Taqwa is an Islamic term for being conscious and cognizant of God, of truth, of the rational reality, "piety, fear of God". It is often found in the Quran.

Al-Muttaqīn refers to those who practice Taqwa, or in the words of Ibn Abbas -- "believers who avoid Shirk with Allah and who work in His obedience."


The Arabic word Taqwa used in a not-necessarily-religious sense means "forbearance, fear and abstinence."

Some descriptions of the term from Islamic sources include:

=> "God consciousness ... piousness, fear of Allah, love for Allah, and self-restraint".

=> "God-consciousness or God-fearing piety", "virtue", "wariness".

=> Fear of Allah, "being careful, knowing your place in the cosmos”. “Proof" of Taqwa is the "experience of awe" of God, which "inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action" and eager to do thing which please Allah.

=> literally "to protect". In general, to protect yourself "from the Wrath of Allah" by not "indulging in things that Allah forbids".

=> "a high state of heart, which keeps one conscious of Allah's presence and His Knowledge." Taqwa motivates the person who possesses it "to perform righteous deeds" and avoid forbidden activities.

Theological interpretation

According to Tafsīr ibn Kathir, the root meaning of Taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes. It was reported that Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb asked Ubay ibn Kaab (died 649) about Taqwa:

Ubay said, "Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it?"

Umar said, "Yes."

Ubay asked, "What did you do then?"

to which Umar replied, "I rolled up my sleeves and struggled."

Ubay said, "That is Taqwa, to protect oneself from sin through life’s dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin."

Taqwa and the Qur'an

Taqwa is used in the Qur'an over 100 times. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Islam, Taqwa and its derivatives appear "more than 250 times" in the Qur'an. 

In a Quranic context, Taqwa refers to fear of God in terms of protecting oneself from displeasing God.

The Quran mentions a number of virtues that cultivate Taqwa or that Taqwa cultivates in a person:

Quran 2:283 mentions the keeping of trusts;

And if one of you entrusts another, then let him who is entrusted discharge his trust [faithfully] and let him fear Allah, his Lord.

And do not conceal testimony, for whoever conceals it - his heart is indeed sinful, and Allah is Knowing of what you do./2:283/

Quran 3:76 faithfulness;

But yes, whoever fulfils his commitment and fears Allah - then indeed, Allah loves those who fear Him. /3:76/

Quran 3:186 patience (al-sabr).

You will surely be tested in your possessions and in yourselves.

And you will surely hear from those who were given the Scripture before you and from those who associate others with Allah much abuse.

But if you are patient and fear Allah - indeed, that is of the matters [worthy] of determination. /3:186/

Quran 7:96, 10:63-64, 39:10 relate Taqwa to the good life (hasanā) on this earth besides reward in the hereafter.

If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (All kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth; but they rejected (the truth), and We brought them to book for their misdeeds. /7:96/

Those who believed and were fearing Allah

For them are good tidings in the worldly life and in the Hereafter. No change is there in the words of Allah. That is what is the great attainment. /10:63-64/

Say, "O My servants who have believed, fear your Lord. For those who do good in this world is good, and the earth of Allah is spacious. Indeed, the patient will be given their reward without account." /39:10/

Quran 65:3 relates Taqwa to material ease in this life even where the believer does not expect it.

And whoever fears Allah - He will make for him a way out

And will provide for him from where he does not expect.

And whoever relies upon Allah - then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a [decreed] extent. /65:3/

The imperative form of Taqwa is found in the phrase Ittaqullah ("fear God" or "be aware of Allah"), which is in a number of verses. /65:2-3/

Taqwa and Fiqh

In at least one popular work of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), the "Book of Taqwa", (i.e. the section on Taqwa) deals with "knowledge of what is Harām (forbidden), Makrūh (discouraged) and doubtful" in an assortment of matters beyond "the pillars of Islam".

These include: foods, dress, things having to do with sex ("private matters"), kinds of sporting contests, music, gossip, bad mouthing, bad company, beard trimming, etc.


Taqwa is an important concept in Sufism.

The 10th-century Sufi scholar al-Qushayri in his Epistle (Risalah) writes about 3 parts of Taqwa:

=> full trust in God with respect to what has not been granted to him;
=> full satisfaction with what has been granted to him; and
=> full patience with respect to what has eluded him.

In Sufism, Taqwa has several degrees:

1st degree or rank is that of the common people. This rank shuns anything associated with God. In other words, the common people participate in Taqwa by simply avoiding shirk.

2nd degree or rank of Taqwa are the elect who shun sins.

3rd rank is that of the prophets who avoid attributing acts to anyone other than God- "in other words, their fear comes to them from Him and is [directed] to Him."

The highest rank are those who distance themselves from everything that separates them from God, for one of the main goals in Sufism is to get closer to God because being separated from God is equivalent to that of hell.