Fear and Hope

One of the distinguishing traits of those believers who have attained to perfection in their faith, is their fear of Allah that is born of their reverence and love for Him. In reality fear of Allah is fear and anxiety that the servant may lose the infinite love, pleasure and contentment that our Lord has for us. That is why the ever-vigilant hearts of those believers who have perfected their faith, tremble with awe when the name of Allah is mentioned. This state also brings about other elevated traits, such as correct etiquette towards Allah, sincerity and taqwa (Allah-consciousness or piety). Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur’an:

‘The believers are those whose hearts tremble when Allah is mentioned, whose faith is increased when His Signs are recited to them, and who put their trust in their Lord’(Al-Anfal, 8:2).

‘…(O Prophet) Give good news to the humble-hearted, the obedient and the sincere, whose hearts quake at the mention of Allah’ (Hajj, 22:34-35).

Whenever the knowledge, gnosis and love of Allah increase in a person, that person’s fear of Allah also increases proportionately. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“My knowledge of Allah is greater than any of you and I am also the one who fears him the most” (Bukhari, Adab, 72: Muslim, Fadail, 127).

On another day the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was asked:

“What type of voice and recitation is best when it comes to reading the Qur’an?”

The Messenger of Allah replied:

“The voice and recitation of the one in whose voice you hear the fear of Allah when he recites”.(Darimi, Fadail al-Qur’an, 34).

Those who fear Allah in truth, fear nothing else. Fear of Allah is the light of happiness in their hearts.

The believers who fear Allah are those whom Allah is pleased with and who are pleased with Allah. (Al Bayyina, verse 8) Almighty Allah invites such of these servants to two Paradises. (Al Rahman, 46)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has said:

“There is no believer who has wept tears out of fear of Allah, be they as small as a fly but enough to wet their cheeks, for whom Allah has forbidden the (eternal) fire”(Ibn Majah, Zuhd 19).

“The one who weeps out of fear of Allah will not enter Hell until the milk returns to the mother’s breast. The dust that is raised in the path of Allah and the smoke of the hellfire will never come together” (Tirmidhi, Zuhd, 8/2311).

“There are two drops and two marks that are more pleasing to Allah than anything else: the two drops are the teardrops that fall out of fear of Allah, and the drops of blood that are shed in the path of Allah. The two marks are the mark one leaves behind after struggling in the path of Allah, and the mark left behind after one has performed any of the obligatory forms of worship”(Tirmidhi, Fadail al- Jihad, 26/1669).

Allah Most High has censured those hard-hearted people, deprived of the fear of Allah as follows:

‘Then your hearts became hardened after that, so they were like rocks or even harder still. There are some rocks from which rivers gush out, and others which split open and water pours out, and others which crash down from fear of Allah. Allah is not unaware of what you do’ (Baqara, 2:74).

The Most Beloved Prophet (pbuh) has said:

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from knowledge which is of no benefit, from a heart that does not fear (You), from a soul that is never satiated, and from a prayer that is not answered”(Muslim, Zikr, 73).

One who does not fear Allah is lower than the animals and minerals. In the same vein, our forefathers have said: ‘Fear the one who does not fear Allah’. In truth, it is their end affair which is a frightening one. For their hard hearts, the darkness of their ignorance and lack of feeling is not found even in inanimate beings.

It is true that, according to divine decree, even beings which are considered lifeless go through states of fearing Allah. The following verse expresses the truth of this:

‘If We had sent down this Qur’an onto a mountain, you would have seen it humbled, crushed to pieces out of fear of  Allah. We make such examples for people so that hopefully they will reflect’(Al-Hashr, 59:21)[1]

There must always be in the heart of the believer, fear that one may be deprived of gaining Allah’s pleasure and love and being afflicted with His punishment; and at the same time hope of attaining to His endless mercy and compassion. That is, the heart of the believer must oscillate between the two poles of fear and hope. This balance between the feelings of fear and hope has been expressed as ‘bayn’al- hawfi wa al-raja’, (between fear and hope). The believer must preserve this balance in his heart, through constant prayer, in recognition of his state of nothingness and seeking refuge, until Certainty, that is death comes to him. It is stated in the Holy Qur’an:

‘…Call on Him fearfully and eagerly. Allah’s mercy is close to the good-doer’(A’raf, 7:56)

‘…and are hoping for His mercy and fearing his punishment. The punishment of your Lord is truly something to be feared’ (Isra, 17:57).

The Prophet (pbuh) has said:

“If the believer truly knew the intensity and quality of the punishment of Allah, he would never be able to hope for Paraidse. And if the non-believer truly comprehended the mercy of Allah, he would never give up hope of entering Paradise”(Muslim, Tawba, 23).

“Paradise is closer to each of you than the strap of his own shoe. And Hellfire is likewise”(Bukhari, Rikak, 29).

Thus the path to eternal happiness and peace passes through keeping the heart in balance between fear and hope of Allah. This is because the lover is in constant fear of hurting and losing their beloved. The believer, too, must fear losing the love of Allah but be always hoping to attain to His Mercy.

Scenes of Virtue

Anas (r.a) narrates:

“The Messenger of Allah would frequently make the following supplication:

“O turner over of hearts. Make my heart firm upon Your religion”.

One day I asked him:

“O Messenger of Allah! We have believed in you and in what you have brought. Are you afraid for us?” He answered me:

“I am indeed. Because the heart is ever between the two fingers of the Merciful. He moves them about as He pleases”(Tirmidhi, Qadr, 7/2140).

***

Aisha (r.ha) narrates:

When the following verse was revealed:

‘…and who give whatever they [have to] give with their hearts trembling at the thought that unto their Sustainer they must return; it is they who vie with one another in doing good works, and it is they who outrun [all others] in attaining to them!’(Al-Mu’minun, 23:60-61).

I asked the Messenger of Allah:

“Is this verse talking about forbidden things such as adultery, stealing and drinking alcohol?” He replied:

“No, o daughter of Siddiq! What is meant in this verse is those who pray, fast and give charity but who are not anxious about whether these things will be accepted of them” (Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 23/3175; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 20).

The Muslim mustn’t feel content with the deeds and good things that he has done. There is no other way but to seek refuge in the mercy of Allah.

***

Suhayl ibn Amr  was one of the orators of the Quraysh. He used to speak against Islam at a time when eloquent speech was a very effective tool. This person was taken prisoner during the battle of Badr. Umar (r.a)  said to the Prophet:

“O Messenger of Allah! Give me permission to remove Suhayl’s front teeth and leave his tongue hanging out. From then on he will no longer be able to make any speeches against you anywhere”

The Messenger of Allah replied:

“Let him be o Umar! I would not harm any part of his body in this way. Should I do so, Allah would have the same thing done to me, even though I am a prophet. Do not be hasty, for one day he may make a speech that you will praise and be pleased with”(Ibn Hisham, II, 293).

This action of the Prophet was a lesson in the necessity of being ever fearful of Allah and taking the utmost care not to draw upon oneself His wrath.

And so it was that after the death of the Prophet, at a tumultuous time in which people were showing signs of turning back from their religion, Suhayl ibn Amr made that praiseworthy speech that the Prophet had given news of years before. A part of what he said is as follows:

“… By Allah, I know that this religion will prevail as long as the sun and the moon rise and set…”

When Suhayl ibn Amr finished his speech, the people listening had calmed down. When Umar  heard these words of Suhayl, he remembered the words of the Prophet and could not help saying:

“O Messenger of Allah. I bear witness once again that You are the Messenger of Allah” (Ibn Hisham, IV, 346; Wakidi, I, 07; Belazuri, I, 303-4; Ibn Abdulberr, II, 669-71; Hakim, III, 318/5228).

***

According to narrations by Aisha (r.ha) , whenever the weather was very windy or if dark clouds could be seen in the sky, the face of the Prophet would change colour. Sometimes he would stop and look at the cloud, sometimes he would turn back, enter his home and come out again. When it rained, however, he would be very happy. When he was asked the reason for these actions of his, he would say that they were a result of his anxiety that the punishment that came to the people of Ad would come to his community (Muslim, Istiska, 14-16).

The compassion of the Prophet for his community was greater than the compassion a mother and father have for their child. Almighty Allah informs us of this:

‘A Messenger has come to you from among yourselves. Your suffering is distressing to him; he is deeply concerned for you; he is gentle and merciful to the believers(Tawba, 9:128)

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) has decreed that no mortal has ever been as frightened as much as him, nor seen as much pain and distress, nor been subject to as much hunger as the Prophet himself. [2]

This struggle was endured in order to turn the servants of Allah back to the path of Allah. The Prophet never complained about anything. According to him the salvation of a single person even, was better than anything that the sun rose and set over. He was stoned at Taif, his feet were left bloodied, yet did his heart find comfort when straight after this event a slave was guided to Islam.

***

Abu Bakr as Siddiq (r.a) narrates:

“While I was with the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) the following verse was revealed:

‘Anyone who does evil will be repaid for it. He will not find any protector or helper besides Allah’(Nisa, 4:123)

The Prophet (pbuh) said to me:

O Abu Bakr! Shall I read to you a verse which has just been revealed to me?”

“Certainly, o Messenger of Allah!” I replied.

He read the above verse. I felt as if my back had been broken into two, and come apart, and I was left as if I had a seizure. The Prophet asked me:

“What is wrong, what has happened to you o Abu Bakr?”

I replied, showing my despair:

“May my mother and father be sacrificed for you o Messenger of Allah! Which of us is it who has not done any evil? Shall we be definitely punished for the evil that we have done?”

The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) explained:

“Abu Bakr! You and the other believers will be punished for the mistakes that you have made in this world (by meeting with certain distress and trouble), such that you will be reunited with Allah, freed of sin. As for the others, their deeds will accumulate and their punishment will be given to them on the Day of Judgement”(Tirmidhi, Tafsir, 4/3039).

***

The following example of the fear of Allah felt by Abu Bakr (r.a) has a lesson for us all:

Abu Bakr (r.a) had gone outside on a clear day. He was looking at the sky, at the thousands of manifestations of power that were displayed for the servants of Allah in order for them to take heed. His glance became fixed on a bird which had perched itself on a branch and was cheeping away with a sweet sound. Abu Bakr sighed. Longingly he looked at the bird and said:

“How happy for you little bird. By Allah I would have loved to be like you… You perch yourself on a tree, eat of its fruits and then fly away. Not having to account for yourself and no punishment awaiting you.

By Allah, how I would rather be a tree by the side of the road, waiting for a camel to come along and eat from my branches and chew me up, rather than be a human being who will have to be taken to account before the presence of my Lord” (Ibn Abi Shayba, VIII, 144).

***

Another day Abu Bakr (r.a) became lost in thought, pondering on the verses which talked about the Day of Judgement, on the balance of the scales, on Paradise and Hellfire, on the angels in rows, on the wrapping up of the heavens, on the dispersing of the mountains, on the folding up of the sun, and the scattering of the stars. Then he said, out of fear of Allah:

“How I would have wished to be green grass so that an animal could come and chew me up and I could disappear and be gone”. At that point the following verse was revealed:

‘For those who fear the Station of their Lord, there are two Gardens.’ (Al-Rahman, 55:46) (Suyuti, Lubabu an Nukul, II, 146; Alusi, XXVII, 117).

The Companions never let the following warning from Almighty Allah, leave their thoughts:

You who have faith! Have taqwa of Allah with the taqwa due to Him and do not die except as Muslims.’ (Âl-i Imran, 3:102).

***

One Friday Abu Bakr (r.a) went to the people and said:

“Let us gather together tomorrow for the division of the camels that are to be given as alms; however let nobody come to us without first asking permission”.

The next day a woman took a halter and gave it to her husband saying:

“Take this and go; who knows maybe Allah Most High will give us a camel”.

When the man arrived with his halter to where the camels were to be divided up he saw Abu Bakr and Umar (r.a) there and without asking permission he entered their presence. When Abu Bakr (r.a) saw him, he said:

“How did you get here?” Then he took the halter from his hand and lightly hit him with it, as a warning. However, he felt very bad after this. When the camels had all been given out he called that man, gave him back his halter and said:

“Here, take this and hit me back as reprisal”.

Umar (r.a) then said:

“I swear by Allah that that will never happen. Do not leave such an action to be adopted as a habit for those after you”. Abu Bakr (r.a) said:

“In that case who will save me from the wrath of Allah on the Day of Judgement?”

Umar (r.a) then gave him the following advice:

“Then make it up to him”. Abu Bakr (r.a) then ordered his servant to bring a camel, together with its horsecloth to give to the man. He also gave him five dinars. The man then forgave Abu Bakr . (Ali al-Muttaki, V, 595-6/14058)

***

There was a youth from the Ansar whose heart was filled with fear of the hellfire. Whenever Hell was mentioned he would begin to weep. Eventually he locked himself up in his house and would not come out. The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) was informed of his situation and then went to him. The youth looked at the Messenger of Allah longingly, immediately got up and flung his arms around him. His spirit then left him and he fell to the floor. The Prophet said:

Wash your brother and wrap him in his shroud. The fear of Hell has torn apart his liver. I swear by Allah, who holds my soul in His hands, that Allah has protected him from the Fire. Whoever desires a thing he will find a way to attain to it and whoever fears a thing, he will flee from it” (Hakim, II, 536/3828; Ali al-Muttaki, III, 708/8526).

***

Qasim (r.a) narrates:

“Whenever I used to leave my house in the morning I would stop by the house of (my relative) Aisha and greet her. On one of these days that I had gone to her house, she was praying a supererogatory prayer and reciting the following verse:

“(The pious ones will say:, Thank Allah, that… Allah was gracious to us and safeguarded us from the punishment of the searing wind.” (Al-Tur, 52:27).

She was praying while standing and crying and she kept repeating this verse. I waited until I was tired of waiting and then I went to the market to buy some things that I needed. When I had finished and returned, Aisha  was still standing, praying and crying” (Ibn al-Jawzi, Sifatu as-safwa, II, 31).

***

Ibn Abi Mulayka (r.a) has said:

“I managed to see 30 of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah. They all feared hypocrisy for themselves. None of them could say that they had faith like the faith of the angels Gabriel and Michael” (Bukhari, Iman, 36).

***

One day Abu Bakr (r.a) came across Hanzala (r.a) and asked him how he was. Hanzala  replied in great sorrow and anxiety:

“Hanzala has become a hypocrite, o Siddiq”.

Abu Bakr (r.a) replied:

Subhanallah (Glory be to Allah). What a thing to say”. Hanzala explained:

“While we are in the company of the Messenger of Allah, he reminds us of Heaven and Hell and it is as though we can see them with our own eyes. However, whenever we leave the presence of Allah’s Messenger and go back to our families and our children and occupy ourselves with the world, we forget most of what we have heard. (and we lose the spiritual state and prosperity of his words)”

Abu Bakr (r.a) said:

“By Allah, we go through a similar state”.

Upon this we both stood up and went straight to the Messenger of Allah and told him our problem. The Prophet (pbuh) replied:

“I swear by Allah, who holds my life in His hands, that had you been able to maintain your state that you are in when with me, and be continual in your remembrance of Allah, both while sleeping and walking, then the angels would shake hands with you. Then he repeated three times:

“O Hanzala! Sometimes like this, and sometimes like that”. (Muslim, Tawba, 12).

As can be seen the blessed Companions continually took themselves to account for their actions. Despite all of the troubles of their lives, their true anxiety was to preserve their hearts from weakness.

***

One day when Umar (r.a)  was passing by someone’s house, he heard the owner of the house reciting the chapter Tur, with a loud voice. When the man came to the verse:

Your Lord’s punishment will certainly take place. No one can ward it off’ (Al-Tur, 52:7-8)

Umar (r.a) got down from his camel, put his ear to the wall and listened. When he went back home later, he was bedridden for a period, having fallen ill due to the intensity of the warning nature of this verse.[3]

***

Umar (r.a)  has said:

“If a voice were to appear from the heavens saying: “O people. Only one of you will enter the Hellfire”, I would fear that that person might be me. And if the voice were to say: “O people. Only one of you will enter Paradise”, I would wonder whether that person might be me”. [4]

This is the spiritual state of the believers, that is, it is a state between hope and fear which is commanded in the following verse:

‘(those Allah-conscious ones) whose sides eschew their beds as they call on their Lord in fear and ardent hope (in the night). And they give of what We have provided for them’. (As-Sajda, 32:16)

***

Umar (r.a) was once thinking about the difficulty of having to account for himself in the presence of Allah. He picked up a piece of straw from the ground and said:

“Ah, would that I were such a piece of straw, and that I had never come into to this world. If only my mother had never given birth to me, and I could be forgotten entirely”.(Ibn Sa’d, III, 360-1).

***

Ali (r.a) was once asked:

“O Commander of the believers. Why is it that the colour of your face changes when the time for prayer arrives and you begin to tremble?”

He replied:

“This is the time to pay back the trust for which the heavens and earth could not bear and the mountains expressed their helplessness. I do not know whether I will be able to carry it out perfectly.”

***

The Prophet’s grandson Hasan’s face would turn pale whenever he performed his ablution. One day, someone who saw him asked:

“O Hasan. Why do you pale and turn yellow whenever you take your ablution?”

He replied:

“This is the time to appear before the presence of the Sole Possessor of Power, Allah the Great and Majestic”.

When Hasan (r.a) used to enter a mosque he would pray as follows:

“O my Sustainer. Your slave is at Your door. O possessor of Grace. Your sinful servant has come to You. You have ordered Your righteous slaves to forgive the evil of those who do wrong. Because You are the Forgiving and Generous One. O Allah. Forgive the wrongs that I have done with that same forgiveness and grace of Yours and have mercy on me”.

***

Abu Bakr Warraq (r.a) had a small son who was learning the Qur’an. One day he came back early from his lesson, pale and drawn, and trembling. In surprise Abu Bakr (r.a) asked him:

“What is wrong my son? What is this state? Why are you back so early?”

The fear of Allah had firmly established itself in the tiny heart of that little boy and had left his face as faded and blanched as an autumn leaf. He replied:

“O father! Today my teacher taught us a verse from the Qur’an and as I reflected on it and perceived its meaning I found myself in this state”. His father then asked him:

“Which verse is that?” The little boy began to read:

‘How will you safeguard yourselves, if you are reject Allah, against a Day which will turn children grey’ (Al-Muzemmil, 73:17)

Later that little child fell ill in the face of the terror and awe of this verse. He became bedridden and passed away not long after. His father was very moved by this event. He would frequently go to the grave of his son and weep and say to himself:

“O Abu Bakr! Your son learnt a verse from the Qur’an and gave up his spirit from fear of Allah. You however, have been reading the Qur’an all this time and you still do not fear the rights of Allah as much as a child”.

This event displays the sensitivity of a child’s faith in whose heart Allah had placed tenderness and compassion. But it also indicates the way in which we should reflect on His words with a tenderness of heart together with a fear and awesomeness in the face of the greatness of Allah. Almighty Allah explains the way that we can reach this state in the following verse:

‘What of him who spends the night hours in prayer, prostrating and standing up, mindful of the afterlife, hoping for the mercy of his Lord? Say: ‘Are they the same – those who know and those who do not know?’It is only people of intelligence who pay heed.’(Al-Zumar, 39:9)

Accordingly true knowledge in the eyes of Allah is knowledge that will impel one towards concsciousness and fear of Allah. That is true knowledge is knowledge of Allah. In order to attain to such knowledge, the above verse indicates three conditions that must be complied by:

To stand in the night and prostrate thereby establishing a togetherness with almighty Allah in the heart.

To continually remember one’s mortality and always be in a state of anxiety at the account one must give on the Day of Judgement at every stage, time and with each of our actions

To always hope for the mercy of our Lord, and to be continual in our prayer to Him and in seeking refuge in Him. The great people of this world have always lived in a state of continual supplication.

***

Mansur ibn Ammar (r.a) relates:

One night, I went outside thinking that the morning had come. But I saw that it wasn’t morning. As I was passing by someone’s house I heard them weeping sadly and saying the following prayer:

“My Lord! I have committed many sins. I have ruined myself. My aim was not to test Your words. But I gave in to my nafs. And I saw that whatever bad I did, You did nothing in response. I was deceived by Your attribute of Veiler. I committed my sins out of ignorance. Now I know that I made a mistake. If you punish me what will become of my state? Woe to me. O my Lord. On the day that you command Your servants to pass by the Bridge of Sirat, some of them will fall into the Hellfire and some will enter Heaven. I wonder which group this wretched servant of Yours will fall into?”

At that point a verse about Hell was heard. A sigh was heard from the young man who was praying inside and then he could no longer be heard.

“I wonder what happened?” I said to myself. When I had identified which house it was I went back home. When I went back in the morning there was a coffin at the door.

When I asked what had happened his mother told me:

“It is my son who has died. He was from the lineage of the Prophet. When it was nighttime he would pray and weep until the morning. He would give out what he had earned during the day to poor people. When he heard a verse about Hell being read he could no longer bear it and he fell down, weeping. Then he passed away”.

I said to her:

“Dear lady. Your son has gone to Paradise. Because the one who weeps out of fear of Allah cannot enter Hell. How can such a person who submitted his spirit in this way ever enter Hell? Be grateful to Allah”.

***

Yavuz Sultan Selim was a sultan who with a very hot temper. He would get very angry at any mistakes and acts of ignorance. However, just as with his beauty, his anger would melt when it came to the commands of Allah. His fear of Allah was above everything else. One time he had ordered that forty people be killed when there was a burglary in the treasury as a result of neglect. Learning of this situation the Shaykh al-Islam, Zenbilli Ali Efendi, went in haste to Yavuz’s side in order to prevent the execution being carried out and without taking permission. He listened to the truth behind the event from the Sultan. Yavuz responded harshly:

“Respected Sir. What you have heard is true however you do not have the right to interfere in matters of the State…”

The Shaykh al-Islam, Zenbilli Ali Efendi, responded with the same degree of harshness:

“My Sultan. I came here to inform you of the legal ruling. Because our duty is to protect your afterlife”

Sultan Yavuz calmed down in the face of the standards of Islam, finer than a hair, and sharper than a sword. He said:

“Isn’t there allowance to kill one group in order to reform a general situation?”

Zenbilli Ali Efendi replied:

“There is no connection between these people being killed and the reforming the world. A punishment which fits their crime will do…”

The great Sultan who had subdued many a great army bowed his head down and changed his decision. Greatly pleased at this state Zenbilli turned back around just as he was about to leave. He said to Yavuz, who looked at him curiously:

“My Sultan. My first request consisted of informing you of a legal ruling of our religion. I have another request, but this is just a wish…”

Then he continued:

“My Sultan. These criminals are responsible for the crime that they have committed. But who will look after their innocent families while they are in prison? My request is thus that you set up an allowance for their families until their sentence has ended”. (See, Mustafa Nuri Pasha, Netaij al-Wukuat, Ankara, 1987, pg 90-91).

Yavuz granted this second request also, no doubt indicating his awareness of his divine responsibility by Allah.

***

On another occasion Zenbilli Ali Efendi similarly warned the Sultan. But because the Sultan considered himself justified with his decision he said to the Shaykh al Islam as he did the previous time:

“It is not your duty to interfere in the affairs of the state”

Undaunted, Zenbilli Ali Efendi responded to this threatening address:

“My Sultan. These are affairs of the hereafter and therefore we do have the right to interfere. If you do not turn back from your incorrect decision be prepared for an intense punishment on Judgement Day…”

After these words, the Shaykh al Islam turned around and left, without even saying goodbye. Yavuz Sultan Selim, who was just about to leave for a journey, was a little incensed as he had never been treated as such by anyone before. However he realised the truth and accepted the warning by the Shaykh al Islam and changed his decision. He left a letter of apology for Zenbilli Ali Efendi.

In spite of the fact that he was the Sultan of the world, the fear of Allah he harboured within his heart, prevented him from acting according to his own desires. The Shaykh’s own fear of Allah on the other hand gave him great courage and he was able to risk everything in order to warn, without fear, as harsh a Sultan as Yavuz.

***

One of the viziers of that time met with the great Sufi saint, Zunnun-i Misri and said:

“Please help me. I am busy serving the Sultan day and night. I hope for the best for him, but I am afraid that he will scold and rebuke me.”

Zunnun wept and said:

“Had you feared Allah as much as you fear this sultan you would have been accepted into the group of truthful ones”

***

In short, “the start of all things good is love for Allah, and the foundation of wisdom is fear of Allah.

One who loves and knows Allah will be ever careful about their acts, for fear of not being worthy of His love and of being subject to his punishment. He will live his life in the best way. If the servant properly fears Allah (as He deserves to be feared), his life will be given direction under the blanket of Islam and he will be safe from all worldly and otherworldly fears. The Prophet has said:

“There are three things that will save a person: Fear of Allah, both in secret and in the open, maintaining justice in states of pleasure and anger, being economical in times of both poverty and wealth. The following three things will ruin a person: the desires that make one follow them; miserliness, and being satisfied with oneself”(Munawi, III, 404/3471).

We must fear Allah in the way he deserves to be feared if we want to have peace and happiness both in this world and the next. We must also seek refuge in Him whilst bowing down and in prostration, with our prayers and our supplications, watered by our tears, and hoping for His mercy and forgiveness.

[1].     The purpose behind this analogy is to make clear the importance of the contents of the Qur’an and how great is the responsibility of the human being to whom it is addressed. It is also possible to derive from this verse the following meaning: If a mountain had been given the consciousness which human beings have been given, that agent of grandeur would have bowed down with reverence and awe in the face of Allah’s greatness, power and absolute control over the universe as a result of recognising His attributes the responsibility that comes along with it. Not being content with this it would tear itself apart in order to serve Allah. The human being on the other hand is adamant in resisting the feeling of the burden on his shoulders and wastes his life in heedlessness.

Thus man, in order to receive his share of fear and love of Allah, must distance his inner world from sin and adorn it with a life of piety.

[2].     Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 34/2472

[3].     Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, “al Takhwif min al Nar,” Damascus, 1979, pg 30)

[4].     Ali al Muttaki, XII, 620/35916. See also Ibn Rajab al Hanbali, al Tahwif mina’n Nar, Damascus, 1979, pg 15