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TAQWA

Encyclopaedia of Ismailism by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin

The word taqwa (verb ittaqa) is derived from the root waqa meaning he protected himself from that which harms him. It occurs 251 times in the Koran under different derivatives, such as waqana (he protected us), 52:27; wa mantaqi (and he whom You did protect), 40:9; qina (protect us), 2:201; qu (protect), 66:6; la'allakum tattaqun (so that you may fear), 2:21; waqin (protector), 13:34; taqiyy (pious), 19:13; atqa (most pious), 49:13; tuqah (to fear), 3:28; taqwa (righteousness), 2:197, muttaqun and muttaqin (righteous), 2:22, etc. The word taqwa comprises all the meaning of every kind of external and internal piety, such as to escape from harmful thing, abstinence, avoidance, keeping away, endurance, self-restraint, caution, piety, fear, avoidance of unlawful things, etc. In short, taqwa is the sum of all good.

Taqwa is defined in the Koran as the whole pursuit of value and avoidance of disvalue in general. Taqwa is dependent on and is the result of faith in God and adoration of Him (2:21). The Koran has been revealed to produce the attitude of taqwa (2:113). The discipline of prayers (2:238), fasting (2:183), 2:187), zakat (98:5) and hajj (2:197) have been prescribed, apart from other benefits, in order to promote and reinforce taqwa.

According to the Koran: "And make provisions for yourselves; the best provision is taqwa" (2:197), "And that whoever respects the symbols of God, it is from the taqwa of the hearts" (22:35), "And those who follow guidance, He increases them in guidance and grants them their taqwa" (47:17), "Have taqwa of God and let every soul look to what provision he has sent forth for the morrow" (59:18), "Which then is best? He that lays his foundation on taqwa of God" (9:109).

One who observes taqwa is called muttaqi (pious believer). In Koran (2:1-4), the muttaqi is defined as "a man who believes in the Unseen, performs the prayer, expends of that which God has provided him, who believes in what has been sent down to the Prophet and what has been sent down before the Prophet, and has a firm faith in the hereafter."

The presence of taqwa in people saves them from destruction (27:53, 41:18), helps them maintain God's command in conjugal life (4:129), in social life (2:177) and assist them in faithfully fulfilling social obligations (25:63, 25:74).

The motive of people with taqwa is not self-interest, but seeking of good for its own sake (2:272), for which they may even sacrifice their lives (2:207).


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