وَمَن يَتَّقِ ٱللَّهَ يَجْعَل لَّهُ مَخْرَجاً
Whoever keeps from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety, He enables a way out for him (of every difficulty).
Taqwa (reverent piety and righteousness) means observing the Divine ordinances in every walk of life. Taqwa, therefore, requires obeying both the religious rules and commands and the laws of God’s creation and maintenance of the universe. We may call the former (i.e., obeying the religious rules and commands) internal piety and righteousness, and the latter the external piety and righteousness. These two dimensions of taqwa cannot be separated from each other. However, it is not easy to attain piety and righteousness in both dimensions.
The verse under discussion uses the concept taqwa in its verbal form to mean keeping from disobedience to God and doing His commands in reverence for Him and in piety. The mood of the verb chosen expresses submission, admission, and adopting the action ordered with the verb used as an indispensable dimension or depth of one’s nature or character. That is, it denotes thinking, acting, and living a life in obedience to God, fulfilling His commands, refraining from His prohibitions, and following His laws of the creation and maintenance of the universe and the laws He has established for life. Thus, drawing the attention to this horizon, which seems difficult to attain, the Qur’an declares: “Whoever keeps from disobedience to God in reverence for Him and piety, He enables a way out for him (of every difficulty).”
The expression “a way out (of difficulty)” pictures a person who gets stuck in a place and wants and tries to get out. That person does whatever one should in order to escape such a situation and has recourse to every means. This is one dimension of taqwa. However, it is only God Who creates our deeds and brings our efforts to the desired result. If He wills, surely He can save us from any difficulty, but as an aspect of our life and trial in the world, we must do whatever we must in order to attain the desired result. Considering the fact that it is God Almighty Who “enables a way out for him (of every difficulty),” the person who is depicted in the verse as stuck in a place cannot deliver himself from the difficulty no matter what he does to “come out of the difficulty.” But, it is the Causer of Causes Who grants a way out of difficulty for the person who turns to God and seeks refuge in Him. Indeed, the very word, “makhrajan” in the verse means not only “to go out” but also “to bring forth,” and as a noun it means not only “the place of exit” but also “the place from where anything is brought forth.” Therefore, whether we have exerted necessary efforts and expect salvation in return, or if we fall hopeless despite our efforts, we must certainly turn to God and pray. For it is God Who will bring our efforts to the desired result and take us out of every difficulty in which we have been caught. Even though God Almighty has made any attainment dependent on our efforts as a requirement of our trial in the world, no means or efforts can give the desired result. All our efforts are an excuse for God to favor us with the attainment of the desired result and therefore all our attainments are purely favors of God. But since the law of causality has blinded our eyes to this explicit truth, we may be deceived in our views and judgments.
In fact, only an infinitesimal part of even ordinary volitional actions of human beings such as eating and drinking can be ascribed to human beings themselves.(118) For instance, if we consider the stages of the process during which even a morsel of bread is obtained and its process of digestion in our bodies, this reality will reveal itself. In order for a morsel of bread to come into our hands, the existence and delicate cooperation of the sun, the earth with its daily and yearly movements, the air, water, and earth are necessary. In all of these universal acts, human beings have no part at all. Besides, nothing of our bodies that chew and digest bread belongs to us. It is God Who creates our bodies and maintains it. Our bodies work outside of our free will. When we consider everything and every act in the universe from this perspective, it will be clear that everything and every act bears His unique stamp or seal. He is the Unique Creator, Provider, Maintainer, and Owner of the universe and all that lives and occurs within it.
In sum, if we abstain from the unlawful, fulfill the obligatory commands in perfect sensitivity, avoid the dubious as much as possible, and even become cautious with respect to the allowable, and if we observe God’s Practice or way of dealing with His creation—which we also call God’s laws of life and creation and maintenance of the universe—God will then save us from the different degrees of difficulties into which we have fallen. He will also reward us with His favors and blessings and keep us from living a dirty life in the world. He will save us against the agonies and horror of death and the severity of the Resurrection in the other life.
O God! Open us a way out of any difficulties from where we do not reckon.
M. Fethullah Gülen
118 Nursi, The Gleams (Trans.), 2008, p. 164.