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LOVE, FEAR AND HOPE
ad-Dawah illaah Magazine
One of the most beautiful things about the concept of worship in
Islaam is the truly unique way in which it incorporates the feeling
of love, fear and hope within the hearts of the worshippers of
Allaah. Understanding how to combine these three qualities into the
worship (ibaadah) of Allaah is one of the most essential things that
every Muslim must grasp, not least because every sect which has
drifted from the Straight Path has strayed in the aspect of worship.
The deviation of the other religions in this regard is clear for all
to see: "God is love! Jesus is love!" say the Christians,
fact that Allaah should be feared too. As for the Jews, their hearts
filled only with hope; hope that the Fire will never touch them,
since they were the "Promised People".
In Islaam however, no worship is complete without the presence of all
three qualities: love of Allaah, hope in His Mercy and fear of His
Punishment. Contemplate the opening Soorah of the Qur'aan - Soorah al-
Faatihah - and you will see this for yourself.
Aayah 1: "All praise [and thanks] is for Allaah, Rabb of all the
In this opening aayah (verse) of the Qur'aan, we have LOVE of Allaah
and every time we recite this aayah we are testifying to our love for
Allaah. How is that you ask?
It is because in the aayah, we are acknowledging that Allaah is our
Rabb and the Rabb of all the worlds. Rabb is usually translated
as `the Lord', but this translation does not do justification
name of Allaah and all the meanings this name carries. In reality,
Rabb means that Allaah is the Creator of everything; He sustains and
nourishes everything; He gives life and Death; anything good that we
have is from Him; everything is dependant on Him and nothing can
happen unless He wills it. Furthermore, for the Muslims He - the
Rabb - in the One who has guided us to the Truth and given us good
morals and manners.
Thus when we testify that Allaah is our Rabb, then we are
acknowledging that He is the One who has given us so many blessings -
so many that if we try to enumerate His blessings, we would be unable
to do so. So how could we not but LOVE Him?
After all, we all love those who show kindness towards us or present
us with gifts. And therefore the Messenger of Allaah (salla-allahu
alaihe wa-sallam) encouraged the exchange of gifts between Muslims
because it helps to strengthen ties and develop love for one another.
He (salla-allahu alaihe wa-sallam) said, "Give gifts to one
you will come to love one another."
So imagine the LOVE we should have for our Rabb who has given us
everything: nice families, shelter, security, food, health and above
all the Guidance of Islaam and the Sunnah. We should be overwhelming
in our love for Him. That is why we praise Him and thank Him and
say, "All praise (and thanks) is for Allaah, R
Aayah 2: The Rahmaan (Merciful) and the Raheem (Mercy-Giving)."
In the first aayah of Soorah al-Faatihah, Allaah mentioned He was the
Rabb. In this aayah two more of His beautiful names are mentioned: ar-
Rahmaan and ar-Raheem. Ar-Rahmaan means that He is the Most Merciful.
Ar-Raheem means that He is the Giver of Mercy, in other words His
actions are full of Mercy and He shows Mercy to His creation.
When we mention these two names of Allaah, then we have HOPE. Since
He is the One who is full of Mercy, and we hope He will forgive our
mistakes and shortcomings. We should never loose hope, because Allaah
says in the Qur'aan, "O My slaves, who have transgressed against
themselves! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, Verily Allaah
forgives all sins (except sins). Truly He is Oft-Forgiving, the Most
Merciful" [39: 53]
The need to have FEAR in our worship is shown by the next aayah of
Aayah 3: "King/Master of the Day of Judgement."
When we recite this aayah, we remind ourselves of the Day of
Judgement - that awful Day, when all of humanity shall stand before
Allaah naked, uncircumcised and barefooted. People will appear
drunk though they are not.
On that Day, every person will stand before Allaah and account for
his sins, knowing that not even the smallest action which he did is
hidden from Allaah: "So whosoever does good equal to the weight
atom, shall see it. And whosoever does evil equal to the weight of an
atom shall see it." [Soorah 99 : 7-8]
So when we recite this third aayah of Soorah al-Faatihah, we remind
ourselves of this Judgement and accountability and that should bring
about in us a sense of fear - that maybe our evil actions will be too
great and we will be responsible for them - May Allaah protect us
from such a fate. Then the next verse goes on to say: "You alone
worship." i.e. we single out Allaah for our worship. And how do
worship Him? With LOVE, HOPE and FEAR. And in order to achieve these
qualities, we need Allaah's assistance, so we say then, "We
Striking the Balance
After understanding the need to have love, hope and fear in our
worship, the next question that naturally arises is that, in what
proportion should these qualities be present in our worship? Again we
turn to the Qur'aan for the answer.
"Call upon Him with Fear and Hope." [ Soorah (7): 56]
"Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in Fear and
Hope." [(32): 16]
So both fear and hope should be present in our hearts in equal
proportions. Anas reported that the Prophet (salla-allahu alaihe wa-
sallam) entered upon a young boy who was dying. The Prophet (salla-
allahu alaihe wa-sallam) asked, "How are you?" The boy
Messenger of Allaah, I am in between hoping in Allaah and fearing for
my sins." The Prophet (salla-allahu alaihe wa-sallam) said,
of these two qualities do not unite in the heart of a servant except
that Allaah gives him what he hopes for and protects him from what he
Therefore whenever we do a good action, we should hope that it has
been accepted by Allaah, but at the same time we should also have
fear that maybe it isn't enough or that the good deed has not
worthy of acceptance. Likewise when we sin, we should have hope that
Allaah will accept our repentance and forgive us, but we should also
fear that we may be accountable for it.
This balance should be reflected in our Dawah (which of course is
also worship). So when we invite others to the Truth, we should not
give them the impression that `they have nothing to worry
do we suggest that `they are doomed forever'. Rather we
warnings with encouragement. We inform them of the horrors of the
Fire and tell them about the bliss of Paradise. Just as we find
Allaah telling us in the Qur'aan: "Verily your Lord is Quick in
Punishment and verily He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Giver of
And the scholars of Islaam say, "He who worships Allaah with hope
only is a murji'ee. He who worships Him in fear only is a
[Khaarijee]. And He who worships Allaah in love only is a Zindeeq
[eg. the Soofis, the Christians, etc]. But he who worships Allaah in
fear, love and hope is a Muwahhid Mu'min [a believer upon
The Murji'a were a sect that emerged within the first century of
Islaam. The people of this sect (i.e. the murji'ees) believe that
sins do not affect faith i.e. no matter what sins a person commits,
his eeman (faith) is complete and perfect. They worship Allaah only
with hope because they believe that as long as one believed and
testified to Islaam, they would enter Paradise regardless of their
Unfortunately, all too often nowadays we find a similar attitude
amongst many Muslims today, which is why we find that so often we try
to advise someone to turn to the Deen and abandon sin, they just
point to their hearts and say, "Allaah knows what is in my
or "Allaah forgives", or something else like that.
As for the Khawaarij, they worshipped Allaah in fear only because
they held that anyone who commits major sins was a disbeliever and
would therefore dwell in Hellfire forever. This of course is gross
extremism and straying from the correct path. The Prophet (salla-
allahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: "There were two men of Banoo
who strove equally. One of then committed sins and the other strove
hard in worship. And the one who strove in worship cto see the other
in sin and kept saying to him: "Desist." So one day he found
committing a sin and so said to him: "Desist" So he replied,
me by my Lord, have you been sent as a watcher over me?". He
said, "By Allaah, Allaah will not forgive you, nor will Allaah
you to Paradise". Then their souls were taken and they came
before the Lord of the Worlds. So Allaah said to the one who strove
in worship: "Did you have Knowledge of Me, or did you have any
in what is in my Hands?" And He said to the sinner: "Go and
Paradise through My Mercy." And He said to the other: "Take
the fire." Aboo Hurairah t said: "By Him in whose Hand is my
spoke a word which destroyed this world and the hereafter for
Therefore we should never say of anyone that he or she is a `lost
cause' or `doomed' or the like for this is a great sin.
fear for those who commit major sins because they have been
threatened with punishment in the Qur'aan and the Hadeeth. However it
is up to Allaah whether He chooses to punish them or whether He will
The Zindeeqs - or the heretics - are groups, such as many of the
Soofis who have become like the Christians and reduced the religion
to just `love' and so all their talk and their mystical
centred around developing more `love'.
It is thus clear how imbalances in any of the three qualities of
worship can lead to major deviation and straying to the True
Guidance. It is therefore important for every Muslim to combine all
three of them in his heart properly. As was mentioned before, the
fear and hope should be in equal proportions, but as for love then
that should be uppermost. As Fudayl ibn-`Iyaad - rahimahullah -
"The love is better than the fear. The fear checks us from
and the love makes us do what is prescribed with an open
May Allaah grant us what we hope for and protect us from what we
fear. And may the Blessings of Allaah be upon our Prophet Muhammed,
upon his family, his Companions and upon all those who follow
Guidance until the Last Day.
 Collected by Imaam Bukhari in al-Adabul-Mufrad and declared hasan
by al-Albaanee in al-Irwaa (1601)
 As explained by Ibnul-Qayyim (d.751H) in Badaa'I
 Collected in Sunan at-Tirmidhi and Sunan Ibn Majah and
authenticated by Sheikh al-Albani in Ahkam al-Janaa'iz (no.2)
 Quoted by Ibn Rajjab in al-Takhweef minan-Naar.
 Collected in Sunan Abu Dawood (english trans. vol.3, p.1365,
no.4883). See Saheehul-Jaami (4455) by Sheikh al-Albani.
 This was the opinion of most of the Salaf. Al-Fudayl ibn
said that, when one is healthy and well, then fear should
predominate, but when terminally ill then hpoe should predominate -
so that one should strive to do good when well and not despair of
Allaah's Mercy when terminally ill. [Al-Takhweef minan-Naar]
 Reported in Al-Takhweef minan-Naar of Ibn Rajab. Note that some
scholars hold that the fear is better than love, and Allaah knows
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