THE IMPERATIVE NEED FOR TAQWA (Imaam Ghazaali)
“Along with the command of Ibaadat is the command to eat only halaal. Allah Ta’ala says: ‘Eat wholesome things and practise righteousness’.”
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: “After the obligation of Imaan and Salaat is the obligation of a halaal earning.” Hadhrat Abdullah Ibn Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “If you perform Salaat in such abundance that your back becomes bent like a bow and if you fast so much that you become as thin as a rake, then too it will not be accepted without the acquisition of Taqwa and abstention from haraam wealth. “Performing ibaadat after consuming food derived from a haraam earning is like erecting a house on foundations of manure. Remember that Halaal Rizq plays a vital role in creating spiritual lustre in the heart. Therefore, it is imperative to abstain from haraam wealth. The inculcation of Taqwa is of great importance and need. Taqwa has four ranks as follows:
(1) The first stage is to abstain from such wealth on which the Ulama of the Deen has issued the verdict of prohibition.
A man becomes a faasiq by using such wealth. His reliability and integrity are destroyed. This stage of Taqwa is applicable to the general body of Muslims.
(2) The second stage of Taqwa is abstention from doubtful things. Although the Ulama have opined that Mushtabah (doubtful) things are halaal viewing it from the legal aspect, nevertheless, there is the possibility of such things being unlawful. Therefore the Sulaha (pious) abstain from the doubtful things as well. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) has said: “Abstain from what is doubtful and adopt what is not doubtful.’
(3) The third stage of Taqwa is the Taqwa of the Atqiya (high ranking Auliya). Hadhrat Umar (radhiyallahu anhu) said: “For the fear of falling in haraam, we abstained from nine-tenths of halaal things.’ It is for this reason that we find the pious servants of Allah accepting less than their due. If they are entitled to a hundred coins, they accept one less and when they have to pay others, they give slightly more. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that as long as a Muslim does not abstain from permissible things for the fear of becoming involved in prohibited things, he will not attain the rank of the Atqiya. It is therefore seen that they refrain from even permissible luxuries because today the taste of halaal luxury has been acquired, and tomorrow will be the desire for haraam pleasures. It is also for this very reason that the Qur’aan prohibits gazing with desire at the abundance of wealth and the glitter and pomp of the worldly possessions of the kuffaar. The sweetness of Imaan is reduced by the heart’s desire which the glances of admiration for the wealth of the kuffaar create in one. Love of the world and love for Imaan cannot coexist in the heart. To the Atqiya only such wealth is considered lawful in which there is no doubt nor the possibility of future danger to Imaan and Taqwa.
(4) The fourth stage is the Taqwa of the Siddiqeen (the highest category of Auliya). They abstain from eating such food which does not produce in them strength and inducement for Ibaadat and Obedience. Similarly, they abstain from anything which contains even the remotest possibility of disobedience to Allah. The act itself is not sinful, but if they discern the possibility of sin in its media, they refrain from it. Once Hadhrat Zunnun Misri (rahmatullah alayh) was imprisoned. A pious lady, learning of his suffering and hunger in the prison, prepared some food from her hard-earned halaal money. She sent the food to the jailer to hand it to Zunnun Misri. But, the Shaikh refused to accept the food. He returned it with the comment: “Although the food is halaal, the plate is impure.” By “the plate” he meant the hands of the jailer who was a cruel oppressor. The food no longer remained fit for consumption in view of the hands of a zaalim having touched it. Hadhrat Bishr Haafi (rahmatullah alayh) would refuse to drink water from the water-works constructed in the cities by tyrannical kings.
The Auliya in this category of Taqwa have abandoned everyone and have taken hold firmly of Allah alone. They never utilized anything which was not purely for the sake of Allah Ta’ala.
Since it is not within the capability of everyone to acquire this lofty degree of Taqwa, it is essential to at least adopt the Taqwa of ordinary uprighteous people.
Never approach near to such things on which the Ulama of the Ummah have issued the verdict of prohibition.