such a wrong doer. You don’t have the ability of doing good things. You don’t fall in the category of good people”, and tries to keep us away from doing good, but if we still carry on with the good deed and try to rectify our sin, we not only make ourselves strong against Satan but also uproot his strong grip on our hearts.

Finally, the hadith discusses our interactions with others. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: “I was sent to perfect good character.” It comes in another hadith that the best among you are the best in character (having good manners). Narrated by Abu Dardah (RA), the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘There is nothing heavier than good character put in the Scale of a believer on the Day of Resurrection.’ Narrated by Aisha (RA), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: ‘By his good character a believer will attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.’ Hence the last characteristic emphasized in the Hadith is having good manners. Therefore, one should try to be humble, kind, loyal, polite, helpful, sympathetic and generous. Also treat one’s parents, neighbors, guests and relatives nicely. Avoid backbiting, feeling jealous, misbehaving and being rude to others.

Finally, if one remembers Allah (SWT) always and never forgets Him, obeys Allah (SWT) always and never disobeys Him, is grateful to Allah (SWT) always and is never ungrateful; he would INSHAALLAH be
exercising the above mentioned three characteristics to the optimum level. MAY ALLAH (SWT) MAKE US AMONG THOSE! AMEEN!!

By Farhat Aziz
Student, Essentials Program, 1st Year


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