Indeed all praise is due to Allah; we praise Him and seek His help. Whoever Allah guides, none can mislead, but he whom He leads astray you will never find for him a protecting guide. I bear witness that none is worthy of worship except Allah, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
I advise you to fear Allah secretly and publicly, for indeed the fear of Allah is the most honorable thing that can make you happy and the best that you can preserve and provide. To this end Allah says: “But the best provision is piety and righteousness.” [al-Baqarah: 197].
O believing servants of Allah! Piety is in reality obeying Allah Almighty with faith and hoping for reward, following His instructions and staying away from His prohibitions. O Believing servants of Allah! A pious person is the one who does what Allah commanded him to do with faith, hoping for reward and believing in His promise and also leaving what He prohibited him to do with faith and fearing His punishment. Therefore piety is abiding by what Allah has commanded, and leaving what He has prohibited while hoping for His reward and fearing His punishment. Piety is not an empty or solid feeling which does not have any effect or result, but it is knowing that Allah is watching you in private and in public. ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “Piety is not fasting during the day, standing in prayer during the night or combining the two, but piety is leaving what Allah prohibited and doing what Allah commanded.”
Piety is made up of qualities, characteristics and morals which Allah Almighty made as evidence and signs which are to be followed. These combine fundamentals of belief, excellent habits, good deeds and noble character. Some of these qualities can be found in Allah’s saying: “Alif-Lâm-Mîm. This is the Book (the Quran), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allah much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained.” [al-Baqarah: 1-2]. After mentioning about the pious and righteous, Allah Almighty describes them saying: “Who believe In the unseen and perform prayer, and spend out of what we have provided for them [i.e. give alms , spend on themselves, their parents, their children, their wives, etc., and also give charity to the poor and also In Allah’s Cause - Jihad, etc.]. And who believe in (the Quran and the Sunnah) which has been sent down (revealed) to you (Muhammad) and in [the Torah and the Gospel, etc.] which were sent down before you and they believe with certainty In the Hereafter. (Resurrection, Recompense of their good and bad deeds, Paradise and Hell, etc.).” [al-Baqarah: 3-4].
Some of the qualities of the pious and righteous are mentioned by Allah in the verse: “It is not Al-Birr (piety, righteousness, and each and every act of obedience to Allah, 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 Allah, 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 the poor, and to the wayfarer, and to those who ask, and to set slaves free, performs prayer, and gives alms, and who fulfill their covenant when they make it, and who are the patient ones 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 the pious.” [al-Baqara: 177].
One of the most notable qualities of the pious is: sincerely worshipping Allah Almighty alone without associating any partners with Him. To this end, Allah the Exalted says: “And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and Worship none but Him alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to him), and perform prayer and give alms: and that is the Right religion.” [al-Bayyinah: 5]. While describing His worshippers and friends, Allah Almighty said: “And those who invoke not any other God along with Allah.” [al-Furqan: 68]. Therefore their love, fear, hope and worship is all for Allah alone Who has no partner.
O believing servants of Allah!
One of the qualities of the pious and righteous ones is that when a thought of evil from Satan comes to them and fail to obey Allah and violate His prohibitions, they do but remember (or mention) Him, and lo! They realize. They do not persist on wrong things nor proceed with temptation but if they make a mistake they repent and turn to their Lord. In this regard Allah says: “Verily, those who are pious, when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they Remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright).” [al-A’raf: 201].
While giving their description in another verse, Allah Almighty says: “ And those who, when they have committed Fahishah (illegal sexual intercourse etc.) or wronged themselves with evil, they remember Allah and ask forgiveness for their sins; - and none can forgive sins but Allah - and do not persist In what (wrong) they have done, while they know.” [Ali 'Imran: 135].
Another quality of the pious and righteous people is to honor the symbols of Allah. That is: honoring the limits of Allah and His laws. To this end Allah says: “And whosoever honors the Symbols of Allah, then it is truly from the piety of the heart.” [al-Hajj: 32].
Therefore pious people honor Allah’s obedience and His commandments. This will make them obey Him and follow His laws. They also honor His prohibitions which makes them avoid disobeying Him and going against His commandments.
Verily another quality of the pious and righteous people is pardoning the wrongdoers, turning away from the ignorant and forgiving those who insult them. Regarding this Allah says: And to forego is nearer to piety and righteousness.” [al-Baqarah: 137]. In another verse, Allah Almighty says: “And if they pass by some evil play or evil talk, they pass by it with dignity.” [al-Furqan: 72]. In another verse, He says: “and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.” [al-Furqan: 63].
Indeed, another quality of the pious and righteous people is: justice in every matter. They are just with their speech, actions, families, relatives, those who are not relatives, friends, enemies, Muslims and disbelievers. Regarding this, Allah says: “And let not enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.” [al-Maaidah: 8].
Verily another quality of the pious and righteous people is: sincerity in speech and action, for indeed sincerity leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. To this end Allah says: “Oyou who believe! Be afraid of Allah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds).” [al-Taubah: 119].
And from their qualities is that they leave what is doubtful and ambiguous; that is to say: that which is not clear whether it is lawful or prohibited. Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “A servant will not attain true piety until he leaves that which wavers in the soul.” Therefore a servant cannot be among the pious and righteous until he leaves what does not concern him while being cautious of what concerns him.
The pious and righteous abstain from doubtful things because whoever avoids doubtful matters clears himself in regard to his religion and his honour. That is to say: his religion and honour remain blameless, and this will make him leave sin whether privately or publicly. Bukhari and Muslim report that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said: “So whoever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal.”
O believing servants of Allah!
These are some of the qualities of pious and righteous people who neither fear nor grieve. Thus seek pardon from Allah Who has no partner, Who described their condition and instructed that their actions should be followed.
All praise is due to Allah, the One who placed piety in the hearts of believers, and made it a way of salvation for people from the earlier and later generations.
O believers! If the fear of Allah is established in the heart and seen in words and actions, then it yields best results and it is followed by good effects in this world and in the hereafter. O servants of Allah! Some of the benefits of piety are: it is a cause for easiness in difficult situations. To this end Allah says: “And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to him, He will make his matter easy for him.” [al-Talaq: 4].
Piety is a cause for relieving sorrow, finding way outs and solutions during times of adversity. It is also a reason for opening up of ways of earning sustenance. Regarding this, Allah say: “And whosoever fears Allah 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.” [al-Talaq: 2-3].
Indeed one of the benefits of piety is that Allah, The Compassionate; The Merciful will be with you, making you victorious, protecting you and establishing you firmly on earth. In this regard, Allah says: “Truly, Allah is with those who fear Him (keep their duty unto Him), and those who are good doers.” [al-Nahl: 128].
Another benefit of piety is that it is a cause for safety and salvation from the machinations of the wicked and the plots of the disbelievers. Regarding this Allah says: “If a good befalls you, it grieves them, but if some evil overtakes you, they rejoice at it. But if you remain patient and become pious), not the least harm will their cunning do to you. Surely, Allah surrounds all that they do.” [003. Ali 'Imran: 120].
Another benefit of piety is that it gives light to a believing servant such that he will be able to distinguish truth from falsehood, for it is indeed a criterion which illuminates the way. To this end, Allah says: “O you who believe! If you obey and fear Allah, He will grant you a criterion [(to judge between Right and wrong), or (making a way for you to get out from every difficulty)].” [al-Anfaal: 29].
Fear Allah Almighty, for indeed fearing Allah is a cause for maximizing and multiplying rewards, expiation of sins and lifting up of punishment. To this end, Allah says: “O you who believe [in Moses i.e. Jews and Jesus i.e. Christians]! Fear Allah, and believe too in his Messenger (Muhammad peace be on him), He will give you a double portion of His Mercy, and He will give you a light by which you shall walk (straight), and He will forgive you. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” [al-Hadid: 28]. In another verse He says: “And whosoever fears Allah and keeps his duty to him, He will remit his sins from him, and will enlarge his reward.” [al-Talaq: 5].
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