Taqwa is the state in which a believer is constantly conscious of not committing a sin or an action that would earn him or her the wrath of Allah (swt).
Taqwa is when a believer is cognizant of the Almighty’s decrees and remains alert to avoid any actions prohibited in the teachings of Islam.
Taqwa is when a believer is prepared and anticipates a situation where he or she might be pressured into an act they should not be in, avoiding the situation.
Taqwa is a when a believer rushes into action to complete their orders (e.g. prayer) and inhibits any negative inclinations that can hinder him or her from completing the task.
In general, Taqwa is the fear of not being mindful or not taking the best path in life, thereby losing the connection one might have with Allah (swt), earning His grace and mercy.
Usually, Taqwa is translated to “piety” or “God-fearing”; however, a more commonly accepted and better connotation would be “God-consciousness.”
Taqwa is deemed as the paramount quality of a Muslim – it should be noticeably present in all aspects of a his or her life. It is paired with Imaan (faith); one cannot be complete without the other.
To be strictly alert and mindful in someone’s presence is praiseworthy, but the dedication to this behavior is more accurately determined if the alertness and mindfulness remain in their absence.
Imagine you were to meet your lifelong role model. In their presence you would most likely be watchful of your behavior. You would be concerned for their needs, their orders, their likes and their dislikes. You would prevent any situation or scenario that would make them even remotely unhappy. You would be attentive to what they say and attempt to ensure their utmost satisfaction. This is similar to a Muslim’s Taqwa for Allah (swt).
However, Taqwa is more than a person’s conduct around someone they intensely love, respect or admire. To be strictly alert and mindful in someone’s presence is praiseworthy, but the dedication to this behavior is more accurately determined if the alertness and mindfulness remain in their absence.
Allah (swt) is not visible to our eyes — he is Haadhir (present) but Gha’ib (unseen). Displaying the same degree of alertness and mindfulness in his “absence” is what makes Taqwa very demanding yet highly rewarding.
An individual who possesses Taqwa is Muttaqi (plural: muttaqin). A muttaqi dedicatedly shows Taqwa in every aspect of his or her life. It is said that Allah (swt) manifests Himself in the silences of the soul; hence, a muttaqi strives to “silence” any distractions, such as infatuation to worldly things, to fully experience Allah’s presence in their heart. If one is preoccupied with avarice, loathing, animosity, egotism, sins and other diseases of the soul, their heart will not sense internal peace and will not achieve complete Taqwa. To speak to Allah (swt) and connect deeply with Him, it is essential for one to ignore negative distractions, heal the diseases of the soul, and basically “silence” external influences.
If one is preoccupied with avarice, loathing, animosity, egotism, sins and other diseases of the soul, his or her heart will not sense internal peace and will not achieve complete Taqwa. The more conscientious a believer is, the more prepared (s)he is in protecting him or herself from detrimental situations or scenarios that can impair Taqwa and make them forgetful of Allah (swt).
As the Holy Qur’an says:
“He (Allah) is with you wherever you are.” (57:4) He is neither absent, nor is He missing. It is rather our consciousness and our awareness – our Taqwa towards Him – that is absent and missing. He is with us along every step of the way, but we are aloof of Him at every moment. Only if we tuned in to Him, became conscious of Him, and awakened our souls to Him can we experience His manifestations with our own souls. (41:53).