Quora Answer: Is It True the Qur’an Serves as a Guide Only for Those Who Fear Allah (s.w.t.)?

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ 

The following is my answer to a Quora question: “Is it true that Qur’an serves as a Guide, only for those who fear Allah (s.w.t.)? 

This is at the beginning of Surah al-Baqarah: 

سُوۡرَةُ البَقَرَة

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

الٓمٓ (١) ذَٲلِكَ ٱلۡڪِتَـٰبُ لَا رَيۡبَ‌ۛ فِيهِ‌ۛ هُدً۬ى لِّلۡمُتَّقِينَ (٢) 

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Alif Lam Mim.  This is the Book; in it is Guidance sure, without doubt, to those who have taqwa of Allah. (Surah al-Baqarah1-2) 

Now, because most English translations use the word “fear” in place of “taqwa”, it creates that impression.  Taqwa” can mean “God-consciousness”, “piety”, “awe”, “caution”, and even “love”, depending on the context of the sentence.  In essence, it is not the sort of “fear” people have in mind.  Rather, it is the quiet awe when one recognises and is made aware of the Divine Majesty, and caution and mindfulness so as to not incur Divine Wrath through heedlessness.  As such, I personally prefer to translate “taqwa” as “God-consciousness”.  We cannot have piety without constantly being aware of the Divine Presence. 

Tafsir ibn Katsir stated that the root meaning of “taqwa’” is to avoid the dislikes.  To illustrate this, we refer to the atsar, narration of the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.), where Sayyidina Abu Hafsw ‘Umar ibn al-Khaththab al-Faruq (r.a.) asked Sayyidina Abu Mundzir Ubay ibn Ka’b (r.a.) about taqwa. Ubay (r.a.) said, “Have you walked a path that has thorns on it?” 

Sayyidina ‘Umar (r.a.) replied, “Yes.” 

Sayyidina Ubay (r.a.) asked, “What did you do then?” 

Sayyidina ‘Umar (r.a.) replied, “I rolled up my sleeves and struggled.” 

Sayyidina Ubay (r.a.) said, “That is taqwa, to protect yourself from sin journeying through the material world so that you successfully complete the journey free of it.” 

Taqwa” itself appears more than one hundred times in the Qur’an, and its derived forms more than double that.  In each appearance, it mentions an aspect of true faith such as perseverance, faithfulness, keeping trust, pleasing Allah (s.w.t.), and so forth.  The imperative form, or command tense of “taqwa”, “ittaqullah” is found in several verses.  Here it is often translated as and understood to mean “fear Allah” but a better understanding would be “be conscious of Allah”. 

Thus, the Qur’an Serves as a Guide for those who are God conscious, who are aware of the Divine.  It is no coincidence that the disbelievers and sinners are called “ghafilun”, the “heedless”, which is the opposite trait of believers.


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