How should Allah be loved and feared?
ANSWERJust as love is of different kinds, so is fear. The love of Allah is different from the love of parents, children, a wife, and the nature. Likewise, the fear of Allah is a far cry from the fear of enemies. It is declared in the Qur’ân al-karîm, “Fear Allah as He should be feared” (Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân, 102).
The fear felt for Allah the way He wants is termed taqwâ. Taqwâ is to believe in Allah, to love Him, to be a servant to Him, that is, to observe His commandments and prohibitions. It is not taqwâ to fear enemies, for enemies are not believed in. Nor do they have the authority to put people in Hell or Paradise. One fears enemies only because they may do harm. Then there is a world of difference between these two types of fear. Again, it is declared, “If you have believed, do not fear them [enemies], but fear Me” (Sûrat-u Âl-i ‘Imrân, 175).
A lover is afraid of upsetting his or her beloved in any way. Not only we must love our Rabb much, who has created us from nothing and has conferred various favors upon us, but also we must be very much afraid of losing this love. As a matter of fact, the Qur’ân al-karîm purports:
(Fear Allah! Know that Allah’s torment is extremely severe.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 196]
(Fear Allah, so that you can attain to salvation.) [Sûrat-ul-Mâ’ida, 100]
Fearing Allah should not be supposed like fearing a cruel person. It is the fear combined with reverence and love. In poems which lovers wrote to their darlings there are many couplets telling about similar fear in them. A lover who regards his darling much higher than himself does not deem himself worthy of this love and explains his feelings in such a fear.
Certainly, the fear of Allah is out of the question for disbelievers. As for the Believers, they must love Allah greatly and be very much afraid of becoming a disbeliever so that they can get the taste of îmân. A hadîth-i sharîf declares:
(A person who loves Allah and His Messenger more than everything else, who loves only those whom Allah loves, and who is afraid of becoming a disbeliever more than he is afraid of being burnt in fire relishes îmân.) [Bukhârî]
Most of the scandals and crimes arise mainly from lack of chastity. Most people cannot refrain themselves from indulging in the things of the wrong path even though they may know the result of being unchaste. The remedy that can lead them to right path in the face of this strong feeling is an educational and ethical matter. Religion means ethics. A person who fears Allah cannot be unchaste. Consequently, it must be our primary duty to try to teach our children the fear of Allah.
In order to fear Allahu ta’âlâ, one should know Him very well. To know Allahu ta’âlâ well, we must learn His grandness and attributes. To fear Allah is a matter of knowledge, work, and effort. It will not emanate from a vacuum.
The wings taking people to happinessFear of Allah and love of Allah are like two wings taking people to salvation and happiness. Our master the Prophet said:
(If a person fears Allah, everything fears him. If he does not fear Allah, he fears everything.) [Abushshaikh]
(The wisest of you is the one who fears Allah most and who observes commandments and prohibitions best.) [Ibni Muhbar]
(The extent of a person’s intellect will be evident in the extent of his fear of Allah.) [I. Mâwardî]
A Believer who obeys Allahu ta’âlâ’s commandments loves his Rabb immensely. It is purported in the Qur’ân al-karîm:
(The Believers’ love of Allah is very strong.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 165]
(A Believer is such that his heart feels fear when the name of Allah is mentioned.) [Sûrat-ul-Anfal, 2; Sûrat-ul-Hajj, 35]
It is not possible for people to love or fear what they do not know. Those who love Allah much and know Him well fear Him very much. Since the one who knows Him best is our master the Prophet, he is certainly the one who fears Him most. As a matter of fact, he stated:
(It is I who, among you, fear Allah most.) [Bukhârî]
After prophets, people who know Allahu ta’âlâ best are savants, who are prophets’ inheritors, and those who are close to them. It is purported in the Qur’ân al-karîm:
(Only ‘ulamâ’ fear Allah among His servants.) [Sûrat-u Fâtir, 28]
(Those who obey Allah and His Messenger and those who fear Allah and guard themselves against violating His commands are the ones that will be saved on the Day of Judgement.) [Sûrat-un-Nûr, 52]
When our master the Prophet was asked concerning the people mentioned in the sixtieth verse of Mu’minun Sûra that reads (in English) “Their hearts beat with fear as they will return to their Rabb” whether they are thieves or fornicators, he answered:
(They are the ones who perform namâz, who fast, and who give zakât. And they fear whether their acts of worship have been accepted.) [Tirmudhî]
The fear of Allah is highly useful for sustenance as well. Our master the Prophet declared, “The sustenance of a person whose capital is the fear of Allah comes to him without trading or capital,” and then recited [the second and third verses of Talaq Sûra, which purport] “Whoever fears Allah, He grants a way out for him and sends him sustenance from places which he does not expect.” (Tabarânî)
The fear of Allah is a great blessing that makes people attain endless bliss. It is purported in âyât (verses):
(There are two Paradises for the person who fears his Rabb.) [Sûrat-ur-Rahman, 46]
(He who fears Allah receives warning.) [Sûrat-ul-A’lâ, 10]
(Fear only Me.) [Sûrat-ul-Baqara, 40]
(Do not fear human beings but fear Me.) [Sûrat-ul-Mâ’ida, 44]
Furthermore, it is declared in ahâdîth:
(The sins of a person whose heart shivers with the fear of Allah fall off just like leaves falling off a tree.) [Bayhaqî]
(He who remembers his sins and cries over them will enter Paradise without any questioning.) [I. Ghazâlî]
(He who weeps out of the fear of Allah will not enter Hell.) [Nasâî]
(If you feared Allah thoroughly, you would attain knowledge that does not contain ignorance.) [Ibni Sunnî]
The love of Allah is one of the conditions of îmân. The following ahâdîth declare:
(Îmân is to love Allah and His Messenger more than everything else.) [I. Ahmad]
(You will not be considered to have îmân unless Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to you than everything else.) [Bukhârî]