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What is Taqwā?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Mathabah.org

Answered by Shaykh Omar Subedar


Is taqwā directly proportional to Īmān? Is it synonymous to Īmān? Does it have levels and can you have taqwā if you’re not Muslim (A god fearing Christian person)?


Taqwā is defined as: To obey Allāh’s orders and abstain from His prohibitions by practicing every good deed and abandoning every forbidden action according to one’s capacity. [Dalīl Al Fālihīn]

Linguistically and technically it is not synonymous to Īmān however it is a factor that strengthens Īmān. The more a person adopts taqwā the stronger his Īmān will become and the higher he will ascend the ranks of spirituality and nobility. Allāh has declared, “Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allāh is the most righteous of you.” [49:13]

It is for this reason Allāh has advised,

O you who have believed, fear Allāh as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims.” [3:102]

Taqwā cannot be found in a person who is outside the faith as it is a quality that is founded on Īmān. If a person refuses to adopt Īmān he has violated the most fundamental and primary order of Allāh. Allāh has called out to humanity,

O Mankind, the Messenger has come to you with the truth from your Lord, so believe; it is better for you. But if you disbelieve – then indeed, to Allāh belongs whatever is in the heavens and earth. And ever is Allāh Knowing and Wise.” [4:170]

As for our Christian friends, Allāh has given them a special message,

O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allāh except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allāh and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allāh and His messengers. And do not say, “Three”; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allāh is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allāh as Disposer of affairs. Never would the Messiah disdain to be a servant of Allāh, nor would the angels near [to Him]. And whoever disdains His worship and is arrogant – He will gather them to Himself all together. And as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards and grant them extra from His bounty. But as for those who disdained and were arrogant, He will punish them with a painful punishment, and they will not find for themselves besides Allāh any protector or helper.” [4:171-173]

And Allāh Knows Best

This answer was collected from Mathabah.org. It’s an Islamic educational institute based in Canada. The questions are generally answered by Sheikh Yusuf Badat and Sheikh Omar Subedar.

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