Ramadan: What Is “Taqwa” Anyway?

Oftentimes, when I hear that fasting in Ramadan is for us to increase in taqwa, I feel sort of disconnected. I know we try to do more acts of worship in Ramadan, but is that taqwa? Does praying taraweeh or making more du’a really give me more God-consciousness, in a way that will impact me year-round? Usually not. Does waking up for suhoor and having iftar with family and friends increase taqwa? Not for me. But maybe we’re just not looking at it from the right perspective.

Next time you’re craving something while fasting (as I often am), and you don’t eat it even when you’re alone, remember what that shows about your strength. The fact that you could have done what your body was was begging you to do but resisted, shows that you know you’re not actually alone. You know that Allah is watching you and rewarding you for your patience. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you remember that your Book of Deeds is being recorded in, right now. In other words, you are displaying taqwa.

Ramadan offers all of us proof of the fact that even after the month is over we can have taqwa, and we do have the ability to follow this religion with sincerity, even if we find it difficult at times. So the next time you’re tempted to do something you know you’re not supposed to do, or skip something that you’re required to do, remember how you felt when you resisted that craving, and why you did it. You have the strength; it’s just waiting to be put to use.

Taqwa is not some label for the religiosity of a select group of Muslims. It’s something that we are all capable of attaining in our everyday lives. And if we use this tool, you and I are able to practice this religion in its entirety. It’s just a matter of reflecting within ourselves to come to this realization, and then making the sincere choice to act on it.

Taqwa is not some label for the religiosity of a select group of Muslims. It’s something that we are all capable of attaining in our everyday lives.
“Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in suffering and hardship and during [times of] stress. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are God-conscious.” (Qur’an 2:177)

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