God is so kind on us that He has given us the guidance – Quran (41:2) and has told us to be righteous using it (2:2) confirming it from Him being Almighty, the Omniscient and Most Wise (40:2, 45:2, 46:2). He possesses both this world and the Hereafter (53:25) but He reminds us to focus on the Hereafter to be our real life. He has also informed us that the abode of the Hereafter is far better for those who lead a righteous life while this life is nothing but play and vanity that will last for a short while (29:64, 47:36):
[41:2] A revelation from the Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
[2:2] This scripture is infallible; a beacon for the righteous;
[40:2] This revelation of the scripture is from God, the Almighty, the Omniscient.
[45:2] The revelation of this scripture is from God, the Almighty, Most Wise.
[46:2] The revelation of this scripture is from God, the Almighty, Most Wise.
[53: 25] To God belongs both the Hereafter, and this world.
[29:64] This worldly life is no more than vanity and play, while the abode of the Hereafter is the real life, if they only knew.
[47:36] This worldly life is no more than play and vanity. But if you believe and lead a righteous life, He will reward you, without asking you for any money.
By definition, anyone who submits to the will of God is a Submitter (Muslim in Arabic). Thus, submitting to God is our minimum requirement to initiate the drive to achieve righteousness going through appropriate process (2:62, 5:59):
[2:62] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the Christians, and the converts; anyone who (1) believes in GOD, and (2) believes in the Last Day, and (3) leads a righteous life, will receive their recompense from their Lord. They have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
[5:69] Surely, those who believe, those who are Jewish, the converts, and the Christians; any of them who (1) believe in GOD and (2) believe in the Last Day, and (3) lead a righteous life, have nothing to fear, nor will they grieve.
The first element to spell out the above definition of a submitter is the belief in God. The meaning of the word, “Belief” (Iman in Arabic) is more complex than what most of us think. It is the unshakable conviction that something exists whether it is physical or mental, seen or unseen, agreed upon by others or not. The Quran teaches us that those who truly believe in God offer much more than flat acknowledgment of God’s existence. They demonstrate fully what it takes and how it feels to be a believer (Mu’men in Arabic) in God:
[49:14] The Arabs said, “We are Mu’mens (believers).” Say, “You have not believed; what you should say is, `We are Muslims (submitters),’ until belief is established in your hearts.” If you obey God and His messenger, He will not put any of your works to waste. God is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
[49:15] Mu’mens (believers) are those who believe in God and His messenger, then attain the status of having no doubt whatsoever, and strive with their money and their lives in the cause of God. These are the truthful ones.
[8:2] The true believers are those whose hearts tremble when God is mentioned, and when His revelations are recited to them, their faith is strengthened, and they trust in their Lord.
[13:28] They are the ones whose hearts rejoice in remembering God. Absolutely, by remembering God, the hearts rejoice.
[10:84] Moses said, “O my people, if you have really believed in God, then put your trust in Him, if you are really submitters.”
[6:162] Say, “My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to God alone, the Lord of the universe.
God is the source of righteousness (74:56). His definition of righteousness as given (2:177) is the most accurate definition and the clarification as well (2:197, 7:26, 2:148, 5:48). He calls righteousness to be the best provision (2:197) and the best garment (7:26) for us. He also tells us to race towards righteousness (2:148) and to compete in righteousness (5:48):
[74:56] They cannot take heed against GOD’s will. He is the source of righteousness (attaq’waa in Arabic); He is the source of forgiveness.
[2:177] Righteousness (albirra in Arabic) is not turning your faces towards the east or the west. Righteous are those who believe in GOD, the Last Day, the angels, the scripture, and the prophets; and they give the money, cheerfully, to the relatives, the orphans, the needy, the traveling alien, the beggars, and to free the slaves; and they observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) and give the obligatory charity (Zakat); and they keep their word whenever they make a promise; and they steadfastly persevere in the face of persecution, hardship, and war. These are the truthful; these are the righteous.
[2:197] … As you prepare your provisions for the journey, the best provision is righteousness (attaq’waa in Arabic) …..
[7:26] O children of Adam, we have provided you with garments to cover your bodies, as well as for luxury. But the best garment is the garment of righteousness (attaq’waa in Arabic). These are some of GOD’s signs, that they may take heed.
[2:148] Each of you chooses the direction to follow; you shall race towards righteousness (alkhay’raat in Arabic). Wherever you may be, God will summon you all. God is Omnipotent.
[5:48] … You shall compete in righteousness (alkhay’raat in Arabic) ….
How can we be righteous
God has not only defined righteousness but He has also detailed out ways for us how we can achieve and maintain it:
1. Being straightforward and obedient to God.
[2:189] They ask you about the phases of the moon! Say, “They provide a timing device for the people, and determine the time of Hajj.” It is not righteous to beat around the bush; righteousness is attained by upholding the commandments and by being straightforward. You shall observe GOD, that you may succeed.
2. Being possessor of primary traits of righteous as desired by God.
[33:35] The submitting men, the submitting women, the believing men, the believing women, the obedient men, the obedient women, the truthful men, the truthful women, the steadfast men, the steadfast women, the reverent men, the reverent women, the charitable men, the charitable women, the fasting men, the fasting women, the chaste men, the chaste women, and the men who commemorate God frequently, and the commemorating women; God has prepared for them forgiveness and a great recompense.
3. Being reverent to the rites dictated by God — Just being reverent during Salat, paying Zakat on time, thinking about God while fasting etc..
[22:32] Indeed, those who reverence the rites decreed by GOD demonstrate the righteousness of their hearts.
4. Being forgiving and just.
[42:40] Although the just requital for an injustice is an equivalent retribution, those who pardon and maintain righteousness are rewarded by GOD. He does not love the unjust.
5. Being sensitive in delicate matters like marriage and divorce.
[2:223] Your women are the bearers of your seed. Thus, you may enjoy this privilege however you like, so long as you maintain righteousness. You shall observe GOD, and know that you will meet Him. Give good news to the believers
[2:237] If you divorce them before touching them, but after you had set the dowry for them, the compensation shall be half the dowry, unless they voluntarily forfeit their rights, or the party responsible for causing the divorce chooses to forfeit the dowry. To forfeit is closer to righteousness. You shall maintain the amicable relations among you. GOD is Seer of everything you do.
[2:240] Those who die and leave wives, a will shall provide their wives with support for a year, provided they stay within the same household. If they leave, you commit no sin by letting them do whatever they wish, so long as righteousness is maintained. GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.
[4:129] You can never be equitable in dealing with more than one wife, no matter how hard you try. Therefore, do not be so biased as to leave one of them hanging (neither enjoying marriage, nor left to marry someone else). If you correct this situation and maintain righteousness, GOD is Forgiver, Most Merciful.
6. Being charitable.
[3:92] You cannot attain righteousness until you give to charity from the possessions you love. Whatever you give to charity, GOD is fully aware thereof.
[7:156] “And decree for us righteousness in this world, and in the Hereafter. We have repented to You.” He said, “My retribution befalls whomever I will. But My mercy encompasses all things. However, I will specify it for those who (1) lead a righteous life, (2)give the obligatory charity (Zakat), (3) believe in our revelations;”
7. Advocating righteousness.
[3:104] Let there be a community of you who invite to what is good, advocate righteousness, and forbid evil. These are the winners.
[3:110] You are the best community ever raised among the people: you advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and you believe in GOD. If the followers of the scripture believed, it would be better for them. Some of them do believe, but the majority of them are wicked.
[3:114] They believe in GOD and the Last Day, they advocate righteousness and forbid evil, and they hasten to do righteous works. These are the righteous.
Rewards of Righteousness
Every now and then awards are given out in this world—but there is no award for “Best Submitter”.At the end, everyone as blessed by God is a winner, and everyone can share the same trophy and can enjoy indescribable happiness as a reward given by God (4:69, 32:17):
[4:69] Those who obey God and the messenger belong with those blessed by God – the prophets, the saints, the martyrs, and the righteous. These are the best company.
[32:17] You have no idea how much joy and happiness are waiting for you as a reward for your (righteous) works.
1) Being righteous we get repaid manifold.
[2:245] Who would lend GOD a loan of righteousness, to have it repaid to them multiplied manifold? GOD is the One who provides and withholds, and to Him you will be returned.
[28:84] Whoever works righteousness receives a far better reward. As for those who commit sins, the retribution for their sins is precisely equivalent to their works.
[57:11] Who would like to loan GOD a loan of righteousness, to have it multiplied for him manifold, and end up with a generous recompense?
[64:17] If you lend GOD a loan of righteousness, He will multiply the reward for you manifold, and forgive you. GOD is Appreciative, Clement.
2) Being righteous we bring pardon from God, and He remits our sins and we get entry to the Garden of Eden.
[4:149] If you work righteousness — either declared or concealed — or pardon a transgression, GOD is Pardoner, Omnipotent.
[5:12] GOD had taken a covenant from the Children of Israel, and we raised among them twelve patriarchs. And GOD said, “I am with you, so long as you observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and believe in My messengers and respect them, and continue to lend GOD a loan of righteousness. I will then remit your sins, and admit you into gardens with flowing streams. Anyone who disbelieves after this, has indeed strayed off the right path.”
3) Being righteous we protect and relieve us from injustice and adversity as well as harm and grief.
[20:112] As for those who worked righteousness, while believing, they will have no fear of injustice or adversity.
[39:61] And GOD will save those who have maintained righteousness; He will reward them. No harm will touch them, nor will they have any grief.
4) Being righteous our happiness is guaranteed now and forever
[16:97] Anyone who works righteousness, male or female, while believing, we will surely grant them a happy life in this world, and we will surely pay them their full recompense (on the Day of Judgment) for their righteous works.
5) Being righteous we avoid the taste of death, and have forgiveness and honor from God for getting opportunity to go straight to the Heaven.
[44:56] They do not taste death therein – beyond the first death – and He has spared them the retribution of Hell.
[26:26-27] (At the time of his death) he was told, “Enter Paradise.” He said, “Oh, I wish my people knew. “That my Lord has forgiven me, and made me honorable.”
By definition, righteousness is the state of moral perfection required by God. It shows a great concern for morals and ethics. It is a process that begins with our confession and is achieved by changing our behavior through our righteous works decreed by God establishing firm beliefs in our hearts. Thus, if we can achieve righteousness at our lifetime and maintain it until our death, we deserve a great recompose at God as promised by Him but those who fail to achieve it at their lifetime or maintain it until their death, they incur a painful retribution (3:91):
[3:91] Those who disbelieve and die as disbelievers, an earthfull of gold will not be accepted from any of them, even if such a ransom were possible. They have incurred painful retribution; they will have no helpers.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.