By Kazi Wadud Nawaz
Qur'anic call to mankind for faith is, in essence, a call towards knowledge for understanding the ultimate nature of things. This call has been given by the Holy Qur'an right from the beginning till the end. Qur'anic call towards 'Taqwah' is also a call towards knowledge and divine light.
The Holy Qur'an says,
"This is the Book, in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah." [Al- Baqarah: Verse 2:2].
‘Taqwa' is the spiritual key for believers that opens up the kingdom of the Qur'anic knowledge and divine light. ‘Taqwah' is the greatest divine blessing springing up as a spiritual fountain right from the faith of believers that manifests in absolute obedience to divine laws and authority at every stage of life.
The meanness in man's character that manifests in the form of sensuous and material interests constitutes the animal part of human nature as an expression of shame and humility in the face of superior status of mankind as Allah's representatives on earth. Clothes cover up the shame of private parts and ‘Taqwah' as divine raiment covers the shame and meanness in human character.
‘Taqwa' as a spiritual asset for mankind is an integral part of active Qur'anic morality. Passivity in the name of ‘Taqwah' is not permissible in the Holy Qur'an. ‘Taqwa' on the part of a believer means to actively perform duties assigned to him by Allah free from any threat or intimidation from any worldly authority. A Muslim blessed with ‘Taqwah' fears Allah for His sovereign authority of Justice, and at the same time he loves, respects and puts ultimate trust on His divine attributes of mercy and forgiveness as the last resort for spiritual salvation. He leads his life strictly in accordance with divine rules and regulations and abstains from any activity that contravenes those rules.
Fear of Allah and fear of any worldly authority that violates divine guidance cannot go together. Total obedience to divine laws to the utter disregard of all ‘Taghuty' authorities violating the universal balance of divine justice, is the real spirit of ‘Taqwa' or righteousness.
In this connection, in order to have an in-depth definition and objective of ‘Taqwa', we may reflect on following two Qur'anic verses 84:6 and 90:4, that say:
"O you man! Verily you are ever toiling on towards your Lord painfully toiling, but you shall meet Him."[Qur'an:84:6]. Also, "Verily, We have created Man in to toil and Struggle." [Qur'an:90:4].
In view of the above two verses, we may conclude that ‘Taqwa' is the physical, moral and spiritual endeavour on the part of mankind towards moulding of the rational part of the human character for attaining perfection as the representative of Allah on earth and getting closer to Him. The Qur'anic verse:7:26 has clearly declared the raiment of ‘Taqwa' to be the best for mankind.
The verse says:
"O you the Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover shame, as well as to be an adornment to you, but the raiment of righteousness (Taqwa) - that is the best. Such are among the signs of Allah, that they may receive admonition." [Qur'an: 7:26].
‘Taqwah' covers the shame of animal instincts, infuses and upgrades the rational elements in human nature, and acts as a shield to safeguard humanity against evils and impending divine punishment on the Day of Judgment.
The Verse: 27:53 says,
"We saved those who believed and practised righteousness (Taqwa)."
The above verse proclaims a divine promise for supporting and safeguarding the people practising piety or ‘Taqwa'. The entire history of Islamic civilisation bears testimony to this historical truth. The first generation of Muslim Ummah including caliphs and companions of the Prophet (pbuh) were the shining stars of righteousness (Taqwa) that led Islam to the pinnacle of glory and prosperity.
The subsequent generations of leadership gradually deviated from the path of righteousness, bogged down in the mire of self-interest, corruption, and luxury that continued for the last few centuries inviting a freight-full destiny of the modern era.
If we look at the present precarious state of leadership of so-called Muslim countries particularly that of the Middle-East, we will realise the extent of their derailment from the path of righteousness.
Most of the leadership has gone down to the fathomless depth of moral degeneration. The historical downfall of Muslim civilisation painfully proved to be directly proportional to its rate of derailment and detachment from the path of righteousness. The Muslim Ummah of the present era can regain its lost honour, authority and glory only through the unconditional practice of righteousness. The honourable rank and position were attained by the Muslim community in the past through righteousness and can only be regained through practising it in future.
The Holy Qur'an and Allah's Messenger (pbuh) have repeatedly stressed on proper utilisation of ‘Taqwa' as the most powerful instrument for reshaping human nature, remoulding morality and spiritual horizon of the believers. In the final analysis ‘Taqwa” is the spiritual rope extended by Allah and His Prophet (pbuh) to the Believers to hold it fast for success in this world as well as in here-after.
May Allah bestow His Blessings of ‘Taqwa' on us and protect us from the evils and divine punishment! Ameen
(Published in the Daily Sun, Dhaka on 27.7.2018)