Category : Eid al Fitr
Dr Ayesha Alvi , Dr Mohammed Rizwan

Head, Department of Bioethics: Islamic Perspective Centre for Study and research, New Delhi. Head, Council for Islamic Perspectives in Disruptive Technologies, and Deputy Director, Centre for Study and Research, New Delhi

“Just as clothing can reveal one’s identity and status, believers who don the dress of Taqwa become more distinct and noble in the sight of Allah swt.” What is the dress of Taqwa? Read on.

Introduction :

Islam, in its entirety, is a worldview; unlike other non-structured religions, it demands its followers to uphold specific conduct inspired by the concepts of eman(faith), Amal (deeds), and maqasid (purposes). Muslims worldwide eagerly await the chance to observe fast during Ramadan every year.

Every Islamic Ibadah, in general, has a unique meaning and purpose, and Ramadan is one of them. Even though most of us have observed Ramadan multiple times, it hasn’t always impacted or influenced our lives simply because we no longer care to understand or comprehend the purpose of our Ibadah, which has reduced it to a ritual. Our incapacity to learn and organise our lives per the “purpose and significance” of Ibadah has resulted in a stalemate in both our individual and collective lives as Muslims. The very purpose of “Ramadan” and “Saum” (fasting) is stated unambiguously in chapter 2:183: “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous”.

Generally speaking, Taqwa has been translated as righteousness; however, as we know in Arabic, Taqwa has a far-reaching meaning as an end product of “Saum” and as an entity. Taqwa requires believers to know their words, deeds, and intentions to ensure they align with Islamic teachings and work to draw them nearer to Allah. The core elements of taqwa are a deep sense of fondness for, and fear of, displeasing Allah —in the heart, these elements act as a barrier against temptations and sins, protecting the soul from spiritual harm and guiding it toward righteousness and purity. Put differently, taqwa is a transcendentally designed spiritual blueprint. Once implemented, it guarantees believers’ phenomenal success in both worlds.

The Characteristics of Taqwa :

Consciousness of Allah: Taqwa entails being aware of Allah’s presence in all aspects of life, acknowledging His sovereignty, and submitting to His will. This conscious awareness impacts a person’s behaviour, directing them to act following Islamic principles.
Seeking Allah’s Pleasure: Individuals with Taqwa prioritise seeking Allah’s pleasure above all else. They strive to do good deeds and avoid wrongdoing to gain His favour and mercy.

Guarding Against Evil: Taqwa instils an ideal fear of Allah’s punishment for disobeying His commands. This sense of dread motivates believers to avoid sinful behaviour (both major sins and minor transgressions) and strive for righteousness. (Qur’an 8:29)

Righteous Conduct: Those adorned with Taqwa uphold integrity, honesty, and justice in their dealings with others, striving to embody the highest moral standards.

Self-Restraint: Taqwa empowers individuals to exercise self-control over their desires and impulses, resisting temptations that lead to sin and disobedience.

Humility and Gratitude: The garment of Taqwa is adorned with humility and gratitude as individuals recognise their dependence on Allah and appreciate His countless blessings.

Patience and Perseverance: Those adorned with Taqwa exhibit patience and perseverance in the face of trials and tribulations, trusting Allah’s wisdom and decree. (Qur’an 2:177)

Hope in Allah’s Mercy: While Taqwa involves fear of Allah’s punishment, it also entails hope in His mercy. Believers trust Allah’s forgiveness and strive to repent sincerely for their mistakes.

Consciousness in Worship: Those with Taqwa approach acts of worship, such as prayer, fasting, & charity, with sincerity, focus, & reverence, recognising their significance in strengthening their relationship with Allah. (Qur’an 2:21)

Why Taqwa is Regarded as the Soul’s Garment :

Clothing gives humans their identity. It hides what needs to be covered while adding beauty and adornment to the wearer. So, people’s natural desire is to dress attractively to look good, stand out on special occasions, and demonstrate their taste and style. But clothing for the soul—what about that? Taqwa is referred to in the Qur’an as the finest garment of the soul – “And the clothing of Taqwa, that is the best” (Qur’an 7:26). Just as clothing can reveal one’s identity and status, believers who don the dress of Taqwa become more distinct and noble in the sight of Allah. It symbolises honour and distinction, reflecting their commitment to living by divine instruction. Taqwa is both an adornment and a form of protection for a true believer’s soul, just as clothing shields the physical body from external influences. It serves as a deterrent to sinful temptations and negative influences, ensuring the purity and integrity of the heart.

To adorn the dress of the soul with taqwa, a true believer must be dedicated, careful, and have a deeper understanding of Islamic teachings, just as a skilled costumier is when designing a piece of clothing. Self-awareness and introspection are the first steps in the process, which requires people to reflect on their actions and work to improve them. By worshipping, following Islamic teachings, and seeking forgiveness, the soul gradually becomes clothed in the noble garments of taqwa, distinguishing itself from others in the eyes of Allah SWT. Like an elegant garment, it enhances an individual’s spiritual beauty and dignity while reflecting their commitment to living a morally superior life.

Custom Designing Taqwa for Soul as Eid Attire :

After fasting in the month of Ramadan, Muslims prepare for Eid ul-Fitr, which they celebrate by dressing beautifully to express gratitude to Allah SWT. The tradition of wearing new clothes for Eid ul-Fitr and preparing a garment for our soul in taqwa have symbolic meanings that emphasise spiritual and social aspects. Both concepts emphasise matching one’s external actions to one’s internal gratitude and piety.

Eid-ul-Fitr, Symbol of Renewal: Eid ul-Fitr commemorates the end of Ramadan, a spiritual renewal. Let’s celebrate this Eid-ul Fitr by planning two dresses, one for a stunning outward appearance and the second a brilliant and radiant Taqwa-inspired garment for our soul. Interestingly, we can tailor both dresses using the same technique.

Selection of Fabric: The first step in designing taqwa-based attire for the soul is to choose tawhid, modesty, and simplicity as dress fabrics and colours. Remember, Islam prioritises simplicity over ostentation and emphasises humility and detachment from worldly desires.

Develop self-reflection and self-awareness. Self-reflection under the guidance of the Qur’an and hadiths can help you better understand your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. This is similar to how a customer carefully inspects the fabric before cutting. Cut out everything that falls against the Islamic teachings the way a tailor would identify excess material that needs to be cut.

Set Clear Intentions: A tailor has a clear vision of the final design before cutting fabric. Similarly, set clear intentions about what to remove from your life and why. Understand the reasons behind wanting to eliminate these negative aspects.

Practice Self-Discipline and Patience: Cutting out negative aspects requires self-discipline and patience. As a tailor needs steady hands and patience to achieve precision, you must cultivate discipline and perseverance in sticking to your plan, even when faced with challenges or setbacks.

Stitching and Embellishing Your Soul Attire: 

After cutting off any or all undesirable elements with the teachings of the Qur’an & Sunnah, stitch your Taqwa fabric with threads of Love along with Awe (khashya) for Allah SWT. The Taqwa dress can then be embellished with modest touches such as ampler dhikr, optional prayers, generosity, humility, forgiveness, and reflection on Qur’anic teachings, among other things. The examples mentioned here for these subtle touches are similar to the embroidery and design patterns we picked to enliven or Jazz up our Eid dress.

Thus, create and design this outfit throughout Ramadan, & on Eid Day, dress yourself in two outfits that compliment your inner & outer beauty.

Regular Evaluation and Adjustment: 

Evaluate your adherence in wearing your Taqwa Dress on a regular basis until the next Ramadan, just as you would with periodic tailoring fittings. Adjust your plan of action as needed throughout the year, and remain committed to continuous self-improvement and spiritual growth.

The Significance of Adorning Taqwa :

In Islam, the Qur’an often emphasises the importance of Taqwa, portraying it as a source of guidance, protection, and phenomenal success. Those adorned with Taqwa are described as the beloved servants of Allah, whom He loves, honours, and grants His mercy. Moreover, the dress of Taqwa prepares individuals for the ultimate journey of the soul, guiding them towards eternal salvation and closeness to Allah.

Here are Qur’anic references that describe the characteristics of the Muttaqin (those who possess Taqwa):
“This is the Book of Allah, there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the pious, for those who believe in the existence of that which is beyond the reach of perception, who establish Prayer and spend out of what We have provided them, who believe in what has been revealed to you and what was revealed before you, and have firm faith in the Hereafter. Such are on true guidance from their Lord; such are truly the successful.” (Qur’an – 2:2-5)

Qualities :

1. Those who spend in the way of Allah during ease and hardship
2. Those who manage their anger
3. Those who extend forgiveness
4. Those who remember Allah immediately after sinning and ask him to pardon them.
5. Those who do not continue to commit the same sins.
And when Paradise shall be brought close to the God-fearing, and will no longer be far away, it will be said: “This is what you were promised, a promise made to everyone who turned much (to Allah) and was watchful of his conduct,- to everyone who feared the Merciful One though He is beyond the reach of perception, to everyone who has come with a heart that ever wants to turn (to Him) (Qur’an – 50:31-33)

Qualities :

1. Believes in the unseen.
2. Establish salah.
3. Spends out of what Allah gave them
4. Believes in the Qur’an and the books revealed before it
5. Has faith in the hereafter.
“And hasten to the forgiveness of your Lord and to a Paradise as vast as the heavens and the earth, prepared for the God-fearing. who spend in the way of Allah both in plenty and hardship, who restrain their anger, and forgive others. Allah loves such good-doers. These are the ones who, when they commit any indecency and wrong against themselves, instantly remember Allah and implore forgiveness for their sins – for who will forgive sins save Allah? – and who do not wilfully persist in the wrong they did.” (Qur’an – 3:133-135)

Qualities :

1. He is always oriented towards Allah.
2. He is protective of themselves. He is constantly alert to sins. He carefully follows Allah’s orders and avoids all forms of disobedience.
3. Even though he does not see Allah, he fears him.
4. He approaches Allah with a heart oriented toward him.
There are abundant good tidings and rewards mentioned in the Qur’an for those who attain Taqwa,
“Surely, Allah loves those who fear Allah” (Qur’an – 3:76)
“As for My mercy, it encompasses everything. will show mercy to those who abstain from evil and adopt taqwa…” (Qur’an – 7:156)
Believers, have fear of Allah and believe in His Messenger, and He will grant you a two-fold portion of His Mercy, and will appoint for you a light whereby you shall walk; and He will forgive you. Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Compassionate. (Qur’an – 57:28)
Surely the Muttaqis will be in the midst of various gardens and fountains.
(Qur’an – 15:45)
And fear Allah and remain conscious that Allah is with those who guard against violating the bounds set by Him.
(Qur’an – 2:194)

Parting words :

In the tapestry of Islamic spirituality, Taqwa stands out as the soul’s noble attire, adorning believers with mindfulness, righteousness, & God-consciousness. Just as a finely tailored garment enhances one’s appearance, Taqwa elevates the soul, nurturing a deep connection with Allah and guiding one towards virtuous conduct. As Muslims strive to cultivate Taqwa in their hearts and minds, they embrace a life of purpose, meaning, & spiritual fulfilment. Thus, let us endeavour this Ramadan to don both the outward dress of Eid and the dress of Taqwa, adorning our souls with its noble virtues & striving towards excellence in faith & character.

1 Comment

  1. Zeba Baig

    Subhanallah. Very beautifully put together. Never thought about this ayah in this manner. May Allah increase all of us in benificial knowledge. Ameen


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