Taqwa means protecting the heart from anything other than Allah or anything that distances one from Allah so that the heart becomes a mirror of beautiful manifestations. The following story is very telling in showing the piety of a woman who, when she spoke, spoke nothing but verses from the Qur’an out of fear of falling into sin:
Abdullah bin Mubarak (May Allah be pleased with him) narrates:
One time I had set out with the aim of performing the hajj at Allah’s Sacred House, the Kabah and visiting the tomb of the Prophet e, when I saw something black in the middle of the road. I looked carefully and saw that it was a woman with a cloak made of wool on her back and a veil of wool over her head… I greeted her:
“Asalamu alaykum wa rahmetullahi wa barakatuhu (May the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you)”.
She replied from chapter Yasin of the Qur’an:
“Peace!” A word from a Merciful Lord”.
“May Allah bring you good! What are you doing here?” he I asked.
She replied with the 186th verse of Chapter A’raf:
“If Allah misguides people, no one can guide them”.
I realised that she had lost her way. So I asked her:
“Where do you want to go?”
She replied with a portion of the first verse of Chapter Isra:
“Glory be to Him who took His slave on a journey by night from the Masjid al-Haram to the Masjid al-Aqsa”.
I understood that she had made the pilgrimage and wanted to go to Jerusalem. I asked her:
“How many days have you been here?
She replied with the 10th verse of Chapter Mariam:
“For three nights despite the fact that you are perfectly able”.
“Don’t you have anything to eat” I asked her
She read the 79th verse of the chapter Shu’ara:
“He who gives me food and gives me drink”.
“How can you perform the ablution in this dry desert?” I asked her
She replied with the 43rd verse of Chapter Nisa:“(If) you cannot find any water, then do tayammum [*] [cleanse yourself] with pure earth”.
“I have something to eat with me. Would you like to eat?” I asked.
She responded with a part of the 187th verse of chapter Baqara: “…then fulfil the fast until the night appears”.
“This is not the month of Ramadan” I said.
She answered with a portion of the 158th verse of chapter Baqara:“If anyone spontaneously does good, Allah is All-Thankful, All-Knowing”.
“To break the fast is permissible when you are on a journey” I said.
She responded with a part of the 184th verse of chapter Baqara: “But that you should fast is better for you, if you only knew”.
“Why don’t you speak to me in the way that I am speaking to you?” I asked her.
She answered by reading the 18th verse of chapter Qaf:
“He does not utter a single word, without a watcher by him, pen in hand!”
“Shall I let you mount my camel and take you to your tribe” I asked her.
She replied with a portion of verse 197 from chapter Baqara: “Whatever good you do, Allah knows it”.
I got my camel ready for her to mount it.
She read a part of the 30th verse of chapter Nur: “Say to the believers that they should lower their eyes”.
While she climbed up onto the camel, she read a portion of the 13th and 14th verses of chapter Zuhruf: “Glory be to Him who has subjected this to us. We could never have done it by ourselves”.
When we started moving she read from the 20th verse of Chapter Muzemmil:
“Recite as much of the Qur’an as is easy for you”.
Inspired by the 269th verse of chapter Baqara I then said:
“He who has been given wisdom has been given great good”.
I said to her: “You have been given much good”.
She finished this verse:
“But no one pays heed but people of intelligence”.
At last we reached her caravan. “Here is your caravan. Who do you have in it?” I asked
She read from the 46th verse of Chapter Kahf:
“Wealth and sons are the embellishment of the life of this world”.
I understood that she had sons in the group. I asked: “What is their role in the pilgrimage group?
She read the 16th verse of chapter Nahl:
“As well as other means of orientation; for it is by the stars that men find their way”.
I understood that her sons were the guides of the caravan. Indicating the tents and I asked her: “Which of them are your sons?
She answered:“Allah took Ibrahim as an intimate friend, and Allah spoke directly to Musa. Yahya, take hold of the Book with vigour”.
I then shouted to the caravan: “O Ibrahim, O Musa, O Yahya”. Three young men radiant as the moon came out. When they came and sat down, their mother recited to them from the 9th verse of Chapter Kahf:
“Send one of your number into the city with this silver you have, so he can see which food is purest and bring you some of it to eat”. (Kahf, 50:19)
One of the young men went to purchase something to eat and placed it in front of them. The women read the following verse from Chapter Haqqa:
“Eat and drink with relish for what you did before in days gone by!” (69:24)
I said to the sons of the woman: “May your food be unlawful for me if you do not inform me of your mother’s state”.
Upon this the young men said:
“For 40 years now, this here our mother has spoken nothing but verses from the Qur’an out of fear of falling into error before Allah, the Most Merciful”.
I then read from Chapter Jumu’ah:
“That is Allah’s favour which He gives to whoever He wills. Allah’s favour is indeed immense” (62:4)