Chapter 50: Fear (of Allah)
allah, the exalted, says:
"and fear none but me". (2:40)
"verily, (o muhammad (pbuh)) the grip (punishment) of your rubb is severe". (85:12)
"such is the seizure of your rubb when he seizes the (population of) towns while they are doing wrong. verily, his seizure is painful, (and) severe. indeed in that (there) is a sure lesson for those who fear the torment of the hereafter. that is a day whereon mankind will be gathered together, and that is a day when all (the dwellers of the heavens and the earth) will be present. and we delay it only for a term (already) fixed. on the day when it comes, no person shall speak except by his (allah's) leave. some among them will be wretched and (others) blessed. as for those who are wretched, they will be in the fire, sighing in a high and low tone". (11:102-106)
"and allah warns you against himself (his punishment)". (3:30)
"that day shall a man flee from his brother. and from his mother and his father. and from his wife and his children. every man that day will have enough to make him careless of others". (80:34-37)
"o mankind! fear your rubb and be dutiful to him! verily, the earthquake of the hour (of resurrection) is a terrible thing. the day you shall see it, every nursing mother will forget her nursling, and every pregnant one will drop her load, and you shall see mankind as in a drunken state, yet they will not be drunken, but severe will be the torment of allah". (22:1,2)
"but for him who fears the standing before his rubb, there will be two gardens (i.e., in jannah)". (55:46)
"and some of them draw near to others, questioning. saying: `aforetime, we were afraid (of the punishment of allah) in the midst of our families. so allah has been gracious to us, and has saved us from the torment of the fire. verily, we used to invoke him (alone and none else) before. verily, he is al-barr (the most subtle, kind, courteous, and generous), the most merciful.". (52:25-28)
396. `abdullah bin mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh), the truthful and the receiver of the truth informed us, saying, "the creation of you (humans) is gathered in the form of semen in the womb of your mother for forty days, then it becomes a clinging thing in similar (period), then it becomes a lump of flesh like that, then allah sends an angel who breathes the life into it; and (the angel) is commanded to record four things about it: its provision, its term of life (in this world), its conduct; and whether it will be happy or miserable. by the one besides whom there is no true god! verily, one of you would perform the actions of the dwellers of jannah until there is only one cubit between him and it (jannah), when what is foreordained would come to pass and he would perform the actions of the inmates of hell until he enter it. and one of you would perform the actions of the inmates of hell, until there is only one cubit between him and hell. then he would perform the acts of the dwellers of jannah until he would enter it.''
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith deals with the problem of fate in which faith is essential. what it means is that almighty allah already knows about every person, whether he will be pious or impious, whether he will go to jannah or hell. he has already recorded all this. but it does not mean that man is absolutely helpless and is deprived of will and power, as is believed by some deviant sects who have gone astray. fate is in fact a manifestation of the knowledge of allah and it has nothing to do with the will and intention of a person. allah has not created man as a helpless creature, but has endowed him with the freedom of will and action, because in the absence of these two qualities, there would be no justification for his trial. he could only be put to test if he was granted not only the ability to choose between good and evil but also the freedom to act. for this purpose, almighty allah, has clearly indicated to man both the paths and granted him freedom to choose whichever he likes. he has also told him the ultimate end of each. the noble qur'an says:
"verily, we showed him the way, whether he be grateful or ungrateful". (76:3)
"then whosoever wills, let him believe; and whosoever wills, let him disbelieve". (18:29).
but by mentioning this hadith in the chapter relating to the fear of allah, imam an-nawawi has warned that we should be fearful of allah, pray for his help, and an auspicious end of our life. he has advised us to adopt whatever means are available to us. in other words, we should make faith and piety a way of life because one can find the means and resources according to one's capacity. since nobody knows the result of his endeavours, one should leave it to allah and rest assured that he who has created him with a purpose will also create the ways and means to attain it. he who adopts piety, the ways to piety will open for him; and he who adopts evil, the ways to evil will open for him.
a muslim should never go towards evil at any stage of his life, lest his life comes to an end suddenly and he is deprived of the reward of all the good deeds he has done during his life and consequently he is consigned to hell rather than jannah. may allah save us from a bad end and such actions which lead one to hell.
397. ibn mas`ud (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "hell will be brought on that day (the day of resurrection) with seventy bridles; and with every bridle will be seventy thousand angels, pulling it".
commentary: this hadith deals with the hidden matters relating to the unseen world. muslims are ordained by allah to believe in them. it is wrong to hold them as metaphorical. they are realities but we can not imagine them.
398. nu`man bin bashir (may allah be pleased with them) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "the least tortured man on the day of resurrection is one underneath whose feet will be placed two live coal, and his brain will be boiling, and he would think that he is the most tortured, while he is the least tortured",
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: according to the narration in muslim, the straps of shoes to be worn by the inhabitants of hell would be of fire which will make their brains boil like a cooker placed on oven. some narrators have stated that the man alluded to will be abu talib, the real uncle of the prophet (pbuh) and his most kind and sympathetic supporter. but since he had died as polythiest, he will be sent to hell. may allah save us from it.
399. samurah bin jundub (may allah be pleased with him) reported: prophet of allah (pbuh) said, "among the people of hell are there those who will be emersed in fire to their ankels, some to their knees, some to their waists, and some to their throats".
commentary: this hadith tells us that the inhabitants of jannah will be classified into different categories and enjoy different kinds of luxuries according to their merits. a similar classification will also be made in the inhabitants of hell and they will suffer torments according to their misdeeds.
400. ibn `umar (may allah be pleased with them) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) as saying, "mankind will stand before allah, the rubb of the worlds (on the day of resurrection), some of them will stand submerged in perspiration up to half of their ears".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith gives us a glimpse of the horrible scene of the resurrection when people will stand in awe before allah.
401. anas bin malik (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) delivered a khutbah to us the like of which i had never heard from him before. he said, "if you knew what i know, you would laugh little and weep much". thereupon those present covered their faces and began sobbing.
[al-bukhari and muslim].
another narration is: messenger of allah (pbuh) heard of something about his companions upon which he addressed them and said, "jannah and (hell) fire were shown to me and i have never seen the like of this day in good and in evil. if you were to know what i know, you would laugh little and weep much". his companions experienced such suffering on that day that had no equal. they covered their faces and began to weep.
1. we learn from this hadith that jannah and hell do exist. the prophet (pbuh) was shown both of them.
2. excessive laughing is improper because it indicates that one is careless and forgetful of the hereafter, while a muslim is required to be all the time alert and careful about it.
3. to weep out of fear of allah, is praiseworthy because it indicates that one's heart is full of fear and he is worried about the hereafter.
402. al-miqdad (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "on the day of resurrection, the sun will come so close to people that there would be left only a distance of one meel''. sulaim bin `amir said: by allah, i do not know whether he meant by "meel'', the mile of the distance measure or the stick used for applying antimony powder to the eye. (messenger of allah (pbuh) is, however, reported to have said:) "the people then will be submerged in perspiration according to their deeds, some up to their ankles, some up to their knees, some up to the waist and some will have the bridle of perspiration (reaching their mouth and nose) and, while saying this messenger of allah (pbuh) pointed to his mouth with his hand".
commentary: it is not clear whether the arabic word (meel) in this hadith is for the mileage or is the stick used for applying antimony. a mile consists of eight furlongs. some of the commentators of hadith hold that it comprises four thousand dhira`. hafiz ibn hajar is of the opinion that it is equal to twelve thousand human steps. (for detail please see the book `mir'atul mafatih' chapter salat-us-safar). if it stands for the mileage even then it gives an idea of the heat of the sun. although it is billions of miles away from the earth but one cannot bear its heat in summer. when the sun shall be at a distance of one mile, its heat shall be so intense that people would be immersed in sweat. may allah save us from it.
403. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "the people will perspire on the day of resurrection and their perspiration will be seventy cubits down in the earth and it will reach up to their ears (they will be bridled with it)".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
404. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: we were in the company of messenger of allah (pbuh) when we heard a bang. thereupon messenger of allah (pbuh) said. "do you know what this (sound) is?'' we said, "allah and his messenger know better.'' he (pbuh) said, "that is a stone which was thrown into hell seventy years before and it has just reached its bottom".
commentary: one can imagine the torments and horrors of hell from its depth.
405. `adi bin hatim (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "everyone of you will speak to his rubb without an interpreter between them. he will look to his right side and will see only the deeds he had previously done; he will look to his left and will see only the deeds he had previously done, and he will look in front of him and will see nothing but fire (of hell) before his face. so protect yourselves from fire (of hell), even by giving half a date-fruit (in charity)".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith has already been mentioned. here it has been repeated in the context of the fear of allah because it also has an inducement for fear of allah and warning against the horrors of hell.
406. abu dharr (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "i see what you do not see and i hear what you do not hear; heaven has squeaked, and it has right to do so. by him, in whose hand my soul is, there is not a space of four fingers in which there is not an angel who is prostrating his forehead before allah, the exalted. by allah, if you knew what i know, you would laugh little, weep much, and you would not enjoy women in beds, but would go out to the open space beseeching allah".
1. this hadith also highlights the importance of fear of allah because the more awareness a muslim has of the majesty and magnificence of allah, the greater shall be the terror in his heart for his punishment and hope of his mercy. with this state of mind, he will perform greater acts of obedience and abstain more rigidly from sins.
2. the hadith also mentions the heaven teeming with angels who are all the time prostrating before allah in worship. when this is the condition of the angels, who do not slack for a moment in the obedience of allah, how important it is for man to worship him because he is all the time violating commands of allah. it is, therefore, incumbent on man to obey allah and always seek his help and refuge.
407. abu barzah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "man's feet will not move on the day of resurrection before he is asked about his life, how did he consume it, his knowledge, what did he do with it, his wealth, how did he earn it and how did he dispose of it, and about his body, how did he wear it out.''
1. this hadith first of all highlights the importance and value of this transitory life, every breath of which is invaluable. not a moment of it should, therefore, be wasted in the disobedience of allah because one shall also be made to account for it.
2. man shall also be answerable for his knowledge. here, we find an inducement for acquiring religious knowledge because that alone is beneficial for him. he should make use of his knowledge for winning the pleasure of allah. if he does not do that then he must think about the justification for not doing so. he must also think how he would be facing allah on the day of resurrection.
3. the question in respect of wealth raised in this hadith clearly shows that one should earn wealth by legitimate means only and spend it strictly in a lawful manner. if he takes to unfair means of income or squanders it, he will be sinful and required to account for the violation of the divine injunctions.
4. one should protect his body from everything that is unlawful and force himself to submit to the divine injunctions. when he is asked to account for neglecting them, it will be difficult for him to escape the consequences of accountability.
in short, this hadith makes one conscious of the accountability so that one keeps it all the time in view so that he will be saved from humiliation on the day of resurrection. how nice would it really be if one bears the accountability of the day of resurrection always in mind!
408. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) recited, "that day it (the earth) will reveal its news (about all that happened over it of good or evil).'' (99:4). then he (pbuh) inquired, "do you know what its news are?'' he was told: "allah and his messenger know better". he said, "its news is that it shall bear witness against every slave man and woman they did on its back. it will say: `you did this and this on such and such day.' those will be its news.''
commentary: this hadith makes evident the perfect omnipotence of allah by telling us that he will bestow power of speech on the earth and it will bear witness to the acts committed on its surface. it has stern warning for people that however they may try to hide their sins from others, they will not be able to save themselves from allah and his system of accountability.
409. abu sa`id al-khudri (may allah be pleased with him) reported: messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "how can i feel at ease when the angel of the trumpet, (israfil) has put his lips to the trumpet and is waiting for the order to blow it". he (pbuh) perceived as if this had shocked his companions, so he (pbuh) told them to seek comfort through reciting: `hasbunallah wa ni`mal-wakil [allah (alone) is sufficient for us, and he is the best disposer of affairs (for us)]".
1. this hadith tells us about the fear of allah and the fright of the hereafter entertained by the prophet (pbuh) and his companions. it has a lesson for us that how, in spite of being innocent and having the assurance of the forgiveness of allah, they were always fearful of allah and the horrors of the day of resurrection. as against them, we are immersed in sins, neglect and violate the divine injunctions day and night but even then we have neither the fear of allah nor the fright of the day of resurrection.
2. in the event of fear and anxiety one should seek the help of allah and frequently recite the verse of the noble qur'an "hasbunallahu wa ni`mal wakil'' [allah (alone) is sufficient for us, and he is the best disposer of affairs (for us).]'' (3:173).
410. abu hurairah (may allah be pleased with him) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, "he who is afraid of the pillage of the enemy, sets out in the early part of the night; and he who sets out early, reaches his destination. be on your guard that the commodity of allah is precious. verily the commodity of allah is jannah".
commentary: imam at-taibi has stated that the prophet (pbuh) mentioned this example for travellers to the hereafter, because satan is sitting on this passage and man's self and his false desires are his helpers. if a person is wide-awake in his travel and exercises caution in his activities, he is not only saved from the vices of satan, but his own false desires also do not stand in his way. the prophet (pbuh) also pointed out that the way to the hereafter is very hard and littered with great impediments and obstructions and it is by no means easy to traverse it. jannah is an invaluable gift and unless man gives the sacrifice of his life and wealth, he will not become eligible for entering it. "allah has purchased the lives and properties of muslims for jannah". (tuhfatul ahwadhi).
this hadith encourages us to observe obedience of our rubb and to spare no effort to desist from all acts of disobedience in order to achieve the lofty goal of entering jannah, by allah's leave.
411. `aishah (may allah be pleased with her) reported: i heard messenger of allah (pbuh) saying, "the people will be assembled on the day of resurrection barefooted, naked and uncircumcised". i said, "o messenger of allah! will the men and the women be together on that day; looking at one another?'' upon this messenger of allah (pbuh) said, "o aishah, the matter will be too serious for them to look at one another".
[al-bukhari and muslim].
commentary: this hadith mentions the horrors and torments of the day of resurrection which makes its connection with this chapter obvious. what this chapter, and ahadith mentioned in it, make clear is that a muslim should never be unmindful of the preparations for the hereafter nor should he ever lose sight of the fact that he has to appear before allah on the day of resurrection and account for all his actions. in order to save himself from the humiliation on that day, he should lead a life of faith and fear of allah. those who do not do so and lead a life free from fear of allah and torments of the hereafter, will have no hesitation in disobeying allah, which will inevitably lead them to humiliation, disgrace and heavy punishment in the hereafter.