Taqwa is one of the most elevated stations. To have true taqwa we need to be aware of Allah at all times.
When we are conscious of Allah seeing us at all times we become conscious and utterly careful with our thoughts and our actions.
From the field of Abstinence the field of Piety is born. Allah Most High says, “…behold, the one who is pious and patient (never will Allah suffer to be lost of those who do right.) 12:90
The pious are of three groups: lesser, midway, and superior.
The first group are those who do not let their faith and understanding of divine unity be tainted by polytheism, who do not blemish their sincerity with hypocrisy, and do not pollute their obedience by heretical innovation (bid’at).
All these levels of the pious, the people of taqwa, are very high.
Polytheism in this case means forgetting at any moment that the One Reality is behind and before all phenomena, when our mind believes in the apparent independence of things.
Hypocrisy is when our actions and our words are different from what we feel or know or think inside. Hypocrisy is when we pretend to be something that we are not in order to gain something, whether of material nature or prestige and acceptance. It comes from a misunderstanding of Allah the All Compassionate Who loves our naked heart as it is without coercion – it only needs unveiling.
It is not hypocrisy when we shield our self or others from harm thru prevarication.
Innovation, Bidat, is a large and very touchy subject. The word is most often used to attack Sufism or anything that narrow minds do not understand. Of course this is a completely false use of the term. We have been cautioned by the Prophet, pbuh, about innovation coming after him, but the reputable and sincere scholars have interpreted this as having two meanings, making the difference between an innovation (bid’at) that is beneficial and an innovation that is harmful and oppressive to people. So those who introduce beneficial bid’at will receive the reward for that and those who introduce a harmful innovation will reap the burden of that. The Quran mentions the Christian innovation of monasticism but does not condemn it. Fault is only found with those who did not live up to its principles once it was introduced.
The beloved of Allah said, may he be showered in Divine love and peace, “I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah and to the way of the rightly-guided successors, al-khilafa’ al-rashidun, who come after me (this also includes the Sufi Pirs and great Shaykhs). Hold fast to it and bite onto it with your teeth and beware of newly-invented matters.”
‘Beware’ means to ‘be aware’, be conscious of whether it is from the Truth, or not.
According to a scholar, “Examples of forbidden innovations include unlawful taxes, giving judgeships to those unqualified to hold them, and beliefs and practices that explicitly contravene the known principles of the Qur’an and Sunna.”
The middle group are those who do not pollute their service with ostentation, nor pollute their spiritual state with affectation, nor taint their sustenance by consumption of questionable food.
This is fairly clear.
The superior group are those who do not ruin blessings they receive with complaints, do not make excuses for their errors, and never rest from being thankful for the blessings they receive from Allah.
These qualities are extremely important, even though not so flashy.
‘Not ruining blessings with complaints’…the best way to do this is to just stop complaining. Of course one can complain to Allah… but not about Allah, or Allah’s gifts.
‘Those who do not make excuses for their errors’ are those humble ones who are willing to take blame, those who do not need to prove themselves in front of others, those who stand naked before Allah, those who know that Allah is the One Who knows the hearts and the One Who rewards the deeds, and that Allah is the One Who is seeing out of the eyes of others.
May we ‘never rest from being thankful for the blessings we receive from Allah.’
Thank You Forever Ya Hu
Further meditation on the Field of Taqwa and the poison of hypocrisy.
Hypocrisy and Sincerity are opposites.
As long as we associate with hypocrisy we will not attain to union with Truth.
Why is hypocrisy so toxic to the life of the spirit?
Because it hides the truth while assuming and even pretending that it is the truth. Therefore it is the greatest roadblock.
We cannot attain Taqwa before confronting hypocrisy in our self. For this to happen we need to sincerely examine ourselves. This is why Shayhk Ansari has placed Self-Examination, Muhasaba, among the early Makams.
Sincere self-looking is the medicine.
We must ask our self – is my inner state and outer expression a façade of my mind and personality, or is it my true self?
Am I truly expressing the depth of my being or am I acting out of convention and habits?
Am I standing by my deepest truth or am I hiding?
Who is this being that I am? What do I truly believe with my very life? What would be my belief if this were the last moment of my life? Am I standing on this ground? Am I living my life each day, in each moment, according to my deepest intentions?
Am I living in accord with my deepest intentions and my true self when I am with others?
When we are with another being we should be aware of what we desire from that one. What are we offering and what are we expecting from them? Then we will be more aware of our behavior and our intentions toward them. Is our expression toward them sincere?
When we rely on Allah we will not be so dependent on others for our well-being which in turn frees us to be sincere. Of course we are all bound together and our hearts are interwoven. But the heart that sees that all of us are totally dependent upon Allah every moment is the one that has no need of hypocrisy.
Ya Haqq Ya Siddiq Ya Hu
Taqwa is so important to the human soul that it is mentioned 151 times in the Koran. The Koran opens with praising the beautiful qualities of Taqwa in the Surah Baqara which follows the Fatiha.
In Nur’s beautiful rendering…
In the Name of Allah, Boundless Compassion, Infinite Mercy
Alif Lam Mim
This is the universal Book of Reality, the Divine Guidance, the Science of Certainty open to those who live in total awe of Allah Most High (the Muttaqin, the people of Taqwa)
Those who constantly acknowledge the Divine Mystery,
Who are ceaselessly engaged in prayer and acts of generosity
Freely sharing whatever abundance We have divinely provided for them.
These lovers respond wholeheartedly to the revelation streaming through you, My beloved,
And to the words of Truth flowing through all My previous Messengers,
They experience the certitude of homecoming into Divine Radiance after the sleep of death.
These are the ones who receive Divine guidance directly from the One Who dwells in their hearts,
These are the fully realized, the true human beings.
These few lines encapsulate all that Ansari is speaking of and all that toward which our Tradition is directing. And interestingly, the traits of generosity and sharing accompany the person of Taqwa, as Ansari will point to in Field Seventeen.