The fundamental objective of fasting is given to us by the Almighty Allah in verse 2:183 as explained below. It is to attain “Taqwaa” which is also elaborated below. Of course there are countless other benefits from fasting but they become secondary when compared to the main objective which should be maintained not only during fasting days but also in the rest of one’s life span. Below is a compilation on “Taqwaa” by Shaykh Saleem Al-Hilalee.
The concept of taqwaa is always linked to “’Ibaadah” in the Qur’an. ‘Ibaadah can be defined as doing what Allah has commanded and avoiding what He has prohibited. ‘Ibaadah has also been defined as a concept that includes all actions that Allah loves and approves of, whether they are actions of the heart, the tongue or the limbs. So Taqwaa is linked with doing what is correct and avoiding that which is wrong. Taqwaa is the fruit of doing the actions of ‘Ibaadah. In other words, if one does what Allah has commanded him/her to do, and abstains from that which he/she has been forbidden, he/she will achieve Taqwaa. Allah mentions in His Book (that means):
“O you who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may become ‘muttaqoon’ (those who have Taqwaa or piety).” [ Al-Baqarah 2:183 ]
In this verse and in many others, Allah has shown us that Taqwaa is the result or fruit of doing actions of Ibaadah.
The Meaning of Taqwaa
Now that we have clarified how to achieve taqwaa, we define what the concept of taqwaa means. Taqwaa means: to cleanse or purify the heart and the soul. This fact is proven by some verses in Surat Ash-Shams in which the Almighty Allah says (what means):
“By the sun and its brightness, by the moon as it follows it, by the day as it shows its brightness, by the night as it conceals it, by the heaven and its wondrous make, by the earth and all its expanse, and by the soul and He Who perfected it in proportion, then He showed it what is wrong for it and what is right for it – indeed he succeeds who purifies it, and he fails who corrupts it.” [Ash-Shams 91:1-10]
Allah begins this chapter by taking seven oaths. Whenever Allah begins a chapter or a verse with an oath, He does so to bear witness to the fact that whatever follows this oath is very important and essential for us to understand. Therefore, we should pay very close attention to what is being said, and reflect upon its meanings. To cleanse one’s heart and to purify the soul, one must perform righteous actions that Allah has enjoined upon us, and our destruction lies in doing the actions that Allah has forbidden. As Allah is the Guardian and Protector of the Soul, we should do every good deed hoping for Allah’s Mercy and fearing His Punishment, having full reliance and trust in Him.
Purification of the Soul
Among the missions of the Prophet (pbuh), Allah sent him with the command to purify the souls of the Muslims in particular, and of mankind in general. Allah says (what means):
“He it is who sent among the unlettered ones a Messenger from among themselves, reciting to them His verses, purifying them, and teaching them the Book and the wisdom, while before (that) they had been in error.” [Al-Jumu’ah 62:2]
This purification is obtained by doing the proper acts of ‘ibaadah and by avoiding sins and disobedience.
Conditions for Attaining Taqwaa
How does a person know that his/her acts of ‘ibaadah are helping him/her to achieve taqwaa? To develop taqwaa, one must fulfill the following conditions:
1) Ikhlaas, sincere intention that the act is performed purely for the pleasure of Allah, out of love for Him, while hoping for His reward and mercy, as well as fearing His anger and punishment if He is disobeyed.
2) To do the deed in accordance with the authentic teachings of the prophet (Pbuh). To have the necessary knowledge of the ‘ibaadah that is being performed. To know how the Prophet (Pbuh) performed the action and proper times for the performance of that action.
Concerning Ikhlaas, sincerity must be present both before and after performing the deed, with no intention of showing-off or a desire to be famous. For instance, after doing a good deed, one must not say to others, “Look at all the good I have been doing”, or “I’m such a marvelous person because I do such and such.”
This formula, if used while fulfilling all of its conditions, one will achieve taqwaa by the Willig of the Almighty ALLAH.
By/Said AL Mufrji