Tafseer Surah Aal-Imran Ayah 102
Meaning of Taqwa of Allah
Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Mas’oud radhiAllahu ‘anhu commented on the ayah, “fear Allah as He should be feared…” He said that it means, “He is obeyed and not defied, remembered and not forgotten and appreciated and not unappreciated.” This has an authentic chain of narration by ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud radhiAllahu ‘anhu. Al-Hakim collected this hadeeth in his Mustadrak from Ibn Mas’oud who related it to the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Al-Hakim said, “It is authentic according to the criteria of the Two Shaykhs (Al-Bukhari and Muslim) and they did not record it.” Ibn Katheer writes that this is what he said, but it appears that it is only a statement of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’oud and Allah knows best.
It was also reported that Anas ibn Maalik radhiAllahu ‘anhu said, “The servant will not have Taqwa of Allah as is His due until he keeps his tongue idle.”
Allah’s statement, “…do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him],” means preserve your Islam while you are well and safe so that you die as a Muslim. The Most Generous, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has made it His decision that whatever state one lives in that is what he dies upon and is resurrected. We ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to guide us and enable us to live as true Muslims and to die as Muslims, ameen.
Imam Ahmad recorded that Mujahid said, “The people were circling around the Sacred House when Ibn ‘Abbas radhiAllahu ‘anhu was sitting, holding a bent-handled walking stick. Ibn ‘Abbas said, ‘The Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam recited,
يأَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ اتَّقُواْ اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلاَ تَمُوتُنَّ إِلاَّ وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ
O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Him].
Then he said,
وَلَوْ أَنَّ قَطْرَةً مِنَ الزَّقُّومِ قُطِرَتْ لَأَمَرَّتْ عَلى أَهْلِ الْأرْضِ عِيشَتَهُمْ، فَكَيْفَ بِمَنْ لَيْسَ لَهُ طَعَامٌ إِلَّا الزَّقُّومُ؟
‘Verily, if a drop of Zaqqum (a tree in Hell) falls, it will spoil life for the people of earth. What about those whose food is only from Zaqqum?’”
This was recorded by At-Tirmidhi, An-Nasa’i, Ibn Majah, Ibn Hibban in his Saheeh and Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak. At-Tirmidhi said, “Hasan Saheeh” while Al-Hakim said, “It meets the conditions of the Two Saheehs and they did not record it.”
Imam Ahmad recorded that Jabir said that three nights before the Messenger of Allah died he heard him say,
لَا يَمُوتَنَّ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَّا وَهُوَ يُحْسِنُ الظَّنَّ بِاللهِ عَزَّ وَجَل
“None of you should die except while having sincere trust in Allah, the Exalted and Most Honorable.”
Muslim also recorded it. The Two Saheehs record that Abu Huraira radhiAllahu ‘anhu said that the Messenger of Allah salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said,
يَقُولُ اللهُ: أَنَا عِنْدَ ظَنِّ عَبْدِي بِي
“Allah said, ‘I am as My servant thinks of Me.’”
Having taqwa of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala means living consciously. Whatever we do, we must first ask ourselves will this be pleasing or displeasing to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Do what pleases Him and stay away from what displeases Him.
Dying as Muslims can only be ensured when we “live” as Muslims. It means when we hear the Adhan we do not procrastinate but get up, perform proper ablution and pray with khushoo’. It means when we conduct our day-to-day matters we are conscious of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and do not commit any haram or harm others by our speech or limbs. It means when we go to bed, we reflect on the fact that we might never wake up again. We perform ablution, recite all adhkaar and forgive people before sleeping.
We build a strong relationship with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and the Qur’an, and remember to hold on to them no matter what is going on in our life, whether we are getting married or getting divorced, we do not forget Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala or abandon our acts of worship because we are too happy or too depressed.
Be submissive to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Do what He has instructed you to do.
Stop doing something that you know is wrong and you do not want to die doing. Start doing what you want to be your last deed.
People who have good endings do not die just like that. Their habits granted them a good ending. They were in the habit of staying in the state of ablution that they died in the state of ablution. They were in the habit of offering prayers on time that their last act before death was prayer. They were in the habit of reciting the Qur’an every day that it became their last act before death. They were in the habit of reciting the adhkaar before sleep that they went to bed after doing all the Sunnahs of sleep and never woke up. If we want a good end, we should not just ask for it but also work for it by spending our hours and days consciously. Do not procrastinate.
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