Whenever any companion of the Prophet left to Medina for jihad, for business, as a delegation for Daw’ah or as a governor of a place, the Prophet made it a point to remind him to observe taqwa(God consciousness). This advice was given to Abu dhar Ghifari and also to Muad bin Jabal.
When the sahaba (companions of the Prophet) were in Medina, they were enveloped in an Islamic environment. The latter comes from the presence of good people around you who observe the taqwa of Allah. But when a person goes a little away from this environment, he is under the threat of being exploited or tempted by shaitan. So, whenever a sahaba left Medina, he was cautioned to observe taqwa.
Ubay Bin Ka’ab explained to Umar bin al khattab:
Taqwa means to be careful of your deen while you pass by things that can harm your deen. You have to pass by the temptations the way you pass by a thorny valley while protecting yourself and your clothes.2
Ali explained Taqwa’s presence when one possesses the following:
Fear of Allah in his heart that stops one from sinsRegularity and punctuality in good actions that are commanded by Allah Preparing for one’s deathBeing satisfied with what Allah has given him.
Ibn Masood said:
Taqwa is the best blessing a person can have from Allah.
He also said, “Taqwa is essential for a person to gain Hikmah (wisdom).”
A sahaba came to the Prophet and requested for some food material for his journey which he was undertaking. The Prophet sent someone to each of his wives to get something for this man who did not have any provision for his journey. The man came back and informed that none of the Prophet’s wives had anything to give, not even a piece of date. So he asked his companions who were present there. But even they did not have any thing.
So the Prophet looked up at the sahaba and said: “I don’t have anything to give to you for your journey but I will pray for you.” And he prayed that Allah bestow taqwa upon his companion. The man was happy and he did not mind traveling without any provision since the Prophet had prayed for taqwa. He knew that if he had taqwa, it means that Allah will provide him with provision from places he could not even imagine as is mentioned in surah Talaq.
So, he requested the Prophet to pray more for him. The Prophet obliged and prayed: “May Allah forgive all your past and future sins.” The man was glad, so he requested the Prophet to pray for him again and this time, the Prophet prayed: “Go wherever you want to go. Allah will open up the gates of blessings of this world and hereafter.” The man left for his journey as he knew the value of taqwa.
If you are in need of provision, then observe taqwa. Taqwa does not only mean doing good deeds in large amount but it also includes stopping yourself from doing haram things.4 We all know the famous verse in the Quran where Allah tells us that He prescribed fasting for us so we may attain taqwa. But most of us fail to achieve this goal. Let’s see the reason for this.
Spiritual Laziness in Ramadan
Some people turn their daily routine completely upside down in Ramadan. They remain asleep during the day like as if they are in hibernation mode. Well, Ramadan is not a month of hibernation (to remain away from work the whole day and think that you are busy in worshiping Allah, even though you are not). Sadly, during Ramadan, sleeping becomes excessive for many.
If you analyze carefully, most of us only keep aside an extra hour for Taraweeh (extra units of prayer in Ramadan at night) because most of the Taraweehs last for just one hour and a half. Then, we recite Qur’an for approximately one hour per juzz. So, we’ve only indulged in two hours of extra worship!
Sadly, many of us take up extra hours to get refreshed. However, Qur’anic recitation is meant to freshen us up and make us lively and enthusiastic to do more good deeds, but many of us take it as a tiring activity. This is spiritual lethargy. That is the reason why, in spite of finishing the Qur’an multiple times, many of us still remain spiritually dull. We do not get motivated to do good deeds that the Qur’an encourages us to do nor are we able to overpower temptations and sins that the Qur’an prohibits us.
Spiritual laziness is more harmful than intelligent laziness.2 A ‘mentally lazy’ person may be very good in Maths and other subjects but he fails to use his knowledge in his day-to-day life. Let me help you with a simple example. You have scored highest grades in Math but when you go to your grocer to buy stuff, do you match the bill with the ingredients that you have bought and do you really make it a point to check the amount? Many of us do not. Because of mental laziness, many of us lose a lot of money and opportunities in life.
Similarly, if a person is spiritually lazy, he follows Islam just ritually.1 He prays with others in the first row but does not realize the value of praying first row in congregation. He is just there in the front row because the mosque was empty. He doesn’t feel spiritually happy and think, “Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), today I will get a lot of reward”. He knows the virtues of miswak (brushing of teeth) but avoids it due to spiritual laziness. He is not impressed by the virtues of brushing along with wudhu (ablution).
Many of us ignore simple sunnahs which we can perform easily because we are not motivated enough. If such is the case, then know that something is wrong with your Imaan (faith). It is a sign of weak faithwhere your heart does not feel the desire to do recommended things and it unwillingly drags itself to do compulsory acts of worship.
Ramadan and Spiritual Laziness
This is where Ramadan begins to train you. Ramadan is a means for you to get out of your spiritual laziness. So in Ramadan, increase your levels by taqwa by striving to raise your spiritual index higher. While you eat less and drink less, cut down on your sleep too.
That is how we increase our stamina: Moderate food, drink and sleep. An excess of any of these will lead to an imbalance. So, make sure your food and sleep is in moderation so that you can maximize yourproductivity levels.
Your reward for doing any good deed is multiplied manifold, so do not let the month of Ramadan go by without you having exerted yourself. You can increase your taqwa levels by implementing the following examples:
Strive to increase your night prayers.Recite more Qur’an at night and try to read the tafseer of the same.Reflect upon the verses and strive to get closer to Allah.Don’t waste time in sleeping excessively during the day. Rather, make use of your time in indulging in dhikr or helping someone out by giving charity.Take this opportunity to help your family members in getting closer to learning the Book of AllahDo good deeds together as a family to earn more rewards.Pick out one weak aspect in yourself and make sure you work on eliminating it by the time Ramadan finishes.
By doing so, when Laylatul Qadr (The Night of Decree) arrives, you will be ready for worshiping the entire night with sincerity and khushoo. May Allah help us do acts of worship in Ramadan that pleases Him and help us get closer to Him. Ameen.
Culled for use from Islamiconlineuniversity