On the authority of Sayyiduna Abu Dharr Jundub Ibn Junaada رضي الله عنه and Sayyiduna Abu 'Abdur Rahmaan Mu'aadh Ibn Jabal رضي الله عنه, from the Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم who said,
"Fear Allaah wherever you are." 
Taqwa emanates from the root wiqaayah, which means, "he protected," or "to protect." When the word taqwa ("fear") is used with respect to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, as in this hadeeth, it means that one must fear or protect himself from Allaah's anger and punishment. This is the greatest thing that one must protect oneself from. It is the source of Allaah's punishment in both this world and the Hereafter. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says in the Qur'an,
"Let not the believers take the disbelievers as Auliya (supporters, helpers, etc.) instead of the believers, and whoever does that will never be helped by Allaah in any way, except if you indeed fear a danger from them. And Allaah warns you against Himself (His Punishment), and to Allaah is the final return." (Soorah Aal 'imraan, 3:28)
Hence, the person must do what he can to avoid and protect himself from earning the anger of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. He does this by being sincere to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, by performing what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has ordered and remaining away from what Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has prohibited. This is, in essence, taqwa.
This portion of the hadeeth may be understood in different ways. However, they are all somewhat compatible and may all be meant by these words.
One implication is that a person should "fear Allaah" when he is with others as well as when he is all alone. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى knows everything that everyone does as well as what anyone even considers in their hearts. Under all circumstances, one must be on his best behaviour and avoid what may displease Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى is watchful of all things. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has stated,
"O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Alalah , through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Surely, Allaah is Ever an All-Watcher over you." (Soorah an-Nisaa', 4:1)
The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to supplicate to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى,
'I ask of You to give me fear of You in matters that are seen as well as those that are witnessed.' 
If a person realises that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى sees him at all times and knows what he does in secret, he will then avoid committing sins even when he is in complete privacy. This is a sign of complete Imaan in his heart. However, constantly failing to obey Allaah سبحانه و تعالى when one is alone is a sign of a diseased heart, like the hearts of the hypocrites. 
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says about them,
"They conceal [their evil intentions and deeds] from the people, but they cannot conceal [them] from Allaah , and He is with them [in His knowledge] when they plot by night in words that He does not approve, And Allaah ever encompasses what they do." (Soorah an-Nisaa', 4:108)
A second implication is that one must "fear Allaah" while in a state of blessings or trial.
A third implication - which is the only meaning given to this expression by Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi رحمه الله in his commentary to Sunan at-Tirmidhi - is that one must "fear Allaah" while one is alone or while one is among any group of people, whether they are pious or impious. The person must tend to himself and cannot use others as an excuse for disobeying Allaah.  
 Recorded by Imaam at-Tirmidhi رحمه الله who said it is a Hasan Hadeeth
 Recorded by Imaam an-Nisaa'ee رحمه الله and Imaam Ibn Hibbaan رحمه الله. According to Shaykh Shuaib al-Arnaoot رحمه الله, it is Saheeh. See Shuaib al-Arnaoot's رحمه الله footnotes to Imaam Ibn Rajab رحمه الله, Jaami', vol. 1, p. 407. Although the word used by the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in that hadeeth is khashya (which is closer to a direct meaning of fear), such fear is one of the components of taqwa and the two words are many times close in significance.
 Sultaan, p. 162
 Imaam Abu Bakr Ibn al-'Arabi رحمه الله, Aaridhat al-Ahwadhi bi-Sharh Saheeh at-Tirmidhi (Beirut: Daar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, n.d.), vol. 8, pp. 154-155
 Shaykh Jamaaluddeen Zarabozo حفظه الله, Commentary on the Forty Hadeeth of Imam An-Nawawi رحمه الله, vol. 1, pp. 574-575
The words translated here as, "Fear Allaah," are اتق الله. That is, one should have "taqwa of Allaah." Taqwa is one of the most important concepts found in the Qur'an and Sunnah. Indeed, al-Mubaarakfoori رحمه الله calls it the foundation of the religion. 
In numerous Ahaadeeth, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم advised Muslims to have taqwa. Whenever he sent an army out, he would advise them to have taqwa of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. Indeed, this has been the command of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for all of the Messengers عليهم الصلاة والسلام.
Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"And to Allaah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth. And verily, We have instructed those who were given the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allaah, and keep your duty to Him, But if you disbelieve, then unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Ever Rich (Free of all wants), Worthy of all praise." (Soorah an-Nisaa', 4:131)
Commenting on this verse, Imaam al-Ghazzaali رحمه الله wrote,
"Does not Allaah سبحانه و تعالى have more knowledge than anyone concerning what is best for the human? Is He not their most sincere adviser and more merciful and compassionate than anyone? If there were any characteristic that is better for a human, more comprehensive in its goodness, greater in its reward, more important for worship, weightier in measure, more important in its substance and more rescuing in the long-run than this characteristic of taqwa, then Allaah سبحانه و تعالى would have ordered His servants to have that other characteristic. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has advised his most dear servants to have this characteristic out of His Perfect Wisdom and Encompassing Mercy.
When he advised this one characteristic, and combined together His previous and later servants upon that characteristic and mentioned that characteristic only, you then know that it is the final goal beyond which there is none other and for which there is no other purpose. Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has combined together every advise, direction, guidance, instruction, teaching and rectification in that one advice, as is becoming His Wisdom and Mercy. And you also know by that fact that this one characteristic of taqwa combines together all of the good of this life and the Hereafter, that is sufficient for all of the important matters that leads one to the highest ranks [in Paradise]. This foundation cannot be increased upon. It is sufficient for the one who sees the light, is guided and acts upon that light." 
Furthermore, in numerous places in the Qur'an, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has quoted different Prophets and Messengers عليهم الصلاة والسلام as advising their people and telling them that they must have taqwa of Allaah. These are the most sincere of all who give advice. Such was the example of Saalih, Lot, Moses and others عليهم الصلاة والسلام.
For example, Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says about Noah عليه السلام,
"The people of Nuh (Noah) belied the Messengers. When their brother Nuh (Noah) said to them, 'Will you not fear Allaah?'" (Soorah ash-Shu'araa, 26:105-106)
A lexical understanding of the word taqwa will help in having a complete picture of this very important concept. In the supplement to Lane's Lexicon, it defines اتّقى in the following manner,
"He preserved, or guarded, himself exceedingly, or extraordinarily; he put a thing between him and another to preserve him, or guard him. In the conventional language of the law, he preserved, or guarded, himself exceedingly, or extraordinarily, from sin, of commission or of omission.... It may often be rendered, he was pious, or careful of his religious duties." 
The essence, therefore, of Taqwa is to put some kind of barrier or guard between oneself and what one fears, in order to protect oneself from what is feared. A form of this word was used, in its linguistic sense, in a Hadeeth in Saheeh Muslim. Al-Baraa' رضي الله عنه was describing the Battle of Hunain in which many Muslims fled but the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم did not flee. At one point in the Hadeeth, he stated, "By Allaah, if the fighting became hot, we would seek a barrier or protection (nattaqee) in the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم. And the brave one among us was the one who was next to him, that is, next to the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم."
That is, they would put the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم between themselves and the enemy in order to protect themselves from the enemy, due to the Prophet's courage and bravery صلى الله عليه وسلم.
As was noted above, the word taqwa is sometimes followed by the name of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى (have taqwa of Allaah). This is the case with this particular Hadeeth and with numerous verses of the Qur'aan (such as al-Maa'idah 96 and al-Hashr 18). Again, in this sense, it means one should fear or protect himself from Allaah's anger and punishment. This can only be done by obeying Him and not disobeying Him. This is the minimum aspect of taqwa. 
Furthermore, if someone puts some kind of distance between himself and disobeying Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, then he has fulfilled what this concept of taqwa really implies. Abud-Dardaa' رضي الله عنه and al-Hasan رحمه الله have both stated that the people of taqwa even leave permissible deeds out of fear that there might be something harmful in them. These doubtful or permissible acts are that barrier that they have put between themselves and the acts of disobedience.
Sometimes the word is followed by the place of Allaah's punishment, such as Hell, or to the time of Allaah's punishment, the Day of Resurrection. The meaning is once again the same: One must protect himself from the harm related to those times or places.
Here are two examples from the Qur'an, 
"And fear the Fire, which has been prepared for the disbelievers." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:131)
"And fear a Day (of Judgement) when a person shall not avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from him nor will compensation be taken from him nor will they be helped." (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:48)
 Al-Mubaarakfoori رحمه الله, Tuhfah, vol. 6, p. 122. One may note an emphasis in the Sharee'ah on the concept of "protection" and "guarding," that is, "guarding against shirk, evil, sins and so forth." Shaykh Ja'far Shaikh Idris حفظه الله explained this concept by stating that the true nature of humans (the fitra) is one of obedience to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى. This nature simply needs to be guarded and protected from straying and it will be led to Paradise. That is the reason for emphasis on protection, guarding and taqwa. (Shaykh Ja'far Shaikh Idris حفظه الله, Personal Interview, Farfax, VA, @ Feb. 1996.)
 Quoted in Shaykh Ahmad Fareed حفظه الله, at-Taqwa: al-Ghaayah al-Manshuwudah wad-Durrah al-Mafqoodah (Riyadh: Dar as-Samee', 1993), p. 18
 Lane, vol. 2, p. 3059
 Al-Baghawi رحمه الله wrote, "It is as if the person of taqwa places the implementation of Allaah's command and avoidance of what He has forbidden as a kind of barrier between himself and the punishment." al-Hussain al-Baghawi, Tafseer al-Baghawi: Ma'alim at-Tanzeel (Riyadh: Daar Taiba, 1409 A.H.) vol. 1, p. 60
 Shaykh Jamaaluddeen Zarabozo حفظه الله, Commentary on the Forty Hadeeth of Imam An-Nawawi رحمه الله, vol. 1, pp. 575-578
To have complete taqwa or protection from Allaah's anger and punishment, one must perform all of the obligatory deeds that he is capable of and remain away from all of the forbidden acts and doubtful matters. Some scholars also state that the person must also perform the recommended acts and remain away from the disapproved acts. This, obviously, is the highest level of taqwa. These are the people who truly deserve the title muttaqeen, "the people possessing taqwa".
In the same way that a true believer is only the one who fulfills all of the obligations of Imaan, the only ones who deserve the title of muttaqeen are those who fulfill all of the requirements of taqwa. These requirements include both mental as well as behavioural acts. These are the true muttaqeen who are described in the verse of the Qur'an,
"It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allaah, etc.) that you turn your faces towards east and (or) west (in prayers); but Al-Birr is (the quality of) the one who believes in Allaah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Book, the Prophets and gives his wealth, in spite of love for it, to the kinsfolk, to the orphans, and to Al-Masakin (the poor), and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs As-Salat (Iqamat-as-Salat), and gives the Zakat, and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are As-Sabirin (the patient ones, etc.) in extreme poverty and ailment (disease) and at the time of fighting (during the battles). Such are the people of the truth and they are Al-Muttaqeen." (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:177)
This ultimate level of taqwa, which is the true and complete taqwa, has been described in a number of statements from the early scholars. For example, Imaam Talq Ibn Habeeb رحمه الله once profoundly stated, "Taqwa is to act in obedience to Allaah, upon light from Allaah, hoping for reward from Allaah; [it is also to] avoid acts of disobedience to Allaah, upon light from Allaah and fearing Allaah's punishment." 
From this quote, one can note that it is essential that the obedience to Allaah be according to the light or guidance from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى while hoping for His reward. At the same time, avoiding an act must also be because of what the Sharee'ah has stated about that act while realising that if one were to perform that act, he would be punished by Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.
Imaam Ath-Thauri رحمه الله said, "They are called muttaqeen because they even guard against things that are not to be guarded against." 
And in discussing the verse,
"O you who believe! Have taqwa of Allaah as is His right to have taqwa. And die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allaah." (Soorah Aal 'Imraan, 3:102),
Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه said that it means, "That He should be obeyed and not disobeyed, He should be remembered and not forgotten and that He should be thanked and be not ungrateful to." 
Again, like imaan, taqwa has different levels to it. There is the minimum level that is required to save oneself from eternal punishment in Hell and there is the higher level of those who deserve the title of mutaqqeen. Al-Aloosi رحمه الله wrote,
"Linguistically wiqaayah means seeking protection or guarding oneself in general. In the Sharee'ah, it is for a person to guard himself from what is harmful in the Hereafter. It is of different levels that correspond to the different levels of possible harm. The first level is to protect and keep oneself from shirk [associating partners with Allaah سبحانه و تعالى]. The second level is to refrain from the great sins, and this includes performing a minor sin on a continual basis. And the third level is what is alluded to in what is recorded by at-Tirmidhi from the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم, 'A person will not reach the level of the muttaqeen until he leaves something in which there is no harm out of fear that it may contain some harm.'  This level is reflected in remaining away from even the minor sins." 
Imaam Ar-Raazi رحمه الله states that there is a difference of opinion of over whether or not a person who commits minor sins is deserving to be called a muttaqi (singular of muttaqeen). He stated,
"[The scholars] differ about whether or not avoiding the minor sins is considered an aspect of taqwa. Some of them say that it is in the same way that there is also a threatened punishment for the minor sins. Others say that it is not included. However, there is no difference of opinion that it is obligatory to repent from such sins. The difference of opinion is only concerning whether or not a person who does not avoid the minor sins is deserving to be called a person of taqwa." 
According to Shaykh Ahmad Fareed حفظه الله, for one to have complete taqwa and be from the muttaqeen, one must also avoid the minor sins, the doubtful matters and the disapproved deeds. The complete taqwa is where one strives his best to avoid all sorts of sins, major or minor. He also strives to perform different acts of obedience, both obligatory and recommended. In this way, he will be having the complete and true taqwa that is referred to in the verse, explained by Sayyiduna 'Abdullaah Ibn Mas'ood رضي الله عنه above,
"O you who believe! Have taqwa of Allaah as is His right to have taqwa. And die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allaah." (Soorah Aali 'Imraan, 3:102) 
This is the concept of taqwa that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم advised his followers concerning. The final result of having this taqwa can be clearly noted in the following verse of the Qur'an:
"And enjoin As-Salat (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them [i.e. the Salat (prayers)]. We ask not of you a provision (i.e. to give Us something: money, etc.); We provide for you. And the good end (i.e. Paradise) is for the Muttaqeen." (Soorah Taa Haa, 20:132) 
 Quoted in Imaam Ibn Rajab رحمه الله, Jaami', vol. 1, p. 400
 Quoted in Imaam Ibn Rajab رحمه الله, Jaami', vol. 1, p. 401
 Quoted in Imaam Ibn Rajab رحمه الله, Jaami', vol. 1, p. 401
 As a hadeeth of the Prophet (peace be upon him), this is not considered an authentic hadeeth. (See al-Albaani, Da'eef al-Jaami', p. 912.) However, it is a statement of one of the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him). It has been narrated as a statement of Abud-Dardaa' and something similar has also been narrated from Shahr Ibn Haushab (may Allaah be pleased with them both).
A reading of the Qur'an will demonstrate the great importance of taqwa, how pleasing it is to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى and how Allaah سبحانه و تعالى responds to the Muttaqeen. Note in particular the following blessings and benefits from taqwa: 
(1) Guidance from the Qur'an is received by the muttaqeen:
"This is the Book concerning which there is no doubt, a guidance for the muttaqeen." (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:2)
(2) Allaah's special closeness, help and support comes to those who have taqwa:
"Verily, Allaah is with those people who have taqwa, and with those who are Muhsineen." (Soorah an-Nahl, 16:128)
(3) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى gives His loyalty, protection and support (wilaayah) to the muttaqeen:
"Indeed, they will never avail you against Allaah at all. And indeed, the wrongdoers are allies of one another; but Allaah is the protector and ally of the muttaqeen." (Soorah al-Jaathiyah, 45:19)
(4) Allaah loves the muttaqeen:
"Except those of the Mushrikun with whom you have a treaty, and who have not subsequently failed you in aught, nor have supported anyone against you. So fulfill their treaty to them to the end of their term. Surely Allaah loves the muttaqeen." (Soorah at-Tauba, 9:4)
(5) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى gives the muttaqeen a criterion or signs (furqaan) to distinguish right from wrong, good from bad and what is beneficial from what is harmful:
"O you who have believed, if you have taqwa of Allaah , He will grant you a criterion [to judge between right and wrong] and will remove from you your misdeeds and forgive you. And Allah is the possessor of great bounty." (Soorah al-Anfaal, 8:29)
(6 and 7) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى provides beneficial solutions and ways out from difficulty and confusion for those who have taqwa, and Allaah سبحانه و تعالى provides for the muttaqeen from avenues that they did not even imagine:
"Then when they are about to fulfil their term appointed, either take them back in a good manner or part with them in a good manner. And take for witness two just persons from among you (Muslims). And establish the witness for Allaah. That will be an admonition given to him who believes in Allaah and the Last Day. And whosoever has taqwa of Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will make a way for him to get out (from every difficulty). And He will provide him from (sources) he never could imagine. And whosoever puts his trust in Allaah, then He will suffice him. Verily, Allaah will accomplish his purpose. Indeed Allaah has set a measure for all things. " (Soorah at-Talaaq, 65:2)
(8) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى makes matters easy for the muttaqeen:
"And those who no longer expect menstruation among your women - if you doubt, then their period is three months, and [also for] those who have not menstruated. And for those who are pregnant, their term is until they give birth. And whoever has taqwa of Allaah - He makes matters easy for him." (Soorah at-Talaaq, 65:4)
(9 and 10) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى forgives the sins of the muttaqeen and makes their reward greater:
"That is the Command of Allaah, which He has sent down to you, and whosoever has taqwa of Allaah and keeps his duty to Him, He will remit his sins from him, and will enlarge his reward." (Soorah at-Talaaq, 65:5)
(11) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى only accepts deeds from those who have taqwa; if a deed is not done with taqwa it will not be accepted:
"And recite to them the story of Adam's two sons, in truth, when they both offered a sacrifice [to Allaah], and it was accepted from one of them but was not accepted from the other. The latter said to the former: "I will surely kill you." The former said: "Verily, Allaah accepts only from those who are the mutaqeen." (Soorah al-Maa'idah, 5:27)
(12) Prosperity and success comes to the muttaqeen:
"They ask you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) about the new moons. Say: These are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage. It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, etc.) that you enter the houses from the back but Al-Birr (is the quality of the one) who has taqwa of Allaah. So enter houses through their proper doors, and have taqwa of Allaah that you may be successful." (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:189)
(13) Allaah سبحانه و تعالى gives glad tidings in both this life and the Hereafter to the muttaqeen, and that, in fact, is the greatest of rewards:
"Those who believed and had taqwa of Allaah. For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present world and in the Hereafter. No change can there be in the Words of Allaah. That is indeed the supreme success." (Soorah Yoonus, 10:63-64)
(14) The muttaqeen will be entered into Paradise:
"Verily, for the muttaqeen are Gardens of delight (Paradise) with their Lord." (Soorah al-Qalam, 68:34)
(15) The muttaqeen will be spared the Hell-fire:
"There is not one of you but will pass over it (Hell); this is with your Lord; a Decree which must be accomplished. Then We will save those who had taqwa and leave the wrongdoers within it, on their knees." (Soorah Maryam, 19:71-72)
(16) The muttaqeen will have the special blessing of being seated the seat of sincerity, near to Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, the Omnipotent King:
"Verily, the muttaqeen will be in the midst of Gardens and Rivers (Paradise). In a seat of truth, near the Omnipotent King (Allaah, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honour)." (Soorah al-Qamar, 54:54-55)
(17) The mutaqeen will be given the honour of being above the rest of creation on the Day of Judgement:
"Beautified for those who disbelieve is the life of this world, and they ridicule those who believe. But those who have taqwa are above them on the Day of Resurrection. And Allaah gives provision to whom He wills without account." (Soorah al-Baqarah, 2:212)
(18) All fear of punishment and grief will be removed from the muttaqeen:
"O Children of Adam! If there come to you Messengers from amongst you, reciting to you, My Verses, then whosoever has taqwa and righteousness, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve." (Soorah al-A'raaf, 7:35)
 Imaam Muhammad Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi رحمه الله, Kitaab at-Tasheel li-Uloom at-Tanzeel (Beirut: Daar al-Kitaab al-Arabi, 1983), vol. 1, pp. 35-36. Al-Fairoozabaadi adds a few more to those mentioned above, see Muhammad al-Fairoozabaadi, Basaair Dhawai Tamyeez fi Lataaif al-Kitaab al-Azeez (Beirut: al-Maktabah al-Ilmiyyah, n.d.), vol. 2, pp. 301-303
 Shaykh Jamaaluddeen Zarabozo حفظه الله, Commentary on the Forty Hadeeth of Imam An-Nawawi رحمه الله, vol. 1, pp. 581-584
Imaam Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi رحمه الله states that the key to attaining taqwa revolves around ten matters. If a person takes these matters seriously the result should be a true taqwa in his heart:
1) Fear of punishment in the Hereafter;
2) Fear of punishment in this world;
3) Hope for reward in the Hereafter;
4) Hope for reward in this world;
5) Fearing the reckoning and accounting of one's deeds;
6) Feeling shameful that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى should see one performing deeds that are displeasing to Him;
7) Being thankful and feeling grateful for all of the bounties that Allaah سبحانه و تعالى has bestowed on the person;
8) The true knowledge of reality, of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, His names and attributes, as Allaah سبحانه و تعالى says,
"And of men and ad-Dawaab (moving living creatures, beasts, etc.), and cattle, in like manner of various colours. It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving." (Soorah Faatir, 35:28)
9) Having a great deal of respect for the greatness of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى;
10) Being sincere and truthful in one's love for Allaah سبحانه و تعالى.
[Imaam Ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi رحمه الله, vol. 1, p. 36 as quoted in Shaykh Jamaaluddeen Zarabozo حفظه الله, Commentary on the Forty Hadeeth of Imam An-Nawawi رحمه الله, vol. 1, p. 584]
"I advise you to have taqwa of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى for He does not accept anything else, and He only shows mercy to its people, and He only rewards for its sake. Those who will advise others to have it are many, but those who act by it are few. May Allaah make us and you of the people of taqwa."
[al-Hafidh Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali رحمه الله: Jami' al-'Uloom wal-Hikam, Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom]
"The usage of taqwa in the sense of avoiding the things which are forbidden is often the dominant one, as Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه said when he was asked about taqwa, 'Have you ever taken a path covered in thorns?'
The person answered, 'Yes.'
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه asked, 'How did you behave?'
He replied, 'If I saw a thorn I tried to avoid it, or I stepped over it, or I stopped short before it.'
Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah رضي الله عنه said, 'That is taqwa.'
Ibn al-Mu'tazz رحمه الله used this meaning when he said: 'Leave wrong actions, the small and the great; that is taqwa. Be as if walking on top of thorny ground, taking precautions against what you see. Do not belittle something because it is small. Mountains are composed of pebbles.'"
[Jami' al-'Uloom wal-Hikam, Compendium of Knowledge and Wisdom]
My dear Muslim brother! You should be informed that the predecessors - may Allah be pleased with them - always exhorted one another towards taqwa.
Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه used to say in his khutba: 'I advise you to observe taqwa and to praise Allah سبحانه وتعالى as He deserves to be praised. Mix hope with fear and combine importunity with asking (for help). Allah سبحانه وتعالى has praised Zakariyah رحمه الله and his family:
'So We answered his call, and We bestowed upon him Yahya (John), and cured his wife (to bear a child) for him. Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on Us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before Us.' (Sooratul Anbiyaa', 21:90)
When Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه was about to die, he called Umar رضي الله عنه and advised him first and foremost to fear Allah.
Umar رضي الله عنه wrote to his son: 'I advise you to fear Allah سبحانه وتعالى, for whoever fears Him has protected himself from His punishment. Whoever offers Him a loan, He will repay (reward) him and whoever thanks Him, He will give him more. Make taqwa your goal and the polish of your heart.
Ali رضي الله عنه deputized someone for an expedition and said: 'I advise you to fear Allah سبحانه وتعالى Whom you have to meet and besides Whom you have no destination. He controls the world and the Hereafter.'
Umar ibn Abdul Aziz رحمه الله wrote to a man: 'I advise you to observe fear of Allah سبحانه وتعالى Who accepts nothing except that (taqwa), Who shows mercy only to its adherents and Who rewards only on its account. There are many who preach it, but few who practice it. May Allah سبحانه وتعالى make us all among those who have taqwa.'
When Umar رحمه الله became khalifah he gave a sermon and said: 'I advise you to fear Allah سبحانه وتعالى and be good because He is with those who fear and do good.'
A man was about to leave for Haij and asked him (Umar رحمه الله) to advise him. He said: 'Fear Allah سبحانه وتعالى, for whoever fears Him will never feel lonely.'
Shu'ba رحمه الله says that whenever he used to prepare for a journey, he would ask Hakam if he (Hakam) required anything. He would say: 'I advise you with the words of the Prophet صلي الله عليه وسلم when he advised Muadh رضي الله عنه : 'Fear Allah wherever you are, follow up a mistake with kindness for it will erase it and approach people with good manners.'
A predecessor (from the salaf) wrote to one of his brother: 'I advise you to fear Allah سبحانه وتعالى because it is the best thing you can hide, the most beautiful thing you can reveal and the most valuable thing you can treasure. May Allah help us both to observe it and give us both its reward.'
Another person wrote to his brother: 'I advise you and myself to observe taqwa for it is the best provision for the world and the Hereafter. Make it a means towards every good deed and a deterrent against every evil. Allah سبحانه وتعالى has guaranteed those with taqwa deliverance from their anxieties and provisions from unexpected quarters.
When Ali رضي الله عنه returned from the Battle of Siffin, he passed by a graveyard outside Kufa and said: 'O you who live in houses that create loneliness and in deserted places! You who live in darkening graves! O people of dust and alienation! O people of isolation and loneliness! You are, for us, scouts and we, for you, followers. The houses? Well, they have become inhabited again. The wives? They have remarried. The wealth? It has been distributed. This is the news we have for you. What news do you have for us?
Then Ali رضي الله عنه turned towards his army and said: 'If they were permitted to speak, they would inform you that the best provision is taqwa.' [Nahjul Balagha]
Extract from 'The Provision of the Believers'. Originally published in Arabic as: Zadul Mumineen Al-Taqwa, published by Maktabul Sahaba, Egypt.
Compilation of statements on "taqwa" (fear of God), taken from classical Muslim scholars such as al-Ghazali رحمه الله, Ibn al-Qayyim رحمه الله, and Ibn Rajab رحمه الله.
Translated by Maulana Mohammed Amin Kholwadia, compiled by Abu Maryam Majdi Fathi Al-Sayed.
"The intimate friends on that Day will be hostile unto one another save the God-fearing (al-Muttaqeen)." [Az-Zukhruf 43/67]
This verse tells us that the best of friends will be enemies of each other on the Day of Judgement except those with taqwa. In reality, there are no friends. Often our so-called friendships are our enemies as we do things because of these friendships and relationships, for which we normally have no inclination. We sometimes sin and change our behaviour for the worse because of our friends. A characteristic that is deeply ingrained in human nature is that we want to be liked and loved and as a consequence we feel too weak and embarrassed to say ‘no’ when with friends.
Your only friends are those few friends who have taqwa. This is because they stop you from sinning and help you improve spiritually. So-called friends will never be around in the dunya when you need them, let alone in the akhira. We should be our own person, recognise the truth and follow it even if it is contrary to the behaviour of our friends. Everybody has to go to his or her own grave.
[This short excerpt is based on a majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on 17th September 2003]
This is true that people forgot the teaching of Islam, and forgot that what punishes Allah told us agains't any bad deed. One must recite the Holy Quran on the daily basis because reciting Holy Quran on the daily basis will remind us everything that Allah told us. May Allah help us to be a good Muslim In Shaa Allah.
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Faith in the Hereafter and Fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى
Mufti Muhammad Shafi' رحمه الله wrote,
"The belief in the Hereafter, among Islamic doctrines, is the one whose role in history has been what is nowadays described as revolutionary, for it began with transmuting the morals and manners of the followers of the Holy Qur'aan, and gradually gave them a place of distinction and eminence even in the political history of mankind. The reason is obvious.
Consider the case of those who believe that life in the physical world is the only life, its joys the only joys and its pains the only pains, whose only goal is to seek the pleasures of the senses and the fulfilment of physical or emotional needs, and who stubbornly refuse to believe in the life of the Hereafter, in the Day of Judgment and the assessment of everyone's deeds, and in the requital of the deeds in the other world. When such people find the distinction between truth and falsehood, between the permissible and the forbidden, interfering with the hunt for the gratification of their desires, such differentiations naturally become intolerable to them.
Now, who or what can effectively prevent them from committing crimes? The penal laws made by the state or by any other human authority can never serve either as real deterrents to crime or as agents of moral reform.
Habitual criminals soon grow used to the penalties. A man, milder or gentler of temperament or just timid, may agree to forego the satisfaction of his desires for fear of punishment, but he would do so only to the extent that he is in danger of being caught. But in his privacy where the laws of the state cannot encroach upon his freedom of action, who can force him to renounce his pleasures and accept the yoke of restraints?
It is the belief in the Hereafter and the fear of Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, and that alone, which can bring man's private behaviour in line with his public behaviour, and establish a harmony between the inner state and the outer. For the God-fearing man knows for certain that even in the secrecy of a well-guarded and sealed room and in the darkness of night somebody is watching him, and somebody is writing down the smallest thing he does.
Herein lies the secret of the clean and pure society which arose in the early days of Islam when the mere sight of a Muslim, of his manners and morals, was enough to make non-believers literally fall in love with Islaam. For true Faith in the Hereafter, certitude must follow oral affirmation."
Ma'aariful Qur'aan, Vol. 1, pp. 111-113, commentary on Sooratul Baqarah, 2:4
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