Lesson 6 (Piety)

Chapter No.: 

The Piety forms part of the basic essentials of Islam. It means to observe the Divine Commandments conscientiously and scrupulously and to avoid all forbidden and wicked and shameful things, believing wholly and firmly in the Great Requital of the Last Day and fearing Allah and His wrath and punishment as a burnt child is supposed to dread the fire. In other words, it demands of us, on the one hand, to carry out, thoroughly and well, the duties prescribed by the Almighty and to fulfill zealously to the Divine law, and, on the other, to refrain strictly from doing anything that has been prohibited us by Him. It calls on us to make the fear of Allah our constant companion. Both in the Quran and the Traditions a very great emphasis has been laid on piety and righteousness and it has been urged on us most forcefully and persistently to cultivate it in ourselves. Some of the relevant verses of the Quran are:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنْتُمْ مُسْلِمُونَ ()

O ye who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam. (3:102)

فَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ وَاسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُو

So fear Allah as much as you can; listen and obey. (64:16)

O ye who believe! Fear Allah and let every soul look to what (provisions) he has sent forth for the morrow. Yea, fear Allah; for Allah is well-acquainted with (all) that ye do. (59:18)

The Quranic verses, further, reveal that there is a great favour of the Lord even in this world on those who fear Allah and practice piety and righteousness. Allah shows special munificence to them and makes His help available to them in a thousand ways:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَلْتَنْظُرْ نَفْسٌ مَا قَدَّمَتْ لِغَدٍ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ خَبِيرٌ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ ()

And for those who fear Allah he (ever) prepares a way out, and He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. (65:2-3)

The Quran also tells: that those who lead a life piety and righteousness become 'Friends of Allah', and, then, for them there is neither fear nor shall they ever grieve.

أَلَا إِنَّ أَوْلِيَاءَ اللَّهِ لَا خَوْفٌ عَلَيْهِمْ وَلَا هُمْ يَحْزَنُونَ () الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَكَانُوا يَتَّقُونَ () لَهُمُ الْبُشْرَى فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ لَا تَبْدِيلَ لِكَلِمَاتِ اللَّهِ ذَلِكَ هُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ ()

Behold! Verily on the Friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve, those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil; for them are Glad Tidings, in the life of the Present and the Hereafter. (10-62-64)

Some of the wonderful boons and blessings that await the pious and the righteous in the Hereafter have been revealed briefly in the following verses:

قُلْ أَؤُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِخَيْرٍ مِنْ ذَلِكُمْ لِلَّذِينَ اتَّقَوْا عِنْدَ رَبِّهِمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَأَزْوَاجٌ مُطَهَّرَةٌ وَرِضْوَانٌ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ بَصِيرٌ بِالْعِبَادِ ()

Say: Shall I give you glad tidings of things far better than those? For the righteous are Gardens in nearness to their Lord, with rivers flowing beneath; therein is their eternal home with Companions (pure and holy), and the good pleasure of Allah. For in Allah's sight are (all) His servants.' (3:15)

هَذَا ذِكْرٌ وَإِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ لَحُسْنَ مَآبٍ () جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ مُفَتَّحَةً لَهُمُ الْأَبْوَابُ () مُتَّكِئِينَ فِيهَا يَدْعُونَ فِيهَا بِفَاكِهَةٍ كَثِيرَةٍ وَشَرَابٍ () وَعِنْدَهُمْ قَاصِرَاتُ الطَّرْفِ أَتْرَابٌ () هَذَا مَا تُوعَدُونَ لِيَوْمِ الْحِسَابِ () إِنَّ هَذَا لَرِزْقُنَا مَا لَهُ مِنْ نَفَادٍ ()

And, verily, for the righteous, is a beautiful place of (Final) Return-Gardens of Eternity whose doors will ever be opened to them; therein will they recline (at ease); therein can they call (at pleasure) for fruit in abundance and (delicious) drink; and beside them will be chaste women restraining their glances, (companions) of equal age. Such is the promise made to Allah for the Day of Account! Truly, such will be Our Bounty (to you) It will never fail. (38:49-54)

In the Quran, again, men of piety are given the very special tidings of place of exceptional nearness to Allah in the Hereafter:

إِنَّ الْمُتَّقِينَ فِي جَنَّاتٍ وَنَهَرٍ () فِي مَقْعَدِ صِدْقٍ عِنْدَ مَلِيكٍ مُقْتَدِرٍ ()

As to the Righteous, they will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers, in an Assembly of Truth in the presence of a Sovereign Omnipotent. (54:54-55)

The sole criterion of honour and superiority with Allah is piety.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُمْ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ وَأُنْثَى وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ ()

Verily, the most hooured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. (49:13)

Similarly, it has been declared by the holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) in one of his Traditions that:

"Nearest and dearest to me are those who possess the virtue of piety no matter what race or nationality they belong to or which country they live in."

Piety (i.e., fear of Allah and an over powering anxiety for the Hereafter) is the root of all virtue. It is the measure of all goodness. We will be as good and noble and as free from what is based on corrupt as there is piety in us. Another of the Prophet's Traditions reads:

"A holy Companion once said to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), Sir, I have heard so many of your valuable sayings that I fear I may not be able to remember them all. So I request you for a comprehensive advice, which may suffice for me always. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) replied, 'Fear Allah in proportion to your knowledge and make that fear and piety the guiding principles of your life."

"He who has fear will set out early and he who will set out early will reach the destination in time."

The fortunate and the successful, indeed, are those who fear Allah and prepare for the life to come. Even a single tear shed out of fear of Allah and of His anger and punishment carries a great value in His eyes.

"There are two drops," says the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam), "and two marks than which nothing is more precious to Allah. Of the two drops so exceedingly dear to Him, one is the tear that may have fallen from the eyes of anyone out of His fear, and the other is the drop of blood that is shed in His path. Similarly, of the two marks one is the mark sustained in the path of Allah (i.e., the scar left behind by a wound sustained in Jihaad), and the other is the mark which may have developed as a result of the carrying out of a religious obligation (as for example, the marks one often sees on the forehead and knees of those who offer the Salaah regularly)."

We will take up one more Tradition of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam). It says:

"Never can he go to hell who weeps in the fear of Allah."

The sum and substance of the entire discussion is that it is great, indeed, to be blessed with true fear of Allah and a genuine solicitude for the Hereafter. It can literally revolutionize one's whole existence.

Brothers, know it thoroughly and well that one who is Allah fearing in this transitory world will have absolutely nothing to worry in the Hereafter. He will have neither fear nor anxiety. He will dwell in eternal peace, comfort and happiness by the Grace of Allah.

On the contrary, he who is not Allah fearing and shows no concern for After life and refuses to look beyond the pleasures of material existence for him there will be terrible anguish and distress in the life to come. For thousands of years he will be shedding tears of blood. The surest way to develop piety, i.e., Allah fearing-ness and solicitude for the

Hereafter is to avail oneself of the company of the devout servants of the Lord who fear Him and obey His commands honestly. Then there are good and reliable religious books, which should be read regularly, and, if a person is illiterate, he should have them read out to him by others. Lastly, it is advisable to meditate in solitude on death and on the rewards one is going to get from Allah for one's good and virtuous deeds and the punishment that is going to be awarded by Him for one's sins and transgressions against the Divine Law. One should dwell mentally on one's state and visualize what is going to pass in the grave, what will one's condition be when men will be raised up again on the Last Day and produced before Allah? What will one do when the balance sheet of one's conduct on the earth will be unrolled? Where will one, then, hide one's face?