Taqwa in Ramadan

Is taqwa an important goal of Ramadan?

Allah says in the Qur'an,

“O you who believe fasting has been prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you in order that you gain consciousness of Allah.”[1]

Taqwa, consciousness of Allah, should be amongst the primary goals for a great Ramadan. We may be having consciousness of Allah but it may not be very strong so we are involved in a lot of misdoings, wrong doings, acts of disobedience etc.

Allah has actually said that that is the ultimate goal of Ramadan. But, how? What can we do to achieve that? We have to look at the steps but be clear on that as a goal, the goal, the most important goal, increasing our consciousness of Allah and this is something we all know we are all aware of it, but because we haven’t tackled it systematically, we haven’t set it as a particular goal and then worked out what is going to get us to that goal, how are we going to achieve that goal, it remains something theoretical, taqwa yes, it’s a good thing we all should have taqwa those who are going to paradise are those who have taqwa, Allah speaks about the muttaqeen so many verses in the Qur'an. So we need to put that in focus.

We look at the hows as we made the Qur'an as a goal, we did talk about the hows and that this would vary from person to person in the case of taqwa. This is a more standard area, you could say something we should all share. So the steps to achieving taqwa would be more common.

By adhering to Allah’s commandments in all of the various elements of Islamic practice during Ramadan, whether it is directly related to the practice of fasting itself or to other things that are not particular to that month of fasting and this basically encompasses much of the things that people were saying about being in the masjid for all of the prayers about being with the imam for the first Jama'ah all of the things that we spoke about as worthy goals where we know throughout the year we are lax, we are dragging our feet. How many of us, when the adhaan goes we stop doing whatever we are doing, go and make wudhu and go to the masjid? Most of us wait until the iqamah and then we rush. Meaning we most likely will miss the first rakah, maybe the second maybe only catch the third and of course when you are working and you decide now I’m going to the masjid, you get up, you want to go to the masjid then you find,“oh, I want to go to the bathroom first.”So you end up having to go to the bathroom, had you decided at the time of the adhaan you could have gone to the bathroom, finished off your business, made your wudhu and gone to the masjid in a calm ways the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) had said,

“don’t hasten to the mosque, walk to the mosque in a deliberate and calm fashion” [2]

not like most of us, dashing to catch that rakah before the imam says “sami' allahu liman hamidah,” and over hundred yards, hundred meters, race trying to catch the rakah, no, that’s because of the fact that we haven’t been establishing the salaah in the best way.

So that’s one of the things with regards to the salaah and what comes with that of course is wudhu, because if we have just heard the iqamah and we have to go to the masjid, rush to the masjid then it means wudhu is sacrificed, wudhu is just splashing water all over the place, no reflection, wudhu which is supposed to be purifying us spiritually where as the Prophet (ﷺ) had said,

“our sins drop from your limbs with the drops of water.”[3]

This is not the wudhu that most of us make. So if you’re making wudhu and you know the time is limited it is better for you to wash the limb once rather than three times, better to have gone once same space of time it will take to do that, you could have gone once and washed it properly and it is from the sunnah. Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) washed each limb once, he (ﷺ) washed them twice and he (ﷺ) washed them thrice. So if we find our situation such that time is limited, do it once and do it properly, do it with some reflection, so that we can make our dua' when we finish, we renew our shahadah, we ask Allah to make us amongst the repentant and those who truly purify themselves, we make the dua'. We are not in that much of a rush. We are able to do it in a more deliberate fashion because this is where the reward lies. Yes, the most important is that we, what we do, is in accordance with the sunnah and the sunnah is a living sunnah. Why the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) did it once, did it twice and did it thrice was to let us know that we have these options. So we don’t become so ritualistically bound in wudhu thinking that it has to be three time that even when we don’t have time we end up rushing three times and we lose the spirit of the wudhu so this is living Islam this is where Islam remains as the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) left it, a living religion, this is where we are able to move with the changes and the options which the sunnah has given us, very important. So whether it is the salaah and those goals which our brother mentioned or fasting instead of feasting, this is part of it too, it's going to help to bring the taqwa because if we are feasting then how do we achieve taqwa? The goal of fasting, in terms of physical, psychological is lost. So all of the various acts and the Umrah again all of that falls into trying to adhere to the divine commandments in that period as fully as we possibly can and that includes not only the obligatory, the fardh, but the sunnah and there is the Umrah in Ramadan etc.

We said the primary goal for Ramadan was to develop taqwa. Allah defined that as the main goal of fasting, taqwa being a consciousness of Allah, that one has a sense of Allah being aware of whatever we do, seeing whatever mistakes, whatever actions we make and that knowledge would then restrain us from doing certain things which are displeasing to Him. Furthermore we said because of the fact that Allah chose this month of fasting because of the revelation of Qur'an in this month, that its revelation honored the month, made the month special so Allah chose it for fasting and gave special rewards from it, this from His mercy, that He gives us an opportunity to earn additional reward in some months of the year, in some days of the week, some hours of the day, during journey, different occasions, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) has identified that Allah gives a special rewards at those times. So the Qur'an being focused on by Allah (سبحانهُ وتعالى) meant that it deserves our focus and we said that we should have some clear goals with regards to the Qur'an during Ramadan goals which are focused on understanding, reflecting and applying the Qur'an and memorizing, protecting it, guarding it in our hearts.

The basis of taqwa is obedience to Allah’s commands in the various aspects of our lives. It requires of course knowledge to know what Allah’s commands are, whether it is form the Qur'an or the Sunnah as understood by the Sahabah. Having that knowledge then it's about implementing that knowledge in our lives where everything that has been commanded of us we do it in accordance with the way of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the explanations given by his (ﷺ) companions who best understood what he (ﷺ) meant and what he (ﷺ) said and what he (ﷺ) did.

References:

[1] [Qur’an 2:183]

[2] [Sahih al-Bukhari 908]

[3] [Sahih Muslim 244]

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