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Question 1 Regarding Piety

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I have couple of questions regarding piety. In bold is a scenario and just want some input on this first question.

 

a) Piety is inner purification which results in avoidance of sins(acts prohibited by Allah) only, OR

 

OR

 

c) Piety is inner purification(avoiding the forbidden), as well as the performance of the obligatory acts such as zakat, namaz, etc

 

Point c) is more closer to the definition of piety but keeping that in mind, I just want input from you regarding the following scenario.

 

Person a) inner self is clean and he avoids sins but does not perform all the obligatory acts. Person c) inner self is clean and he avoids sins and performs all the obligatory commands of God. Is it still possible for person a to be more pious than person c) in the sense that his inner self is more purified.

Edited by race

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(bismillah)

(salam)

I will try to answer (with Allah's help).  

 

Piety (Taqwa), is dependent on an individuals effort, minimum of which is avoiding sins and doing all obligatory acts. In the scenario you gave, Person C will always be more pious then Person A.

 

When a person doesn't perform an obligatory act he is sinning, so instead of becoming one of Muttaqin they are in reality moving in the other direction i.e. Impiety. Person A is basically doing some acts of Tazkiyah Nafs, and Hadiths tell us that if a person doesn't perform Obligatory acts then no other acts are even accepted. Simply, Person A doesn't even come under the definition of Piety.

 

Obligatory acts are the basis of Eman, without which everything else collapses. 

Someone more knowledgeable can correct me if what I stated is wrong.

Edited by awaiting_for_the.12th

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.


(bismillah)

(salam)

I will try to answer (with Allah's help).  

 

Piety (Taqwa), is dependent on an individuals effort, minimum of which is avoiding sins and doing all obligatory acts. In the scenario you gave, Person C will always be more pious then Person A.

 

When a person doesn't perform an obligatory act he is sinning, so instead of becoming one of Muttaqin they are in reality moving in the other direction i.e. Impiety. Person A is basically doing some acts of Tazkiyah Nafs, and Hadiths tell us that if a person doesn't perform Obligatory acts then no other acts are even accepted. Simply, Person A doesn't even come under the definition of Piety.

 

Obligatory acts are the basis of Eman, without which everything else collapses. 

Someone more knowledgeable can correct me if what I stated is wrong.

 

I see what you are trying to say but what if person A inner self is more purified(his heart, intentions etc) than person C unless you mean that ones inner self cannot be more purified without performing the obligatory acts.

 

Also, if what you are saying is true then how do we distinguish who is more pious if there are two People whose inner self is pure and also perform the obligatory acts. How do we distinguish who is more pure; will it not depend on how good they are from the inside or does it depend on who fulfills more obligations?

Edited by race

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I see what you are trying to say but what if person A inner self is more purified(his heart, intentions etc) than person C unless you mean that ones inner self cannot be more purified without performing the obligatory acts.

 

Also, if what you are saying is true then how do we distinguish who is more pious if there are two People whose inner self is pure and also perform the obligatory acts. How do we distinguish who is more pure; will it not depend on how good they are from the inside or does it depend on who fulfills more obligations?

Akhi, without fulfilling obligatory acts there is no piety. 

 

Imam Ali (as) has given the criteria of who is Pious. Read this and whoever fits the criteria (I am not sure any of us can be absolute in this but whoever is closer to this is obviously more Pious). This (100%, without any doubt) is Piety. 

 

"They possess pre-eminence and excellence because they always speak truthfully, rightly and to the point, their way of living is based upon moderation, and their mode of dealing with other men is founded on their good will, fellow feeling and courtesy towards them. They deny themselves the things prohibited by God. They concentrate their minds upon knowledge of things which will bring them eternal bliss. They bear hardships and sufferings as happily as they enjoy comforts and pleasures. If God had not fixed the span of life for each one of them, their souls in desire of attaining His Heaven and out of fear of falling into His displeasure, would not have stayed in their bodies for long."

 

"They have visualized mentally the glory of God in such a way that beyond him nothing in this world alarms, frightens or awes them. Everything other than His might appears to them as insignificant and humble. They believe in the Heaven and its blessings like a person who has been there and has actually seen everything of the Heaven with his own eyes. Similarly, their faith in the Hell and its torments is as strong as that of a person who had passed through its sufferings. They feel that the tortures of the Hell are around them and very near to them.”

 

"The ways of worldly people make them sorry. They harm nobody. They do not indulge in excessive eating and pleasure seeking. Their wants are limited. Their wishes are few. They have accepted patiently sufferings and adversities in this mortal and transitory life for the sake of eternal bliss which by the grace of God proved for them a very profitable transaction. The vicious world desired their fellowship but they turned their faces away from it. It wanted to snare them, but they willingly accepted every trouble and discomfort to free themselves from its clutches.”

 

“Their nights they spend in carefully studying the Quran, because, of their weaknesses and short-comings, and try to find ways from this Holy book for improvements of their minds. In the study of the Quran when they came across a passage describing the Heaven they feel highly attracted towards it and develop such a keen desire to reach it; that the Heaven with all its blessings is visualized by their minds, while a passage about the Hell frightens them and makes them feel as if they are seeing and hearing the raging fire and the groans and lamentations of those who are suffering the tortures of the Hell.”

 

"Nights they spend in praying before the Lord and requesting and beseeching Him to deliver them from the Hell. Days find them occupied with such works that clearly indicate their wisdom, depth of knowledge, virtuousness, and piety. Constant fasting, simple diet: avoidance of every aspect of luxury and regular hard work make them look lean and haggard, but they possess very sound and robust health. When people hear them  discussing various problems of life they often take them to be whimsical fanatic or even half-witted. But it is not so, they are not satisfied with the quality and quantity of the work done by them in the cause of religion and humanity .The more they work the less they feel satisfied. Having set up a very high standard of efficiency for their work they fell nervous that indolence may not make it impossible for them to attain those heights.”

 

"If anyone of them is praised for piety, virtuousness and the good deeds done by him, he does not like to be so complimented; he is afraid that such praise may not allure him towards vanity, self flattery, and self glorification. He says, I know my mind and my work more than others, and God knows much more than me. O Lord! Please do not hold me responsible for what they have said about me. You know very well that I did not instigate them for such praises. Please Lord! Grant me excellence far greater than what they complimented me for. And Lord! Please forgive those of my sins short-comings which they do not know.”

 

"You will find every pious person possessing the following attributes. He is resolute though tender-hearted and kind. He is unwavering in his convictions and beliefs. He is thirsty for knowledge. He forgives those who harmed him, fully knowing that they have wronged him. Even when owning wealth his ways of life are based upon moderation. His prayers are models of humility and submissiveness to God. Even when starving he will maintain his self-respect. He will bear sufferings patiently.”

 

“He will resort only to honest means of living. Leading others towards truth and justice, will give him pleasure. He disdains avarice and greed. Though he does good deeds all the time, yet he feels nervous of his short-comings. Every night, he thanks God for having passed one more day under His Grace and Mercy. Every morning finds him starting the day with the prayers of the Lord. Of nights he is cautious that he may not carelessly waste those hours in comfort and ease. He starts his days happy with the thought the Lord has given him another day to do his duty.”

 

“If his mind wishes for something unholy and impious he refuses to obey its dictates. He desires to achieve eternal bliss. Worldly pleasures do not interest him. His wisdom is mixed with patience. His deeds reciprocate his words (he does what he says). Inordinate desires do not trouble him. He has few defects in him. He is courteous to others. He possesses a contended mind. He eats little, he does not harm anybody. He is easy to be pleased. He is strong in his faith. His passions are dead. His temper is controlled.”

 

"People expect good out of him and consider themselves immune from his harm. Even if he is found among godless people his name will be written in the list of Godly persons. If he is in company of those who always remember God, naturally his name will not be included amongst those who forget Him. He forgives those who harm him. He helps those who have forsaken him and have refused to help him. He is kind to those who have been cruel to him. He does good to those who do evil to him. He never indulges in loose talks. He has no vice in him, and his good qualities are outstanding, noticeable, and prominent, when facing dangers and disasters he is calm and undisturbed. In sufferings and calamities he is patient and hopeful. In prosperity he is thankful to God. He would not harm his worst enemy. He will never commit a sin even for the sake of his best friend.”

 

"Before anybody has to bear testimony to his fault he accepts and owns it. He never misappropriates anything entrusted to him. He never forgets what he has been told. He does not slander anybody. He does not harm his neighbors. When misfortunes befall any person he does not blame him, neither is he happy at the losses of others. He neither goes astray from the right path nor follows a wrong one. His silence does not indicate,. his moroseness nor his laughters are loud and boisterous. He bears persecution patiently and God punishes his oppressor. He is hard to himself and very lenient to others. He bears hardships in this life to attain eternal comfort and peace. He never wrongs a fellow being. If he avoids anybody it is to retain his piety and uprightness. If he forms contract with anybody it is on account of his kindness and clemency. He does not avoid anybody because of his pride and vanity, and he does not mix with others with ulterior motives of hypocrisy, pretense, and vile."

-Nahjul Balagha, sermon 193.

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I don't understand, how can someone who ignores Allah's orders (wajib) can be considered a pious person?

Someone with the most purified soul is not pious, he is the best Buddhist!

Let me tell you in brief:

First: piety is more than just purification of one's soul, it's obedience to Allah swt.

2nd:there is no actual purification without obedience to Allah swt. If one tries to purify himself, without believing in Allah swt. and obeying him, he is just playing with his imaginations

Have you not considered those who attribute purity to themselves? Nay, Allah purifies whom He pleases; and they shall not be wronged the husk of a date stone. Holy Qur'an 4:49

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(bismillah)

(salam)

one of the explanation of the word "taqwa" in Arabic is that, this word has been derived from "waqa" which means to take care or preserve, so " taqwa " means take care of God's order or preserving them.

 

this could be a nice introduction to brother " mesbah" 's post that, piety is more than purification of soul.

 

and another question i had in mind to ask brother/sister who started the topic, how someone can have a purified soul by  disobedience to Allah swt ?

 

i think before engaging to any discussion we must explain what do we mean by purified soul, and in my idea there is no way to have purified soul except through obeying Allah!

  

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I don't understand, how can someone who ignores Allah's orders (wajib) can be considered a pious person?

Someone with the most purified soul is not pious, he is the best Buddhist!

Let me tell you in brief:

First: piety is more than just purification of one's soul, it's obedience to Allah swt.

2nd:there is no actual purification without obedience to Allah swt. If one tries to purify himself, without believing in Allah swt. and obeying him, he is just playing with his imaginations

Have you not considered those who attribute purity to themselves? Nay, Allah purifies whom He pleases; and they shall not be wronged the husk of a date stone. Holy Qur'an 4:49

 

As-salaam mulaikum. I do agree with you but here is my point: Just because a person is seen performing what Allah has commanded does not mean his soul is purified. I was referring more to the purification of the heart when talking about piety but I guess I had to rephrase it. I do agree that purification of the soul falls under piety. However, you might see many muslims obeying the commandments of God, that does not necessarily mean their inner self is pure. Which is why I mentioned that piety is inner purification which results in avoidance of sins as one option. What I am asking. Is abstaining from sins more important or obeying the commands because I think I heard someone tell me abstaining from the haram is more important although both are important no doubt.

 

(bismillah)

(salam)

and another question i had in mind to ask brother/sister who started the topic, how someone can have a purified soul by  disobedience to Allah swt ?

 

i think before engaging to any discussion we must explain what do we mean by purified soul, and in my idea there is no way to have purified soul except through obeying Allah!

  

 

 

As-salaam mulaikum brother. Thank you for your input. The option I put was purification of the soul which results in avoidance of sins. I never said the soul can be purified by disobedience to Allah If you look at my post option a) it says purification of the soul which results in avoidance of sins (this means the person is not committing the haram acts but the person is not doing the obligatory acts also). Compare this to option c) which says purification of the soul which results in avoiding the haram but the person also performs the obligatory acts. So after reading option a) and c) my question was can person a) be more purified than person c). For example, what if person c) performs the obligatory acts to show off or he does not have that deep understanding of it but just performs it because he is told to. Or what if person a and c both have an opportunity to commit sin, and person a) avoids it right away while person c) is tempted towards and it takes him a while to avoid it, although he does not fall into it(does not actually commit the sin).

Edited by race

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Ok, sorry for misunderstanding. Now let’s clarify more, so far we agree on these facts:

Actions without purification = useless body movements

 Purifications without actions = illusion

Purification + action: piety

Also let’s keep in mind that ignoring Allah’s orders, is a great sin; consequently, if  one does not commit any sin yet does not perform any wajib; we simply tell: this is paradoxical, because he has already committed a very great sin, perhaps the most great one, and that’s disregarding  Allah’s orders; see:

Who is a greater wrongdoer than him who is reminded of his Lord's signs, whereat he disregards them? Holy Qur’an 32:22

Yes, that someone who told you about  abstaining from the haram being more important, he is right, but it is better to rephrase it into: more primary, to  avoid abovementioned paradoxical confusion.

I have found this narration for this topic :

Imam Sadiq p.b.u.h. said:  little action with piety is better than a lot of actins without piety. The narrator asks: how such ting is possible, a lot of actions without  piety? Imam a. said: It’s like a man who invite people over and acts nicely with his neighbors and help others but once there is no obstacle to a Haram act, he won’t waste the time and commits it; this is action without piety; however, the other one does not have such good actions but would not commit a sin once it is available  to him. Kafi, vol2, p76

Actually there are more narrations with the similar teaching and the comparison between performing wajibat (or mustahhabat) and avoiding hahram acts is a noticeable issue in Qur’an and ahaadeeth. 

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Mesbah, that's a nice clarification you made above, so basically actions without purification will get you off the obligation, but it wont really spiritually elevate you. For example, many people perform salah without understanding or concentration but its better to perform it with understanding and sincerity. That's a good hadith you posted also. What is needed is obedience as well as purification of the soul. The hardest part is that inner change which is much needed especially in this age we are living in, it is very hard to be religious and God fearing. Satan constantly attacks you from all directions, but the firm believers stick to the right path.

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^ Reading Quran really keeps one on straight path. 

 

Try to find one Attribute of Allah that your inner Self "accepts". For example, I know someone that whenever Shaitan tries to get him, his Self tells him that Allah is Aware. So, no matter what it is, he refuses to sin just because the Self has accepted one attribute of Allah who is All-Aware. Now, he says that he tries not to even let an evil thought creep in his mind as Allah is aware of even that. But he says he obviously falls down but tries to get back up. Its a process

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I was just reading this book called  The major sins volume 1 by ayatullah daste ghaib , interestingly it starts with the word  piety

 

 The Reality of Taqwa

The word ‘Taqwa’ is derived from the root ‘waqaya’which means ‘to safeguard’
or ‘to abstain’. In the Islamic terminology it is defined as the action
of restraining oneself from disobeying the commands of Allah
(S.w.T.). When Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked to elaborate on the
meaning of the word, ‘Taqwa’ he replied, “Submit to the command {of
Allah (S.w.T.)} and do not go near the prohibited.” It means that one
should endeavor to fulfill all the commands of Allah and abstain from
the prohibited things. On the basis of this, Taqwa is classified into two
types:
The first type of Taqwa consists of compulsory obedience to Allah
(S.w.T.) in fulfilling the compulsory duties(Wajibat) and not leaving even
a single duty unperformed. The obligatory commands (Wajibat) are those
which, if not carried out, invite the wrath of Allah (S.w.T.). Also, as far as
possible one should try not to forgo the recommended acts(Mustahabbat).
The recommended acts are those, which if performed earn blessings but
if not carried out do not make one liable for punishment.
7

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