Fear of Allah Almighty

Since 2012-11-22

Fear of Allah Almighty is the highest rank of piety, since man could not attain the high ranks of the pious unless he feels afraid of Allah Almighty.

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Ever Merciful

All perfect praise be to Allah; and may Allah send blessing and peace upon the noblest of Messengers, our Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, his family and Companions. To go further:

Fear of Allah Almighty is the highest rank of piety, since man could not attain the high ranks of the pious unless he feels afraid of Allah Almighty. In confirmation of that, Allah Almighty said (what means):

- “The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and upon their Lord they rely.” [Al-Anfaal 8:2]

{إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ إِذَا ذُكِرَ اللّهُ وَجِلَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَإِذَا تُلِيَتْ عَلَيْهِمْ آيَاتُهُ زَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَاناً وَعَلَى رَبِّهِمْ يَتَوَكَّلُونَ}
الأنفال: 2

Transliteration: Innama almuminoona allatheena itha thukira Allahu wajilat quloobuhum waitha tuliyat AAalayhim ayatuhu zadathum eemanan waAAala rabbihim yatawakkaloona

- “And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord.” [Al-Muminoon 23:60]

{وَالَّذِينَ يُؤْتُونَ مَا آتَوا وَّقُلُوبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ رَاجِعُونَ}
المؤمنون: 60

Transliteration: Waallatheena yutoona ma ataw waquloobuhum wajilatun annahum ila rabbihim rajiAAoona

‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: “O Messenger of Allah! Does it mean the one who commits theft and adultery, and drinks wine, because of which he fears Allah?” he, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “No, daughter of As-Siddiq! It means the one who offers prayer, observes fast, and gives in charity, and feels afraid of Allah (lest his deed would not be accepted from him).” [At-Tirmithi]

‹‹ قالت عائشة : أهم الذين يشربون الخمر ويسرقون قال لا يا بنت الصديق ولكنهم الذين يصومون ويصلون ويتصدقون وهم يخافون أن لا تقبل منهم››

Let us begin this epistle with talking about how the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, feared Allah Almighty, given that he was the most pious, and the most fearful of his Lord among all the people.

It is narrated on the authority of ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said: the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “I have the best knowledge about Allah among the people, and fear Him most among them all.”

‹‹إني لأعلمهم بالله ، وأشدهم له خشية››

The traces of fear used to be visible on his face if states changed with him. It is narrated on the authority of ‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said: I never saw The Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, laughing loudly enough to enable me to see his uvula, but he used to smile only. Moreover, whenever he saw clouds or winds, signs of deep concern would appear on his face. I said: “O Messenger of Allah! When people see clouds they usually feel happy, hoping that it would rain, while I notice that when you see clouds, the signs of dissatisfaction are visible on your face." He said: “O ‘A’ishah! What ensures to me that there will be no punishment in it, since some people were punished with wind? Verily, some people saw (received) the punishment, but (while seeing the cloud) they said: ‘This cloud will give us rain.’"

‹‹ما رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ضاحكا حتى أرى منه لهواته ، إنما كان يبتسم . قالت : وكان إذا رأى غيما أو ريحا عرف في وجهه ، قالت : يا رسول الله ، إن الناس إذا رأوا الغيم فرحوا ، رجاء أن يكون فيه المطر ، وأراك إذا رأيته عرف في وجهك الكراهية ؟ فقال : ( يا عائشة ، ما يؤمنني أن يكون فيه عذاب ؟ عذب قوم بالريح ، وقد رأى قوم العذاب ، فقالوا : هذا عارض ممطرنا )››
رواه البخاري ومسلم

Due to his great fear while standing in front of his Lord (in prayer), he would weep so much that his chest would sound like the sounding of a boiling kettle. It is narrated on the authority of ‘Abdullah Ibn Ash-Shakhir, may Allah be pleased with him, that he said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, while he was performing prayer, during which I heard (him weeping and) his chest was sounding like the sounding of a boiling kettle, due to his great fear of Allah Almighty.”

‹‹أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وهو يصلي ولجوفه أزيز كأزيز المرجل››

Those are some examples illustrating how our Prophet Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, felt afraid of Allah Almighty. Now, let us pause a little with the states of the angels, peace be upon them, in their fear of their Lord Almighty. Allah Almighty says, praising them (what means):

- “And they say, "The Most Merciful has taken a son." Exalted is He! Rather, they are [but] honored servants. They cannot precede Him in word, and they act by His command. He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they cannot intercede except on behalf of one whom He approves. And they, from fear of Him, are apprehensive.” [Al-Anbiyaa 21:26-28]

{وَقَالُوا اتَّخَذَ الرَّحْمَنُ وَلَداً سُبْحَانَهُ بَلْ عِبَادٌ مُّكْرَمُونَ لَا يَسْبِقُونَهُ بِالْقَوْلِ وَهُم بِأَمْرِهِ يَعْمَلُونَ يَعْلَمُ مَا بَيْنَ أَيْدِيهِمْ وَمَا خَلْفَهُمْ وَلَا يَشْفَعُونَ إِلَّا لِمَنِ ارْتَضَى وَهُم مِّنْ خَشْيَتِهِ مُشْفِقُونَ}
الأنبياء: 26-28

Transliteration: Waqaloo ittakhatha alrrahmanu waladan subhanahu bal AAibadun mukramoona (26) La yasbiqoonahu bialqawli wahum biamrihi yaAAmaloona (27) YaAAlamu ma bayna aydeehim wama khalfahum wala yashfaAAoona illa limani irtada wahum min khashyatihi mushfiqoona

- “And to Allah prostrates whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth of creatures, and the angels [as well], and they are not arrogant. They fear their Lord above them, and they do what they are commanded.” [An-Nahl 16:49-50]

{وَلِلّهِ يَسْجُدُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الأَرْضِ مِن دَآبَّةٍ وَالْمَلآئِكَةُ وَهُمْ لاَ يَسْتَكْبِرُونَ (49) يَخَافُونَ رَبَّهُم مِّن فَوْقِهِمْ وَيَفْعَلُونَ مَا يُؤْمَرُونَ}
النحل: 49-50

Transliteration: Walillahi yasjudu ma fee alssamawati wama fee alardi min dabbatin waalmalaikatu wahum la yastakbiroona (49) Yakhafoona rabbahum min fawqihim wayafAAaloona ma yumaroona

It is narrated on the authority of Anas Ibn Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “O Gabriel! What is the matter with Michael that I never see him laughing?” he said: “Michael has never laughed since Allah Almighty created the fire (of Hell).”

‹‹يا جبريل مالي لا أرى ميكائيل ضاحكاً قطقال جبريل: إن ميكائيل لم يضحك قط منذ أن خلق الله النار››

It is narrated on the authority of Jabir, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: “On the night I was made to set out on a night journey, I came upon the highest assembly (of angels), thereupon I saw Gabriel, peace be upon him, (as motionless) as a worn-out cloth because of his great fear (of Allah Almighty), thereupon I came to know his position.”

‹‹ مررت بجبريل ليلة أسري بي بالملأ الأعلى ، و هو كالحلس البالي من خشية الله عز و جل››

As such was the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and as such were the angels, peace be upon them: although they obeyed their Lord Almighty so much, they also feared Him so much. After that, let us talk about how the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, feared their Lord, and how they observed His commandments:

When Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, entered a garden and saw a bird on a branch, he went on weeping and said: “Would that I be like this bird, having no good to receive nor sin to bear!"

Al-Faruq, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, used to weep and address himself saying: “Woe to you son of Al-Khattab unless Allah forgives for you!”

It is related that once, ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with him, offered Fajr prayer in Kufah and then sat lowering his head, with the signs of gloominess visible on his face. Then he said something, after which the next Friday did not come upon him before he had died. He said: “I saw the Companions of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and I have never seen anything resembling them. Whenever morning came upon them, they would seem disheveled, pale (because of their long standing at night), with dust covering their clothes, and (swelling) in between their eyes like the goat’s knee because of their much weeping, having spent the night in prostration to Allah Almighty, and standing (in prayer), reciting the Book of Allah Almighty, reclining for some time against their feet (during their standing), and for some time against their foreheads (during their prostration). When dawn broke, they would remember Allah Almighty, and incline like the trees on a windy day, by Allah, as if they spent the night heedless (of the world round them).” After that he was not seen laughing nor smiling.

‘A’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, was in her death agonies when Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with them, came to visit her and inquire about her health. He asked her permission to enter upon her and she said: “Let not me engage myself in (the talk of) Ibn ‘Abbas (for I fear he would praise me so much).” It was said to her: “No doubt, Ibn ‘Abbas is one of the righteous Companions of your Prophet, and he likes to greet you.” She then admitted him. When he entered and sat he said: “Receive the good tidings as nothing separates you from meeting Muhammad and the beloved except that the soul should come out of the body. No doubt, you were the dearest wife to the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam; and the Messenger of Allah, , sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, never liked but good. (Remember when) your necklace fell down (and was lost from you), and the morning came upon the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, in his halting place, and upon the people, and there was no water with them (which they needed to perform ablution and offer Morning prayer). On that occasion, Allah Almighty revealed (what means): "and find no water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and your hands [with it]." [An-Nisaa’ 4:43]

{فَتَيَمَّمُواْ صَعِيداً طَيِّباً}
النساء: 43

Transliteration: fatayammamoo saAAeedan tayyiban

And it was because of you that Allah Almighty gave that concession to this ummah. Furthermore, Allah Almighty sent down your innocence from seven heavens, and it was brought by the (Gabriel) the Trustworthy Spirit, and now there is no mosque in which Allah is mentioned but that it is recited in it as a part of the Holy Qur’an at the approaches of the night and both ends of the day.” She said: “Let not me engage myself in your talk now O Ibn ‘Abbas. By Him in Whose Hand is my soul, I liked I had been in oblivion, forgotten.” May Allah be pleased with her.

Remember also Mu‘ath, may Allah be pleased with him, who said to his sons and he was in his last breaths: “Inform me when morning comes.” They came and told him, thereupon he said: “O Allah! I seek refuge with you from a night (in) whose morning (one) is (admitted to) the fire! Welcome to death as a beloved that has come while one is bankrupt (of lovers). O Allah! (before death) I have been afraid of (the punishment of) You; and now (as I am dying) I hope for (the mercy of) You. O Allah! You indeed know that I did not like to be in this world, nor to live a long life in it to get springs or plant trees, in so much as to observe fasts more often at the scorching heat (of summer thereby I receive more reward), spend the long hours (in worship), and race the scholars to the gatherings of Thikr.” Then, he died, may Allah be pleased with him.

Our righteous predecessors also had great situations in connection with their fear of Allah Almighty, of which we mention the following:

Remember the rightly-guided caliph, ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abd-Al-‘Aziz, may Allah have mercy upon him, about whom his wife Fatimah, daughter of ‘Abd-Al-Malik, says: “We may find men who perform more prayers and observe more fasts than ‘Umar. But it is impossible to find a man more fearful of Allah Almighty than ‘Umar. “ she adds: “Whenever he prayed the Last ‘Isha’ in the mosque, he would come back to his praying place in the house and start performing the prayer of Tahajjud until he would be overpowered by slumber. Whenever he got up after that, he would persist in weeping until dawn.”

When Harun Ar-Rashid went to Makkah, he ordered his minister to search for somebody to instruct him. Then, Harun went to Al-Fudayl in his house and when he entered, Al-Fudayl extinguished the lamp.
He asked him: “Why have you extinguished the lamp O Abu ‘Ali?”
he said: “No doubt, this darkness is easier than the darkness of the grave O Harun.”
He said: “Give me more.”
He said: “O Harun! No doubt, Allah Almighty will reckon every one about himself. But He will reckon you about everybody of your wards.”
He went on weeping and said: “Give me more.”
He said: “O Harun! I see you good-looking, of beautiful face. So, beware (of the punishment of) Allah lest you would distort your face with the fire of Hell.”
On that he wept excessively from the depth of his heart. He said to his minister: “Should you guide us to somebody to instruct us, then, guide us to the like of this.”

Muhammad Ibn Al-Munkadir, may Allah have mercy upon him, kept weeping so much until his family feared for him. They went to Abu Hazim and asked him to check him up, and Abu Hazim came and asked him: “What causes you to weep, may Allah have mercy upon you?” Muhammad said: “A Holy Verse in Allah’s Book which, when I recite, I could not help shedding tears.” He asked him about it and he said: “It is the statement of Allah Almighty (what means): “And there will appear to them from Allah that which they had not taken into account.” [Az-Zumur 39:47]

{وَبَدَا لَهُم مِّنَ اللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يَكُونُوا يَحْتَسِبُونَ}
الزمر: 47

Transliteration: wabada lahum mina Allahi ma lam yakoonoo yahtasiboona

Then, all of us went on weeping.

Sitting with his pupils, Sufyan Ath-Thawri, may Allah have mercy upon him, all of a sudden, went on weeping. They asked him about the reason and he said: “I feel afraid I would be deprived of faith at death.” When death approached him, he wept so much, and when he was asked about that, he said: “Woe to you! Do you know whether to Paradise or to the fire (of Hell) I would be taken?”

Al-Hasan Al-Basri, may Allah have mercy upon him, was in the habit of extreme sadness and fear of Allah Almighty. In comment on that, he said: “I feel afraid that when Allah Almighty looks at our deeds, He would say: ‘I would not accept anything from you.’”

One day, ‘Ata’ As-Sulami, may Allah have mercy upon him, looked at the furnace thereupon he fell unconscious, for he remembered the statement of Allah Almighty (what means): “The Fire will sear their faces, and they therein will have taut smiles.” [Al-Muminoon 23:104]

{تَلْفَحُ وُجُوهَهُمُ النَّارُ وَهُمْ فِيهَا كَالِحُونَ}
المؤمنون: 104

Transliteration: Talfahu wujoohahumu alnnaru wahum feeha kalihoona

What is the outcome of the fear of Allah Almighty?

The fear of Allah Almighty results in strict observation of (the commandments of) Allah Almighty, for the fearful of Allah always feels the significance of the statement of Allah Almighty (what means):

- “and He is with you wherever you are. And Allah , of what you do, is Seeing.” [Al-Hadid 57:4]

{وَهُوَ مَعَكُمْ أَيْنَ مَا كُنتُمْ وَاللَّهُ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ بَصِيرٌ}
الحديد: 4

Transliteration: wahuwa maAAakum ayna ma kuntum waAllahu bima taAAmaloona baseerun

-“and thought it was insignificant while it was, in the sight of Allah , tremendous” [An-Noor 24:15]

{وَتَحْسَبُونَهُ هَيِّناً وَهُوَ عِندَ اللَّهِ عَظِيمٌ}
النور: 15

Transliteration: watahsaboonahu hayyinan wahuwa AAinda Allahi AAatheemun
- “Allah had enumerated it, while they forgot it.” [Al-Mujaadila 58:6]

{أَحْصَاهُ اللَّهُ وَنَسُوهُ}
المجادلة: 6

Transliteration: ahsahu Allahu wanasoohu

- “Or do they think that We hear not their secrets and their private conversations? Yes, [We do], and Our messengers are with them recording.” [Az-Zukhruf 43:80]

{أَمْ يَحْسَبُونَ أَنَّا لَا نَسْمَعُ سِرَّهُمْ وَنَجْوَاهُم بَلَى وَرُسُلُنَا لَدَيْهِمْ يَكْتُبُونَ}

Transliteration: Am yahsaboona anna la nasmaAAu sirrahum wanajwahum bala warusuluna ladayhim yaktuboona

Of a surety, the strict observation of (the commandments of) Allah Almighty leads to self-mortification, by avoiding the (sins which result in) disobedience of Allah, and keeping patient on the (acts of worship which lead to) obedience of Allah.

The seven whom Allah will shade underneath the shade of His Throne (of Majesty) on the Day of Judgment are either fearful of (the punishment of) Allah Almighty, or hopeful of His reward, and by virtue of both fear and hope, they will deserve this high rank on the Day of Judgment.

That is the confirmation of the statement of the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, when he said: “No one wept out of fear of Allah would enter the fire (of Hell) until the milk returns to the udder once again.”

‹‹ لا يلج النار رجل بكى من خشية الله حتى يعود اللبن في الضرع››

The criterion in this is the statement of Ibn Taymiyah, may Allah have mercy upon him: “The due limit of fear is that which holds you back from the sins forbidden by Allah Almighty; and what is beyond that is unnecessary. That is the measure on which one knows whether or not he fears his Lord.”

We ask Allah Almighty to make us of those who fear (the punishment of) Him, and hope for (the mercy of) Him, and to remove our terror, and endow us with (the privilege of) fear of Him secretly and publicly; and Allah is an ally to the righteous.

Muhyi Ibn Muhammad Al-Mazni

Translated by Wathakker.info website


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