Taqwa is the reason a person gets goodness in the world and hereafter. It’s mentioned numerous times in the Quran and Hadith. So, we need to understand what it is, why it’s important, and how to apply it.
There are various definitions of taqwa, but they all come down to making a shield to protect oneself from the displeasure and punishment of Allah.
This shield is by obeying Allah’s commands and staying away from Allah’s prohibitions.
The foundation of taqwa i.e. God-consciousness is the shahadah. Not just lip-service, but really understand and practice what it entails.
Saying the first part of the shahadah means that you must be absolutely certain that only Allah worthy of any form of worship. You don’t worship anything else. Not other living or dead beings (they’re all created by Allah). And not “concepts” such as money, sports, etc.
Being sure of the second part of the shahadah means you believe Muhammad bin ‘Abdullah bin ‘Abdul Mutalib (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassalam) is the last and final messenger and slave of Allah. We don’t worship him but we believe what he said as true.
Loving Allah & His Messenger
Saying the shahadah also means you love Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassalam) more than any other .
What does this mean?
That you obey Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassalam) above all else. Above your spouse, parents, sons, daughters, friends, boss, colleagues, etc. Even above your own desire.
Let me elaborate a bit.
You have to get your priorities right. Performing properly your salah is more important than meeting other deadlines.
Don’t hurriedly send your kids to school (in the morning) by skipping Fajr salah so that they don’t arrive late at school.
Don’t continue shopping (to save time) with your wife until your salah time expires without you and/or your wife having prayed that particular salah.
The biggest commitment to fulfilling the shahadah is the five daily prayers.
And the men should pray in congregation in the mosque. Some ulema don’t make it a must (wajib).
But think about it.
Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassalam) always prayed in congregation. Always.
Even when very ill. Even during his final illness, and he had to be supported by two Companions, with his feet dragging on the ground, Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alayhi wassalam) went to the mosque to pray in congregation!
I don’t know about you, but I’d be quite embarrassed to use the excuse that I’ve a headache or running nose and couldn’t go pray in congregation at the nearby mosque …
Praying in congregation at the mosque is the biggest visible sign of Islam. It’s something we should guard as proof of our taqwa.
Focus – don’t be misled
Let’s always be wary of things that can prevent or divert us from our taqwa.
This could be TV programmes, entertainment shows, or useless talk (which usually involves backbiting – don’t deny it …)
Of course, he needs to obey other commands of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) like protecting himself and his family from the Hellfire and treating others with respect.