Taqwa: The Effects of its Presence or Absence
Exactly at the mid-mark of Ramadhan as I’m typing this. Was at Al-Istiqomah earlier for terawih and Ustaz Ahmad Dahri said that for every night of Ramadhan, Allah SWT asks 3 questions.
“O My servants! Is there any that is asking from me? I am here to answer your request.”
“O My servants! Is there any that is making taubah? I am here to accept it.”
“O My servants! Is there any who’s seeking forgiveness? I am here to forgive.”
SubhanAllah. So ask away in this month, istighfar a lot and strengthen your intention to keep away from evil deeds, both external acts and internal sins. May Allah help us and give us strength. Amin.
Since its Ramadhan and we have heard this countless times before, why we fast is to attain taqwa, or God-consciousness or some say, fear of Allah; I figured it is only apt to share something about taqwa.
This was written by the great Imam Abdallah ibn Alawi al-Haddad in his book “al-Fusul al-Ilmiyya wa’l-Usul al-Hikamiyya” aka Knowledge & Wisdom. (yea I know what a short translation right. haha.) This is chapter ten of the book, with the title of my post as its heading.
“Know that different conditions that succeed one another, such as poverty & wealth, health & sickness, eminence & lowliness, obscurity & renown, are all good in the presence of taqwa and ihsan [excellence in worship], but they are vile & odious in the presence of depravity and wicked behaviour. The explanation of this follows.
When a man of taqwa & good conduct is stricken with poverty, his state with God will be one of acceptance. He will be content, patient, scrupulous, independent of others, and show many other noble attributes. His share of God’s graces will be to receive His good pleasure, nearness, reinforcement with patience and assistance, and other divine graces. In his dealings with people, he will keep his situation concealed and appear fine. Others will praise him in his poverty and say that God is taking him along the same as the best and most loyal of His friends and chosen ones.
That same poverty, when it befalls an ill-behaved and corrupt man, will result in anguish, anger, envy, and covetousness. What he receives from God will be wrath and aversion, and there will be no assistance with patience & strength. He will be despised among people for his neediness and be censured for making bad choices & for the fact that he is unable to cater to his needs while maintaining his honesty. They will say that God the Exalted has punished him with poverty because of his lack of religion and virtue.
A man of good conduct, to whom God the Exalted gives wealth and affluence, will be thankful and appreciative of His bounty. He will use it in obedience, spend it in goodly ways, and help the near and the far. He will receive God’s good pleasure and love, and be reinforced with more affluence and ease. People will praise him for his good works and pray for an increase in affluence and ease for him.
On the other hand, an ill-behaved corrupt man who has money and affluence will be constantly engaged in accumulating and keeping his wealth avariciously to himself; he will be lacking in scruples and show extreme greed and similar terrible attributes; he will encounter God’s wrath and displeasure; people will censure him for abstaining from good works and for lacking loyalty, justice, and other wholesome traits.
A man possessed of taqwa and excellent conduct, when healthy and whole, will be thankful and eager to please God the Exalted and to use his health and strength in obeying Him. He will receive His good pleasure and be honored. People will praise him for his good works, determination, and earnestness in obedience. When sickness and poor health befall him, he will accept it, be patient, submit to God’s will, be content with it, and refrain from impatience, angst, and complaining to others. He will receive God’s good pleasure, solicitude, and assistance, and will be strengthened with relief, tranquility, and the like. People will praise him and say that God the Exalted allowed this illness to afflict him in order to remit his sins, increase his good deeds, and raise his rank.
An ill-behaved corrupt man, when healthy, is ungrateful. He transgresses, neglects obedience, and is eager to use his strength and energy in rebellious and sinful ways. He will be met with wrath and repudiation from God. People will censure him for breaching limits and for his eagerness to attract God’s wrath. When he becomes ill or is afflicted in any other way, he turns angry, anxious, and impatient; he is annoyed with God’s decrees and exhibits other blameworthy traits. He will be met with aversion and repudiation from God the Exalted. People will criticize him and say that God has punished him with illness and afflictions for his rebellion, iniquity, and numerous sins.
According to this pattern, it behooves you to observe and think about such things as honor and abasement, obscurity and renown, distress and affluence, and all other conditions which may alternate in people’s lives. You will know that the fear of God and excellence in behavior render any of these conditions beautiful, good, and upright, whereas corruption and evil conduct render them ugly and degrading, and expose such people to censure from others and wrath and aversion from God Himself.
Meditate on this matter well; it includes subtle knowledge and provides answers to problematic situations. We could have elaborated at length. However, bringing to notice the little that we have so far is sufficient for a vigilant, intelligent reader. And God is knowing of all things (Qur’an 2:282).”
May it be of benefit. Of course this is not a yardstick to measure others’ reaction when something befalls them, but as a yardstick for ourselves. Look inwards, not outwards. May Allah grant us taqwa & ihsan insyaAllah. Amin!