Reflection No. 257 on Q 47:17 – The Reward of Effort

وَالَّذِينَ اهْتَدَوْا زَادَهُمْ هُدًى وَآتَاهُمْ تَقْوَاهُمْ
Walladhīna-htadaw zādahum hudan wa-ātāhum taqwāhum
And those who follow the right direction, He increases them in guidance and gives them their Taqwa (God consciousness)
(Sūrat Muhammad, No.47, Āyat 17)

Almighty Allah helps those who take the initiative to go towards Him. Their efforts are rewarded and multiplied. The effects become much bigger than the sum of the causes carried out by the human beings. This is how they achieve success despite their wrongdoings and petty actions.

Pondering over this verse raises three questions;
1) Who are the people who follow the right direction? Those who:
– reflect on themselves and the purpose of life
– realize that the truth from their Lord is in accordance to their nature
– submit to the truth without doubt and hesitation
– do their best to follow it

2) How does Allah increase them in guidance? He grants them:
– A higher degree of faith. Faith has many different stages and Allah takes them to the next level.
– A perfection of their knowledge.
– An insight that allows them to see things with the correct perspective.

3) What does giving them taqwā mean?  It means giving them:
– The ability to stay away from sins by allowing them to see the negativity and lowliness of sinful behavior.
– A perfection in the quality of their actions
– An inclinations towards good deeds and virtue
– A yearning for closeness to Him

It is by the Grace of God that He lets us become spiritually elevated. Allah likes to see sincere desire and hard work in the human being. He allows such a person to reach great heights. Such success is not through the efforts of the human being alone. Rather it is due to the assistance from God. This can be seen in success in all aspects of life. The Holy Prophet (s) says: Whoever acts on what he knows, Allah causes him to inherit that which he does not know (Bihar, v. 4, Chp. 93, H.2).

Recite this verse to remind yourself that you should take steps towards God and put in effort to please Him. But remember that that alone is not enough for success. You need guidance and taqwā from Him. Do your part and have hope that Allah will do what He promises in this verse.

Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (ed.), Tafsīr Namūne;
Allāmah Muhammad Husayn Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al-Mīzān