Fear of Allah - Driving force for a Mumin on the path of Allah

Ali ibn Uthman al-Hujwiri defines fear of Allah in his book Revelation of the Veiled (Kashf al-Mahjub) as:

Fear is an awful thing that causes discomfort in the heart or anguish in the body. Moreover, fear is a worry of losing something, such as the fear of an accident, the fear of losing one’s respect or property, or fear of any kind of punishment etc. Whereas, fear of Allah means fear from the wrath of Allah Almighty or fear from His grip and the punishments to be inflicted by Him. It also includes fear from His Greatness, Majesty and Selflessness.

Fear- A Part of Mumin’s Personality

Allah has made the state of fear a part and parcel of not only a Mumin but a Non-Muslim’s esoteric personality as well. This is the reason that a person, whether he is the follower of any religion or society he must have state of fear. It is evident from history that, whenever any rule or law was made, punishments were always set for those who violate those rules and regulations so that people do not commit crimes for fear of punishment. Resultantly, there was less deterioration in societies.

Fear of Allah in Islam

Allah Almighty has sent prophets and messengers to guide human beings. These sacred personalities not only reminded them of the purpose of life but also laid down rules and regulations for living a prosperous and successful life. Allah Almighty has narrated in the Holy Quran the stories and the torments that befell upon the previous nations and umma so that a true Mumin specifically and all people generally learn from them. From these real stories true Mumin also came to know that Allah Almighty is omnipresent and is watching their every action and deed. Moreover, He will reward or punish them accordingly.

Consequences of not having fear of Allah

Sadly, some men have devised ways to escape from the courts of the world and became fearless. Following this behaviour, ordinary Muslims become fearless of the grip of Allah or thought that their sinful acts are in the hand of Allah and it is up to Him to forgive them or not. Ordinary Muslims are getting worse in this state of fearlessness because all these limits and rules are against the nature of an-nafs al-ammarah (inciting innerself) within them. An-nafs al-ammarah is always trying to transgress them so that they can do, eat, drink, wear and say whatever they want without stopping. Unaware of this characteristic of their inciting innerself, they obey its desires, which gives them instant pleasure and comfort. In the long run, the inner baser self overpowers them. Resultantly, fear of Allah in their hearts fades away.

Al-Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says:

He, whose desire and urges overcome the fear of (Allah), becomes a non-believer. (Al-Fateh al-Rabbani- Chapter 25)

Inventions Are Blessings of Allah

The present era is the era of inventions. There are so many scientific inventions in present era which were never happened in the past. All these inventions are the blessings of Allah, but man gets lost in these blessings and luxuries and forgets Him. Where did the fear of Allah come from when one neglected Him? Absence or extreme lack of fear of Allah leads to recklessness and intrepidness to sin. Allah says in Holy Quran:

اِنَّمَا یَخۡشَی اللّٰہَ مِنۡ عِبَادِہِ الۡعُلَمٰٓؤُا ﴿۲۸﴾

Meaning: So only those of His servants who have knowledge (of these realities with a vision and outlook) fear Him. (Al-Fatir: 28)

In short, fear of Allah is the beginning of wisdom. Let us try to dig out the real meaning of fear of Allah in the light of Quran, Hadith and the teachings of the great Saints.

Fear of Allah in Quran

Allah says:

وَ خَافُوۡنِ اِنۡ کُنۡتُمۡ  مُّؤۡمِنِیۡنَ  ﴿۱۷۵﴾

Meaning: And fear Me alone, if you are the believers (Mumin). (Al-Imran: 175)

وَ اِیَّایَ فَارۡہَبُوۡنِ ﴿۴۰﴾

Meaning: And always fear Me alone. (Al-Baqarah: 40)

وَ لِمَنۡ خَافَ مَقَامَ  رَبِّہٖ  جَنَّتٰنِ ﴿ۚ۴۶﴾

Meaning: And whoever fears standing before his Lord (for meeting), for him are two Gardens. (Al-Rahman: 46)

اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ یَخۡشَوۡنَ رَبَّہُمۡ بِالۡغَیۡبِ لَہُمۡ مَّغۡفِرَۃٌ  وَّ  اَجۡرٌ  کَبِیۡرٌ ﴿۱۲﴾

Meaning: Surely, those who fear their Lord unseen, for them are forgiveness and great reward. (Al-Mulk: 12)

وَ یُحَذِّرُکُمُ اللّٰہُ نَفۡسَہٗ ؕ وَ اِلَی اللّٰہِ الۡمَصِیۡرُ ﴿۲۸﴾

Meaning: And Allah warns you to fear (the wrath) of His divine essence, and to Allah is the return. (Al-Imran: 28)

Characteristics of Mumin

اِنَّمَا الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَ الَّذِیۡنَ اِذَا ذُکِرَ اللّٰہُ وَجِلَتۡ قُلُوۡبُہُمۡ وَ اِذَا تُلِیَتۡ عَلَیۡہِمۡ اٰیٰتُہٗ زَادَتۡہُمۡ اِیۡمَانًا وَّ عَلٰی رَبِّہِمۡ یَتَوَکَّلُوۡنَ ۚ﴿ۖ۲﴾

Meaning: The believers (Mumin) 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). (Al-Anfal: 2)

Guidance is only for those who fear Allah

وَ فِیۡ نُسۡخَتِہَا ہُدًی وَّ رَحۡمَۃٌ لِّلَّذِیۡنَ ہُمۡ  لِرَبِّہِمۡ یَرۡہَبُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۴﴾

Meaning: And in the inscription of these (Tablets) was (mentioned) guidance and mercy for those who fear their Lord much. (Al-Araf: 154)

Hadith on Fear of Allah

Holy Prophet says:

  • The most perfect (Mumin) among you is the one who fears Allah the most, and the best of you is the one who pays more attention to the commands and prohibitions of Allah.
  • The essence of wisdom is the fear of Allah.
  • The tears come out of the eyes of a believer (Mumin) out of fear of Allah, even if they are equal to the feathers of a fly, then the tears reach the outer part of his face, then Allah forbids him to go to Hell. (Shuab ul Iman)
  • When the heart of a believer (Mumin) trembles with fear of Allah, his sins fall like leaves fall from a tree.

Allah Will Not Put Together two Fears

It is narrated from Abu Hurairah that the Master of both the worlds, the manifestation of Divine light Prophet Mohammad said that Allah Almighty says:

  • “I swear by My honour and glory! I will not put together two fears for My slave, nor will I place two kinds of peace for him. If he is not afraid of me in this world, I will make him fearful on the Day of Judgment, and if he is afraid of me in this world, I will keep him in peace on the Day of Judgment. (Shuab ul Iman)
  • Whoever fears Allah, everything fears him and whoever fears anyone but Allah, then Allah frightens him of everything.

It is also worth mentioning that within a Mumin there is a fear of people along with the fear of Allah. But he should restrain himself from sins only out of fear of Allah’s wrath and not to avoid the reproach of the people. To avoid the provocations of people, one should not reveal one’s hidden deeds (acts of worship). It means that, one should be careful of one’s intentions and deeds.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

فَلَا تَخۡشَوُا النَّاسَ وَ اخۡشَوۡنِ ﴿۴۴﴾

Meaning: So do not fear people and always fear Me (alone). (Al-Maidah: 44)

A Tradition from Ghunyat al-Talibeen

If a person does not take care of his deeds in this regard, then a tradition is being narrated from Ghunyat al-Talibeen for such persons.

  • Adi ibn Hatim narrated that the Holy Prophet said:

On the Day of Judgment some of the inmates of Hell will be ordered to be taken to Paradise. When they will reach near Paradise and smell its fragrance, see the palaces there and observe the things that Allah has prepared for the people of Paradise, all of a sudden there will be an order,

“Send them back. They have no share here.”

At that time, they will return with such regrets that they will never return with such regrets. They will say,

“O Allah! We have not yet seen the blessings you have bestowed upon Your friends (true Mumin) and You order to admit us to Hell?”

In response to this, Allah Almighty will say,

“This was my will. You used to claim your piety in solitude and in front of people. You showed humility and modesty in front of them while the opposite was happening in your heart. Moreover, you were afraid of people but my fear was not in your hearts. You used to take them greater than Me. You forsook evil for the sake of men, but for fear of Me you did not forsake evil. So today I will deprive you of the great reward and I will impose My punishment on you.” (Ghunyat al-Talebeen)

Quotes of Saints and perfect Fakirs on Fear of Allah

Ghawth al-Azam Shaikh Abdul Qadir Jilani says:

  • Fear of Allah is the kotwal of the heart. It enlightens, interprets and exegesis the heart. (Al-Fateh al-Rabbani- Chapter 56)
  • If Allah Almighty had not created Paradise and Hell, even then His Essence deserved to be feared and hoped for. Obey Him perfectly as a true seeker (true Mumin). Moreover, you should not have concern about His reward and punishment. His obedience is only in obeying His commands and refraining from His prohibitions and being patient in Divine will. Turn towards Him and repent. Weep before Him, and be submissive before Him by shedding tears of your eyes and heart. (Al-Fateh al-Rabbani- Chapter 19)
  • The people of Allah (Mumin) fear Allah Almighty in every situation and whatever they do, their hearts remain in fear. (Al-Fateh al-Rabbani – Chapter 61)
  • The Saints remain in great danger. Their fear does not end until they attain Divine nearness and enter in peace. Therefore, the fear of the one who attains gnosis has increased. (Al-Fateh al-Rabbani- Chapter 49)

Dhul Nun al-Misri

Dhul Nun al-Misri says:

  • People are on the right path until they have fear of Allah in their hearts and when it goes out, they lost their path towards Allah.

Hatim Al-Asam

Hatim al-Asam says:

  • For everything there is a cause of beauty and the beauty of worship is due to the fear of Allah. The sign of fear is that man (Mumin) does not have high hopes.

Sultan Bahoo:

Sultan Bahoo says:

  • All the Prophets and Saints soften with the fear of Allah as gold melts in a crucible. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
  • Perfect Fakir is the one who always fears his Lord. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
  • It is not compulsory (for a Mumin) to get excessive knowledge but it is incumbent to have knowledge of all the deeds which are obligatory, mandatory, sunnah or desirable. It is also incumbent to leave all sins, have fear of Allah, acquire marifa and love of Allah, seek righteousness and abstain from backbiting and complaining. (Ameer-ul-Kaunain)
  • It is true that it is not compulsory for a person to acquire a great deal of knowledge except for the knowledge of obligations, mandatory acts, sunnah and desirable acts. But it is incumbent to fear Allah, to avoid sins and to keep oneself free from greed and envy, pride and lust. (Mehak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
  • Listen! When you know that Allah is the strongest and everyone except Him is weak. And when Allah is your helper, do not be afraid of the weak. (Ain-ul-Faqr)

According to the teachings of Sultan Bahoo, the seeker of Allah is the one who is neither greedy for the blessings of Paradise nor afraid of the punishments of Hell, but he is afraid of being deprived of the Divine nearness.

Levels of Fear of Allah:

According to Abu Hamid al-Ghazali there are three levels of fear of Allah:

  1. The weakest level
  2. The moderate level
  3. The strongest level

The Weakest Level:

This is the fear that does not have the power to persuade a person to adopt a good deed and avoid a sin. For example, a person only feels sad on hearing the details of the punishments of Hell. But in the long run he remains in negligence and disobedience.

The Moderate Level:

This is the fear that has the power to persuade a person to do good deeds and avoid sins. For example, whenever a person having the moderate level of fear hears about promises of hereafter, he makes practical efforts to avoid sins. Moreover, he always hopes for mercy from His Lord too. In fact, this is the level of a Mumin.

The Strongest Level:

This is the fear that makes a person suffer from despair, unconsciousness and illness. (Ahya-ul-Uloom)

Fear of Allah is the Sign of Faith

Remember that the best of them all is the moderate level of fear because fear is like a whip that is used to keep an animal within required speed limit. Therefore, if the blow of that whip will be so meager that will not affect the speed of the animal then it is of no use. Similarly, if the blow will be so strong that the animal could not bear. He might be so injured that will not allow him to walk, and then it will not be beneficial too. If it will be moderate then the animal will not be injured and its speed will increase significantly. Resultantly, this whip will be proved extremely useful.

In short, fear of Allah along with avoiding sins is the sign of faith. He who becomes fearless of Allah sinks into the mire of sins.

Fear of Allah is an Outcome of Gnosis and Marifa

A person cannot attain the fear of Allah unless he acquires gnosis and marifa. Because how can a person fear someone to whom he is not familiar with or acquainted? That is why the Prophets, the Messengers, the Perfect Saints and the true Mumin were the most God-fearing because they had marifa and Divine closeness.

Mother of the Believers Aisha bint Abi Bakr narrates that the Lord of both the worlds Holy Prophet said:

  • “I am the one who has marifa the most and I am the one who fears Him the most.” (Bukhari Kitab al-Iman)

How Can a True Seeker (Mumin) Gain Marifa?

In the present era, Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Muhammad Najib-ur-Rehman, the spiritual successor of Sultan Bahoo and the 31st spiritual guide of Sarwari Qadri order, is spiritually bestowing marifa all over the world.  In this regard, he is granting the last stage of dhikr, Sultan-ul-Azkar Hoo and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat. Moreover, he grants mashq murqoom-e-wajudia for the purity of innerself.

All those disciples who attain the level of perfect certainty on his spiritual guide due to the beneficence of invocation and contemplation of Ism-e-Allah Zaat, they permanently adopt esoteric company of their spiritual guide. Hence, by the efficacy of spiritual sight and company of their perfect spiritual guide, the process of purification of their innerselves begins.

Humility is a Sign of Mumin

Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen also opens Divine observations upon the true seekers. At this point, all those disciples who thought that all these beneficences are the fruit of their hard work, they fall prey to pride and their esoteric journey stops. But those seekers who take it as Divine favour and in humbleness remain busy in self accountability, they always move forward on the Divine path. The more humble they become, the more marifa they gain. Ultimately, their level of fear from Allah increases. The Divine seekers (Mumin) always fear that none of their mistakes will turn them away from Allah and this fear keeps them on right path and overcomes all other worries and anxieties.

Fear of Allah Later on Turns into Ishq

Therefore, fear of Allah is like the first step on the path of Faqr. It is the fear of Allah that gives a Mumin the courage to turn away from sins and illuminates the light of Divine love in his heart, which later turns into Ishq (intense love). Due to this Ishq (intense love), the Divine seeker keeps on trying to give up all those acts that can take him away from Allah.

Open Invitation

It is an open invitation for the Divine seekers and seekers of righteousness to come and pledge allegiance to Sultan-ul-Ashiqeen Sultan Muhammad Najib-ur-Rehman to gain marifa and gnosis of Allah.

Note:

This article was published in Mahnama Sultan-ul-Faqr Lahore (monthly Urdu magazine of Tehreek Dawat-e-Faqr) titled as

خوفِ خدا ضروری کیوں؟؟

‘Khof-e-Khuda Zaroori Kyun?’ in the issue of November 2020. It was originally written by Mr. Waseem Asif Sarwari Qadri and translated in English by Faiza Fahad Sarwari Qadri. If you wish to read it in Urdu then please visit the link:

https://www.mahnama-sultan-ul-faqr-lahore.com/november-2020-khof-e-khuda-zaroori-kyun/

Answers of Important Questions

Why should we fear Allah?

Absence or extreme lack of fear of Allah leads to recklessness and intrepidness to sin. Allah says in Holy Quran:

اِنَّمَا یَخۡشَی اللّٰہَ مِنۡ عِبَادِہِ  الۡعُلَمٰٓؤُا ﴿۲۸﴾

Meaning: So only those of His servants who have knowledge (of these realities with a vision and outlook) fear Him. (Al-Fatir: 28)

In short, fear of Allah is the beginning of wisdom.

What does it mean to fear Allah?

Fear of Allah means fear from the wrath of Allah Almighty or fear from His grip and the punishments to be inflicted by Him. It also includes fear from His Greatness, Majesty and Selflessness.

How to develop fear of Allah?

A person cannot attain the fear of Allah unless he acquires gnosis and marifa. Because how can a person fear someone to whom he is not familiarise or acquainted? That is why the Prophets and Messengers and the Perfect Saints were the most God-fearing because they had marifa and Divine closeness.

Mother of the Believers Aisha bint Abi Bakr narrates that the Lord of both the worlds Holy Prophet said:

  • “I am the one who has marifa the most and I am the one who fears Him the most.” (Bukhari Kitab al-Iman)
Which type of Allah’s fear restrain from sins?

The best of all the levels of fear is the moderate level of fear because fear is like a whip that is used to keep an animal within required speed limit. Therefore, if the blow of that whip will be so meager that will not affect the speed of the animal then it is of no use. Similarly, if the blow will be so strong that the animal could not bear. He might be so injured that will not allow him to walk, and then it will not be beneficial too. If it will be moderate then the animal will not be injured and its speed will increase significantly. Resultantly, this whip will be proved extremely useful.