We Love Allah, Place Our Hopes in Him & Fear Him
The message of the Qur’an emphasizes all three of these characteristics and makes it clear that they are the praiseworthy attributes of those who believe, namely: to love Allah, fear Him, and place our hopes in Him.
The concept advanced by some Muslim mystics that we should only love Allah, and to be “pure” in our love we should do so without feeling any fear or hope, is misguided. Allah has ordered His servants to do the same as he ordered His prophets, that is: to obey Him and worship Him. Allah guided his Prophets to every possible form of righteousness. Likewise, He forbade them from all manner of sin. Thereafter, He promised the Prophets and all the believers a great rewards in this life and in the Hereafter.
Allah says: “If any one desires a reward in this life, in Allah’s (gift) is the reward (both) of this life and of the Hereafter” [Sûrah al-Nisâ’: 134].
Likewise, Allah has warned whoever disbelieves in Him and disobeys Him of punishment in this life and in the Hereafter.
Allah has guided His servants not only to love Him, but also to fear Him and place their hopes in Him. He praises the believers who that.
Allah says: “These were ever quick in doing good works: they used to call on Us in yearning and awe and humble themselves before Us.” [Sûrah al-Anbiyâ’: 90]
He says: “Those whom they call upon do seek (for themselves) means of access to their Lord, as to who are nearest. They hope for His mercy and fear His wrath: for the wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of” [Sûrah al-Isrâ’: 57].
The true believers in Allah worship Him because they love Him, glorify Him, fear Him, and place their hopes in Him. This is the correct application of belief in Allah’s names and superior attributes. Allah is merciful but at the same time He is strict in punishment.
Allah says: “Tell My servants that I am indeed the Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful; And that My chastisement will be indeed the most grievous chastisement” [Sûrah al-Ra`d: 49-50].
Allah’s names and attributes imply that we should have all of these feelings: love, reverence, fear, and hope in Him.
The claim of some overzealous mystics that they worship Allah because they love Him without feeling any fear of Hell or any desire for Paradise is a serious form of misguidance. They have become convinced of this errant way and made to think it is the best one. In fact, their claim belies the Prophets and the obligation the people have to follow the Prophets’ example.
This claim also belittles the greatness of Allah’s rewards and the severity of His punishments. This attitude is opposed to what Allah wants from His servants.
Allah has told us about Paradise and Hell so that the believers will yearn for Paradise and endeavor to be saved from Hell.
Fear and hope are two pillars of belief, and Allah has praised His servants who put both of these pillars into practice.
Whoever worships Allah without any consideration of fear and hope will be missing this obligation. He will also be missing out on Allah’s reward and the praise that Allah has bestowed on those who carry out this obligation.
Those mystics are also contradicting human nature by their claim. Allah has created in people the desire to like what suits them and dislike what hurts them.
Allah told us that His servants solicit Him to avert from them the wrath of Hell and to provide for them what He promised them.
Allah says: 'Those who say, 'Our Lord, avert from us the wrath of Hell, for its wrath is indeed an affliction grievous'." [Sûrah al-Furqân: 65] He also says: “And there are men who say: “Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the torment of the Fire.”[Sûrah al-Baqarah: 201]
Among the supplications that the Qur’an relates to us from the people of piety and understanding is to say: “Our Lord, grant us what You did promise unto us through Your Messengers and save us from shame on the Day of Judgment; for You never break Your promise” [Sûrah Al-`Imrân: 194]
The Prophet (peace be upon him) ordered us, upon reading the tashahhûd in our daily prayers, to seek refuge with Allah from four things: the torment of Fire, the torment in the grave, the trials of this life, and the Anti-Christ.
Those who worship Allah for other reasons, not out of fear or hope, will be abandoning such supplications. In this case, they are losing two virtues. One is that they are deprived of this righteous supplication and, second, the response from Allah for those who offer it.
This call of the mystics is an unnatural innovation in our religion. We should dismiss such ideas and the assumptions that produce them. We will never succeed except by following the way of the Prophets and the Pious Predecessors.
Allah orders us to ask Him in every prayer to guide us: “Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom thou has bestowed thy grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath and who go not astray.” [Sûrah al-Fâtihah: 6-7]