Al-Sheikh Nasir Al-Din Al-Tusi defined fear as an emotional pain that occurs because of anticipating something bad or expecting something good to go away.
The concept in the eyes of Islam
Al-Sheikh Nasir Al-Din Al-Tusi defined fear as an emotional pain that occurs because of anticipating something bad or expecting something good to go away.1 Therefor the fear of Allah (swt) is an emotional pain that occurs because of anticipating the punishment or expectation of losing out in the rewards of Allah for the sins and wicked actions that the person committed or desires to commit.
One of the many characteristics indorsed and sought after by Islam for Muslims to have, as available in the holy Quran and sayings of Ahl Al-Bayt (a.s) is the fear of Allah (swt). As it can be seen in the verse “But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination, then indeed, Paradise will be [his] refuge.”2 Allah (swt) is praising those who feared him and acted according to that fear that they will enter heaven. In another verse, Allah (swt) states, “So fear them not, but fear Me, if you are [indeed] believers”3 and asserts that a true believer has fear in Allah (swt). Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) were known for their fear of Allah (swt) and they ordered their followers to have this fear as well. Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s) stated, “Fear Allah (swt) as if you see him, and if you cannot see him he can see you. If you believe he cannot see you then you are a disbeliever”4. If you believed that he can see you and yet showed yourself sinning before him then you have made him the least important witness.”5 He also stated, “The believer is between two fears: a past sin that he does not know how Allah (swt) dealt with (6) and a life span in which he does not know what wicked action he might commit. He therefore remains in fear and nothing is better for him than fear.”7
An important fact that one should take into consideration is that there has to be balance in fear, not too much to the point where it reaches to despair, nor should it be too little so that it reaches to neglecting Allah (swt) and his plans.
Allah (swt) states, “Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people”8
In another verse, “Then did they feel secure from the plan of Allah? But no one feels secure from the plan of Allah except the losing people.”9
Imam Al-Sadiq (a.s) stated, “Have hope in Allah that does not make you commit sins and have fear in Allah that does not make you have despair in his mercy.”10
1. Awsaf Al-Ashraf (The Attributes of the Noble) p63
2. Al-Naz’at 40 (translated by quran.com)
3. Ali’Imran 175 (translated by quran.com)
4. For denying His knowledge
5. Al-Kafi v2 p68
6. forgave or not
7. Al-Kafi v2 p71
8. Yusuf 87 (translated by quran.com)
9. Al-A’raf 99 (translated by quran.com)
10. Amali Al-Sadooq p22