Chapter 11 Piety: The most important factor for Purification
Islamic School Consider Piety as the most important standing and the pious believers are observed as the most distinguished and honorable persons in the society. In Quran the phrase piety has been repeatedly told as the sole criteria for evaluating the value and worth of individuals. "Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of God- Almighty is the best in conduct.“ -the Holy Quran (49: 13)
What is Piety ? The phrase piety (taqwa) is derived from persion word “waqaya”, which means protection and defense. It is an act of self restraint against evil practices. Imam Ali (AS) states; “Oh people! Piety prevents good people from indulging in sins and vices; it makes them God fearing, it persuades them to spend their nights in His Worship, and to pass their days in fasting.” -Nahjul Balagha, sermon 114.
Importance of piety by Quran As the importance of a person in the eyes of Allah. "Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of God-Almighty is the best in conduct." (49: 13) As a means for deliverance. “Then whosoever refrainth from evil and amendeth -there shall no fear come upon them neither shall they grieve.” (7: 35) As a prerequisite for life hereafter. "And vie one with another for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Paradise as wide as are the Heavens and the earth, prepared for those who ward off (evil).” (3:133)
Importance of Piety by Hadith As the best attribute a man can acquire for the good of this life and the life hereafter The Prophet (S) said; 'Piety! Whoever desires to become the most dearest person should become pious, and then he recited the following verse: And who so ever keepth his duty to God, He will appoint a way out for him. And will provide for him from (a quarter) whence he hath no expectation.” -Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 70, p-285
Importance of Piety by Imam Ali (AS) Imam Ali (AS) considers piety as the most notable virtue in all ethical matters; "Piety acquires the most prominent position in all ethical affairs.” (Nahjul Balagha) He (AS) also takes it as the best way for achieving success and salvation. "Don't give up piety because it is the source of all benevolence and goodness,. blessing except piety does not exist; and the blessing which is achieved by means of piety can never be obtained without it,. be itblessing of this world or the Hereafter." (Bihar al-Anwar)
Importance of Piety By Imam Al-Sajjad (AS) As a sign of prosperity in front of Allah; “The value and worth of each deed depend upon piety; only pious people may achieve righteousness and prosperity. God-Almighty said: Verily righteousness and prosperity belong to pious people.“ (Bihar al-Anwar) Piety in reality resides in the heart of a momin; "Do not let their crying deceive you, because, the piety exists only in heart.“ (Bihar al-Anwar)
Is Piety a Negative Quality ? Humans are considered to be more inclined to indulge in wrong and harmful practices so refraining from these is taken as a negative trend in the normal social life. It leads to a life which is alone, color less and which lacks energy. Do you agree with this ?
Islam is against Seclusion Islam teaches to allow social responsibilities, while at the same time by way of piety let us apply self-restraint and self-control for avoiding sins. Islam does not require us to give up this world and live a monastic life in seclusion. Islam wants us to live in this world and do our best for its progress but teach us not to become slaves of this world. Islam allows to make use of this life and this world to perform good and GOD fearing acts, to help each other attain a good and morally rich life, to ascend spiritualy and attain GOD's Nearness.
Piety is a Positive Quality. It is a positive virtue as it opens the doors for worldly success and a reward hereafter. It gives a person the strength to discipline himself and to bring order to his life. It brings him closer to Allah and to feel a sense of peace both inside him and outside. Imam Ali (AS) said; “O creatures of the Lord! I advise you to be afraid of Him. I advise you to adopt piety, because, piety is the safest way to salvation and the best support for religion. Keep yourself attached to it and never forsake it. It shall lead you to places of safety, to positions of honor and pursuits bringing you peace and contentment.”
Piety acts as an protection It is like an armor to protect both body and soul. Imam Ali (AS) said; "Piety will act as your shield and defense and in life and Hereafter as your guide to Heaven. Its ways are clear and simple. Those of you who espouse it will be benefited by it. And the one who has imposed it upon you will guard it and will guard you.“ "The same piety is shelter for you in this world, and will be a source of prosperity and salvation in the Hereafter."
Importance of Reason (Aql) The ruling authority over human body.Imam Ali (AS) says; "The reason within human body is like the messenger of God.“ Uncontrolled desires and passions are against reason. Imam Ali (AS) also said; "Whoever does not have control over his passions will not be the master of his reason.“ “An obstinate person does not have correct opinion."
Piety gives Insight It gives a person a way to reach his inner self (soul) and guide it towards righteousness and peace. Holy quran states; "This is a declaration for mankind, a guidance and an admonition unto those who ward off evil.“ (3:138) Imam Ali (AS) says; "It is the only way of improvement for your corrupt soul, it purifies your conscience. It brings back sight to the eyes blinded by ignorance of truth."
Piety and Worldly Life Piety helps to solve difficulties of day to day life by allowing better self control, discipline, an inner strength and help from GOD.Quran states; "And whosoever keepeth his duty to God, He maketh his course easy for him.“ (65:4) Imam Ali (AS) says; “It wards off the calamities which have crowded round them and laid siege of them. It converts bitter disappointments of their affairs into pleasant achievements. It acts as a break water against the waves of disasters and destruction which want to dash against lives and ambitions.”
Piety the highest of virtue "There is no distinction higher than Islam, no honor more honorable than fear of God'; no asylum better than self-restraint.“ Imam ALI ibn-i- Abi Talib. (AS)
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