Ali’s description of Taqwa

Allah swt mentioned the qualities of those with taqwa (Muttaqoon) throughout the Qur’an, this is one example:

 لَّيۡسَ ٱلۡبِرَّ أَن تُوَلُّواْ وُجُوهَكُمۡ قِبَلَ ٱلۡمَشۡرِقِ وَٱلۡمَغۡرِبِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلۡبِرَّ مَنۡ ءَامَنَ بِٱللَّهِ وَٱلۡيَوۡمِ ٱلۡأَخِرِ وَٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕڪَةِ وَٱلۡكِتَـٰبِ وَٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ وَءَاتَى ٱلۡمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِۦ ذَوِى ٱلۡقُرۡبَىٰ وَٱلۡيَتَـٰمَىٰ وَٱلۡمَسَـٰكِينَ وَٱبۡنَ ٱلسَّبِيلِ وَٱلسَّآٮِٕلِينَ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتَى ٱلزَّڪَوٰةَ وَٱلۡمُوفُونَ بِعَهۡدِهِمۡ إِذَا عَـٰهَدُواْ‌ۖ وَٱلصَّـٰبِرِينَ فِى ٱلۡبَأۡسَآءِ وَٱلضَّرَّآءِ وَحِينَ ٱلۡبَأۡسِ‌ۗ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ ٱلَّذِينَ صَدَقُواْ‌ۖ وَأُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ هُمُ ٱلۡمُتَّقُونَ

“Virtue is not that you turn towards the East or the West. Virtue is (the virtue of) those who belive in Allah, the Last Day, the angels, the Revelation and the prophets; those who, for the love of Allah, give wealth to relatives, orphans and the needy, the wayfarer, thse who ask and for those in captivity (like slaves), those who establish prayers and offer zakat, those who fulful their promise after making one and those who are steadfast in trial, adversity and the time of war. They are ones who are truthful and those are the ones who have taqwa”

[Surah al-Baqarah (2) : 177]



Hamman ibn Shuraih (a companion of Ali) asked him to narrate the qualities of the people of taqwa so he would be able to see them infront of him.

Ali (May Allah swt be pleased with him) said;

“When Allah created His creation, He did so while He was completely independant of their obedience towards Him and of their disobedience towards Him. No disobedience can hurt Him and no obedience can benefit Him. Then He distributed amongst them (the creation) their means of sustenance and placed them on earth.

The people of taqwa on earth are those of virtue: their speech is correct (true), their garments are of moderate nature and their walk is one of humility. They lower their gazes when they see something that Allah has forbidden them to see and they give ear to beneficial knowledge. They maintain their integrity in both adversity and properity.

Had it not been for the appointed time that Allah has written for them (death), their souls would not remain and extra second in their bodies out of yearning for reward and fear of punishment. The Creator ranks Supreme in their eyes, so everything else becomes immaterial to them. They are with Paradise as if they had already witnessed it and enjoyed its presence. They are with Hell as if they have already seen it and its torment. Their hearts grieve and their evil (if any) is non-contagious. Their bodies are lean, their needs are few and their souls chaste.

They observe patience for a few days and experience ever lasting comfort. This is a profitable exchange that their Lord had made pleasant for them. The world tempts them, but they do not succumb. It imprisons them, but they ransomed themselves in exchange.

During the nights they standin rows and read portions of the Qur’an. They recite with proper recitation which grives their hearts and drink it (the Qur’an) like medicine. If a verse of yearning comes along, they reach for it and believe it is their destination. If an intimidating verse comes along, they pour their hearts towards it and believe that Hell and its screams are in their ears. They sleep on their foreheads and elbows (i.e. the engage in prayers so much that it it as if they sleep in those postures) and implore Allah to deliver them.

In the day, they are tolerant and learned, kind and God-fearing. Fear has chipped away at their bodies as if they were arrows. Anyone looking at them would think that they were sick. But they are not sick. Some will say that they are confused. A great fear has made them look like that. They are never content to do only a few actions (during the day), nor do they ask for a great deal. They condemn themselves and are apprehensive about their deeds. If one of them is called “pious”, he fears that will be said of him and says:

Oh Allah, do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine]

(Al-Bukhari, Al-‘Adabul Mufrad no. 761. The version in brackets is from Al Bayhaqi, Shu’ab Al-Iman 4/228)

Their signs are that they are strong in Islam, resolute in their softness, firm in their belief. They crave for knowledge and are knowledgable with tolerance; moderate in richness. pleasant in hunger, forbearing in distress, seeking halal, active in (persuing) guidance and they abhor greed.

They perform good deeds in fear (of rejection). They spend the evening in gratitude and the morning in remembrance. They sleep in alarm and they awake in joy. If their cardinal selves make it difficult for them to fulfl that which they dislike, they deprive them (their selves) of that which they like. They apple of their eyes is what does not perish and they abstemiousness is in what disappears. They combine knowledge with tolerance and speech with action.

You will find their hopes are realistic, their mistakes few, their hearts humble, their selves content, their diet meagre their matters simple, their Deen safe-guarded, their desires killed and their anger subdues. Goodness is epected from them and evil is shielded against them. If they are among those who are oblivious, they are counted amongst those who remember (Allah). If they are among those who remember, they are not written amongst the oblivious. THey pardon those who wrong them, they provide for those who deprive them and meet those who sevre ties with them. They are never profane and always lenient. Their wrong doings are almost non-existant and their good deeds always present. They are resolute when the earth quakes, steadfast in calamities and greatful in properity.

They are not prejudice against those they dislike nor do they favour those they love. They acknowledge the truth before it appears and do not lose anything they are entrusted with. They do not call anyone names nor do they hurt their neighbours. They do not curse at the time of difficulties nor do they venture into falsehood.

Silence does not bother them and if they laugh they do not raise their voices. If they are treated with injustice they remain patient unril Allah vindicates them.

Their own selves live in toil, while others are comfortable around them.

Their abstinence from those who stay away from them is their exoneration (from malice). Their proximity to those who are close to them is a means of mercy (for those who are close to them). Their remaining aloof is not out of pride and arrogance and their being close is neither a ploy nor a scheme.”

The words of Ali (may Allah swt be pleased with him) taken from“Taqwa: The Provision of Believers”, Al-Firdous London quoted from Nahjul Balagha: 241

sobhanAllah! May Allah swt bless us with the qualities of the people of taqwa & raise us amongst them. aameen.



Filed under Quotes, Tafsir, The Salaf

4 responses to “Ali’s description of Taqwa

  1. MoMo

    JazakAllah Khair Sister.

    May Allah(SWT) bless you with good in this dunya and in the akhira. Ameen

  2. almustapha

    JazakALLAH Khair for your tremedious good deed may god bless you abondently.

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