The pious is marked by or showing reverence for deity and zealous devotion to the duties and rites of religion. A pious man is a person ever conscious of his acts in the sight of God and standing in awe in his omnipresence. He dutifully obeys His injunctions and relies on Him only. What are the sinful acts one should avoid? To attribute partners to Him, to deny His existence and flout His commandments come at the head of actions one should shun. Next in turn are cruelty, mischief making, pride, telling lies, going to all sorts of excesses, treason, profligacy, etc. The man is expected to be conscious of his state as God's servant and be grateful to Him.
The pious emulates Muhammad and his ways, cleanse his soul from impurities and attain perfection in order to deserve being received in paradise.
GOD FAVORS THE PIOUS
… verily Allah loves those who act aright. (3/76)
For Allah is with those who restrain themselves, and those who do good. (16/128)
The pious are those who have found favor with God; what God has bestowed upon them, they bestow to others.
THE BEST MAN IN GOD'S SIGHT IS THE MOST RIGHTEOUS
Verily the most honoured of you in the sight of Allah is (he who is) the most righteous of you. (49/13)
Every man happens to be at an equal distance removed from God. By their own actions do they get near Him. The Qur'an obliterates all differences of rank, class, wealth, sex and religion. He replaces them with man's own intentions, efforts and actions wherein they should excel. The most righteous among his servants are the front runners; a motto which lies at the basis of creation. " But Allah will deliver the righteous to their place of salvation: no evil shall touch them, nor shall they grieve" Zümer (39/61)
The little value in the sight of God of those steeped in luxury, of those oblivious of God's commandments, of the opportunist statesmen, of the proud aristocrats becomes only too apparent. The man striving in the path traced by God will enable him to enter the Garden, while the one who strays from it will go to hell.
THE TRUE GUIDE IS THE QUR'AN
This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah. Who believe in the Unseen, are steadfast in prayer, and spend out of what We have provided for them; And who believe in the Revelation sent to thee, and sent before thy time, and (in their hearts) have the assurance of the Hereafter. They are on (true) guidance, from their Lord, and it is these who will prosper. (2/2-5)
But to those who receive Guidance, He increases the (light of) Guidance, and bestows on them their Piety and Restraint (from evil). (47/17)
God stresses that the only true guide is the Qur'an. Considering that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic, the persons who do not know this language shall have to have recourse to its translations. To read, understand and meditate upon the wisdom of the verses will guide a man to the path leading to God. Man comes to the world endowed with prescience that enables him to know God toward Whom he feels he ought to pay tribute and praise Him with gratitude. No sooner he perceives this than he begins to establish regular prayers and begin to succor the needy.
THE TRUE PATH
The True Path is the path taken by a believer after he has got rid of all iniquities with which Satan may have tried to tempt him by showing them in attractive garbs. God sparkles in the soul of such novices that belief which eventually leads him to begin establishing regular prayers and to feel the happiness that sharing one's assets with others provide him with. The novice will, in time, evolve and undergo transformation, during which process he will come to believe in the prophets of the past, in the books that have been revealed before and in the hereafter. To be guided into the true faith is a continuous process during through which man passes by stages until he reaches perfection.
BELIEF IN THE INVISIBLE WORLD
Belief is one of the sine qua non precepts of Islam. It is defined in the Qur'an as belief in the Supreme Being. Man must perceive God in his essence and see Him with the eye of his heart. God's angels also are invisible to us. The next world also is out of our sight, yet we have to believe in its existence. To keep other people and succor them is also a golden rule. If we have an overall view of the above the first thing one should never forget is the fact that the only true path is the one shown by the Qur'an. The pious that endears himself to the Supreme Being is guided by it and protected against temptations and sins. The performance of regular prayers and one's deeds of charity are the preludes to being guided by God's grace. Belief in the prophets, in the books revealed and in the hereafter will accompany him on the said path. Learning the wisdom concealed in the verses of the Qur'an will secure the salvation of man and his attainment to heavenly bliss.
SAVED IS THE MAN WHOSE SELF HAS BEEN PURIFIED
By the Soul, and the proportion and order given to it; And its enlightenment as to its wrong and its right; Truly he succeeds that purifies it, And he fails that corrupts it! (91/7-9)
We see that God has shaped the man's soul in fair proportion before he created his material entity, and instilled into him the sense of wrong and piety. From the very beginning he had a preconceived idea about goodness and wickedness; henceforth he was free to act, either giving vent to his inclinations and temptations or exercising restraint. Among the wrong things were inflicting cruelty, ingratitude, mischief making, lust, treachery, mockery, etc.; while among the pious acts one could enumerate vying in performance of good deeds and charity. This discrimination between good and evil is thus innate in him. “Even though the law may sanction your action, you should inquire your heart about it before acting,” says a tradition of the Prophet. The purified of soul have gained while those who have soiled heir hearts have lost.
TAKE YOUR VICTUALS WITH YOU WHEN SETTING OUT FOR PILGRIMAGE
… And take a provision (With you) for the journey (Pilgrimage) but the best of provisions is right conduct. (2/197)
O ye Children of Adam! We have bestowed raiment upon you to cover your shame, as well as to be an adornment to you. But the raiment of righteousness,- that is the best. (7/26)
God stipulates the right conduct and raiment of righteousness for a Muslim who will come to visit the Kaaba. Purification of one's soul through laudable acts and deeds is required before this visit, by performance of regular prayers, keeping fast, giving alms, sharing one's surplus of assets with others, forgiveness of others' shortcomings, resignedness, benevolence, justice, fulfillment of promises and covenants area man's assets as enumerated in the Qur'an.
Performance of the pilgrimage duty, the fifth of the five obligatory conditions of Islam, will not be complete unless the above mentioned duties have been duly put into action. Once the said duties foreseen in the Qur'an have been executed, they will be crowned by the pilgrimage to Kaaba. Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil;- (10/62-63)
In order to gain God's favor, believers from the four corners of the world flow into Mecca every year. “Whoever pays a visit to the Kaaba and refrains from behaving badly towards his fellow beings and using terms of abuse during the length of the pilgrimage will be purged of all his sins as though he had just been brought to the world by his mother." The performing of hajj will be in a sense the crowning achievement of one's life long service to God.
O ye who believe! Be ye helpers of Allah. As said Jesus the son of Mary to the Disciples, "Who will be my helpers to (the work of) Allah." Said the disciples, "We are Allah.s helpers!" (61/14)
O ye who believe! If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly. (47/7)
Nor can ye frustrate (aught), (fleeing) through the earth; nor have ye, besides Allah, any one to protect or to help. (42/31)
The Qur'an invites the believers to contribute to the cause of Islam. O believers! Make sure you carry out closely the injunctions of God with all your might and will. Prove His Messenger with help, just like the help brought by the disciples that had aided Jesus.
Disciples are the twelve saintly personages that had believed in Jesus's cause and helped him. Most of them were fishers. Upon Jesus's call, they had abandoned their job and accompanied him wherever he went, and helped him in spreading the revelations Jesus received.
A parallel may be drawn between them and the companions of Muhammad, the first believers and Muhammad's helpers who had sacrificed their lives with a view to spreading Islam.
There is in Islam a lofty stage between prophethood and sainthood: namely, sýddikiyya, (truthfulness of heart). The typical representatives of this attribute are Ali and Abu Bakr. All who obey Allah and the apostle are in the company of those on whom is the Grace of Allah,- of the prophets (who teach), the sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses, (the martyrs) (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful fellowship! (4/69).
God who is the faithful companion of the believer demands in return unreserved submission and resignation to His Will. To be perfect in one's devotion is not sufficient, for the individual who has developed himself is expected to help others to undergo the same discipline; in this way will God lend his aid to his servant.
FRIENDS OF GOD
Allah is the Protector of those who have faith… (2/257)
Behold! verily on the friends of Allah there is no fear, nor shall they grieve; Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil;- For them are glad tidings, in the life of the present and in the Hereafter; no change can there be in the words of Allah. This is indeed the supreme felicity. (10/62-64)
Wali, in ordinary use this word means protector, benefactor, companion, friend; when used in a religious connection wali corresponds very much to the concept of 'saint' in the west; therefore, the word means 'friend of God' or 'ally of God'. Those who believe and (constantly) guard against evil;- (10/63).
Who are then God's friends? The believer and the pious, of course. The next stage is divine love: …But those of Faith are overflowing in their love for Allah…(2/165). The ideal state and stage that an individual can attain is the bliss of loving God and being loved by Him. The created and the Created become One in this state. God, the source of beauty and love based His creation on love and projected this love upon all that He created. The perfect man, therefore, represents the man who has attained this stage. The Qur'an will be the guide of the novice.
WALIS (FRIENDS) OTHER THAN GOD
Follow (O men!) the revelation given unto you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is ye remember of admonition. (7/3)
Is it not to Allah that sincere devotion is due? But those who take for protectors other than Allah (say): "We only serve them in order that they may bring us nearer to Allah." Truly Allah will judge between them in that wherein they differ… (39/3)
…Allah is enough for a protector, and Allah is enough for a Helper. (4/45)
God wants us to abide by the injunctions of the Qur'an solely. Only Him we are expected to serve, only Him are we expected to praise. To supplicate other entities such as so-called saints or protectors to intercede for us is tantamount to attributing partners to God. Certain sects have indulged in excesses and their members became self-styled protectors, thus interceding with supreme powers for the individual. The real and only protector of the individual is God. Friendship between equals among human beings is on the same footing. But God's friendship with man is different. To ascribe to human beings such attributes as 'savior'or 'saint' would be a blasphemy.
"Leave Me alone, (to deal) with the (creature) whom I created (bare and) alone!" (74/11)
It is often stressed in the Qur'an that intercession is a capital sin. God is nearer to man than his jugular vein. We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein. (50/16) Any person who claims that he can intercede with the Supreme Being for an individual confesses his ignorance and displays his opportunistic tendencies.
PARADISE IS FOR THE PIOUS
Be quick in the race for forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden whose width is that (of the whole) of the heavens and of the earth, prepared for the righteous,- 3/133) As to the Righteous, they will be in the midst of Gardens and Springs, (51/15)
The dwellers of the paradise will be for the pious. In order that we may be considered admitted in it, we have to fulfill all the conditions that piety requires.