How to attain piety

Almighty Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said:

یٰۤاَیُّهَا  الَّذِیْنَ  اٰمَنُوا  اتَّقُوا  اللّٰهَ  حَقَّ  تُقٰتِهٖ

O believers! Fear Allah as He should be rightfully feared.

[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)] (Part 4, Surah Aal-e-‘Imran, Ayah 102)

In the above Ayah, Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has given a very unambiguous [i.e. clear] commandment to believers regarding piety. A question now arises in our minds as to how we can attain piety and steadfastness in it. A basic fact is that when a person goes against his Nafs and makes a firm intention to prevent it from sins, to refrain from excessive use of even Halal things and to fear Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ regarding the use of eyes, the tongue, private parts, the heart and all other parts of the body, so he will be blessed with the piety which has been demanded from believers, اِنْ شَـآءَ اللّٰہ.

Piety of main parts of body

Principally and primarily, some of the parts of the human body are very important. These include, for example, eyes, ears, the heart, the tongue, etc. This is because many sins are committed by means of these parts of the body, either directly or indirectly. If a person attains the piety of these parts of the body, it is hoped that all parts of the body will be blessed with the attribute of piety. And, such a person will be included among the pious. Mentioned here is now some detail of the piety of these main parts of the body.

Eye

Undoubtedly, the eye is the cause of every mischief and calamity. Here are two basic Islamic teachings about the attainment of the piety of the eye:

1     Almighty Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ has said: Translation from Kanz-ul-Iman: Command the Muslim men to keep their gaze somewhat low and protect their private parts; that is much purer for them; indeed Allah is Aware of their actions. (Part 18, Surah An-Noor, Ayah 30)

Although this Divine commandment is brief, it has two very wonderful meanings. First, it teaches manners and excellent etiquette, i.e. Muslims should keep their eyes slightly lowered. Second, it is also being informed in this Ayah that it is a means of purity for them. Furthermore, it causes increase in good deeds. And it is quite obvious that the person who has no control over his eyes and looks here and there in a carefree manner, it is highly likely that he will look towards Haraam, committing the sin and blackening his heart. Therefore, the purity of hearts lies in keeping eyes lowered.

Useful hint

Keeping eyes lowered and being modest have been declared to be the means of the purity of the heart. When eyes deviate, the heart also deviates as a result. Therefore, the spiritual purity or impurity of the heart depends upon the attribute of modesty or immodesty. It is narrated: ‘Sometimes, a bondman raises his eye which results in his heart turning [spiritually] bad, as a hide [i.e. skin] turns bad. Now no benefit can be obtained from that hide.’

2     The Greatest Nabi صَلَّى اللّٰہُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has said, ‘Looking towards the beauty of a woman is one of the poison-tipped arrows of Satan. So the one who gives it up will be made by Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ to feel such a taste of worship that will please him.’ (Nawadir-ul-Usool, Hadees 1287)

In fact, it is only the pious people who are aware of the sweetness of performing worship and the pleasure of invoking Almighty Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ. Since piety has largely disappeared these days, there is no pleasure in and devotion to worship. In the above blessed Hadees, a tried-and-trusted method of gaining this pleasure has been mentioned. Therefore, if a person wants to get pleasure in the acts of worship he performs, he should act upon the above blessed Hadees. If he does so, he will certainly get such “sweetness” which he may not have gained before. In summary, for the purpose of attaining the precious treasure of piety, it is obligatory to protect one’s eyes from Haraam.

Ear

Listening to indecent and pointless conversation is the cause of satanic whispers being created in the heart. As a result of these satanic whispers, we feel physical anguish, anxiety and develop disinterest in worship – an alarming situation. In other words, the conversation that a person hears and that touches his heart is like the food he has eaten and even greater than that. Conversation has a more lasting effect than food. Food is digested and excreted by means of walking and sleeping but, on the contrary, the conversation that has touched the heart of a person, sometimes, gets deeply embedded in and remains engraved on his mind for the rest of his life. And he does not forget it. If evils get engraved on his mind, they cause bad attributes and thoughts. Therefore, for the attainment of piety, it is extremely necessary to protect ears from bad and pointless conversation.

Tongue

A blessed companion came to the court of the Holy Nabi صَلَّى اللّٰہُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم and respectfully said, ‘Which is the thing that you fear for me the most?’ Holding his blessed tongue, he صَلَّى اللّٰہُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘The [fear] of it (tongue)’. (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 4, pp. 184, Hadees 2418)

It is the tongue that may lead a person to the brink of his doom and may also bring about success to him. It is the tongue that may make a person enter Heaven or may also make him the fuel of Hell. The tongue plays a vital role in every such matter that may lead a person to Heaven or Hell. Mentioned here are some Madani pearls about the tongue, highlighting the importance of the role of the tongue in terms of the attainment of piety:

1     Proper or improper use of other parts of the body depends upon the use of the tongue. It is narrated: When morning dawns, all the parts of the body of a person say to his tongue, ‘For the sake of Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ, stay “straight”. If you stay straight, we will also stay straight, and if you turn crooked, we will also be crooked’. (Sunan-ut-Tirmizi, vol. 4, pp. 183, Hadees 2415)

2     Not protecting the tongue causes good deeds to be wasted. Careless use of the tongue certainly leads a person to sins, i.e. backbiting, etc. Committing sins is contrary to piety. It is said that the one who speaks more, makes more mistakes.

3     By protecting his tongue, a person maintains his dignity and respect. A pious predecessor said, ‘Your tongue must not be too long [i.e. you should not talk so rudely and pointlessly] that it destroys your dignity and respect.’

4     Think about the consequences of the misuse of the tongue in the Hereafter and keep trying to attain the piety of the tongue. The Beloved Nabi صَلَّى اللّٰہُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘Prevent your tongue from [Islamic] scholars and students; and do not disrespect people by your tongue; otherwise, the dogs of Hell will tear you apart.’ (Attargheeb Wattarheeb, vol. 1, pp. 50, Raqm 59)

We make Du’a to Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ to make us pious for the sake of the pious and bless us with entering Heaven while we are following behind the Chief of the pious صَلَّى اللّٰہُ تَعَالٰى عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم. Aameen [آمِین]

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