Thursday, June 7, 2012

Taqwa, Piety, Spirituality and manifestation

Taqwa; God consciousness
A tribute to Marylou Ghyst and Petra Weldes

St Francis  - Buddha - Hindu Monk -  Muslim  - Rabbi - Rev. Petra Weldes of Dallas

Taqwa, piety, or spirituality can be expressed both externally and internally. In the picture to the far right is Rev. Petra Weldes, possibly representing you and I, the common people who achieve piety within us, and without having to abandon the day to day life. The expressive form of piety is chosen by a few religious men and women through the costumes and the beards.  Pluralism is about the essence of what you do; finding peace within and with others regardless of the format you chose.  To claim that one is better than the other takes away any degree of piety you may have. Spirituality and arrogance are inversely proportional to each other.

I am dedicating this column to two of my favorite spiritualists, who lead a common life like you and I. Rev. Petra Weldes, who and I had extensive discussions about asking the religious leaders to the  parliament of world’s religions, had that happened, to wear clothes and look like everyone else, and hence dedicated to her.

The person who caused me to write this is Rev. Marylou Ghyst,  I am pleased to acknowledge  Marylou, our Christian Member of the World Muslim Congress, please note our membership is inclusive. We are a part of the large family of faiths and we are all in this together to create and shape a world that God willed; to attain the balance and Harmony between all elements of his creation.

Marylou’s major contribution to this forum is religious inquiry, which we appreciate, encourage and admire
; it is an expression of freewill that God endowed to each one of the human beings. And because of her inquiries, we have been able to independently think and find the resources to support it. It is easy for Muslims to answer Muslims, or Christians to answer Christians, but difficult for anyone to share or understand the nuances and the cultural references. Marylou has succeeded in that endeavor. 

The first act of humanity began with free will, Adam was offered that choice, which he blundered, but God was not unhappy about it, nor did he scream at him or told him to go to hell for disobedience; instead God offered him more choices and we are here today, living with it. Thanks to Adam.

Marylou wrote, “Hi Mike, Just curious about something. The word "Taqwa" meaning God consciousness -- I was under the impression that Muslims believed God is outside the universe and therefore God consciousness is unattainable. Do I have the wrong information? Blessings, Marylou.” in reference to my note, “A good Hindu is a good Muslim, is a good Christian, is a good Jew, is a good Sikh.....when you reach Taqwa, the God consciousness, humans don't appear with religious labels..”

Taqwa means many things to many people. Islam is not a monolithic religion; we do have diversity of opinion, that we have come to accept, but don’t admit.  Indeed, Islam is about freedom but the followers are not completely free, if they were, the differences would have transformed into multiple denominations as in Christianity.

Every Prophet, Messenger and a peace maker had the special knowledge about spirituality, but more importantly they understood human nature, they were great psychologists.  Prophet Muhammad was indeed a master psychologist, he understood human nature, and initiated religious practices in the form of rituals that will help an individual achieve piety and humility, thus peace within and peace with others.

He further wanted the people to understand that the diversity is God given, and to keep the religious arrogance out, (its human to be arrogant), he prophesized that his followers will group themselves into 72/73 tribes (a metaphoric number to denote many) and advised each one to race in doing good deeds; the actions that benefit others without any return.

The concept of Taqwa exists in every religion - the Hindus call it Krishna consciousness, or Brahma, the idea of becoming a part of God, or lost in Godliness or God like, when you do not have conflicts with any one, all is yours and you belong to all. There is no barrier between you and the creation. Indeed, that is the un-expressed goal of every religion.

Jesus said, follow me, and Allah in Quraan said to submit to his will and Krishna says surrender to me - all are asking to become a part of the system to keep it functioning cohesively and out of free will.

Since my focus of this article is Taqwa, it is important to note, rather critical, that Islam is about behavior and not your costume or external manifestation. 

Further on piety:

One of the
Islamic dictionaries writes;

“Taqwa is a concept in Islam that is interpreted by some Islamic Scholars as God consciousness. It has many understandings and interpretations. Taqwa may mean piousness, fear of Allah, love for Allah, and self restraint.

Taqwa allows a person to be constantly aware of both God's presence and attributes and a reminder of their relationship and responsibility to God as His creation and servant. The scholars explain that the way to taqwa is through obedience of God, avoiding disobedience, and striving to stay away from doubtful matters. “

According to Tafsir ibn Kathir, the root meaning of taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes. It was reported that Umar bin Khattab asked Ubay ibn Kaab about Taqwa. Ubay said, "Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it?" Umar said, "Yes." Ubay asked, "What did you do then?" to which Umar replied, "I rolled up my sleeves and struggled." Ubay said, "That is taqwa, to protect oneself from sin through life’s dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin."
Ibn Abbas said about verse 2:5 in the Quran, "guidance for the Muttaqin", that it means, "They are the believers who avoid shirk with Allah (swt) and who work in His obedience." He also said that Al-Muttaqin means, "Those who fear Allah's (swt) Punishment, which would result if they abandoned the true guidance that they recognize and know. They also hope in Allah's (swt) Mercy by believing in what He revealed

“And We have sent down to you the Book as an explanation of everything, a guidance, a mercy and glad-tidings for those who submitted themselves to Islam.” [TMQ 16:89]

So let us understand the true meaning of Taqwa. In contrast to the distorted picture that people have today, the Qur’an and Sunnah defines the idea of taqwa as protecting oneself from the Hellfire by following the orders of Allah (swt) by doing what He (swt) has commanded and avoiding what He (swt) has forbidden. Many ayat in the Qur’an point to this:

“And unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. And, verily, We have recommended to the people of the Scripture before you, and to you (O Muslims) that you (all) fear Allah, and keep your duty to Him, But if you disbelieve, then unto Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth, and Allah is Ever Rich, Worthy of all praise.” [TMQ An-Nisa’ 4: 131]

Taqwa comes from the word 'waqiya', which means to protect. It is protection from the Anger of Allah (swt) and His (swt) punishment. This is why Taqwa is used to describe the performing of actions, which pleases Allah (swt) and abstaining from all actions that displeases Him (swt).

Taqwa in essence means god consciousness, being conscious of Allah (swt) in all our actions and affairs.

Dr. Ibrahim Syed of Islamic Research Foundation international, Inc., in Louisville writes, “It is hard to translate Taqwa into the English language. To me Taqwa is achieving Nobility, humility, generosity, forgiveness, service to mankind, animals and plants, compassion, mercy, etc.etc.”

I wrote a note about Taqwa during Ramadan. “True fasting is self-purification; and from this comes a rich inner life that brings about values such as justice, generosity, patience, kindness, forgiveness, mercy and empathy -- values that are indispensable for the success of the community.” And the values that brings closer to the godliness or God consciousness:

Mike Ghouse is committed to nurturing the pluralistic values embedded in Islam and invites discussions with an open mind. Together, we can learn to be a productive citizen to our family, community, nation and the world - thus serving God’s purpose of peace; Islam the verb. Please visit and if you have the time, connect with 5 other websites and 30 blogs on a variety of topics from Pluralism, Islam, India, Israel, Peace, Justice, conflicts etc.
# # # 

No comments:

Post a Comment


Email to:

Voice of Moderate Muslims

Voice of Moderate Muslims
Voice of Moderate Muslims

Moderate Islam Speaker

Moderate Islam Speaker
Moderate Islam Speaker

quraan burning

Planned Muslim Response to Qur'an Burning by Pastor Jones on September 11 in Mulberry, Florida

August 19, 2013| Dallas, Texas

Mike Ghouse
Text/Talk: (214) 325-1916

Mirza A Beg
(205) 454-8797


We as Muslims plan to respond to pastor Terry Jones' planned burning of 3000 copies of Quran on September 11, 2013 in positive terms.

Our response - we will reclaim the standard of behavior practiced by the Prophet concerning “scurrilous and hostile criticism of the Qur’an” (Muhammad Asad Translation Note 31, verse 41:34). It was "To overcome evil with good is good, and to resist evil by evil is evil." It is also strongly enjoined in the Qur’an in the same verse 41:34, “Good and evil deeds are not equal. Repel evil with what is better; then you will see that one who was once your enemy has become your dearest friend.”

God willing Muslims will follow the divine guidance and pray for the restoration of Goodwill, and on that day many Muslim organizations will go on a “blood drive” to save lives and serve humanity with kindness.

We invite fellow Americans of all faiths, races, and ethnicities to join us to rededicate the pledge, “One nation under God”, and to build a cohesive America where no American has to live in apprehension, discomfort or fear of fellow Americans. This event is a substitute for our 10th Annual Unity Day Celebration ( held in Dallas, but now it will be at Mulberry, Florida.

Unwittingly Pastor Jones has done us a favor by invigorating us by his decision to burn nearly 3000 copies Quran on September 11, 2013. Obviously he is not satisfied by the notoriety he garnered by burning one Qur'an last year.

As Muslims and citizens we honor the free speech guaranteed in our constitution. We have no intentions to criticize, condemn or oppose Pastor Terry Jones' freedom of expression. Instead, we will be donating blood and praying for goodness to permeate in our society.

We plan to follow Jesus Christ (pbuh), a revered prophet in Islam as well as Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – that of mitigating the conflicts and nurturing good will for the common good of the society.

We hope, this event and the message will remind Muslims elsewhere in the world as well, that violence is not the way. Muslims, who react violently to senseless provocation, should realize that, violence causes more violence, and besmirches the name of the religion that we hold so dear. We believe that Prophet Muhammad was a mercy to the mankind, and we ought to practice what we believe and preach. We must not insult Islam by the negative reactions of a few.

We can only hope it will bring about a change in the attitude of the followers of Pastor Jones, and in the behavior of those Muslims who reacted violently the last time Pastor sought notoriety – We hope this small step towards a bridge to peaceful coexistence would propel us towards building a cohesive society.

Like most Americans a majority of Muslims quietly go about their own business, but it is time to speak up and take positive action instead of negative reaction. May this message of peace and goodwill reverberate and reach many shores.

Lastly, we appreciate the Citizens of Mulberry, Florida, Honorable Mayor George Hatch, City Commissioners, police and Fire Chiefs for handing this situation very well. This will add a ‘feather of peace’ in the City’s reputation. We hope Mulberry will be a catalyst in showing the way in handling conflict with dignity and peace.

We thank the Media for giving value to the work towards peace rather than conflict.


Thank you.


The people in Dallas are making an effort to understand and clean their own hearts first, when we are free from bias, it would be easy to share that with others. Islam teaches us in so many ways to "respect the otherness of others" and it is time we find simple practical ways of doing it.