Ramadan & Fearing (Observing) Allah
One of the evidences of righteousness and piety is the fear of Allah in secret and in public. This is the degree of Al-Ihsân...
In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
All praise be to Allah, The Lord of all the worlds, and peace and blessings of Allah be upon the most Honored of messengers our Prophet Muhammad and all his family and companions…
One of the evidences of righteousness and piety is the fear of Allah in secret and in public. This is the degree of Al-Ihsân (i.e. to be patient in performing your duties to Allâh, totally for Allâh's sake and in accordance with the Sunnah (legal ways) of the Prophet (peace be upon him in a perfect manner) that exceeds both the degrees of being on the religion of Islam and of faith. The Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has explained it as "That you worship Allah as if you are seeing Him, for though you do not see Him, He, verily, sees you." [Reported by Muslim 1/8].
»أن تعبد الله كأنك تراه. فإن لم تكن تراه، فإنه يراك«رواه مسلم
It is a permanent fearing of Allah the Glorified and Exalted, by which the slave of Allah cannot disobey Him; because he knows that if one is away from people's eyes, one cannot be away from Allah Almighty.
* Some of the Fruits of Fearing
Fearing Allah Almighty has great fruits both in this worldly life and the Hereafter. Some of such fruits are:
1 – Fearing is a means by which the slave of Allah performs acts of obedience and it keeps him away from performing acts of disobedience and the forbidden. It is a reason for a worshipper to be protected by the shade of the Most Gracious in the day when there is no shade but His shade. The seven that Allah will protect in His shade in the Day of Resurrection is but due to acts of obedience they had performed or acts of disobedience they had abandoned; fearing Allah Almighty was their motive in doing so.
The just Imam (ruler) has observed Allah Almighty in ruling his subjects and, accordingly, treated them with fairness. If he was being just without faith, his justness would not benefit him in the Hereafter. His faith motivated him to fear Allah Almighty in his subjects, so he acted justly among them and deserved to be protected under the shade of Allah in the Day of Judgment.
The youth who has been brought up in the worship of Allah Almighty (i.e. worships Allah sincerely from childhood); it is believed that he was always in a state of observing Allah Almighty. The man, whose heart is attached to the mosques (i.e. to pray the compulsory prayers in the mosque in congregation); has also feared Allah Glorified and Exalted in performing this great ordinance.
On the same line are the two persons who love each other only for Allah's sake and they meet and part in Allah's cause only. Observing Allah has made their love to each other not change upon parting; because it is a pure love for Allah's sake. They fear Him and know that He knows them and knows what lies within their hearts.
Fearing is sharp clear in the three persons mentioned in the end of the Hadith. They are: a man who refuses the call of a charming woman of high rank for an illegal sexual intercourse with her and says: I am afraid of Allah; his fear from Allah Almighty was due to his observing Him... the means to adultery were facilitated to him, and he has been prompted by a lot of reasons. The woman is beautiful, so he was moved by his natural instinct. She was of high rank; so no one could hurt her or the man she is to have intercourse with. Fearing people's harm or punishment has no ground due to her high rank. Her beauty is a motivation for having sexual intercourse with. There was nothing left to prevent this righteous man from committing sin but fearing Allah Almighty; so he said: I am afraid of Allah.
Just like him is the man who gives charity and conceals it (to such an extent) that the right hand does not know what the left has given. He knows that Allah Almighty observes him. He calls to his mind such observation in each charity he gives, so he hides it from the eyes of people in order to be seen only by Allah Almighty. He exaggerated in hiding it that some of his body parts cannot see it.
In addition, a person who remembers Allah in seclusion and his eyes get flooded with tears; fearing Allah moved his heart when he remembered Allah Almighty, so his eyes got flooded with tears.
So he who observes Allah Almighty in secrecy and in public is worthy of being shaded in the shade of Allah almighty in the Day of Judgment.
2- Fearing Allah is a reason for dispelling worries and Getting rid of straits and crises in this worldly life, nevertheless the Hereafter. In the story of the three men who took shelter in a cave at night. A big rock fell from the mountain over the mouth of the cave and blocked it. They invoked Allah with their good deeds, so Allah removed the rock away from the cave and relieved their distress. It is noticed that their fear from Allah was a reason for their good deeds and such good deeds were a reason for relieving their anguish.
The first one: he was used to milking his cattle for his parents and his children. He used to start giving the milk to his parents first before giving it to his children. One day he was late; when he came back his parents had been asleep. He did not wake them up; however he stood by their heads, with the milk in his hands awaiting them to wake up. He hated to make his children drink before them. His children were crying out of hunger wanting the milk till dawn. When his parents woke up he slaked their thirst. But for his fear and observance of Allah in his old parents, he could have slept and left them. He could have given his children to drink especially that his parents were asleep and did not know what he was doing. However, he feared Allah and did with them while sleeping what he would do while awaking.
As for the second: he had a cousin whom he loved like the deepest love a man may have for a woman. He seduced her but she refused. When she needed him he asked to have sexual intercourse with her as a condition for responding to her need. She agreed and when he overpowered her and sat in between her legs, she said to him: "O slave of Allah, be afraid of Allah, and do not deflower me except rightfully". So he got up and let her be, and left the money he had given her. Unless he was afraid of Allah, the words she had said: "O slave of Allah, be afraid of Allah, and do not deflower me except rightfully", would not have affected his heart especially that he had loved her and had already overpowered her. His fear and observance of Allah have surpassed his lust and his love to her.
As for the third: he employed a worker and when he wanted to pay him, he refused to take his wages. The employer invested in the money of the worker till it became huge money of plant and sheep. After a time that man came and demanded his wages. He informed him that all that he is seeing of plant and sheep belonged to him as he invested them for him during his absence. The worker took them. Unless the man was afraid of Allah Almighty, he would have devoured his wealth or, at least, he might have given him his rightful amount of money and kept the profits to himself especially that the worker did not know about it. When he informed him that all what he saw belonged to him the worker said to him: “Be afraid of Allah and do not mock me.” He replied: “I do not mock you. The employer knew that if the worker did not observe him, Allah Almighty observed him.”
These good deeds resulting from the fear and observance of Allah Almighty were a reason to relieve their anguish and to remove the rock from the cave that they got out walking.
Fearing Allah is a reason for dispelling anguishes in this worldly life and in the Hereafter. The former is indicated by the Hadith of the Cave and the latter is indicated by the Hadith of the Seven whom Allah would give protection with His shade on the Day when there would be no shade but that of Him (i.e. on the Day of Judgment).
Zaid Ibn Aslam said: "Abdullah Ibn 'Umar passed by a shepherd. He said: O Shepherd, can I buy one? The shepherd replied: "Their owner is not here". Ibn 'Umar said to him: tell him that a wolf has eaten it. He said: the shepherd raised his head to the sky and said: So, where is Allah? Ibn 'Umar said: By Allah I am more deserving to say: Where is Allah? So Ibn 'Umar purchased the shepherd and the sheep, manumitted the shepherd and gave him the sheep" [Shu'ab Al-Imân (the Division of Faith) 4/86, Sefat As-Safwa (the Attributes of the Cream) 2/188].
Ibn Al-Mubârak was asked about the explanation of fearing Allah. He said: "Be always as if you are seeing Allah Glorified and Exalted" [Al-Ihiâ' (the Regeneration) 4/397].
A man asked Aj-Junayd, may Allah have mercy on him: what can help me for lowering the gaze? He replied: "By knowing that the gaze of the Looker (Allah) to you is preceding your gaze to whomever being looked at." [Jami' Al-'Ulûm wa Al-Hikam (the Collection of Knowledge and Wisdom) 1/162].
Abu 'Uthmân An-Nîsâbûri said: Abu Hafs said to me: "If you sit before people be a preacher for your soul and heart. Do not be tempted by their gathering around you, as they observe your outward and Allah observes your inward" [Mdarij As-Sâlikîn (the Path of the Successful) 2/66].
This is what is meant by fearing Allah; he who achieves it and reaches its degree is worthy of doing good deeds and avoiding vices. He deserves the relief of anguishes in this worldly life and the Hereafter.
* The Relation between Fasting and Fearing:
There is a strong relation between fearing and fasting. Fasting is built on fearing. Leaving fast breakers is a secret that only Allah Almighty knows. A slave of Allah may claim that he is fasting and sits among fasting people while he is not fasting. People may believe that he is fasting, but only Allah Almighty knows his truth. Accordingly, in the Hadith narrated by Abu Huraira, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said: "Every (good) deed of the son of Adam would be multiplied, a good deed receiving a tenfold to seven hundredfold reward. Allah, Glorified and Exalted, has said: With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me and I will give a reward for it, for one abandons his passion and food for My sake." [Reported by At-Tirmidhi and Authenticated by Al-Albani].
»ما من حسنة عملها ابن آدم إلا كتب له عشر حسنات، إلى سبعمائة ضعف، قال الله عز وجل: إلا الصيام، فإنه لي، وأنا أجزي به، يدع شهوته وطعامه من أجلي« رواه الترمذي وصححه الألباني
An observer of fasting leaves his food, drink and lust for the sake of Allah Almighty, not for the sake of people. His matter is hidden from people while Allah Almighty knows his affair, in contrast to many other good deeds. A praying man may pray for the sake of people, the same applies to the 'Umra performer, a pilgrim or a philanthropist when he shows off his charity. Many good deeds are like that. That does not mean that fasting cannot include hypocrisy – especially optional fasting. The slave of Allah may observe fasting optionally and show such fasting by informing people. He may, also, intentionally show an evidence of his fasting. But only Allah Glorified and Exalted knows the truth of he who claims fasting. He may break his fast in secret without people knowing about it. Fasting is a secret between the slave and his Lord. That is why its reward is directly taken from Allah Almighty without mediation, as the rewards of all deeds are from Allah Almighty.
There is another reason mentioned of the particularity of Allah Almighty in rewarding for fasting that is: all the acts of worship by which the believers seek to gain Allah's favor are done also by polytheists to gain the favor of their gods such as praying, pilgrimage, circumambulation, charity, and other. For fasting, however, it is not heard that any polytheist sect in the old times worshipped or sought to gain the favor of their gods by it. Fasting is known in the acts of worship as a divine law only. Therefore, Allah Glorified and Exalted, has said: "With the exception of fasting, for it is done for Me". That is: no one shares me in it and that no other deity is being worshipped by it. I Myself rewards for it as it is meant particularly for Me. I do not entrust it to a close angel or any other one. [This is mentioned by Ibn Al-Athîr from Prince Quîmâz, Jami' Al-Usûl (the Collection of the Origins) 9/454].
An observer of fasting should fear Allah Almighty in his fasting; he observes Him in his hearing so that he will not listen to a forbidden thing... He should fear Him in his gaze by not looking at a forbidden thing... He should fear Him in his limbs by not performing a forbidden thing... He should fear Him in his steps by not walking to a forbidden thing, nor sitting in the councils of amusement and falsehood.
Many fasting people fear Allah in their fasting with regards to eating, drinking and all the tangible fasting violators. They bear down heavily on themselves that they ask whether eye drops, nose drops, eardrops, dust, smoke and perfume are fasting violators. They avoid them as a precaution to their fasting. They, however, do not fear Allah Almighty in what violates fasting or wastes its reward such as gossip, backbiting, slander, falsehood and looking and listening to forbidden things. This is one of the greatest blemishes in understanding the reality of fasting. This is a great deprivation. They deprive themselves of what Allah permits outside fasting and permit what Allah prohibits in fasting and breakfasting. We ask Allah Almighty for safety and wellness. We also ask Him Almighty for protecting us from what He has forbidden us and guide us to what He loves and what pleases Him of words, deeds and intentions. He is the All-Hearing, the Acceptor to invocation. All praise be to Allah, the Lord of worlds, and peace and blessings be upon His slave and messenger, Muhammad and upon all his Family and companions.
Ibrahim Ibn Mohamed Al-Huqayl
Ibn Khuzaymah House
Translated by Wathakker.info website