- Fat-h al-Majeed Sharh Kitab at-Tawheed
- The Destination of the Seeker of Truth (Interpretation of Kitab at-Tawheed) by Shaikh Saalih Aal-Shaikh
- Tafseer Ibn Katheer
- Explanation and commentary of Shaikha Anaheed for chapter 31 of Kitab at-Tawheed
- Tasheel al-Aqeedah by Shaikh Jibreen
All Perfect Attributes belong to Allaah, and He (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) deals with (allocates His action with regard to) His slaves with His Attributes. The impact of Allaah’s mercy and kindness befalls all of His slaves. However, only the believers see the impact of the Attributes of Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) because they have the knowledge which helps them to understand the nurturing of Allaah and they are able to see and ponder over His Perfect Attributes.
To acquire knowledge is not enough, unless you use this knowledge to explain everything that happens in this life. This knowledge will make the slave love Allaah more than anyone else. This love should be accompanied with exaltation, which is expressed with fear.As love is an act of worship performed by the heart, similarly, fear is an act of worship performed by the heart, and as such it should not be directed to any other than Allaah.
How do we know that a matter is an act of worship?
- When Allaah commands us with it in His Book
- When Allaah informs us that He loves it and is pleased with it
- When Allaah loves its doer
- When Allaah praises its doer
- When Allaah makes it a condition for fulfillment of Imaan (faith)
- When Allaah mentions the reward for its doer and the punishment for the one who abandons it
All these indicate that a certain matter is an act of worship. When we recite the Qur’an, we may pass by many acts of worship which Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) commands us with, and we do not perceive that what Allaah commands us with is an act of worship, which is a means of nearness to Allaah. Bear in mind that directing any matter which is proven to be an act of worship, to other than Allaah, is considered Shirk.
We are commanded with Tawheed as regards any act of worship. However, many times we are confused as to when the matter or act is considered a natural act and when it is considered Shirk because it is an act of worship which should not be directed except to Allaah.Take slaughtering as an example: It is a habitual act, and it is ‘Ibaadah when this habitual act is accompanied with a good intention, and it becomes a means of nearness to Allaah. For example, entertaining a guest or spending on one’s children; these are basically habits, and normal every day acts which are permissible and allowable. However, if the act is done with the intention of drawing near to Allaah with it, like the sacrifice of al-Adhaa of Hajj (Hady) and the birth of a child (al-Aqeeqah), then it becomes an act of worship.
Similarly, love: People think that loving others or hating them is a natural act; they say that it is normal to love one’s children and husband. This is true, but it can turn into Shirk. This happens when thelove for others becomes equal to or more than their love for Allaah. Ruling: All things that are naturally beloved to a person will become a means of nearness to Allaah if one corrects his intention.
Fear is an act of Worship
The evidence that proves that fear is an act of worship is Allaah’s (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) statement in Surat Aal-‘Imran (3:175):
“It is only Shaytaan (Satan) that suggests to you the fear of his Auliyaa [supporters and friends (polytheists, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allaah and in His Messenger, Muhammad(Salla Allaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)], so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers.”
In this verse, there is a command and a prohibition. The command is to fear Allaah, and the prohibition is not to fear other than Allaah.
- Whenever these two (command and prohibition) join together, then this indicates the command of Tawheed. This indicates that fear is an act of worship.
- In addition, relating Imaan (faith) to this act is another indication that this act is an act of worship. Since fear is an act of worship, then directing it to other than Allaah is Shirk. Accordingly, the rest of one’s actions (by the limbs and the tongue) will be affected.
Fear of Allaah is one of the highest statuses of the religion of Islam, and it’s greatest. It is one of the most comprehensive acts of worship in which the Muslim should be sincere to Allaah. Fear of Allaah is a sign of complete and perfect Imaan (faith) and a form of worship.
Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) says in Surat al-Anbiyaa’ (21:28), praising the believer:
“And they stand in awe for fear of Him.”
Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) also describes His angels in Surat an-Nahl
“They fear their Lord above them.”
He (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) has prepared two gardens in Paradise for those who fear Him as stated in Surat ar-Rahmaan (55:46):
“But for him (the true believer of Islamic Monotheism) who fears the standing before his Lord, there will be two gardens (i.e. in Paradise).”
In Surat an-Nahl (16:51), He (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) commands us to fear Him saying:
“Then, fear Me (Allaah) much [and Me (Alone), i.e. be away from all kinds of sins and evil deeds that Allaah has forbidden and do all that Allaah has ordained, and worship none but Allaah].”
And in Surat al-Ma’idah (5:44), He (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala) says:
“Therefore, fear not men but fear Me.”
Fear of Allaah is of the obligatory acts of worship of the heart. Its completion is the completion of Tawheed (Monotheism) and any deficiency in it is a deficiency in the completion of Tawheed. This fear is joined with love, magnification and humility to Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala). The one who fears Allaah believes that his Lord may afflict him with something whenever He wills, and in the way that He wills, because He encompasses man in all his states, and He is able to execute His Will without reflection or resistance. When Allaah wills to punish a slave, He can do that even if the slave is hiding. Accordingly, the impact of this fear causes one to refrain from committing sin and to choose obedience over committing sin.This fear will not be praiseworthy unless it is a result of belief in Allaah’s Greatness, the encompassing of His Knowledge, His Watchfulness, His Ability, and His severe revenge on the sinners; all this will make the slave fear Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala). Our problem is absence of certainty in Allaah’s Greatness. We don’t fear the meeting with Him, or fear the evil consequences of our deeds (from Him). We don’t remember our crimes which should make us repent and ask for forgiveness from Allaah continuously.
Check your heart when reciting Qur’an and the Verses which talk about the Hereafter. See your reaction when Allaah talks about His punishment on the Day of Judgment. If you feel fear from loss on the Day of Judgment, then this is an indication of Taqwa in the heart.
On the other hand, when you are threatened with the Hereafter and your heart does not move, then know that this is a sign of a sickness of the heart, and weakness of Imaan (faith). Look at the description of the Muttaqeen in the beginning of Surat al-Baqarah (2: 3-4).
You should have Taqwa in your heart in order to have fear at the time when fear is needed and hope at the time when hope is needed.
What are the Means of Attaining Fear of Allaah?
a) Remembering Allaah’s Greatness and that He is Severe in punishment, All-Mighty, All-Able of Retribution, etc. When the heart is filled with fear of Allaah, and this is a praiseworthy fear, then it will refrain from committing sin.
b) Remembering the grave, its darkness and its trials
c) Remembering Judgment Day and its horrors
d) Imploring Allaah and invoking Him
“O Allaah! Grant us Your fear whereby intervene (interpose) between us and the sins against You. Provide us with strength to obey You whereby You may enable us to attain Your Paradise. Bestow upon us a conviction whereby You may lighten our earthly afflictions. Make us enjoy our ears and our eyes as long as we are alive, and make them our inheritors. Avenge us upon him that has wronged us, and help us against him that has been at enmity with us; and let neither this world be a matter of the greatest concern to us; nor limit of our knowledge. And set not in authority over us one who will not show us mercy.” [Saheeh al-Jamie no. 1268]
e) Knowing the evil consequence of sins in this life and the Hereafter One of the greatest and most serious consequences of sins is deviation from the right way:
“So when they turned away (from the Path of Allaah), Allaah turned their hearts away (from the Right Path).” [As-Saff 61: 5]
f) The thing we should fear most is to be prevented from repentance due to our persistence in committing sins, or to die with a bad end Fearing other than Allaah is divided into that which is Shirk (secret fear), that which is forbidden (Haraam), and that which is permissible (Mubaah).
Types of Fear
- Secret Fear (Fear that is Shirk)
To fear a creature similar to how one fears Allaah, while this fear is accompanied with magnification, love and submission. Or, to fear someone who is great lest he touch him with harm, sickness, poverty or death, etc., whenever he wills with his ability and will. This fear prevents the slave from disobeying this great creature.
Allaah says concerning the people of Hud in Surat Hud (11:54-55):
“All that we say is that some of our gods (false deities) have seized you with evil (madness).” He said: “I call Allaah to witness and bear you witness that I am free from that which you ascribe as partners in worship, with Him (Allaah). So plot against me, all of you, and give me no respite.”
Also, Allaah says in Surat az-Zumar (39:36):
“Yet they try to frighten you with those (whom they worship) besides Him!”
The reason this kind of fear is considered Shirk (major Shirk) is because the person believes that this magnified creature has the ability to harm and can do whatever he wills at any time. Whether that great one is a prophet, a Waliyy (person beloved to Allaah), or a Jinn, the person directed this fear to other than Allaah and believed that someone other than Allaah can benefit or harm. For example, when one fears that an idol, a dead person or a Waliyy can afflict him or remove a blessing from him; this is like the grave worshiper, who believes that the dead person knows the unseen, hears the secrets and can touch a person with harm. They have given the attributes of Allaah to this creature and practice Taqwa with this dead person; they are afraid to disobey his commands.
2. Forbidden Fear
This is fear which leads one to abandon an obligatory act and to commit a sin without an excuse except fear of people. This is considered a minor Shirk which negates the perfection of Tawheed.
– one participates in a Bid’ah (innovated practice) out of fear of criticism
– one shaves his beard out of fear of the people
– one does not forbid the Munkar because he is avoiding the harm that may reach him
It is affirmed in an authentic Hadeeth that the Prophet (salla Allaahu ‘alaihiwa sallam) said: “Fear of people should not prevent anyone of you from saying the truth if he sees or knows it.” [At-Tayalisi and Ahmad, and authenticated by Shaikh al-Albaani in al-Silsilah (68)]
This is the state of most of those whose faith is weak. They leave enjoining the Ma’roof or forbidding the Munkar out of fear of being abused or fearing that a little harm could reach them, or they commit a prohibition (Haraam) out of fear of the oppressor. This fear may not be real but imagined, or even if it is real, it should not make one to reach the state of committing a sin or abandoning obligatory acts. Only in a case of major harm, such as being killed, having part of the body cut off, losing abundant wealth, long imprisonment or severe beating, could one leave the performance of an obligatory act. However, in the case of minor harm, one has no excuse to leave an obligatory act. The ruling on this kind of fear is that it is forbidden, while some scholars considered it to be minor Shirk.
Check out these related posts:
- The Attributes of the Successful with evidences from the Qur’an and Sunnah
- Truthfulness (Part 5) : The Categories of As-Sidq (Truthfulness)
- Truthfulness (Part 4) : The Categories of As-Sidq (Truthfulness)
- Truthfulness (Part 3) : The Merits of Truthfulness
- Truthfulness (Part 2) : The Importance of Truthfulness
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