According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir, the root meaning of taqwa is to avoid what one dislikes. It was reported that ʻUmar bin al-Khattab asked Ubay ibn Kaʻb (may ALlah be pleased with them) about Taqwa. Ubay said,
“Have you ever walked on a path that has thorns on it?” ʻUmar said, “Yes.” Ubay asked, “What did you do then?” to which ʻUmar replied, “I rolled up my sleeves and struggled.” Ubay said, “That is taqwa, to protect oneself from sin through life’s dangerous journey so that one can successfully complete the journey unscathed by sin.”
The great Sufi scholar al-Qushayri of the 10th century in his Risalah writes about three parts of taqwa:
“full trust in God with respect to what has not been granted to him; full satisfaction with what has been granted to him; and full patience with respect to what has eluded him.”
—Al-Risala al-Qushayriyya Fi ʻIlm al-Tasawwuf.