LOVE OF GOD AND FEAR OF GOD
Allah is He to Whom the kingdom of the
heavens and earth belongs. He gives life and causes to die.
You have no protector or helper besides Allah. (Qur'an, 9:116)
... Take provision; but the best provision
is fear of Allah. So have fear of Me, people of intelligence!
says, "Do not take two gods. He is only One God. So dread Me alone."
(Sura an-Nahl: 51)
Fear of God is one of the essential attributes
of a believer. Because, it is fear of God that draws a person nearer
to God, makes him attain a deeper faith, enables him to conduct himself
responsibly towards God every moment of his life, and nurtures his
dedication to values of the Qur'an. The fact that the good morals
God expects from His servants come with the fear of God is reaffirmed
by the Prophet Muhammad (saas) in these words:
Fear God wherever you are; if you
follow an evil deed with a good one you will obliterate it; and deal
with people with a good disposition. (At-Tirmidhi)
Failure to understand the real meaning
of fear of God causes some to confuse it with other kinds of mundane
fears. However, fear of God differs greatly from all other type of
The Arabic word used in the original
text of the Qur'an (khashyat) expresses overwhelming respect. On the
other hand, the Arabic word used in the Qur'an to refer to worldly
fears (hawf) expresses a simple kind of fear, as in the fear one feels
when faces with a wild animal.
A consideration of the attributes of
God leads to a better understanding of these two kinds of fear, both
expressed by different words in Arabic.
Worldly fears are usually caused by a
potential threat. For example, one may fear being murdered. However,
God is the All-Compassionate, the Most Merciful and the Most Just.
Therefore, fear of God implies showing respect to Him, the All-Compassionate,
the Most Merciful and the Most Just, and avoiding exceeding His limits,
rebelling Him and being of those who deserve His punishment.
Your friend is only Allah and His Messenger
and those who believe...
The consequences that a fear of God has
on people make this difference apparent. Faced with a deadly danger,
a person panics; seized with hopelessness and desperation, he fails
to exercise his reason and discover a solution. Fear of God, however,
actuates wisdom and adherence to one's conscience. Through fear of
God, a person is motivated to avoid that which is evil, corruptive,
and likely to cause either physical or mental harm to him. Fear of
God fosters wisdom and insight. In a verse of the Qur'an, God informs
us that it is through fear of God that wisdom and understanding is
You who believe! If you have fear of
God, He will give you a criterion (by which to judge between right
and wrong) and erase your bad actions from you and forgive you. God's
favour is indeed immense. (Sura al-Anfal: 29)
Worldly fears cause man anxiety. Fear
of God, however, not only gives rise to increased spiritual strength,
but also to peace of mind.
It is through fear of God that man avoids
those evil actions displeasing God. A verse of the Qur'an states,
"... God does not love anyone vain or boastful." (Sura an-Nisa': 36).
A God-fearing person strives diligently to abstain from boasting,
and to engage rather in actions to earn God's love. For that reason,
fear of God and love of God are mutually exclusive.
Fear of God, in fact, removes the obstacles
to drawing nearer to God and earning His love. Foremost of these obstacles
is one's lower self. From the Qur'an, we learn that there are two
aspects of the soul; the one inspiring evil and mischief, and the
other, guarding against every inclination to evil.
... The self and what proportioned it
and inspired it with depravity and a fear of God, he who purifies
it has succeeded, he who covers it up has failed. (Sura ash-Shams:
Struggling against this evil, and not
giving in it, requires spiritual strength. This strength derives from
fear of God. A God-fearing person is not enslaved by the selfishness
of his soul. The awe he feels for God draws him away from thoughts
and deeds unworthy of His pleasure. A verse of the Qur'an informs
us that only those who fear God will take heed of the warnings imparted
You can only warn those who act on the
Reminder and fear the All-Merciful in the Unseen. Give them the good
news of forgiveness and a generous reward. (Sura Ya Sin: 11)
Man's striving must be to feel a more
profound fear of God. To effect this noble sentiment, he must reflect
upon God's creation and recognize the supreme artistry and power represented
in its every detail. His thinking must enable him to attain a better
grasp of His grandeur and add to his awe. Indeed, God commands us:
You who believe! Have fear of God
with the fear due to Him and do not die except as Muslims. (Sura Al
So have fear of God, as much as you
are able to, and listen and obey and spend for your own benefit. It
is the people who are safe-guarded from the avarice of their own selves
who are successful. (Sura at-Taghabun: 16)
The more a believer fears God, the more
loving he becomes. He better acknowledges the beauty of God's creation.
He acquires the ability to recognize the multitude of people, nature,
animals, and in everything around him, as reflections of God's sublime
attributes. Consequently, he comes to feel a deeper love for such
blessings, as well as for God, their Creator.
A person who grasps this secret also
knows what love of God is. He loves God, over and above anything else,
and understands that all beings are the work of His creation. he loves
them in accordance with God's pleasure. He loves believers who are
submissive to Him, but feels aversion for those who are rebellious
The true love that makes man happy, brings
him joy and peace, is love of God. Other forms of love, felt for beings
other than God, are, in the words of the Qur'an, love peculiar to
idolaters, and consistently leads to anguish, sorrow, melancholy and
anxiety. The idolaters' love and the love believers feel for God are
compared in a verse as follows:
Some people set up equals to God,
loving them as they should love God. But those who believe have greater
love for God... (Sura al-Baqara: 165)