‘And those who say: ‘Our Lord, avert from us the torment of Hell. Verily its torment is ever an inseparable, permanent punishment.’
Despite being constantly engaged in the worship of Allah, these favored servants fear Allah and keep the day of judgment in mind. The fear of Allah severs the roots of all evil, while at the same time, it is the medium of all obedience. The manner in which to acquire the fear of Allah Most High is to consider His wrath and punishment.
Abu Zar al-Ghifari (RA) and Mu`adh bin Jabal (RA) relate that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Fear Allah wherever you are. Follow up a bad deed with a good deed and it will blot it out. And deal with people in a good manner.” (Tirmizi)
If you have the audacity to indulge in sins, do so to the extent that you can endure Hellfire. (Luqmaan the Wise) Ghazali says: ‘Fear rips away desires and luxuries so that cherished sins become reprehensible, just as a honey lover is repelled by it when he learns that it has poison. This is how fear burns desires; disciplines the organs; subordinates the heart and gives it tranquillity. It also enables the heart to rid itself of pride, hatred, and envy; and it leaves it absorbed in it (fear). Hence, the heart becomes preoccupied with its own worries and looks toward its best interest in the long run. It is then engaged in only matters like meditation, self-analysis, and struggle. It cherishes its time and moments.’ (Ihya: 4/160)
Fear is the painful condition of the heart that arises as a result of thinking of something reprehensible and the fear of it materializing. The nature of fear consists of the possibility of punishment. This possibility extends to every person, for he may be overtaken by punishment. This is the extent of fear that has been commanded and imposed upon the servant. To this extent, fearing the possibility of punishment is a compulsory condition of faith. At the motivation of sin, this faculty has to be put into operation. The warnings and punishments of Allah Most High should be recalled and considered so as to save oneself from sin. This degree of fear is obligatory. Its non-existence induces and involves one in sin. It is the medium of exhorting toward virtue and steering one away from sin.
Allah Most High has combined the noble attributes of guidance, mercy, knowledge, and contentment for those who are imbued with His fear. The servant of Allah who on earth entertains fear of Allah Most High will be fearless in the Hereafter, and he who had no fear of Allah Most High on earth will be overtaken by fear and calamity. Fear is thus obligatory upon every believer.
The fear station is one of the most splendid stations on the road and the most beneficial to the heart. Allah also praised His people in His book, saying, “Verily! Those who live in awe for fear of their Lord . . . It is these who race for the good deeds and they are foremost in them.” (23:57-61)
Abu Hafs said, “Fear is the whip of Allah. He corrects with it those straying from His door.” He also said, “Fear is a light in the heart, with it one can see the good and evil. Everyone you fear you run away from except Allah. When you fear Him, you run away to Him.” The person with fear is a person fleeing from His Lord to His Lord.
Abu Sulaiman said, “When fear of Allah departs from any heart, it falls apart.”
Ibrahim bin Sufyan said, “When the fear of Allah settles in the heart, it burns the places of vain desires within it and it kicks out the love for this world.”
Hazrat Thun-Nun Misri said, “People are on the Straight Path as long as the fear of Allah is instilled in their hearts. When they lose the fear of Allah, they stray from the road.”
Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah says, “The commendable fear of Allah is what restrains you from the prohibitions of Allah.”
Al-Harawi said, “Fear is to slip away from comfort and security by recognizing the warning of Allah .” The beginning of fear of Allah is to fear the punishment. This is the kind of Khawf that produces sound faith. This can be attained by believing in the warnings of Allah and remembering the sin. Fear of Allah is preceded by feeling and knowledge.
The fear of Allah is associated with two things: first, the things feared; and second, anything that may lead to it. The fear of Allah can then be as great as the feeling of the person to the feared thing and what leads to it. When a person doesn’t think that something would lead to the object that should be feared, then would not fear that thing. The same is true if he does not know the measure of the fearful thing then, he would not have the correct fear.
Fear and hope complement one another. The similitude of the heart in its travel to Allah is like a bird. Love is its head, and fear and hope are the wings. When the head and both wings are sound, the bird is capable and skilled in flying. However, when the head is cut off, the bird will die. When the bird loses a wing, it then becomes a target for every hunter and predator. The scholars favored the wing of fear over the wing of hope, especially when the person is young and healthy. They favored the wing of hope over the wing of fear when the person is about to leave this world.
Abu Sulaiman said, “The heart should be dominated with the fear of Allah. When hope dominates, it ruins it.” It was also said, “The best state is to have the same amount of fear and hope but to have more love for Allah. Love of Allah is the boat, hope is the leader, fear is the driver, and Allah is the One Who helps those reach the goal by His Grace and Generosity.”
‘The state of your life is nothing more than a reflection of your state of mind. Inner development is just as important as outer physical development.’