What is God-Consciousness & Taqwa?
What are some of the Expert opinions on the subject of Taqwa?
Below I have provided a number of definitions on the meaning of Taqwa:
- Taqwa is condition of piety and God-consciousness that all Muslims aspire to achieve or maintain. It can be said that one's Taqwa is a measure of one's faith and commitment to God. It means fearing Allah as He should be feared, and loving Allah as He should be loved. A person with Taqwa desires to be in the good pleasures of Allah and to stay away from those things that would displease Allah. He remains careful not to go beyond the bounds and limits set by Allah. 
- Taqwa is righteousness, a God-fearing attitude. 
- Taqwa is awe or fear of Allah, which inspires a person to be on guard against wrong action and eager for actions which please Him. A fearful awareness of Allah and acting accordingly. 
- Taqwa is obeying and not defying, remembering and not forgetting, and appreciating and not un-appreciating Allah. 
A common theme amongst the definitions of Taqwa, is that Taqwa is God-consciousness coupled with the fear of God. To expand on the existing definitions of Taqwa; I think those that have a high level of Taqwa are conscious of their conscience which leads to a heightened level of self-awareness; and self-awareness leads to self-realisation as to how one views God, thus becoming God-conscious.
Allah states: “…I am just as My slave thinks I am…” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 7405). Thus, understanding and realizing your thoughts about God, is an element of Taqwa and God-consciousness.
Narrated Abu Hurairah (ra)
The Prophet said, "Allah says: 'I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e., I am Able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him) and I am with him if he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in himself, I too, remember him in Myself…— REFERENCE: SAHIH BUKHARI, HADITH NUMBER: 7405
How to Attain Taqwa?
However you think Allah is, He is; because Allah states: “…I am just as My slave thinks I am…” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, 7405). Therefore, do you view Allah in a positive or negative manner? Do you believe or disbelieve in His existence? Is Allah forgiving or unforgiving? Is He wrathful or merciful? Etc. Whatever you think Allah is, He is. I think the secret of becoming God-conscious can be found within the meanings of Allah's ninety-nine names, because to know the meanings of Allah ninety-names, is to know God for what He really is.
… "Allah has ninety-nine names. Whoever memorizes them will enter Paradise…” — REFERENCE: SAHIH MUSLIM, HADITH NUMBER:  5 – (2677)
Comparison Between Those That Possess High Levels of Taqwa (God-Consciousness) With Those That Possess Low Levels of Taqwa.
Your thoughts about Allah, yourself, and the world exist in the subconscious and conscious compartment of your mind, and your views and opinions about Allah, yourself and the world are only realised when you become conscious of your thoughts, thus attaining a level of Taqwa. Becoming conscious of one’s conscience allows one to remain alert to the sound of your inner-voice (i.e. your thoughts). Those that have high levels of Taqwa are able to remain conscious of their conscience for longer periods than those that lack Taqwa because those that possess high levels of Taqwa often meditate, reflect and ponder. Furthermore, those that lack in Taqwa, live most of their day in the subconscious part of the mind whereby the inner-voice (i.e. thoughts) remains ignored. Below is the English definitions of conscious, subconscious and conscience.
Dictionary Definitions of Conscious, Sub-Conscious and Conscience.
- alert and awake; not sleeping or comatose
- aware of one's surroundings, one's own thoughts and motivations, etc.
- aware of and giving value or emphasis to a particular fact or phenomenon.
- done with full awareness; deliberate.
- denoting or relating to a part of the human mind that is aware of a person's self, environment, and mental activity and that to a certain extent determines his choices of action
- acting or existing without one's awareness
- that part of the mind which is on the fringe of consciousness and contains material of which it is possible to become aware by redirecting attention
- the sense of right and wrong that governs a person's thoughts and actions
- regulation of one's actions in conformity to this sense
- a supposed universal faculty of moral insight
- conscientiousness; diligence
- a feeling of guilt or anxiety
Example of Conscience, Conscious and Subconscious Thoughts.
Conscious thoughts are those decisions and ideas that you are aware of, such as setting the alarm clock to wake up for Fajr Salah (or not). When you awake for Fajr Salah whilst still in bed, you access your conscience, the conscience is the part of the brain you consult before making a decision on whether to pray salah now or later. The devil  via your conscience will try to convince you to pray salah later, whereas your guardian angel  will try and convince you to pray salah now. The choice is yours. Subconscious thoughts are those reflections of your mind that you are unaware of, such as those idle thoughts that float in your mind when praying salah.
Are Thoughts Random or Structured?
Thoughts appear when you become consciously aware of the stored information held within the memory bank of your brain. A new thought appears when random bits of information connect; for example, the idea to go gym may have occurred because you saw a man jogging in the morning on your way to work whilst witnessing sunshine during your lunch-break; this ultimately led you to workout in the evening thinking of summer and looking good.
How to Generate Meaningful Thoughts?
In order to generate new meaningful thoughts one must remain in the present and *consciously aware* for long periods as well as know ‘how’ and ‘why’ you came to your thoughts and decisions. A branch of intelligence is to know ‘what’ you are thinking and ‘why’ you are thinking it.
What Does The Quran Say About Taqwa?
Below are quotes from the Quran regarding Taqwa.
“…O mankind! Worship your Lord (Allah), who created you and those who were before you so that you may acquire Taqwa.”— QURAN, SURAH AL-BAQARAH, 2:21, TRANSLATED BY: SAFIUR-RAHMAN AL-MUBARAKPURI 
“And Paradise will be brought near to those who had Taqwa.”— QURAN, SURAH ASH-SHUARA, 26:90, TRANSLATED BY: SAFIUR-RAHMAN AL-MUBARAKPURI 
“Verily, for those who have Taqwa, there will be a success.”— QURAN, SURAH AN-NABA, 78:31, TRANSLATED BY: SAFIUR-RAHMAN AL-MUBARAKPURI 
Taqwa is to try and become curiously conscious of one’s conscience in order to hear if it is God or the devil that is more dominant in your mind. In order to attain Taqwa, one must first recognise their conscious, conscience and subconscious thoughts. Once one has recognised the conscious, conscience and subconscious thoughts, then, one must become conscious of their conscience.
Humanity possesses the conscious, subconscious and conscience, and it is healthy and entirely natural to switch between the three, but it is Taqwa to try and become curiously conscious of one’s conscience in order to hear if it is God or the devil that is more dominant in your mind. If the devil is more dominant in your mind, then, seek refuge with Allah. If Allah is more dominant in your mind, then, praise Allah. If you don’t know whether it is the devil or Allah that is more dominant in your mind, then, ask Allah. Either-way, look for Allah hidden within yourself.
Lastly, Ihsan is the Islamic concept “… to worship Allah as though you can see Him, for although you cannot see Him, know that God sees you…” (Sahih Muslim,  1 – (8)). Much like Taqwa, Ihsan is also a frame of mind that seeks to aid God-Consciousness.
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- (Tafsir Ibn Kathir, p151, Vol. 1) Op Cite., Note 4
- Ibid., p245, Vol. 7
- Ibid., p333, Vol. 10
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