A tribute to Marylou Ghyst and Petra Weldes
Marylou’s major contribution to this forum is religious inquiry, which we appreciate, encourage and admire; it is an expression of freewill that God endowed to each one of the human beings. And because of her inquiries, we have been able to independently think and find the resources to support it. It is easy for Muslims to answer Muslims, or Christians to answer Christians, but difficult for anyone to share or understand the nuances and the cultural references. Marylou has succeeded in that endeavor.
Every Prophet, Messenger and a peace maker had the special knowledge about spirituality, but more importantly they understood human nature, they were great psychologists. Prophet Muhammad was indeed a master psychologist, he understood human nature, and initiated religious practices in the form of rituals that will help an individual achieve piety and humility, thus peace within and peace with others.
Jesus said, follow me, and Allah in Quraan said to submit to his will and Krishna says surrender to me - all are asking to become a part of the system to keep it functioning cohesively and out of free will.
Since my focus of this article is Taqwa, it is important to note, rather critical, that Islam is about behavior and not your costume or external manifestation.
Further on piety:
One of the Islamic dictionaries writes;
Taqwa allows a person to be constantly aware of both God's presence and attributes and a reminder of their relationship and responsibility to God as His creation and servant. The scholars explain that the way to taqwa is through obedience of God, avoiding disobedience, and striving to stay away from doubtful matters. “
“And We have sent down to you the Book as an explanation of everything, a guidance, a mercy and glad-tidings for those who submitted themselves to Islam.” [TMQ 16:89]
So let us understand the true meaning of Taqwa. In contrast to the distorted picture that people have today, the Qur’an and Sunnah defines the idea of taqwa as protecting oneself from the Hellfire by following the orders of Allah (swt) by doing what He (swt) has commanded and avoiding what He (swt) has forbidden. Many ayat in the Qur’an point to this:
“And unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. And, verily, We have recommended to the people of the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allah, and keep your duty to Him, But if you disbelieve, then unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Ever Rich, Worthy of all praise.” [TMQ An-Nisa’ 4: 131]
Taqwa comes from the word 'waqiya', which means to protect. It is protection from the Anger of Allah (swt) and His (swt) punishment. This is why Taqwa is used to describe the performing of actions, which pleases Allah (swt) and abstaining from all actions that displeases Him (swt).
Taqwa in essence means god consciousness, being conscious of Allah (swt) in all our actions and affairs.