Fear of Allah is as important as Loving Allah
Two words are usually used in Arabic to express fear, one is ‘khauf’ (خوف) and the other is ‘khashiyyat’ (خشیت) but there is a big difference between them. Imam al-Raghib al-Isfahani has written in Mufradat al-Quran:
“Apprehension of danger from the signs and consequences of something such as an enemy, animal or pain is called fear (khauf). Its opposite is peace.” (Mufradat al-Quran)
Allah says in Quran:
وأَمَنَهُمْ مِنْ خَوْفٍ o
Meaning: And secured them from fear. (106:4)
What is meant by Arabic word Khashiyyat?
Khashiyyat is that kind of fear that arises due to the greatness and love of a person. The demand of this fear is that one is always concerned about the pleasure and happiness of the said person and also avoids the fright of his displeasure. This fear is what makes a man perfect and popular in Divine court.
The difference between the two words is further clarified by two verses of the Holy Quran.
In verse 28 of sura Fatir, Allah says,
“Only those of His servants who have knowledge (of these realities with a vision and outlook) fear Him.”(35:28)
On the other hand, in verse 62 of sura Yunus, Allah says,
“Beware! Verily, the friends of Allah will not have any fear, nor will they grieve.”(10:62)
FEAR OF ALLAH
It is known that the righteous servants of Allah fear Him out of greatness and are not terror-striken. The righteous servants of Allah are not afraid of going through hardships, suffering or even dying. They only fear Allah.
Fear of worldy things
Common people are afraid of worldly things. They have trouble sleeping at night even if there is a slight decline in their materialistic objectives of comfort, honour and wealth. They try to prevent pain and hardship because they fear even the smallest amount of it.
Likewise, the more a Muslim grows fearful of Allah, the more focus he has on obeying Him. Instead of his own rights, he becomes concerned about other’s rights.
It was narrated from Abdullah ibn Masud that the Holy Prophet pbuh said:
“While experiencing fear of Allah, if few tears -even if they are (as small as) the size of the head of a bee- drop and trickle down his face then Allah will make that face free from the fire of hell.” (Ibn Majah)
How does fear of God arise in Man?
The answer is that fear will increase in accordance to how much gnosis and recognition of Allah is attained.
There is a proverb in Arabic:
Meaning: A person is a slave of kindness.
This sentence reflects human psychology. A person who receives good treatment from someone else is always obedient to that person. As a result of tiny favours, a person is afraid of disobeying another person and attempts to do as he says. Then how many favours of Allah are on man? If someone wants to count all of Allah’s blessings bestowed upon him, he would not be able to do so. However, when one cherishes these blessings then he truly loves Allah. A person’s belief in Allah Almighty is strengthened when he ponders on them. As a result, fear is bestowed and will be purely due to the love of Allah and His greatness. This fear is not a result of terror.
In general, people fear others more than they fear Allah. For example, the terror of one’s senior is greater than the fear of Allah. This is because if a person’s words are not obeyed then the consequences are obvious. This is the only thing that puts terror in the heart of the mankind. Allah gave an example of this in the incident of Moses and Pharaoh. Pharaoh did not believe in Allah and the words of His Prophet but when Allah demonstrated His power and Pharaoh started to drown then he started to believe in Allah. However, because this faith was founded on fear of drowning rather than fear of God, it was not accepted at that time. Allah adores the fear that is due to His greatness and love.
Attributes of a GOD-fearing person
He has firm faith in Allah.
He fears the Creator rather than creation even in trivial matters.
He does not squander money by considering what others would think.
He is satisfied with halal wealth instead of joining the race to earn haram wealth.
One of the important attributes of a God-fearing person is that he is eager to fulfill the rights of others instead of worrying about his own rights.
He acts with forgiveness rather than revenge when another individuals abuse him.
He is happy about the blessings of others and congratulates them instead of burning his inward (with jealousy).
Breaking another’s heart is a serious sin for him.
One of the basic characteristics of a God-fearing person is that he sees even the slightest disobedience of his Creator and Master as great as a mountain. As much as the gnosis of Allah is gained, so much will be the fear of God.
Allah says in Quran:
إنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ أَيْتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيْمَانًا وَ عَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ o (سورہ انفال-۲)
Meaning: The believers are only those whose hearts, when Allah is mentioned (before them), are filled with awe (at the very idea of Allah’s Greatness and Might). And when His revelations are recited to them, they (the ecstatic, delightful, sweet and sublime words of the Beloved) increase their faith, and they (maintain) their trust in their Lord alone (under all circumstances, and do not look towards anyone other than Him). (8:2)
He furthers says:
وأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَ نَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَى o فَإِنَّ الْجَنَّةَ هِيَ الْمَأْوَى (سورۃ الّٰزعٰت-40-41)
Meaning: But as for him who feared standing in the presence of his Lord and forbade (his inciting) self its appetites and lusts, paradise will surely be (his) abode. (79: 41-42)
ولِمَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ جَنَّتْنِ (سورة الرحمن 46)
Meaning: And whoever fears standing before his Lord, for him are two gardens. (55:46)
In Hadiths, the virtue and importance of Divine love have been described many times:
It is narrated from Anas ibn Malik that Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: On the day of resurrection, a person who mentions Allah and then sheds tears that reach the ground out of his intense fear of God will not be punished. (Mustadrak al-Hakim, Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, Tabarani)
According to a Qudsi Hadith:
I swear by My honor that I will not put two fears and two peaces together in My servant, if he fears Me in this world, I will give him peace on the day of resurrection and if he does not fear Me in this world, I will give him fear on the day of resurrection. (Tabarani, Bayhaqi)
It is narrated from Abdullah ibn Abbas that when Allah revealed this verse to the Holy Prophet (pbuh),
O believers! Save yourselves and your families from the fire whose fuel is men and stones. (66:6)
The Holy Prophet recited this verse among his Companions one day. A young man fell unconscious after hearing this verse. When the Holy Prophet placed his hand on his inward, it was beating. The Holy Prophet said, “O young man, say There is no god but Allah” When he recited shahada, the Prophet gave him the good news of paradise. The Companions of Holy Prophet said, “O Prophet! Is he one of us?” The Holy Prophet replied, “Have you not heard this saying of Allah?”
ذُلِكَ لِمَنْ خَافَ مَقَامِي وَخَافَ وَعِيدِ (سورۃ ابراہیم ۔ 14)
Meaning: This (covenant) is for every such person that fears standing before My presence and dreads My promise (of torment).
Aisha bint Abi Bakr says that she heard the verse from the Holy Prophet:
وَالَّذِيْنَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا أَتَوْا وَقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ (سورة المومِنُون-60)
Meaning: And those who give away (in the way of Allah as much) as they can, yet (in spite of that) their hearts fear.
She asked whether these are the people who drink alcohol and steal. The Prophet said, “O daughter of Siddiq, they are those who fast, pray and give charity yet they fear that their good deeds will not be accepted. These are the people who are hasty in good deeds.” (Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah)
It is necessary for a man to not be fearless and satisfied under any circumstance. Even if he may have good hope from Allah, he should nevertheless be terrified by the idea of Allah’s indifference. Such people are ahead in the path of religion.
Is there anyone more pure, innocent and beloved than the Holy Prophet?. Allah loved him so deeply that He created the entire universe after seeing His Own reflection in him. In honour of whom the Quran was revealed and the Prophet was addressed everywhere by the title of ‘O Beloved’ means he was at the highest position of closeness but his inward was also filled with the fear of Allah.
Abu Musa states that:
“There was an eclipse of the sun during the time of the Holy Prophet. The Prophet (pbuh) stood up in fear as if the day of judgment had come. The Prophet entered the mosque and prayed there for a long period of time and prolonged prostration. I had never seen the Prophet praying like this before then the Holy Prophet said: “These are the signs of Allah. Allah sends these signs to warn His followers, not because of anyone’s death or life. Recall Allah from anything like this that you witness. Visit the mosque for prayer and ask for forgiveness.” (Agreed upon Hadith)
Sayings of the saints about fear of Allah
Fear of Allah is guardian, enlightener and explainer of inward. You will undoubtedly have security in both this world and the hereafter if you persevere in being in this state. (Al-Fath Al-Rabbani; Chapter-56)
The Saints always remain in the state of apprehension. Their fear will not go away until they meet Allah and discover peace because the fear of the one who recognises Allah increases even more. The Holy Prophet said: “I am the one who recognised Allah more than you and I fear Him the most”. (Al-Fath Al-Rabbani; Chapter-49)
Keep fearing God! Do not fear anyone except God nor attach hope with anyone except Him.
Five things are the source of purification of the inward:
Fear of Allah
To attach hope with Allah only
To be humble only to Allah
To love only Allah
Attachment with Allah.
He further said:
Everyone fears the person who fears Allah.
Undoubtedly, only those of His servants who have knowledge (of these realities with a vision and outlook) fear Him. (35:28)
Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen said while explaining the interpretation of this verse:
Here the one who has knowledge means the one who has gnosis of Allah. The one who knows and understands Allah, fears His displeasure.
What is Faqr?
Faqr is Allah Himself. So the actual fear is the distance from Allah.
تڑپنے پھڑکنے کی توفیق دے
دلِ مرتضٰیؒ سوزِ صدیقؓ دےExplanation: O Allah! Bless the believer with the Divine love like Abu Bakr Siddiq and inward like Ali ibn abi Talib so their inward would not be dormant rather it would be thriving with the love of Allah.
Rabia Basri used to cry all the time due to fear of Allah. She said:
I am afraid of distance from Allah, which I consider safe. It should not happen at the time of death that it is said that you are not worthy of being in the court of Allah.
Three esoteric attributes of the people of perfect faith
The first attribute of true believers is that their inward become fearful, when they remember Allah. There are two types of fear of Allah.
Fearing the punishment by Allah
Fearing Allah’s glory, wrath and indifference.
The first type of fear is for common Muslims and ascetics. The second type of fear is for the Prophets, Messengers, the perfect Saints and the closest Angels. The more closer to Allah the more he fears Him. The Holy Prophet said,”I am the most fearing of Allah Almighty and know Allah better than all of you do.” (Bukhari, 18 Hadith: 20)
The following narrations of the glorious and closest to God are narrated:
- Abu Bakr Siddiq once saw a bird sitting on a tree and said, “O bird! How good is it for you that you eat the fruit and sit on the tree. I wish! I too would have been a fruit that the birds would have eaten.” (Al-Zhud Laban al-Mubarak, p. 81, No. 240)
Umar ibn Khattab once picked up a straw from the ground and said, “I wish! I would have been a straw. I wish! I would have been nothing. I wish! I would not have been born. I wish! I would have forgotten. (Al-Zahd La bin Mubarak, p. 79, No. 234)
Second attribute of the true believers is that their power of faith and brilliance increases by listening to the verses of Allah. Quran is the word of God, the source of light, the mine of spirituality and the fountainhead of perfection. Therefore, if the doors of one’s inward are open rather than closed, the light of the Quran would reach them and spread across one’s inward. Whose inward’s land is not barren sees faith blossom with the rainfall of Quranic light and the fragrance of inward rises. That is why with the companionship of Saints and scholars changes the state of inward. Here, excess of faith does not refer to quantity, instead, it alludes to excess in a state of faith.
Third attribute of the true believers is that they only trust their Lord. They entrust all their work and hope in none other than Allah and fear no one else.
Fear of God is essential in human life because it is the attribute that prevents a person from sinning even in solitude. A believer’s life is filled with the fear of meeting and seeing Allah that he constantly fears Him. This is the reason why the pious trembled with divine fear despite the fact that they behaved in the best way and restrained themselves from worldly desires.
Therefore, we should be afraid of Allah’s wrath and distance rather than the harshness of the grave and fire of hell.
یوں تو رحمت ہے تیری تیرے غضب پر حاوی
پھر بھی محشر میں میرا رکھنا خدایا پردہExplanation: O Allah! Despite your assurance that your mercy will triumph over your wrath, I beg You to keep my sinful deeds concealed.
Allah wants to see a human that is why He gave importance to piety, sincerity and fear of God in worship. Here the blessed hadith of the Holy Prophet would make it easier to understand the point.
So, if we live our lives on the basis of piety, sincerity and Divine love while living in this worldly prison then surely the hereafter is also ours.
The one who fears Allah is blessed with gnosis of Allah and gnosis of Allah is impossible without the perfect spiritual guide.
In today’s chaotic era, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen the perfect and accomplished spiritual guide possessing the Divine light, purifies the self bestowing with closeness of Allah. I pray that Allah Almighty gives us the ability to understand the teachings of Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen. Ameen!