Taqwa: Between Love & Fear
Translating Love Into Good Deeds
Various verses in the Qur’an explain the characteristics that a person should have in order to receive God’s love. One of those traits is taqwa or God-consciousness, which is referred to in the Qur’an:[For lo! Allah loveth those who ward off (evil)](Aal `Imran 3:76).
God also loves those who have trust in Him.
Also, people who constantly repent to God deserve His love:[For Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean] (Al-Baqarah 2:222), which means that the door for repentance is open if a person sins, and not only does God accept those who repent, but He also loves them.
A third characteristic is constant self-purification. The Qur’an says what means[And Allah loves those who purify themselves] (At-Tawbah 9:108).
People who do good were also mentioned in several verses:[Surely Allah loves the doers of good] (Al-Baqarah 2:195).
God also loves those who have trust in Him. He says what means[For Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)] (Aal `Imran 3:159).
Those who are steadfast and persevering also deserve divine love:[And Allah loves the patient] (Aal `Imran 3:146).
People who are just or judge in equity are also mentioned in the Qur’an as receiving God’s love:[Surely Allah loves those who judge equitably] (Al-Ma’idah 5:42).
Endangering Divine Love
There are also characteristics that God does not love, such as aggression or transgression. He says what means[Lo! Allah loveth not transgressors] (Al-Ma’idah 5:87)
Corruption on earth or doing mischief is another bad characteristic:[And Allah loveth not mischief] (Al-Baqarah 2:205).
In addition, being ungrateful is something that God does not love: (…and Allah does not love any ungrateful sinner.) (Al-Baqarah 2:276).
Those who reject faith are also endangering divine love:[Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger. But if they turn away, lo! Allah loveth not the disbelievers (in His guidance)] (Aal `Imran 3:32). In the Qur’an God mentions oppression, where He says what means[And Allah does not love the unjust] (Aal `Imran 3:57).
Betrayal and treachery are also bad traits that God does not love:[Surely Allah does not love the treacherous] (Al-Anfal 8:58).
God dislikes vanity and arrogance.
Those who waste and misuse things are mentioned by God as people who endanger divine love:[Surely He does not love the extravagant] (Al-A`raf 7:31).
There are also a number of verses that show that God dislikes vanity and arrogance, where He says what means[Surely Allah does not love him who is proud, boastful] (An-Nisaa’ 4:36).
Fruits of Taqwa
There are several benefits derived from the moral quality of being God-conscious. First, the Qur’an is in itself guidance for those who are God-conscious:[This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil)] (Al-Baqarah 2:2). This is why many people do not really benefit from reading scriptures of holy books, because their hearts are not really receptive to them.
Another benefit is that taqwa helps people to have proper vision, knowledge, and wisdom. Referring to this we find a beautiful verse in the Qur’an saying what means[O ye who believe! if ye fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion (to judge between right and wrong), remove from you (all) evil (that may afflict) you, and forgive you: for Allah is the Lord of grace unbounded] (Al-Anfal 8:29). Another verse that relates taqwa to knowledge and vision says what means[Observe your duty to Allah. Allah is teaching you. And Allah is knower of all things] (Al-Baqarah 2:282).
Taqwa is also a cause for receiving the blessings of God and finding a way out of problems and tribulations that may be found in life. For example, the Qur’an says what means[And whoever is careful of (his duty to) Allah, He will make easy for him his affair] (At-Talaq 65:4).
Ultimate bliss is also reached by God- consciousness.
The Qur’an refers to taqwa as a perquisite for the forgiveness of sins. It says in one verse what means[And whoso keepeth his duty to Allah, He will remit from him his evil deeds and magnify reward for him] (At-Talaq 65:5).
Taqwa is also a precondition for receiving God’s mercy, which is indicated in a moving verse that says what means[That (mercy) I shall ordain for those who do right, and practice regular charity, and those who believe in Our signs] (Al-A`raf 7:156).
Ultimate victory and taqwa are also related:[Lo! the sequel is for those who ward off (evil) ] (Hud 11:49).
Ultimate bliss is also reached by God-consciousness, and not only is this bliss in life on earth but also in the eternal life of the hereafter. The Qur’an refers to this by saying what means[Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve] (Yunus 10:62).
This is why the Qur’an constantly mentions taqwa as an essential quality: that one should submit to God’s will and take taqwa as provision for the travel from this life on earth to the eternal life in the hereafter. The Qur’an refers to this by saying what means[For the best provision is to ward off evil. Therefore keep your duty unto Me, O men of understanding] (Al-Baqarah 2:197). Having this quality of taqwa would result in a feeling of inner peace, and eternal tranquility would spread among people.
* Adapted from a lecture in Dr. Jamal Badawi’s Islamic Teachings series
Dr. Jamal Badawi is a professor at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, where he currently teaches in the areas of management and religious studies. He is the author of several works on various aspects of Islam.