Wednesday, July 24, 2013

God Consciousness or Taqwa (What I learnt from Dr. Farhat Hashmi's Lecture today in Jeddah)

  • Taqwa is God-Consciousness. The feeling of love, hope and fear which keeps a believer mindful of Allah, hopeful of His Mercy and fearful of hell as His punishment for disbelief or sins.
  • Fasting is a means of attaining Taqwa. In fact, the ultimate goal of fasting is attaining this state of God-consciousness. 
  • While a person fasts he leaves eating and drinking although he finds the lonely moments when he can actually eat anything if he is overwhelmed by hunger or drink if he is unable to hold on to the feeling of thirst. But a fasting person is conscious of His Lord. He knows that if he is abstaining from food it is for Allah alone. Nobody can force him to break his fast. He is answerable to Allah alone. 
  • If one wants to enjoy the everlasting joys of Paradise one must be ready to give up some of them in this world. 
  • Taqwa is basically stopping oneself from not just food and drink but from all the acts, thoughts, feelings and inclinations that might lead to the disobedience of Allah. 
  • We find that while fasting we abstain from eating and drinking completely but at the same time many other habits are influenced by it. We adjust our sleeping habits, we control our tongue, we try to do more good deeds and the like.
  • All this happens when we are conscious of what we are doing. We want to earn more and more reward in the month of Fasting. We want to get closer to Allah and get ourselves forgiven.
  • We must consciously stop ourselves from all those things that displease Allah.
  • Taqwa is attained not just by avoiding the forbidden or disliked things but also by controlling the halal things. In the month of Ramadan we stop ourselves from food and drink which is otherwise halal for us. This trains us to control our desires even for those things that are permissible so that we learn to bridle our emotions.
  • Once we realize that we are stopping ourselves from all these things just for Allah we can feel that Taqwa is making place in our hearts.
  • The Purity of Intention is the basic thing here. All that we do is for Allah alone. 
  • We as believers must also avoid harmful, useless and unnecessary things too. Idle talk, time wasters, useless interests and hobbies are all that one must avoid to attain Taqwa.
  • Taqwa is not just for Ramadan. This training must go beyond Ramadan so that we are able to control ourselves the rest of the year. 
  • Ramadan is like an annual training or treatment for us. We fast, we abstain from undesirable things, we do a lot of worship, we read a lot of Quran. This must be so that its impact is felt beyond Ramadan as well.
  • Supplication or dua is a very powerful tool to attain Taqwa. During Ramadan and otherwise do a lot of dua for yourself and your children that Allah bestows the quality of Taqwa on you.
  • Pray a lot for the improvement of behavior
  • The place of Taqwa is the heart. Keep checking your heart for the feelings it keeps. Keep checking your thoughts. Keep your heart free from malice, hate, jealously and misconceptions about others.
  • One can feel the sweetness of Iman in the heart only when the sourness and bitterness of malice is not present there.
  • We must check ourselves for our thoughts, our tongue, our behavior, lying, fighting and use of our senses and limbs.
  • Crying in Allah's remembrance, with the fear of hell fire, while reading Quran and doing dhikr or dua is a very good sign of Taqwa.
  • We must not fast with the intention of losing weight or dieting. This is not the purity of the intention of fasting. We must fast for Allah's pleasure only.
  • Avoiding wastage in food, drink and clothing also shows our eagerness to earn Allah's pleasure; hence Taqwa.
  • We all must see to it that we do not burden our helpers in housework. We must help them and make their work light especially in Ramadan.
  • Doing the voluntary worship is something that takes us closer to Allah. 
  • Doing a lot of dhikr and istighfar (seeking forgiveness), and keeping a check on ourselves when alone are things that help us in achieving Taqwa.   

Chained in freedom

People have always talked about freedom. There is an overall and broad perspective about freedom and then there are individuals who g...