Sheikh Muhammad Saleh al-Munajjid
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All perfect praise is due to Allaah; I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His Slave and Messenger; may Allaah send salutations upon him and exalt his mention, as well as his family and all his companions.
Fear is the sensation that results from the anticipation of an expected harm; it is also felt when a person loses, or expects to lose, something he cherishes; it is the exact opposite of security and can be applied to worldly matters as well as those of the Hereafter; it is the disturbance of the heart from an evil or harm that may befall a person, or, it can be the sensation it feels when missing out on something that is beloved to it.
Imaam Ibn Qudaamah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Fear is no more than the pain and burning that one finds in his heart due to an expected harm; it is like the example of one who committed a crime and was subsequently caught; such a person will fear being sentenced to death, and the pain which his heart will suffer is dependent on how certain he is that he will (or will not) be sentenced, depending on the severity of his crime … sometimes one fears the ruler due to the power of the latter. Thus, when one realises the power of Allaah and knows that if Allaah wished to destroy all His creation it would not affect Him, nor could anyone stop Him from doing so, and therefore, one would fear Allaah to the extent of the sins that he has committed. This is the fear of warning.”
There is a certain type of fear that is experienced only by the knowledgeable, and it is called Khashyah in Arabic, as Allaah says:
إنما يخشى الله من عباده العلماء
which means: “…Only those among His servants fear Allaah who have knowledge…” [Faatir: 28]
This is fear that is based on knowledge. Standard fear of Allaah is experienced by the general Muslims whilst Khashyah is only experienced by the devout and the scholars from among them; the more knowledge one has regarding Allaah, the more he will fear Him. When one fears a person who may or may not apprehend him then this is regular fear, whereas if he is absolutely sure that this person can seize him and inflict harm upon him, then it is Khashyah.
Fear, with its various different meanings, is mentioned in many places in the Qur’aan, and its causes are varied:
# Fear during war and hostility; Allaah says:
فإذا جاء الخوف رأيتهم ينظرون إليك نظر المغشي عليه من الموت فإذا ذهب الخوف سلقوكم بألسنة حداد
which means: “… And when fear comes, you see them looking at you, their eyes revolving like one being overcome by death. But when fear departs, they lash you with sharp tongues…” [Al-Ahzaab: 19] ‘Fear’ in this verse refers to war.
# Fear resulting from knowledge, as Allaah says:
فمن خاف من موصٍ جنفاً
which means: “But if one fears from the bequeather [some] error…” [Al-Baqarah :182]
Allaah also says:
إلا أن يخافا ألا يقيما حدود الله
which means: “…Unless both fear that they will not be able to keep [within] the limits of Allaah…” [Al-Baqarah: 229] ‘Fear’ in this verse is due to one’s knowledge.
# Fear of punishment, as Allaah says:
يدعون ربهم خوفاً
which means: “…They [i.e., the believers] supplicate their Lord in fear…” [As-Sajdah: 16]
Imaam Ibn Qudaamah, may Allaah have mercy upon him, said: “Know that fear is the whip by which Allaah controls His slaves so that they may continue exerting effort in order to come close to their Lord; fear is the light which illuminates the heart and enables it to distinguish good from evil.” When a person fears another, he will attempt to flee from him, and this is the case for everyone except Allaah; one escapes from Him by fleeing to Him. Continue reading