26:105-6 The people of Noah cried lies to the messengers when their brother Noah said to them, "Will you not be godwary?"
The purport of this verse is to explain how to invite and to explain the attribute of the inviter. Whenever someone invites and calls another to God, his road is first to command godwariness, just as God recounts from the prophets that they said, "Will you not be godwary?" Then, when they speak to them, they should speak with the utmost gentleness so that the words will get to them and be easier for them to accept. Do you not see that the Exalted Lord sent Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and commanded them to speak gently? He said, "Speak to him with soft words. Perhaps he will remember or fear" [20:44]. He commanded Muṣ?afā in the same way: "Say: 'I admonish you in but one thing, that you stand up for God'" [34:46].
In these accounts, when the prophets spoke to their communities with gentleness saying, "Will you not be godwary?," they did not say, "Be wary of God," or "Be wary of His punishment," for in that there would have been a kind of harshness, and the hearts of the people would have found it repellent. This is like when someone says to someone else, "Do such and such!" This is a peremptory command, empty of benevolence and gentleness. If he were to say, "Will you not do such and such?," this is the same command, but mixed with a gentleness and benevolence that will cling to the listener's heart.
Will you not be godwary? is a command to godwariness, and godwariness is the root of all excellent qualities and the basis of all obedient acts. For the lords of certainty, there are no traveling supplies for the promised return other than godwariness: And take along supplies, but the best of supplies is godwariness [2:197].
There are all sorts of clothing. The clothing that you yourself can put on and take off is trifling. What does the work is the clothing of godwariness that the Real puts on someone. One person is draped in the clothing of submission, and he then sometimes falls and sometimes rises; finally, at the end, he is saved. Another is given the clothing of faith. He also falls and rises, but he seldom falls and mostly rises, so he is saved quickly. Another is draped in the clothing of godwariness. He lives happy, dies happy, and rises up happy. Another is draped in the clothing of love. He lives unsettled, dies yearning, and rises up drunk.
Know also that the aspects of godwariness in the Qur'an are many, and all go back to five meanings: One is to be wary of associationism by means of tawḥīd: He said to Moses, "I shall write it for those who are wary of Me" [7:156], that is, in the next world He will make it, that is, mercy, necessary for those who were wary of associationism.
Second is to be wary by purifying oneself of hypocrisy, as He says, "O you who have faith, be wary of God! [9:119]: O you who have faith, avoid rising up against My torment. Do not mix hypocrisy and doubt with purifying your deeds. Flee from My torment, know your own measure, and rise beyond the road of delusion so that you will not burn in the fire of severance. And be with the truthful [9:119]: Be with the upright and the straight speakers."
Third is to be wary by truthfulness against of eye-service, as the Exalted Lord says in the story of Abel: "God accepts only from the godwary" [5:27]. Yes, the work of the worthy is worthy and that of the washed washed, but what will be accepted from a striver who is not wanted? How can the one whose feet are tied with the bonds of unwantedness arrive? Musk did not buy its scent, nor did honey search for its sweetness. Colocynth and dates grow in the same soil and the same water. So, the work is tied to solicitude, not to obedience. He does what He wants, and He does not add or subtract from what He wants. The desire is His desire, the will His will: God does what He wills [14:27] and He decrees what He desires [5:1].
Fourth is to be wary of innovation in the Sunnah, as the Exalted Lord says: "Surely those who lower their voices with God's Messenger, they are the ones whose hearts God has tested for godwariness" [49:3]. God made the hearts of the Sunnis clean and pure for abstaining. He scoured their hearts of innovation and adorned them with the Sunnah. He tanned them with fear, brought them to life with shame, and brightened them with purification for the sake of companionship with Him.
Fifth is godwariness by avoiding acts of disobedience, as He says in the story of Joseph: "Surely whosoever is godwary and patient" [12:90]. This godwariness is an allusion to the day when he was alone with Rāʿīl, and the patience is an allusion to the day when he was thrown into the well. Whoever avoids acts of disobedience and is patient in tribulation, surely God does not leave to waste the wage of the beautiful-doers [12:90].