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This is something that confuses me a little bit. I was a Muslim because I was born as a Muslim (my parents are Muslims). After I became an adult, I began to question about life, because the only thing I knew about Islam is Allah (swt), prophet Mohamed (saws), praying, haram/halal and paradise and hell. After some time of research, I can say I'm a real Muslim now. I love Allah and because of the love for him I love to pray for Him. I also love our prophet Mohamed (saws), because he's gentle, careful, honest, fair, a pure man who cares for the people and wanted the best for us.

I'm also aware that I have to fear for Allah's punishment. It's like telling your son not to put his fingers in the power socket. But if he does, the disobedience can be painful.

But to make things clear, I became a Muslim in the first place because I was searching for my creator, to give my life a meaning and not because I was afraid of Allah! So why do a lot of sheikhs say we have to fear and cry for Allah for His punishments. Very little do they talk about the love for Allah. They rather talk about fear for Allah than love for Allah. If I wasn't a Muslim and I was searching for the truth I'd never be a Muslim if it was based on the sayings of sheiks who often talk about doom scenario.

So, should one be a Muslim because of the love for Allah or the fear of Allah?

  • A remarkable thing, fear and love are never tagged here before. – AndaluZ Jun 26 '14 at 10:06
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    Some of the sufis - perhaps most notably, Rabi'a - said "worship not out of fear of hell or hope for paradise, but out of love for Allah". – G. Bach Dec 6 '16 at 9:54
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    Old question but deserves a comment. Neither is the reason to be a Muslim, in short the reason to be a Muslim is because you believe in a creator who you, through rational deduction concluded that it was Allah not Buddha or Jesus etc, then you looked at the message he sent via his Prophet (saw) and believed in all of it entirely. Just like the first Muslims in Makkah. – Abu Nooh May 26 '17 at 21:34
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Bismillah. As salam mu alikoom

Ibn Al Qayyim said: “The heart on its journey towards Allah the Exalted is like that of a bird. Love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head is healthy, then the two wings will fly well. When the head is cut off, the bird will die. When either of two wings is damaged, the bird becomes vulnerable to every hunter and predator.”

Source: Madarij As-Salikeen

So in reality, A Muslim must have in their heart a combination of three things regarding Allah: love, fear and hope Without these a person's relationship with Allah would be unstable. However, see how Ibn Al Qayyim said that the "head" of the bird (the believer) was love - this makes it clear cut essential to know that love for Allah is the driving point of a believer. With which, if absent, the believer would not do good deeds for the sake of Allah or because Allah loves that deed. So really, love for Allah is the most essential thing for a believer - and it is the most essential thing in any relationship for it to thrive.

The Messenger of Allah sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ( may Allah exalt his mention ) said: “He who loves to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him; and he who dislikes to meet Allah, Allah abhors to meet him.” [Muslim]

However, although love is the most important, fear and hope are also very important. For example, let's take a child and his mother. This child loves his mother very much (and is very hopeful of his mother). However, the child often wrongs his mother but then consoles himself that "my mother will forgive me I can do what I want." So in reality, the fact that more people talk about fearing Allah is because people abuse Allah's mercy and think that they can continue their evil acts and it will be all fine and dandy. So a Muslim must be balanced in their relationship. If a Muslim loves and fears Allah then they would do things out of the Love they have for Allah and then would try to refrain from wronging Allah by doing wrong (and opposing the commandments of Allah.)

BUT why hope then?

" Imam Ahmad ibn ‘Aasim may Allah have mercy upon him was asked, “What is the sign of a person having real hope?” He may Allah have mercy upon him replied, “(It is) that a person is grateful whenever Allah bestows a favor upon him or enables him to do good, thereby hoping to attain more favors in this life, the perfect bounty of the Hereafter, and expecting forgiveness in the Hereafter.

Which one of the two types of hope is better: the hope of the obedient person who hopes for reward, or that of the repenting, disobedient one, who hopes for forgiveness? Scholars have differed on this matter, but the point to note is that both are praised types; one should have both and must not feel that one would suffice him, because the believer always fluctuates between the two conditions: virtues, for which he hopes for reward, and sin, for which he hopes for forgiveness.

The more one acquaints himself with the Names and Attributes of Allah The Almighty, the stronger his hope becomes, and had it not been for hope, then the heart would have not been able to practice servitude towards Allah The Almighty, and thus the limbs would not have acted in accordance with his conviction.

Hope is dependent on one's love for Allah The Almighty. Thus, the more one loves Allah The Almighty, the more he would hope for His reward and fear His wrath. The greater one's love for Allah The Almighty, the more he has hope and fear.

The saying of the Prophet sallalahu alaihi wa sallam

“A believer will be brought close to his Lord on the Day of Resurrection and (He will) envelop him in His Mercy, He will make him confess to his sins saying: `Do you remember (doing) this sin and that sin?' He will reply: ‘My Lord, I remember.’ Then He will say: ‘I covered it up for you in the worldly life, and I forgive you for it today.’ Then the record of his good deeds will be handed to him.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]. " "

Let us note, however, that fear alone of Allah deprived of our love and/or hope for Allah is also not healthy. This is because if you fear Allah only you would keep believing that Allah would not forgive you. When Allah tells us that he is Ar-Rahman (The most Beneficient, Compassionate and Gracious)and Ar-Rahim (the Extremely Merciful)

“And who despairs of the Mercy of his Lord except for those astray?"

[Qur'an: al-Hijr: 56]

Scholars have said:

"Whosoever worships Allah by according Him reverent love only is a Sufi, and whosoever worships Him by according Him extreme awe only is, thus retaining the belief of the Kharijites'. Similarly, he is a Murji` whosoever worships Allah by only retaining hope in His mercy. As for he who combines love, fear and hope, he is certainly a true believer as depicted in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an,

"Those whom they invoke seek means of access to their Lord, [striving as to] which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His Mercy and fear His Punishment.”

[Qur'an: al-Israa`: 57]

other websites for more info:

Let us remember however, that the way we can only truly love Allah by knowing Allah. And how can we know Allah? We can Know Allah by the learning attributes of Allah and by remembering them,etc.

May Allah grant us knowledge of him so that we can know him and love, fear and hope that we will be among those who are in the highest ranks in Jannah as abstain from evil and do good with our knowledge. Ameen

And to wrap things up - we should not love Allah just because of Love or just because of fear. Rather it should be a combination of both and hope. So we should love Allah (because of his innumerable favours to us, etc), fear Allah (because his punishment is severe) and have hope of Allah (because Allah is the most merciful and doesn't wrong his creation in any way)

Hope that helped Insha'allah.

  • Consider marking your quotes in future! You have posted half of your islamweb source without marking it as a quote... that is plagiarism! – Medi1Saif Dec 11 '17 at 21:11
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There is a saying of one of the companions of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) that If i know the human race is going to hell and one person is going to heaven, it would be my hope that he would be me. And if know one person is going to hell and all the humanity is going to heaven, I fear that that person would be me.

So basically, one has to balance fear and love (or hope). Sometimes one thing overwhelms the other and other times, its the opposite.

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Assalam alykom

In the first place a would like to thank you about this good question, it is critical and many Muslims faces fightings inside because of this question, to start, i want to say that the Sheikhs are really making Islam and its spiritual treasures as rituals, it means DO and DON'T DO !! nothing more than that !! few those whom goad is to develop the personal awareness of spirit and its natural impressions, if we see deeply in the problem posed by you, we see clearly that the soul is excluded !! they say :"Love Allah to get paradise and its rewards (they generally talk about the houses, gardens, fruits and spouses that you can get), fear to avoid hell and its punishments (all sorts of corporal punishments)" where is the soul ? they don't talk about what you're going to feel inside !! isn't a handicapped love or fear !?, based on material transactions !! this is the core of the problem, we are becoming materialized so much till the point of killing our precious Deen, fear or love something you feel through conscious soul not through material conceptions. Now fear is a philo in, what's fear ?, fear is the opposite feeling of love ! then whats love ? after thinking a lot you can't describe love because here we are dealing with feelings, and feelings are merely impossible to be expressed through words because the language circle is way retracted then the circle of feelings but you're going to notice by time and experience that even fear in it's deepest meaning will turn and become love, here am not talking about the hopelessness degree, am talking about mature fear, there is much deference between loving fear and hating fear, the first one will turn to love and the second to hopelessness, lastly i conclude by saying that we are not a body living in a spiritual state, but, we are spiritual beings living in a physical body.

  • @AndaluZ i have improved the formatting to be more clear, thanks ..... – Bouzenzel Jun 26 '14 at 13:42
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First things first, I have always had the same question as a kid. Having said that, its a matter of faith.

To me, on a personal basis, to love something and do something purely out of love is always real. And to do nothing out of fear is always a forceful or "voiceless" form of act.

Pardon me if I sound crude. But leaving religion aside, how would you feel to have to do things out of fear? E.g. A child being forced to study versus a child who loves to study?

A man who is forced to work versus a man who loves his job?

A marriage that's forced to happen versus a marriage that's done with love?

What are your views?

How do you draw the line between love and fear?

Correct me if I'm wrong again, but the Holy Qur'an says that we should love Allah SWT and our Prophet S.A.W.

It also states to fear Allah SWT. But in what context? When you sin, fear his wrath. When you have done something wrong, fear him for his punishment. Not fear him for being God. Am I right? The previous hadith and ulamaks that had preached on this all said fear Allah's wrath. Fear his anger. Fear sinning and wrong doing the religion.

If so, why do we switch this as you have to fear Allah himself? Why? Why not upbringing kids telling them to love Allah and the religion and our Prophet for the beauty of it? Why?

I have always led a life thinking I will never fear anything if I did nothing wrong. An Imam once told me, Allah never punishes you for what you did not do and will never give you more then you can handle.

If that is the case, where does this fear arise from? Because you have sinned? Or because its human nature to use fear as a tool?

So who do we blame here? The people who spoke? Or those that interpret?

To each their own, but please, DO NOT use the religion as a tool to strike. Do not use fear as a tool to preach. Real character and action arises from the beauty of the truth in your faith, hope and love.

Please go ahead and correct me or criticise this reply. The truth will not be altered based on baseless remarks. I may not have been a perfect Muslim that has memorised the Holy Qur'an, but I'm human enough to know that Allah created us with love, not by fear.

  • Your answer is interesting, and I share your views, but this is a site about Islam, so you cannot "put religion aside", you have to answer within religion. Especially if religion backs you, as it is the case here. Indeed, love should come before fear. – ZakC Feb 17 '16 at 17:54
  • Thank you for your answer. Although I agree with you, as Zakaria Chihabi said, you have to come with prove within Islam. In my situation, I believe in Allah, because I was looking for a reason for my existence. As I'm sure that my existence is not due to hate and killings it's also not possible Allah hates us and thus should fear Him from that context. Allah told us that we're here to be tested, whether you like it or not, the fact is, we already exist. Another prove is the love you get from your family, wife or your children. It's impossible to experience this love if it's not made by Allah. – AndaluZ Feb 18 '16 at 15:10
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AssalaamuAilaakum young minds tend to refrain from doing the wrong or acts of evil do to fear of punishment. Like a child staying out past cerfew who then gets grounded. As a person matures, we do the right thing with the hope of a reward. Things like getting a job for tree reward of a paycheck. As we get older we tend to do the right thing simply because it's the right thing to do. Who transgress more, The one who only worships Allah izaa wa jaal because of fear of hell or the one who only worships Allah (swt) for the hope of paradise. Had Allah,Glorified and Mighty be our lord, not created heaven nor hell, would our Rabb not be worthy of our worship? SubhannaAllah i pray that Allah izaa wa jaal fills our hearts with love for Him and each other. Ameen

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Religion is the most egalitarian aspect of Divine guidance, in that it caters for the most intellectually sophisticated minds and also for the deprived and pragmatic soul. Some of us don't have the luxury to think deeply just because of sociopolitical situations yet others are privileged enough to enlighten themselves spiritually, rationally. For a daily-wager tilling tough roads, basic rituals like five times prayers, moral uprightness and the hope for a Utopian land is all that he needs as duty and inspiration.

Allah tasketh not a soul except according to its capacity ... [2:286]

I totally disagree that it is the Sheikh who has developed tools of fear and hope, it is rather the Quran - roughly 30% of it - that speaks about heaven, hell and the love of God, for no other purpose but to pluck the cord in us that resonates the most. It is our creator using the device of carrot and cane, so what is wrong with that? He knows us more than we know ourselves, He knows all of us with our unique psychological and philosophical bents. If someone levels an arguments against me that I worship out of fear, my reply would be: "I'm acting according to the Quran." If he said, I'm lustful of Heaven, my reply would be the same and even in the case he finds my love of Allah the dominant trait of my existence.

On morality, Divine categorical imperative is definitely a part of the moral framework of Islam (in fact most religions) and consequently the commandments. Again, some of us just need to be told: do this and don't do that. However, Quran is just not littered with commandments otherwise there would be an awful amount of imperatives. Islamic Virtue ethics compliments the moral framework laid out in the Quran, as in:

Assuredly there hath been for you: in the apostle of Allah an excellent pattern for him who hopeth in Allah and the Last Day and remembereth Allah much. [33:21]

Those who find duty ethics cumbersome can approach morality from the non-imperative angles. Forget about DOs and DONTs, act as would the most virtuous of all in your situation.

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If there was no God we would have created it ! We need that ultimate perfect punishment to breakthrough from an illusion or a limiting belief that we do have as human beings by associating massive pain to it, and that's the fastest way ! and also we need perfect love to keep fighting through as we raise our standards and improve our rituals and so on...As attributes of perfection that everybody is trying to approach those were created for a purpose for unlimited fulfilment !

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Salam.. Everyone of us doesn't have fear. If you fear of Allah and if you pray just because you fair Allah that means you are a coward. Allah didn't said that to just fear him.. In the otherside is LOVE. Look no matter what you believe or not actually we all here for love. Not just us even Allah love Mohammed (S.A.W). So I think we should not fear Allah we all should love Allah a lot because love have the power to do anything. Like the love makes Allah to forgive Mohammed Adam (A.W)..So think again cause Allah gives you the mind to think..

  • Fear Allah... plz go through the verses, in detail, spend some time on them.. And if possible, read the rest of the Qur'an with patience. May the creator guide us all. – servant-of-Wiser Apr 9 '15 at 2:27
  • Salaam and welcome to Islam.SE. Please provide references for your arguments. Also go through the site tour and help center and especially the guidelines on How do I write a good answer to become familiar with SE Q&A model. – infatuated Apr 11 '15 at 3:21
  • And as for the merits of your answer, one worships Allah for both fear and love. Love for His mercy (rahama) and beauty (jamal) and gifts (ni'am), and also fear of His awe, majesty (jalal) and punishment. Quranic reference for love of Allah: tanzil.net/#5:165 – infatuated Apr 11 '15 at 3:22
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You should fear and love both at the smae time.you should fear of jahnam (hell) because you may enter it fore sometime if you are sinful.you should also love aljana (heaven).you don't know the future afterall.

  • Please take the time to write your posts clearly with proper spelling and grammar. We are not a typical Internet forum, and expect a certain degree of professionalism in all posts; poorly written answers are considered low-quality here. – goldPseudo Nov 14 '15 at 23:18

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