Self-restraint is also a part of faith
“When the Prophet Muhammad saw was asked by ‘Amr ibn Abasah what was meant by faith, he replied, ‘Self-restraint and gentleness.’ (Hadith of Muslim)
According to the definition of Merriam Webster dictionary, “Self-restraint” is” control over your own actions or feelings that keeps you from doing things you want to do but should not do”. Self-restraint is imposing restrictions over one’s own self.
In Islamic terminology the word ‘Taqwa’ is used for self-restraint. Taqwa is an Arabic word which is mentioned 251 times in the Quran. The root word of Taqwa is “wa-qa-ya ” which means “protection” or “support”. It is to protect one’s own self from unlawfulness. Control one’s own will against the will of Almighty Allah.
Those people who practice self-restraint by protecting themselves from acting upon desires that require patience and a resolute attitude are called “Muttaqeen”. These people will get their reward on the Day of Judgment.
God created human beings with free will. We have the ability to choose between believing and no believing, between right and wrong, between lawful and unlawful, between obeying God and disobeying Him, thus we have the ability to choose between punishment and reward, but there is one thing that is self-restraint which will never lead a person making the wrong choice except a little one.
The fasting month of Ramadan is the best period for learning self-restraint. We refrain from food and water from dawn to dusk only to please our God rather than to follow our own lusts. We might be hungry and thirsty but we never exercise self-restraint in order to please God. By following our own desires we can’t achieve anything. As mentioned in the Quran:
“They only follow their own lusts. And who is more astray than one who follows his own lusts, without guidance from God…..” (Quran).
Self- restraint has three components which are: impulsivity, emotions and desires. One is impulsivity. It is to make decisions without using the ability of thinking. In terms of emotions we should have the ability to control our emotions. And the last one is desire. We should control our own desires. It is only our desires which interfere in our judgement.
Islam is a religion of discipline. It teaches us discipline and self-restraint in every step of our life. Allah orders us to offer prayer five times a day. He didn’t need our worship. He only wants to teach us discipline and self-restraint. Islam teaches us to “lower your gaze” to resist temptation.
We are guided about how and when to earn and spend our wealth. We have to control our thoughts and feelings. We have to control our anger, jealousy etc. Whatever we are doing in this life, do it with pious intentions. Self control not only warrants you success in this life but in the hereafter too. Self-restraint is needed to keep our life on the right track and make sure that we are doing something forbidden by Allah SWT. By being able to control yourself, you lead to a successful life as a Muslim, in dunya and the Hereafter.
May Allah guide us towards the right path. (Ameen)
(The author is a student and a regular contributor to Kashmir Vision)