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Islamic Ideology ( 16 Aug 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Significance of piety and abstinence

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair


17 August 2010

One who is favoured with the real wealth of piety and abstinence, will not be tempted, however poverty-stricken he may be

The right place for piety and abstinence is the heart. If one has piety and fear of Almighty Allah in his heart, then he is sincere and performs perfectly his duties in obedience to Him. If he lacks sincerity and fear of Allah in his heart and the right spirit of doing his duties, then he cannot perfectly discharge his duties satisfactorily in spite of the fact that the work, whether of this world or of the hereafter, is of significant value and importance.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) stated: “There is a piece of flesh in man’s body; if it is good the whole body is good, if it is bad the whole body is contaminated. Understand it! That piece of flesh is the heart.”

From this Hadith, we know that of all the organs of the body, the most reformable organ is the heart. All human deeds whether they are of worship, family affairs, industry, business and trade, generosity, trust, justice and fair play, modesty and decency, compassion and mercy, courtesy and kindness, pardon and forgiveness, toleration and patience, service to humility, sacrifice and fidelity, chastity and purity, so on and so forth, can be performed perfectly only when man’s heart is imbibed with the beauty of the light of piety and abstinence.

The literal meaning of piety is to abstain from commission of those acts that annoy or displease Almighty Allah—the Master of the Worlds—because of fear of Him and His pleasure. In other words, piety is that high place of abstinence where when one reaches, he or she becomes so pious and straightforward that because of fear of Almighty Allah and His wrath, he does not go near vice or sin in any condition, whether openly or secretly, in loneliness or in public, invisible from people’s sight or even visible.

He is so subdued and convinced of the fear of the Hereafter that he gives up the pleasures of the ephemeral world and the advantages that can be secured only by committing a sin, appreciating that those are transitory and can cause the destruction of his permanent peace and prosperity by inflicting a fatal blow on the real and perpetual life of the Hereafter.

The Holy Quran has praised piety and abstinence at many places and has called those the best investments for the Hereafter.

Almighty Allah says; “And make provisions (for the journey) and indeed the best provision is piety; and fear Me, O men of understanding” (2:197).

Almighty Allah has made piety the goal of worship—prayer, fasts, Zakat and the obligatory worship of Haj. Almighty Allah has commanded for the maintenance of piety and abstinence, as we see it from the Quranic verse quote above. Thus piety is the best means for seeking the pleasure of Almighty God in order to live an acceptable life in this world, and for peace and success in the Hereafter.

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) once said: “When you will adopt piety and fear of Almighty Allah, He will make everything of the world fear you (by inspiring them with awe and establishing your authority) and when you will drive out the fear of Almighty Allah and piety from your heart, He will inspire you with fear (making you a coward).”

Piety is that bounty of Almighty Allah which, when bestowed on His servants, makes him discharge his duties and obligations correctly according to the demand of divine law.

The worldly affairs, temptations, pleasures, etc., do not possess any attraction for him, and fail to persuade him to carry out any wrong deeds and keeps him secure from fraud and the deception of Satan. Almighty Allah, while addressing Satan says: “O My people! Worship Allah, you have no one worthy of worship other than Him” (7:65).

When a servant of Almighty God performs any good deed, he considers it His grace and His kindness; and in acceptance of his failings in the performance of worship, he implores: “O Allah! We could not fulfill properly Your right of worship”, and beseeches for His forgiveness, and supplicates Him for His grace to enable him to perform good deeds. If he doubts even a little about any action that is not permissible, he abstains from it, irrespective of the range of profit involved in it, simply because of the fear that Almighty Allah may be displeased with it.

One who is favoured with the real wealth of piety and abstinence, will not be tempted even by tonnes of gold and riches, however poverty-stricken he may be, only because of fear of Almighty Allah. The Holy Quran says: “And here are some among the people of the Book who, if you entrust them with heaps of gold, will restore it to you. (3:75).

Khwaja Mohammed Zubair is former Khaleej Times staffer.

Source: Khaleej Times