Love, Hope and Fear

Love, Hope and Fear

Love

The Concept of loving Allah

Loving Allah: Is when the heart feels near to its Lord and close to Him. That heart responds to Allah doing everything He asks, and its prime concern is the continuous remembrance of its Lord.

What it truly means to love Allah

To love Allah is to love worshipping, being subservient to and glorifying Him. It is to have in the heart the feelings of glorification and reverence towards Allah that urge that heart to observe Allah&"s commands and avoid His prohibitions. This love is the root of Iman and Tawheed. The merits that result from this love are numerous. A part of loving Allah is to love the places, times, people, deeds and utterances He loves.

Who knows Allah will love Him.

Loving Allah should be pure for Allah alone, and it does not contradict the natural love that a person feels towards his father or his children, or towards the teacher, or the love one feels towards food, drink, marriage, clothes, friends and the like.

As for the forbidden love, it means loving others the same way and at the same level one loves Allah, such as the love of the Mushrikeen for their idols and their saints, or to prefer what the self loves over what Allah loves, or to love places, people, times, actions and utterances which Allah does not love. Allah says: “And (yet), among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals [to Him]. They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah” (Al-Baqarah: 165).

Merits of Loving Allah:

There is no form of worship which is greater in status than loving, fearing and hoping for good from Allah.

1-This is the basis of Tawheed, for the essence of Tawheed is to single out one&"s love purely for Allah alone. Moreover, it is the true state of worship. Tawheed is never complete except if the condition of loving Allah is fulfilled. This love comes first before all other types of love and also controls them in the sense that all other types of love depend upon that love, since in it there is the happiness and success of a slave of Allah.

Longing for Allah and longing to meet Him is a breeze that blows over the heart, cooling the scorching heat of this worldly life.

2-A consolation for the one who loves Allah when calamities strike, for such a person finds in the pleasure of that love a relief that helps him to overcome calamities and also eases his hardships.

There is no one who is more wretched on the face of this earth than that person who is deprived of the tranquility one feels when one is close to Allah and in His company.

3-Perfect bliss and the highest form of contentment: A state one can never reach unless one has that love towards Allah (mighty and majestic is He). For there is nothing that can enrich the heart or fulfill its needs or its hunger except the slave&"s love and devotion to Allah, even if he had all the pleasures one can possibly dream of. This is because loving Allah is bliss to the soul. Sound and good hearts and pure minds do not have a sweeter, more pleasurable, better, happier nor do they have a warmer experience than the love they feel for their Lord, finding pleasure in His company and longing to meet Him. The sweetness that a Mu&"men finds in his heart surpasses all sweetnesses, the bliss that he acquires from that love is the most perfect of all blisses, and the pleasure is the highest of all pleasures. The Prophet said: &"Whoever possesses the following three qualities will have the sweetness (delight) of faith: The one for whom Allah and His Messenger is dearer than anything else, the one who loves a person only for the sake of Allah, and the one who hates to revert to disbelief just as he hates to be thrown into the fire” (Narrated by Bukhari, Muslim and Nisa’i).

Causes that result in one loving Allah:

Allah (mighty and majestic is He) loves who ever loves Him and tries to draw close to Him. The first cause that results in one loving Allah is that a person loves Allah more that he loves any other being or object. There are ten causes that result in Allah loving His slave and His slave loving his Lord. These are:

1-Reciting the Qur&"an, and pondering and understanding its meanings and what Allah means by its verses, for he who preoccupies himself with Allah&"s Book fills his heart with love towards Allah.

2-Becoming closer to Allah by performing optional acts of worship after observing the obligatory ones, as this Hadeeth Qudsi (sacred hadith) indicates. Allah says: “And My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him. When I love him I am his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask (something) of Me, I would surely give it to him and were he to ask Me for refuge, I would surely grant him it&" (Narrated by Bukhari).

3-The continuous remembrance of Allah in all conditions with one’s tongue and heart, and to remember Him in everything one does and in any situation one may be in.

“a people He will love and who will love Him” (Al-Maidah: 54).

4-Preferring what Allah loves to what one&"s self loves of needs and desires.

5-The heart realizing the meaning of the names and attributes of Allah, contemplating and understanding them.

6-Being aware of His bounty, benefaction, gifts and His Graces, (both) apparent and hidden.

7-Making the heart totally humble before Almighty Allah.

8-Being alone with Allah during the times He descends to this world in the late hours of the night so as to converse privately with Him, reciting His Words, politely and humbly standing in prayer before Him, and finishing by asking for forgiveness and repentance.

9-Accompanying those who truly love Him and reaping the best fruits from their words just as one picks the best fruits from a tree, and also not speaking unless it is better to speak, and it is clear that this speaking will increase your status and benefit others.

10-Being far from all that comes between your heart and Allah (mighty and majestic is He).

Fruits of Allah&"s love for His slave:

- Whoever Allah loves, He guides him and draws him closer to Him: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Allah (mighty and majestic is He) said: ‘I am as My servant thinks of me. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me a hand’s span, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him two arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’” (Narrated by Bukhari).

The more Taqwa (piety) towards Allah a person has the more guidance he will receive. The more a person reveres Allah, the more guided he becomes, and the more guided he becomes the more he reveres Allah.

- Whoever Allah loves, He decrees that the people will find him agreeable wherever he goes.

Being agreeable means that the person is treated respectfully everywhere and that people like his company and praise him when he is absent. Everybody loves that person except the Kufaar for they do not love Allah, so how could they love those who love Allah?! The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “If Allah loves a slave of His He calls Jibril and says: ‘I love so-and-so; so love him.’ So Jibril loves him and he announces to those in the heavens (angels), saying: ‘Allah loves so-and-so so love him.’ So those in the heavens love him. Then he is granted the acceptance of those on the earth” (Narrated by Muslim).

Thus when Allah loves a servant, He surrounds him with His care and His guardianship. Allah makes everything subservient to that person and facilitates all difficulties for him. He also makes reachable for that person all that is unreachable, and makes all worldly matters easy for him. That person, therefore, does not feel any fatigue or distress. Almighty Allah says: “Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds - the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection” (Mariam: 96).

- Whoever Allah loves, He decrees that he will be in His company everywhere the person goes. When Allah loves a slave, He is always with him taking good care of him and surrounding him with His guardianship. Allah never allows others to harm or hurt the person He loves. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"Allah the Exalted has said: &"I will declare war against him who shows hostility to a pious worshipper of Mine. And the most beloved thing with which My slave comes nearer to Me is that which I have enjoined upon him; and My slave keeps on coming closer to Me through performing Nawafil (prayer or doing extra deeds besides what is obligatory) till I love him. When I love him I become his hearing with which he hears, his seeing with which he sees, his hand with which he strikes, and his leg with which he walks; and if he asks (something) from Me, I give will him, and if he asks My Protection (refuge), I will protect him’&" (Narrated by Bukhari).

True Iman is life for the soul and fields of pleasures. Kufr, on the other hand is death for the soul before it is actually dead and fields of miseries.

- When Allah loves a person He accepts his supplication: One of the signs of Allah&"s love for the Mu&"meneen is that He answers their supplication and blesses them the moment they lift their hands to the heavens calling on Him: &"Oh Lord!&" Allah says: “And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me - indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me (by obedience) and believe in Me that they may be (rightly) guided” (Al-Baqarah: 186).

Salman Al-Farsi said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Indeed, Allah is One Who is modest, Munificent and Generous, and when a man raises his hands to Him, He feels too shy to return them to him empty and rejected” (Narrated by at-Termidhi).

- When Allah loves a person, He commands the angels to ask for His forgiveness for that person: The angels ask for forgiveness for the person whom Allah loves and ask Allah to send His mercy on him. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: “Those (angels) who carry the Throne and those around it exalt (Allah) with praise of their Lord and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who have believed, (saying): ‘Our Lord, You have encompassed all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who have repented and (who have) followed Your way, and protect them from the punishment of Hellfire’&" (Ghâfir: 7).

Allah the Exalted says: “The heavens almost break from above them, and the angels exalt (Allah) with praise of their Lord and ask forgiveness for those on earth. Unquestionably, it is Allah who is the Forgiving, the Merciful” (Ash-Shûra: 5).

- When Allah loves a slave, He takes his soul (i.e. causes him to die) while he is carrying out a good deed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “When Allah wills good for His slave, He sweetens him.” He was asked, “What is this sweetening?” He said, “Allah guides him to do righteous deeds before he dies, then He takes (his soul) whilst he is in that state” (Narrated by Ahmad).

- When Allah loves a person, He will protect him at the time of his death:

When Allah loves His slave, He protects him in this worldly life and also protects him and makes him steadfastness at the time of his death. Allah sends to such a person angels that tenderly hold his soul, make him firm at the time of death and give him glad tidings of Jannah. Allah the Exalted says: “Indeed, those who have said: ‘Our Lord is Allah’ and then remained on a right course - the angels will descend upon them, (saying): ‘Do not fear and do not grieve but receive good tidings of Paradise, which you were promised’&" (Fussilat: 30).

There is no delight in life but that which results from loving and obeying Allah, and no (greater) pleasure in Jannah but that which results from looking at and beholding Him.

- When Allah loves a person, He grants him eternal life in Jannah: A person who is loved by Allah is granted in the Hereafter eternal life in Jannah. Allah&"s generosity to those who He loves is unimaginable. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) promises those He loves eternal Jannah in which they will find all that they desire and more. In a Hadeeth Qudsi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) told us: “Allah said: ‘I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen and no ear has heard, nor has it occurred to the human heart.’” The narrator added: Thus recite if you wish: “And no soul knows what has been hidden for them of comfort for eyes” (Narrated by al- Bukhari).

-One of the fruits of Allah&"s love for the slave is to allow him to see and behold Allah the Exalted (in the Hereafter): Allah unveils His light to His slaves whom He loves. They have never beheld anything that is dearer to them. It was narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) looked at the full moon and said: &"Certainly you will see your Lord (in the Hereafter) as you see this moon, and you will have no trouble in seeing Him. So if you can avoid missing (through sleep or business etc.) a prayer before the sunrise (i.e. Fajr prayer) and a prayer before sunset (i.e. `Asr prayer), then you must do so.&" He then recited: &"And exalt (Allah) with praise of your Lord before the rising of the sun and before its setting&" (Narrated by al-Bukhari).

Conditions and important notes about loving and being loved by Allah:

1-Allah&"s love for His slave does not mean that he will not be exposed to trials: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"Indeed a greater reward comes with a greater trial. And indeed, when Allah loves a people He subjects them to trials; so whoever is content, then for him is pleasure, and whoever is discontent, then for him is wrath&" (Narrated by at-Tirmidhi).

Allah exposes the slave to different types of trials in order for the slave to become completely purified from the sins he has committed, and for his heart to become totally healed from being preoccupied by worldly interests. Allah says: &"And We will surely test you until We make evident those who strive among you (for the cause of Allah) and the patient, and We will test your affairs&" (Muhammad: 31).

Allah also says: &"155- And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, 156- Who, when disaster strikes them, say: &"Indeed we belong to Allah, and indeed to Him we will return.&" 157- Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the (rightly) guided&" (Al-Baqarah: 155-157).

&"True Freedom is attained when the heart is free of shirk, desires and doubts. Enslavement also refers to the enslavement of the heart, and it must be only for Allah the Exalted&"

2-If a slave disobeys His Lord then his love for Allah decreases and is less perfect. Love is like Iman, there is a basic level all Mu’meneen must have to be considered as a Mu’men, and also a perfect degree. Depending on the sins one commits, the love one has for Allah decreases so becoming less than the perfect level, and if the person starts to doubt and commit major hypocrisy then even the basic level of that love is destroyed. He who does not have love for Allah the Exalted in his heart is either a Kafer, a Mortadd (apostate) or a Munafiq (Hypocrite) who does not truly fulfill any aspects of the religion at all. As for wrongdoers, it cannot be said that they do not have any love for Allah, but one should say that their love is less than what it should be. This is because the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"Had you not committed sins, Allah would have brought into existence a creation that would have committed sins (and Allah) would have forgiven them&" (Narrated by Ahmad).

But these wrongdoers will be treated according to the amount of love they have for Allah.

3-Love for Allah does not contradict the natural love a person feels for food, drink, women and the like. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"Women and perfume have been made dear to me, but my comfort has been provided by prayer&" (Narrated by Ahmad).

There are then things in this life that are permissible to be loved, and it is not considered shirk to love them as long as they are not haram (impermissible). The Prophet (peace be upon him) loved such things.

4-He who loves a person as he loves Allah, then he has committed shirk. Allah says: &"And (yet) among the people are those who take other than Allah as equals (to Him). They love them as they (should) love Allah. But those who believe are stronger in love for Allah. And if only they who have wronged would consider (that) when they see the punishment, (they will be certain) that all power belongs to Allah, and that Allah is severe in punishment&" (Al-Baqarah: 165).

In the ayah there is a strong threat directed to those who love someone as they love Allah with regards to worshipping and glorifying them.

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"The action that Allah loves the most is to love for the sake of Allah and to hate for the sake of Allah&" (Narrated by Ahmad).

Allah says: “Say (O Muhammad): ‘If your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your wives, your relatives, wealth which you have obtained, commerce wherein you fear decline, and dwellings with which you are pleased are more beloved to you than Allah and His Messenger and jihad in His cause, then wait until Allah executes His command’&" (At-Taubah: 24).

In the ayah there is a strong threat against those who love any of these eight groups more than they love Allah. Anas narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"None of you truly believes until I am more beloved to him than his child, his father and all the people&" (Narrated by ibn Majah).

5-Supporting and loving the Mushrekeen more than the Mu&"meneen contradicts one&"s love for Allah: for the Mushrekeen ascribe partners to Allah and are not on the correct religion. Loving for the sake of Allah and hating for the sake of Allah is a great fundamental principle of Iman. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: “Let not believers take disbelievers as allies rather than believers. And whoever (of you) does that has nothing with Allah, except when taking precaution against them in prudence” (Âl-&"Imrân: 28).

Allah forbids the Mu&"meneen to support the Kafreen and emphasizes that he who does that completely abandons Allah, for a person cannot support his friend and his friends&"s enemy at the same time: &"except when taking precaution against them in prudence&" (Âl-&"Imrân: 28).

But Allah permits the Mu&"meneen to support the Kafereen only if they are afraid of them and cannot be safe of their threat but by doing that. The Mu&"meneen are permitted to show that support as long as their hearts still have Iman and still hate the Kafereen. As Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: &"except for one who is forced (to renounce his religion) while his heart is secure in faith&" (An-Nahl: 106).

A display of love

An indication of a Mu&"men&"s love for Allah is that he remembers Him much and longs to meet Him, for he who loves someone remembers him much and looks forward to meeting him.

Ar-Rabea&" bin Anas

When the Prophet (peace be upon him) was given the choice between this worldly life and meeting Allah(mighty and majestic is He), he replied: &"…(I want to be with) the Highest Companion&" (Narrated by Ahmad).

He (peace be upon him) chose his love for Allah and meeting Him and its merits, and preferred it over the love for this world, its desires and its pleasures.

Ar-rajaa (Hoping for good from Allah)

The Concept of having hope in Allah:

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"Facilitate things for the people (concerning religious matters) and do not make it hard for them, and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam)” (Narrated by al-Bukhari).

Having hope in Allah : To feel the presence of Allah and His Beneficence and Mercy, as well as taking comfort in contemplating over His blessings and what He has granted us, and being sure that all of this is from Allah. Hope is a guiding light that takes hearts to Allah and to Jannah. Allah the Exalted says: &"And whoever does wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness of Allah, he will find Allah Forgiving and Merciful&" (An-Nisâ&": 110).

Types of hope:

There are three types of hope: two which are praiseworthy and one which stems from arrogance and is thus dispraised:

1-Hope held by he who obediently follows Allah&"s commands, acting according to the way of life Allah set down for us, and hoping to gain His rewards.

2-Hope held by he who has committed sins and then repents, hoping that Allah will forgive his sins, erase them, overlook them and not expose them.

3-Hope held by he who is neglectful, and indulges in sins and wrongdoings, but still hopes for Allah&"s forgiveness without doing anything to attain that forgiveness!! This is arrogance, wishful thinking and misguided hope which can never be considered as being praiseworthy. The Mu&"meneen have hope in their hearts that is accompanied by action. Allah the Exalted says: &"Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah - they expect the mercy of Allah. Allah is Forgiving and Merciful&" (Al-Baqarah: 281).

Levels of Hope:

Hope has levels and degrees, each person having a different level than another. These levels are:

1-Hope that urges the Mu&"men to be diligent in worshipping Him and generates a feeling of pleasure when he performs any worship, even if the act was difficult. This hope safeguards him from committing sins or reprehensible acts.

He who hopes for good from someone, seeks him.

2-Hope held by those who try hard to stop habits to which they are accustomed and which make them deviate from pursuing the path of their Lord. This hope also unites their hearts towards Him.

3-Hope of those who have true hearts. This refers to hoping to meet the Creator, having a longing for Him and the heart being attached to only Him. This type of hope is the best and the highest degree. Allah says: &"So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord - let him do righteous work and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord&" (Al-Kahf: 110).

Allah also says: &"Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allah - indeed, the term decreed by Allah is coming. He is the Hearing, the Knowing&" (Al-&"Ankabût: 5).

The connection between hoping in Allah and knowing His beautiful names and attributes:

The Mu&"men who has hope in his heart observes all the acts of obedience. He carries out the necessary actions of Iman with the hope that Allah (mighty and majestic is He) will protect him from being misguided and accept his deeds, and not reject them. He also has hope in his heart that Allah will double his reward; for he does his best and has hope in the Mercy of his Lord. Such a person acts in such a manner because he knows Allah&"s beautiful Names and Attributes. A few of these Names are: Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful), Al-Wadood (the Most Loving), Ash-Shakoor (the Thankful), Al-Kareem (the Most Generous), Al-Wahhaab (the Bestower), Al-Ghafoor (the Forgiver) and Al-Lateef (the Most Gentle). And such a person also has feelings of fear in this worldly life because he hopes to attain security when he stands before his Lord (mighty and majestic is He) on the Day of Judgement.

The fruits of having hope in Allah:

1-It cultivates in the hearts of those who have this hope the love of striving to perform righteous deeds and acts of obedience as best as they can.

The Mu&"men who has hope in Allah always seeks and hopes for his Lord&"s Beneficence and holds a good opinion of Him, the Exalted.

2-It helps the person who has this hope in his heart to become used to observing different acts of obedience, however difficult or hard the conditions in which he has to observe them may be.

3-It helps the person who has this hope in his heart to persist on drawing nearer to Allah, calling on Him, being polite but persistent in asking Him.

4-It illustrates the slavery and dire need of the slave for his Lord (mighty and majestic is He), and that the slave cannot - even for a blink of an eye- do without the bounties and beneficence of his Lord.

A Mu&"men holds a good opinion of Allah and so he acts in a good way (as he sees that his good deeds are rewarded), and the sinner has a bad opinion of Allah and so his actions are bad (as he doesn’t think he will be rewarded for his deeds).

5-It makes the person be totally aware and be certain that Allah exists and that He is the Most Generous, for He the Exalted is the Most Bountiful of those who are asked and the Most Munificent of those who give. Allah the Exalted loves that His slaves ask Him and are persistent in their requests and that they hope for good from Him.

6-Hoping in Allah places the slave on threshold of loving Allah and takes him towards being able to love Him perfectly, for the more hope he has and the more he is granted what he wishes, the more his love for his Lord increases and the more he becomes thankful and pleased with Him. This is considered as a requirement and a pillar of being in a state of slavery towards Allah.

One of the aspects of trusting Allah is to know that Allah will never fail those who seek refuge in Him.

7-It is an incentive for a Mu&"men to reach the rank of being thankful, for it motivates him to reach the rank of being grateful to Allah for His bounties, which is the essence of slavery towards Allah.

8-It makes one become aware of Allah&"s Beautiful Names and Attributes, for He is Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful), Al-Kareem (the Most Generous), Al-Mojeeb (the Supreme-Answerer), Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful) and Al-Ghanei (the Rich, the Independent).

9-It is a reason why the slave of Allah achieves what he hopes for, which in turn encourages him to ask for more and draw nearer to Allah. Thus a Mu&"men continues to increase in Iman and draw closer to Allah.

10-The amount of joy felt by the Mu&"meneen on the Day of Judgement for receiving what they used to hope for of the pleasures of their Lord, Jannah, and beholding Him depends on the level of the hope and fear they had of Him in the worldly life.

Rulings and notes about having hope in Allah:

If a balance were to weigh fear and hope in a Mu&"men&"s heart, it would indicate that both have the same weight.

1-Fear needs to be present with hope, and hope needs to be present with fear in the heart of a Mu&"men. So when the person has fear, he should also have hope in Allah. &"What is (the matter) with you that you do not attribute to Allah (due) grandeur?&" (Nûh: 13).

Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: &"Say (O Muhammad) to those who have believed that they (should) forgive those who expect not the days of Allah&" (Al-Jâthiya: 14).

I would not like for my reckoning to be decided by my father; for my Lord, Allah, is better to me than my father.

Imam Sofian Al-Thawri

The phrase “those who expect not the days of Allah” in the above ayah (verse) refers to those who do not fear that Allah may send calamities of destruction and death upon them as He sent on the previous nations.

2-Hope is a medicine that we need when:

- despair prevails in the soul so it stops worshipping Him.

- fear overcomes a person and he harms himself and his family because that fear has gone beyond the appropriate limit. It is necessary, then, that this fear is balanced and set right by something else, namely hope, which is normally present in the heart of the Mu&"men.

Worship can only be perfect when both fear and hope are present. A Mu&"men abstains from forbidden actions due to fear and he continues to perform good deeds due to having hope.

Imam ibn Katheer

3-Hope is the opposite of despair, which is to believe that Allah&"s mercy does not exist and, therefore, the heart stops seeking it. Despair causes one to become misguided or even become a Kafer, as Allah says: &"…and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people&" (Yûsuf: 87).

Fear (khawf)

The Concept

Fear of Allah is one of the greatest acts of worship of the heart. Allah says: &"That is only Satan who frightens (you) of his supporters. So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (indeed) believers&" (Âl-&"Imrân: 175).

&" …and Allah warns you of Himself… &" (Âl-&"Imrân: 30).

In this ayah Allah mentions that fear should only be felt towards Him and that it is a requirement of Iman, as the amount of fear of Allah a person has depends on the amount of Iman he has.

&"Aisha, the mother of the Mu&"meneen (may Allah be pleased with her), said: &"I asked the Prophet (peace be upon him) about this verse: ‘ …and those who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord …’” “Are they those who drink intoxicants and steal?” He said: &"No, O daughter of As-Siddiq. They are those who fast, perform Salat, and give charity while they fear that their Lord will not accept it from them&" (Narrated by at-Termidthi).

That which encourages one to have fear of Allah

1-Glorification of Allah (mighty and majestic is He) and exalting Him, as the Mu&"men has knowledge of Allah and His Beautiful Names and Attributes. &"They fear their Lord above them…&" (An-Nahl: 50).

2-The fear that he will land up in a place he hates, a place of painful torment in Jahanem – and how wretched a destination it is!

3-A Mu&"men&"s feeling that he is not fulfilling his obligations enough and realizing that Allah is All-Knowing, All-Seeing and Al-Capable. He also does not look at how small the act of disobedience he is committing is, but rather how great a status Allah, whom he is disobeying, has.

4-Contemplation of the words of Allah that are full of warnings and threats to those who disobey Him, abandon His laws and turn their backs to the light which He has sent to guide us.

5-Contemplation of the words of Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) by looking into the life of the Messenger.

6-Pondering on the Greatness of Allah (mighty and majestic is He), for he who ponders will understand the beautiful Names and Attributes of Allah better. The person who understands the Greatness of His Lord realizes how severe His threats are, and undoubtedly feels fear. Allah says: &" …and Allah warns you of Himself… &" (Âl-&"Imrân: 30).

To have fear of Allah (mighty and majestic is He) makes a Mu&"men learn about Him, and knowing Him makes one have piety, and having piety makes one obey Him.

Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: &"They have not appraised Allah with true appraisal, while the earth entirely will be (within) His grip on the Day of Resurrection, and the heavens will be folded in His right hand&" (Az-Zumar: 67).

7-Pondering about death and its hardships, and that it is an inevitable truth: &"Say: &"Indeed, the death from which you flee - indeed, it will meet you&" &" (Al-Jumu&"ah: 8).

This leads to one having fear of Allah. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"Frequently remember the destroyer of pleasures (meaning death); for no one will remember it while in hardship but he will feel ease, and while in ease but he will feel disturbed” (Narrated by at-Tabarani).

8-Pondering about what will take place after death, and about the grave and its terrors. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I used to forbid you from visiting the graves, but now visit them, for they will draw your attention away from this world and remind you of the Hereafter” (Narrated by ibn Majah).

Al-Baraa&" said: “We were with the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) at a funeral, and he sat at the edge of the grave weeping, until the ground became wet. Then he said: ‘O my brothers, prepare yourselves for something like this’” (Narrated by ibn Majah).

Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: &"O mankind, fear your Lord and fear a Day when no father will avail his son, nor will a son avail his father at all. Indeed, the promise of Allah is truth, so let not the worldly life delude you and be not deceived about Allah by the deceiver&" (Luqmân: 33).

9-Pondering over the consequences of sins which people tend to consider as being small. Such sins were illustrated by the Prophet (peace be upon him) with an example of a group of people who went down into a valley. So one of them collected a small stick of fire wood and another collected another stick, (and they continued like this) until they managed to collect enough wood to make a fire to bake their bread. There is a relationship between the sticks of firewood and making the fire on one hand, and small sins and how it causes the skin of the sinners to roast on the other hand: &"Every time their skins are roasted through…&" (An-Nisâ&": 56)

10-A Mu&"men knows that he could be prevented from repenting by sudden death, and regret at such a time, i.e. without the ability to repent, is worthless. Allah the Exalted says: &"(For such is the state of the disbelievers), until, when death comes to one of them, he says: &"My Lord, send me back&" &" (Al-Mu&"minûn: 99).

And He says: &"And warn them (O Muhammad) of the Day of Regret&" (Maryam: 39).

11-Pondering about the chance of dying when one is doing evil deeds. Allah says: &"And if you could but see when the angels take the souls of those who disbelieved…They are striking their faces and their backs?&" (Al-Anfâl: 50).

12-To be in the company of those who increase one’s piety and fear of Allah. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: &"Keep yourself patient (by being) with those who call upon their Lord in the morning and the evening, seeking His countenance&" (Al-Kahf: 28).

Fear of Allah is related to two issues:

A. Fear of His torment: Allah promises He will inflict His torment on whosoever used to ascribe partners to Him, worshipping them besides Him, and those who disobey Him and abandon His commands.

B. Fear of Allah: This is the fear felt by learned men and those who know their Lord: &" …and Allah warns you of Himself… &" (Âl-&"Imrân: 28).

When fear settles in the hearts, it eradicates lusts and drives out the love of the worldly life.

The more a Mu&"men knows Allah, the more piety and fear he has towards Him. Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: &"Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge&" (Fâtir: 28).

This is because when they gained complete knowledge of their Lord and His beautiful Names and Attributes, their piety and fear of Allah increased and poured into their hearts, and it then became apparent in their deeds.

The fruits of having fear of Allah include:

A. In this worldly life:

1-It is one of the ways of becoming steadfast in this life, increasing one’s Iman and making one feel confident (that Allah will not fail to fulfill His promises); as if you were promised anything by somebody, for example, and you actual receive what you had been promised, your trust and confidence in that person increases. (Similarly, Allah promised good to the Muslims, so when they receive good they become more certain about Him and His religion.) Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: 13) Those who disbelieved said to their messengers: &"We shall surely drive you out of our land, or you must return to our religion.&" So their Lord inspired to them: &"We shall surely destroy the wrongdoers.’ 14) ‘We shall surely cause you to dwell in the land after them. That is for he who fears My position and fears My threat&" (Ibrahîm: 13-14)

2-It motivates one to carry out good deeds and to be sincere in doing so. It is also one of the reasons for not asking anything in return for these good deeds in this worldly life so as not to decrease the reward in the Hereafter. Allah says: 9- (They say): &"We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude.’ 10- ‘Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful&" (Al-Insân: 9-10).

Allah will surely guide the one who fears Him to everything that is good.

He also says: 36- (Such niches are) in mosques which Allah has ordered to be raised and that His name be mentioned therein; exalting Him within them in the morning and the evenings 37- (Are) men whom neither commerce nor sale distracts (them) from the remembrance of Allah and performance of prayer and paying of zakah. They fear a Day in which the hearts and eyes will (fearfully) turnabout… (An-Nûr: 36-37).

This means that on that day people will be very disturbed and will be turning about in fear. This is what urges them to perform good deeds, for they desire to be saved and to escape from the torment as they fear they will be given their records in their left hands.

B. In the Hereafter:

1-A slave of Allah (who fears Allah) is in the shade of Allah&"s Throne on the Day of Judgement. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &" …and a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of noble birth for illicit intercourse with her, saying: &"I fear Allah&"… &" (Narrated by al-Bukhari).

It is apparent from this Hadeeth that this believer actually says this to the woman in order to reprimand and stop her, and to also remind himself. He insists on his stance and does not back down after he announces his principles &"…and a person who remembers Allah in seclusion so his eyes become flooded with tears&" (Narrated by al-Bukhari).

The fear of Allah and piety that causes tears to form in the eyes is a reason why Jahanem will not touch them on the Day of Judgement.

2-It is one of the reasons for being forgiven. This is evident from the following Hadeeth of the Prophet (peace be upon him): &"Amongst the people who were before you there was a man whom Allah had given a lot of money. While he was on his death-bed, he called his sons and said: &"What type of father have I been to you?’ They replied: &"You have been a good father.&" He said: &"I have never done a single good deed; so when I die, burn me, crush my body, and scatter the resulting ashes on a windy day.&" His sons did accordingly, but Allah gathered his particles and asked (him): &"What made you do this?&" He replied: ‘In fear of you.&" So Allah bestowed His Mercy upon him (i.e. forgave him)&" (Narrated by al-Bukhari).

In this case, Allah pardoned him because of his ignorance; and his fear of Allah interceded for him, otherwise he would have been punished - since a person who denies the resurrection is a Kafer.

3-It leads a Mu&"men to Jannah, for the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"He who is afraid of the pillage of the enemy, sets out in the early part of the night; and he who sets out early, reaches his destination. Be on your guard as the commodity of Allah is precious. Verily the commodity of Allah is Jannah&" (Narrated by at-Tirmidthi).

4-Safety on the Day of Judgement. Allah the Exalted says in a Hadeeth Qudsi: “By My Glory, I shall not make My servant experience fear twice or protection twice; if he fears Me in this world I shall protect him on the Day of Resurrection, but if he felt safe from Me in the world, I shall cause him to fear in the Hereafter” (Narrated by al-Baihaqi).

5-Being included amongst the Mu&"meneen described by Allah in ayat like this one: &"Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing men and believing women, the obedient men and obedient women, the truthful men and truthful women, the patient men and patient women, the humble men and humble women, the charitable men and charitable women, the fasting men and fasting women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so…&" (Al-Ahzâb: 35).

All of the above are honourable labels that one should strive to acquire.

Allah the Exalted says: 16- They arise from (their) beds; they supplicate their Lord in fear and aspiration, and from what We have provided them they spend. 17- No soul knows what has been hidden for them of the comfort for eyes as reward for what they used to do (As-Sajdah: 16).

Allah the Exalted says: &"Is one who is devoutly obedient during periods of the night, prostrating and standing (in prayer), fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the mercy of his Lord (like one who does not)? Say: &"Are those who know equal to those who do not know?&" Only they will remember (who are) people of understanding&" (Az-Zumar: 9).

The Magnificent also says: 27- Those who are fearful of the punishment of their Lord- 28- Indeed, the punishment of their Lord is not that from which one is safe (Al-Ma&"ârij: 27-28).

Allah praises the best of His slaves who are the prophets, because they have fear of Him: &"Indeed, they used to hasten to do good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear&" (Al-Anbiyâ&": 90).

In addition to this, the angels themselves have fear of Allah.

Allah the Exalted says: &"They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded&" (An-Nahl: 50).

6-The feeling that Allah is pleased with them. Allah the Exalted says: &"…Allah being pleased with them and they with Him. That is for whoever has feared his Lord&" (Al-Baiyinah: 8)

The fear of those who know their Lord well.

Those who have much knowledge about their Lord, although they perform good deeds and have hope in Him, fear Him, the Exalted, and revere Him to the greatest extent possible. Examples of this level of fear are as follows:

- The Prophet (peace be upon him) as he cried while he was performing Salah (prayer) to the extent that his noble chest would make a sound like that of a boiling pot. (Narrated by Ahmed, Abu Dawoud and An-Nisa&"i).

- Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) took hold of his tongue one day and said: &"This is what will lead to my destruction!&"

He also said: &"I wish I were a tree that would be cut and done away with.&"

- &"Omar ibnul Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: &"I wish I was something that was not worthy of being mentioned. I wish that my mother had not given birth to me.&"

&"Omar also said: &"If a camel dies due to negligence on the bank of the river Euphrates, I would fear that Allah might hold me responsible for it on the Day of Resurrection.&"

And he said: &"If a caller from the heavens announces: &"O people, all of you will enter Jannah except one!&" I would think that this one is me!!&"

- &"Othman ibnu &"Affan (may Allah be pleased with him) said: &"I wish that if I die I would not be resurrected on the Day of Judgement.&"

He said this though he used to spend all night making tasbeeh (i.e. saying &"Subhana Allah&" (Glorified be Allah)), performing Salah and reciting the Qur&"an.

- The mother of the Mu&"meneen, &"Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her), when she read Allah&"s words, reciting the following verse: 26- They will say: ‘Indeed, we were previously among our people fearful (of displeasing Allah). 27- So Allah conferred favour upon us and protected us from the punishment of the Scorching Fire’ (At-Tûr: 26, 27)

while she was praying and kept crying and crying. &"If You should punish them - indeed they are Your servants; but if You forgive them - indeed it is You who is the Exalted in Might, the Wise&" (Al-Mâ&"idah: 118).

Rulings and notes about having fear of Allah:

1-The word khashya (which also means fear) is more specific that fear, for khashya (reverence) is related to those who have true knowledge of their Lord: &"…Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving&" (Fâtir: 28).

Hence, reverence is fear associated with having much knowledge of Allah, as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: &"By Allah, I am more submissive to Allah and revere Him more than you&" (Narrated by Muslim).

The extent of one&"s fear and reverence for Allah is proportional to one&"s knowledge of Him, His beautiful Names and Attributes, His Perfection and His Glory.

Allah says: &"Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Forgiving&" (Fâtir: 28).

2-Fear is praiseworthy when it makes a Mu&"men be diligent and work, and to repent while regretting his sinful act and intending to abandon it. Fear results from knowing how ugly the sin is and how severe the punishment is. It also results from knowing Allah, the Great, the Mighty and the Most Exalted. Moreover, there is no need to have fear if it does not make one diligent and make one repent.

He who has fear of Allah will never be harmed by anyone, and he who has fear of any other being beside Allah will never be safe.

Al-Fodayl bin &"Iyadh

3-Having fear of Allah is an obligation and a requirement of Iman. It is one of the best ways to reach Allah’s pleasure and it is a feeling which is most beneficial for the heart. It is an obligation for every Mu&"men to have fear of Allah. It prevents him from sinning, inclining too much to the worldly life, taking bad friends, and being negligent of and indifferent to his duties.