Saturday, June 24, 2017

We should love God or fear God?

Question: We should love God or fear God? I believe that fear is the first step towards obedience to God.
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Answer: The Arabic word "taqwa" is usually mis-translated as "fear". The root word "WAW QAF YA" signifies love. God should not be feared like we fear animal, ghost or bad people. God is to be loved.

When love for someone increases to great extent then a fear develops, but this fear is not because of some scary things but its because of out of extreme love. This fear prevents you from disobeying the one whom you love. This feeling of love / fear is called TAQWA which Quran recommends.

"... those who are believer - they love Allah extremely ..." Quran 2:165

Quran says that believers remember Allah too much.

At the same time Quran urges believers to have - what is usually translated as "fear" of Allah. Please note that different arabic words have different meanings but they are usually translated as a single word "fear"

So - how can "extreme love" of Allah and being "fearful" to Allah can be reconciled?
This "fear of Allah" is not the fear you have for an animal, ghost, fire, drowning etc. The "fear" of Allah is the result of extreme love for Allah. When you love Allah so much so that a kind of "fear" develops that you find it difficult to dis-please Allah then this kind of fear is what is expected in islam.

You have to "fear" Allah out of extreme love for Allah.

Quran does not adhere to the philosophy of fear based obedience. Quranic approach step-wise is:
1. To go through signs of God.
2. Ponder over signs of God - present everywhere.
3. If someone is convinced with signs and believes in his ultimate creator, then he / she should have firm faith in God.
4. Faith in God includes believing in LAWS of God. These laws we keep on dealing with in our day today life. Quran and surroundings provides knowledge of these laws of God.
5. Next comes the step for ACTION. Action will depend on the faith and love for God. The more a believer loves Almighty God, more he /she will follow commands of God.
6. The extreme form of love generates a kind of fear. A believer should refrain from sins out of fear of disobeying God. 

In nutshell - Quran commands conviction based faith that is based on reasoning, love and submission
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