Saying of Allah Almighty:
وَ سَارِعُوْۤا اِلٰى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّنْ رَّبِّكُمْ وَ جَنَّةٍ عَرْضُهَا السَّمٰوٰتُ وَ الْاَرْضُۙ-اُعِدَّتْ لِلْمُتَّقِیْنَۙ(۱۳۳) الَّذِیْنَ یُنْفِقُوْنَ فِی السَّرَّآءِ وَ الضَّرَّآءِ وَ الْكٰظِمِیْنَ الْغَیْظَ وَ الْعَافِیْنَ عَنِ النَّاسِؕ-وَ اللّٰهُ یُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَۚ(۱۳۴) وَ الَّذِیْنَ اِذَا فَعَلُوْا فَاحِشَةً اَوْ ظَلَمُوْۤا اَنْفُسَهُمْ ذَكَرُوا اللّٰهَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُوْا لِذُنُوْبِهِمْ۫-وَ مَنْ یَّغْفِرُ الذُّنُوْبَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ ﳑ وَ لَمْ یُصِرُّوْا عَلٰى مَا فَعَلُوْا وَ هُمْ یَعْلَمُوْنَ(۱۳۵) اُولٰٓىٕكَ جَزَآؤُهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةٌ مِّنْ رَّبِّهِمْ وَ جَنّٰتٌ تَجْرِیْ مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْاَنْهٰرُ خٰلِدِیْنَ فِیْهَاؕ-وَ نِعْمَ اَجْرُ الْعٰمِلِیْنَؕ(۱۳۶)
And run towards the forgiveness of your Lord, and towards such a Paradise having a width within which the heavens and the earth can be contained; (especially) kept ready for the pious. Those who spend in the Path of Allah in prosperity and adversity, and who restrain anger and forgive people. And the righteous people are the beloveds of Allah. And those who, when they commit an (act of) indecency or wrong themselves, whilst remembering Allah, seek forgiveness of their sins; and who can forgive sins except Allah? And they should not knowingly persist with that (sin which) they have done. The reward of such is forgiveness from their Lord, and are Gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding in them forever; what an excellent reward for the doers of good deeds.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Al-Imraan, Verses 133,134,135,136)
Definition of Pious
The definition of pious is for the common man to leave things that are haram or doubtful, for the religious people to forgo their desires, and for the religious elite to turn away from everyone except Allah. In relation to the third category, the glorious Quran states:
وَ اذْكُرِ اسْمَ رَبِّكَ وَ تَبَتَّلْ اِلَیْهِ تَبْتِیْلًاؕ(۸)
And remember the Name of your Lord, and separating from everyone else, devote yourself solely to Him.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 29, Surah Al-Muzzammil, Verse 8)
The purport of this verse is that the heart’s connection with all worldly things should be severed; instead, a relationship should be formed with Allah Almighty. This connection should be such that any connections with the affairs of the world are also for the sake of Allah Almighty, or if any relationship of the world stands in the way of the relationship and command of Allah Almighty, it should be subdued as though it never existed. Such mention is found in the Hadees:
مَنْ اَحَبَّ لِلّٰهِ وَاَبْغَضَ لِلّٰهِ وَاَعْطَی لِلّٰهِ وَمَنَعَ لِلّٰهِ فَقَدِ اسْتَكْمَلَ الْاِيمَانَ
‘Whoever loves for the sake of Allah, detests for the sake of Allah, gives for the sake of Allah and keeps for the sake of Allah, has perfected his faith.’ (Abu Dawood, Hadees 4681)
Method of Attaining Piety
The method of attaining piety warrants that no action of the believer goes against Shari’ah. Moreover, he should submit himself to Allah Almighty in the same way that the deceased is submitted to the one who performs his ritual bathing [after death], i.e. just as the deceased has forsaken his wishes and authority.
In the aforementioned verse, various attributes of the pious have been mentioned:
1. Those who spend in Allah’s way in prosperity and adversity.
2. Those who restrain their anger.
3. Those who pardon people’s mistakes and transgressions.
4. Those who illustrate goodness and kindness before creation.
5. Those who, if they approach or commit a sin, remember Allah Almighty and engage in repenting and seeking forgiveness.
It is stated in a verse:
وَ سَارِعُوْۤا اِلٰى مَغْفِرَةٍ مِّنْ رَّبِّكُمْ وَ جَنَّةٍ
And run towards the forgiveness of your Lord, and towards such a Paradise
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Al-Imraan, Verse 133)
Meaning, hasten towards those actions that lead to Paradise. Essentially, it is being said that O people, hasten towards Paradise by offering prayer, fasting, reciting [the Quran], remembering Allah Almighty, aiding the needy, dealing with people amiably, demonstrating good manners, serving your mother and father, nurturing your children well, fulfilling the rights of your household and wishing well for others. Furthermore, O people, hasten towards paradise by abstaining from unlawful gazing, lying, backbiting, tale telling, breaking promises, hurting people’s feelings and immodesty.
The Vastness of Paradise
The vastness of Paradise has been described in a way so that people can understand. The vastest thing that people can see is the heavens and the earth. By observing the vastness there would be in arranging and joining the heavens and the earths together in a single line, one can envisage how vast Paradise is.
The attributes of the pious have been expounded on in the following way:
الَّذِیْنَ یُنْفِقُوْنَ فِی السَّرَّآءِ وَ الضَّرَّآءِ وَ الْكٰظِمِیْنَ الْغَیْظَ وَ الْعَافِیْنَ عَنِ النَّاسِؕ-وَ اللّٰهُ یُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَۚ(۱۳۴)
Those who spend in the Path of Allah in prosperity and adversity, and who restrain anger and forgive people. And the righteous people are the beloveds of Allah.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Al-Imraan, Verse 134)
Four qualities of the pious have been mentioned in this verse:
1. Spending in the way of Allah Almighty in both times, prosperity and adversity.
2. Restraining one’s anger.
3. Forgiving people.
4. Illustrating goodness.
The First Quality: Spending in Prosperity [and Adversity]
It is narrated from Sayyiduna Abdullah Bin Abbas رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُما that the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم encouraged people to give charity in the battle of Tabook. Sayyiduna Abdul Rahman Bin ‘Auf رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ brought four thousand dirhams forward and said: ‘O Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, yesterday my wealth was eight thousand dirhams. Here are four thousand dirhams presented in the way of Allah; I have kept the other four thousand for my family.’ The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم replied, ‘May Allah Almighty bless what you have given and what you have kept.’
The Pious do not Refrain from Spending in the way of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ in Adversity
Sayyiduna Abu Aqeel Ansari رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ presented himself before the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم with four kilos of dates and said, ‘Tonight, I carried out manual labour in pulling water and received a wage of two Saa’ (a particular measurement) worth of dates. I have left one Saa’ for my family and one Saa’ is presented in the way of Allah.’ The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم accepted this charity and appreciated it. (Khaazin. vol. 2, p. 388)
The Second Quality: وَ الْكٰظِمِیْنَ الْغَیْظَ [Restraining One’s Anger]
Our usual mode of behaviour is such that we become angry over small matters. We express our anger before our wife, children, neighbours and those walking by. To restrain one’s anger on such occasions is a noble way and characteristic of the pious. Being tolerant, having self-control and restraining anger are ways to attain great virtues. The Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said, ‘The strong person is not the wrestler who overpowers another, but the strong person is he who controls himself at the time of anger.’ (Bukhari, Hadees 6114) It is stated in another place, ‘Whoever restrains his anger, Allah Almighty will keep His punishment away from him on Judgement Day.’ (Shu’ab-ul-Iman, Hadees 7958) Remember, there are benefits in both, this world and the Hereafter, in restraining one’s anger.
The Third Quality: وَ الْعَافِیْنَ عَنِ النَّاسِ [Pardoning others]
Pardoning someone’s transgression and mistake is a great act. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said, ‘Whoever wishes that a palace is made for him (in Paradise) and that his status is elevated should forgive the one who wronged him.’ (Mustadrak, Hadees 3161)
The Fourth Quality: وَ اللّٰهُ یُحِبُّ الْمُحْسِنِیْنَۚ(۱۳۴) [Illustrating Goodness]
Illustrating goodness is a noble characteristic, a prophetic Sunnah and the way of the righteous. Sayyiduna Anas رَضِیَ اللہُ تَعَالٰی عَنْہُ states: ‘I was walking with the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was wrapped in a Najraani outer garment with a thick hem. Suddenly, a Bedouin held onto his garment and pulled it with great force, causing scratch marks to appear on his blessed neck. The Bedouin then said, ‘Order for me some share in the wealth of Allah Almighty that you have with you.’ The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم turned towards him, smiled, and then ordered for some wealth to be given to him.’ (Bukhari, Hadees 3149)
The Fifth Quality
In the following verse, it is mentioned [about the righteous] that if a sin occurs, they remember Allah Almighty and refrain from it. Similar accounts have been mentioned regarding the pious predecessors and the righteous people of the previous nations. As they drew near a sin, the remembrance of Allah Almighty and His greatness would prevail over their heart, causing them to forgo the wrong act. In actual fact, some of these noble personalities would contemplate the magnificence and might of Allah Almighty and their heart would stop beating, resulting in their passing away. The splendid reward for these righteous people has been described by Allah Almighty:
اُولٰٓىٕكَ جَزَآؤُهُمْ مَّغْفِرَةٌ مِّنْ رَّبِّهِمْ وَ جَنّٰتٌ تَجْرِیْ مِنْ تَحْتِهَا الْاَنْهٰرُ خٰلِدِیْنَ فِیْهَاؕ-وَ نِعْمَ اَجْرُ الْعٰمِلِیْنَؕ(۱۳۶)
The reward of such is forgiveness from their Lord, and are Gardens beneath which rivers flow, abiding in them forever; what an excellent reward for the doers of good deeds.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Al-Imraan, Verse 136)
For the sake of His righteous people, may Allah Almighty also grant us the treasure of piety.
اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم