The Concept of Piety (مفهوم التقوى)
Slaves of Allaah! Maintain piety and be watchful of Allaah in secret and in open, because Allaah has commanded you to be pious and watchful of Him in your deeds and sayings. In return, He promised to guide you to perform righteous deeds, forgive your sins in this life, and to win the greatest success and bliss in the Hereafter. Allaah says which means, “O you who have believed! Be pious and say the truth. He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allaah and His Messenger, he has indeed achieved a great achievement” (Al-Ahzaab: 70-71).
In these great verses, Allaah commands His salves to maintain piety in all their affairs, to be pious in their words and actions by adhering to His commandments, and performing them the way He has ordered them to be performed, and to refrain from all which He prohibited from words and deeds.
All good related to the believer’s religion and that of this life, happens as an outcome of fulfilling piety. In addition to this is the protection from evil in the affairs of this life and the Hereafter. Therefore, the one who maintains piety and truthfulness in what he says, Allaah will enable him to say that which is good and truthful, and will guide him to the straight path. He who is pious and uses his tongue to say that which is kind and good, like reciting the Qur’aan, remembering Allaah, uttering repentance and forgiveness and enjoining good, and also refrains from that which Allaah has prohibited by abstaining from talking about people and using foul language. The one who does this, Allaah will facilitate for him the path of ease, and will keep him away from the path of evil, and will grant him Paradise, and keep him safe in this life and the Hereafter. Allaah says which means, “… and he who (is pious and) fears Allaah, He will make his matter easy for him” (At-Talaaq: 4).
Slaves of Allaah! Piety is mandatory upon the slave in all his affairs, in secret and in open, in matters related to religion and matters related to his worldly affairs; in his dealing with his Lord, his family, relatives and neighbors; in his dealings of trade, his appointments, promises, his job and things which he is entrusted with. He fulfils the rights of Allaah and the rights of the slaves of Allaah. He is sincere with people, truthful with them and honest in his dealings; he should refrain from cheating, deception, trickery, evilness and lying; he should abstain from false oaths and false testimony. If this is not the way a believer behaves, then where is piety and where is true belief? Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam said, “A believer is one whom people trust with their wealth and souls; a Muslim is one who does not harm people by his tongue or his hands”.(Ahmad &Tirmithi)
How can one be pious while he neglects the commandments of Allaah, transgresses His prohibitions and sets his tongue free to attack Muslims? How can one be pious while he is known as a liar, commits all types of sins, eats up people’s wealth unjustly, deals with Ribaa, cheats and deceives people and give less in measure? How can one be pious while he breaches the trust, whether it is in the form of a job or wealth he is entrusted with or a position of authority he holds?
Many people today are dishonest. If a right is due to others, they do not fulfill it, delay it, try to avoid it, and, in some cases, he does not give people their rights unless he deducts a portion from it, forcefully taking some of that right or some money, before returning the right to the actual owner. If he is assigned a job to perform, he does not perform it in the proper manner.
Isn’t this deception? Isn’t this ill-gotten money? Isn’t this oppressing the slaves of Allaah? Isn’t this an action far from piety? Isn’t this oppression, which will cause him darkness on the Day of Resurrection?
Oppression results in ruining the lives of oppressors and changes their circumstances from prosperity to adversity and from ease to hardship, or it results in punishment which they never expected. Allaah says which means, “For the wrong-doing of the Jews, We made unlawful to them certain good foods which has been lawful to them, and for their hindering many from Allaah’s Way. And their taking of Ribaa though they were forbidden from taking it, and their consuming of men’s substance wrongfully. And We prepared for the disbelievers among them painful torment” (An-Nisaa’: 160).
Eating up people’s wealth unjustly and oppressing them is the nature of ill-hearted and evil people who have weak faith. How will the one, who unjustly takes over other people’s rights, answer when he would be asked on the Day of Resurrection to return people’s rights to them? Let such people keep this serious situation in mind when they stand before the Lord of all creations. Let them remember the saying of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam when said to his companions as narrated by Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, “Do you know who is the broke person among my nation?” The companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, said, ‘He is the one who has no money’. He sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Indeed, it is he who will come on the Day of Resurrection having performed prayers, fasting and Zakaah, but had cursed this person and slandered that one, unjustly eaten up another one’s wealth, killed another and hit another. Then each of them will be given from the reward of his good deeds, until his rewards are finished, then portions of their sins will taken from them and added to his and accumulate, until he is thrown in Hellfire”. (Muslim)
O Muslims! Be pious and fear Allaah and beware of His wrath and punishment, Allaah says which means, “Such is the Seizure of your Lord when He seizes the towns while they are doing wrong. Indeed, His Seizure is painful and severe. Indeed, in that is a sure lesson for those who fear the torment of the Hereafter. That is a day wherein mankind will be gathered together, and that is a day when all will be present” (Hood: 102-103).
Slaves of Allaah! Fear Allaah and be watchful of Him in secret and open, and beware of sins and disobedience. Refrain from oppressing the slaves of Allaah, do not be arrogant, and abstain from retribution, evil and corruption. Do not harm others. Treat others justly and kindly, as you would like them to treat you, because the outcome coincides with the type of deed, Allaah says which means, “Truly, Allaah is with those who are pious (and fear Him) and those who are good doers” (An-Nahl: 128).
Hasten to repentance and ask forgiveness from Allaah before (as Allaah says which means), “Lest a person should say: Alas, my grief that I was undutiful to Allaah, and I was (Islam and its followers)” (Az-Zumar: 56).
Abu Hurayrah, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Whosoever has done injustice to anyone regarding their wealth or honor, let him settle it with them today, before the day comes when there will be no benefit from silver or gold; if he has good deeds, then a portion equal to his oppression will be taken from his record of good deeds and given to them (the oppressed) and if he had no good deeds, a portion equal to his oppression will be taken from their record of sins and be placed in their records”. (Bukhaari)