As-Salam Alaikoum, I have a question regarding one of Allah's commands. He asks us to have "Taqwa". For example in Surat-Al Anfal, Ayah 27: "O you who have believed, if you fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty." I wanted to know what is the true meaning of Taqwa, and how can a person have Taqwa? Thanks in advance.
Short Answer: Taqwa essentially means “awareness of God” or “piety,” but has sometimes been translated as “fear of God,” though not with the usual meaning of “fear.” In order to develop taqwa, one should remember Allah often, learn more about Him, repent often, fast often, remember death often, and work to increase your good deeds while decreasing your sins.
Thank you for your question, and for contacting Ask About Islam.
There are several definitions of taqwa, including this definition by Dr. Jamal Badawi:
Some of the common English translations of the word taqwa are “piety” and “heed” or “God-fearing.” Each of these translations gives only a partial understanding of this word’s true meaning because it is an attitude that combines many feelings, such as fear of God, heeding, and above all being God-conscious.
But How Can I Develop Taqwa?
Acquiring taqwa is a process that takes time, and grows with the increase of faith in the heart of a believer until they become convinced that Allah is aware of everything they do and each word they say.
In the famous hadith of Jibreel when he asked Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) about Islam, iman, and ihsan, the Prophet responded about Ihsan, saying it is ‘to worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you can’t see Him you know that He sees you. That is the highest level of faith.’
There are several ways to gain taqwa, through fear and love, including the following:
Remember Allah Often
In order to fear Allah, a Muslim needs to remember death and remember the Hereafter.
This is one of the fruits of reading the Quran often, as reflecting on its verses and chapters with the many reminders of the Hereafter help the heart increase in taqwa.
Mention Allah often, as the remembrance of Allah increases the heart in God-consciousness.
Learn More About Allah
Also gaining more knowledge about the Names and Attributes of Allah helps a Muslim remember how dependent we are on His Mercy and Forgiveness.
Always repenting to Allah, as Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised his companions, saying that he repents to Allah at least seventy times each day.
One of the fruits of fasting the month of Ramadan is to increase in taqwa, and fasting is not only limited to Ramadan, but optional sunnah fasting can also be done the rest of the year to get closer to Allah and increase in taqwa.
Make dua that God increases you in taqwa.
Do as many other good deeds as you can, especially those which Allah loves.
1- Be alert to whatever may divert you from Allah.
2- Be alert to the carnal pleasures that may lead to the realm of the forbidden.
3- Ascribe all material and spiritual accomplishments to Allah.
4- Never consider yourself higher or better than anyone else.
5- Long for Allah’s pleasure and satisfaction in all affairs.
6- Renew the fountains of your iman by studying and reflecting on Allah’s creation.
7- Remember death, and live with the conscious knowledge that it may happen at any time.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.