Saturday, December 20, 2008

Fearing Allah

In Islam this fear is called Taqwa . It is more than just fear , however , it is also reverence and awe . It is a fear that motivates , not one that cripples , because true fear motivates the servant to obey the injunctions of his Lord . When we fear something in the creation we run away from it . On the other hand , when we fear Allah we run to Him and seek refuge in Him . For Abu Quasi said , '' Whoever fears something run's away from it , and whoever fears Allah run's to Him .'' ( Ihya Uloom Addeen ) . Also , Abu Hafs said , '' Khauf ( fear ) is the whip of Allah that disciplines those who desert Him . Khauf is lamp in the heart ; a person can see by it's light what is good and what is evil . Everybody who fears creation runs away from it . Those who fear Allah run to Him .'' ( Madarij Salikeen ) .

Allah , subhanahu wa ta'ala , orders us , '' O you who believe ! Fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die unless you are in the state of submission.'' [ 3:102 ] . Yet despite this , most of us have fallen into the trap of the Satan . He makes us promises that wipe out this fear that is so essential to our success . He robs it from our hearts with each act of disobedience , leaving us weak and propped up with false hopes . Hopes of a long life and of time to change our ways – later .

When we sin , we brush it away like a knat saying Allah is the Most Merciful and the Most Beneficent . We have forgotten that He is also the Most Severe in Punishment . We go through our days with very little , if any fear of Him and His punishment in our hearts . We do not fear death , what awaits us in the graves or standing before Him naked and uncircumcised . But we should , because by fearing Allah we attain for ourselves the best provision for this life and the hereafter . For Allah says , '' And make provisions , for the best provision is Taqwa . Fear Allah O people of intelligence .'' [ 2:197 ] .

So if we were truly smart people , we would fear Allah , and through fearing Allah , attain the good that comes from doing so . What good comes from fearing Allah , you ask ? Well for starters , Paradise . Allah promises , '' And as for he who fears the rank of his Lord and prevents his self from desires , Paradise is certainly his abode .'' [ 79:40 ] . Commenting on this verse , Ibn Kathir said that this is a person who fears standing in front of Allah . He fears His command and it forces him back into obeying Allah . ( Tafseer Ibn Kathir ) .

Another benefit of fearing Allah in this worldly life is freedom from fear in the next . Allah says that those who fear say , '' We only fear a day of frowning and distress from the side of our Lord .'' [ 76:10 ] . About this verse Ibn Kathir said that this is in the hope that Allah will protect them on that day and show them His Grace . ( Tafseer Ibn Kathir ) .

This fear was something that the companions of Prophet , sallallahu alyhe wa sallam , had in abundance . It distinguished and honored them in this life and purchased for them the Grace of their Lord . About them Ali said , '' By Allah I have seen the Companions of the Prophet , sallallahu alyhe wa sallam , such that I have not seen anybody like them today . They used to wake up as if they had ridden goats all night with their clothes and hair disheveled . They spent the night performing bowing and prostration for Allah , reciting the Book and altering between their feet and foreheads . And when they awoke in the morning , they remembered Allah an dremained like a tree ( whose branches ) swaying in the wind with their eyes pouring tears so much that they wet their clothes . Now , it seems as if people are going to sleep completely oblivious and unaware .'' ( Ihya Uloom Addeen ) .

But we are not like this . Our desires have overtaken us and false hopes have hardened our hearts . The only thing that can remedy this situation is for us to re-acquire the fear of Allah , subhanahu wa ta'ala . For Imam Ghazali stated , '' Fear rips away desires and muddies luxuries so that cherished sins become reprehensible , just as a honey lover is repelled by it when he learns that it has poison in it . This is how fear burns desires ; disciplines the organs ; subordinates the heart and gives it tranquility .'' ( Ihya Uloom Addeen ) .

The fear of the believers in Allah , should draw them closer to Him . We should not be without fear , because this leads to disobedience , which leads to Hellfire . We should also not be so fearful that it leads to despondency and hopelessness . We should walk in between these two , and know that by doing so Allah will reward us . As Imam Shafi'i said , '' Fear Allah and hope for every good thing from Him . Do not follow your adamant self , lest you regret it . Remain between hope and fear and you will rejoice with the pardon of Allah if you submit .'' ( Muajjamul Udaba ) .

Taken From: Al-Jumuah Magazine