The basis of all righteous religions is love. Some people who appear in the name of God and strive to manipulate religion sometimes promote terror, war, massacres and lovelessness in the name of religion. No matter what religion they advocate, these people are definitely ignorant and imposters because God does not desire any wrongdoing, rather He desires love, brotherhood, and peace for His servants.
The purpose of this information here is the following: some Christians introduce their religion as a religion of love while they consider Judaism, and especially Islam, as a religion based on fear. However this is a serious error. All three major religions, Islam, Judaism, and Christianity preach love, friendship, and calls people to peace and brotherhood, for these are what God demands from us. The essence, and basis of religion is love.
Surely our Christian brothers are right in believing in the purity of love. However some of them interpret the concept of love in a desperate and erroneous way. Some of our Christian brother depart from the concept that fear and awe of Allah can be reconciled with the love of Allah, thus they pay no heed to fear of Allah. This attitude is indeed quite dangerous.
The actual meaning of fear of God
Before explaining the kinds of peril that could result from misconceptions of this subject, it is of great importance to understand the definition of what the fear of God is. The majority of people misunderstand the meaning of the fear of God, and also claim that fear brings about involuntary faith, which would render that faith invalid. The fact is however that this is not true. The fear of God is to submit to God with awe, with a fear that is derived from respect. Meanwhile, one should avoid an attitude or thought with which God will not be pleased solely due to one’s deep love of God.
The love of God and fear of God are a whole. A person who loves God very much deeply fears an act that will offend God or one that will cause being deprived of His good pleasure. This is actually the fear of God that a person who loves God experiences. A person who really loves God remains loyal to Him with passion, affection, and love no matter under which conditions he may be or how hard of trials he may undergo. None of the conditions, occurrences, or hardship can overshadow it or prevent it. Avoidance of any act that would displease God is a consequence of profound love of God. Indeed the fear constantly motivates a person who experiences the love of God. It gives him joy. It is impossible for such a person to be careless in performing his acts of worship, intentionally have any flaws in his servanthood or recklessly engaging in unlawful (haram) deeds. Throughout his life, a person of such sincere faith would do his best to please God.
The necessity of God’s wrath upon unbelievers
Al-Muntaqim(the One Who takes revenge), one of the beautiful names of God is misinterpreted by some people or it is intentionally distorted. The wrath of God is only upon mean people, hypocrites, those committing forgery in the name of God and unbelievers. To believers, on the other hand, God gives a sense of full security and ease. In one verse of the Qur’an, God gives the news that there will be no fear for those who believe, including Christians:
Those who have faith and those who are Jews and the Sabaeans and the Christians, all who have faith in God and the Last Day and act rightly will feel no fear and will know no sorrow. (Surat Al-Ma’ida, 69)
Because a person of genuine faith knows God and appreciates Him with due measure; he remains distant to God’s wrath as long as he serves God and strives to earn His good pleasure. God takes revenge only from those who are cruel. This is the law of God. A human being fears God’s wrath only when he wrongs. However when he engages in good deeds and strives to earn God’s good pleasure, he trusts in God and his conscience remains at ease.
The al-Muntaqim attribute of God is a great blessing for believers. For instance, seeing that a person who oppresses a little girl and then murders her is punished in the Hereafter and thus seeing the manifestation of God’s justice is a great blessing for a believer. This repayment a cruel person receives in the Hereafter is also a great blessing for the child who is oppressed. That is why just as how Paradise is a blessing for believers so is the Hell where cruel people are punished. Both Paradise and Hell are the places where God’s infinite justice is manifested in the Hereafter. Those who strive to oppress prophets, those who betray the Prophet Jesus (pbuh), murder innocent children and human beings have been and will be repaid by our Lord as a requisite of His beautiful name, al-Muntaqim. The opportunity of repentance is surely available to each one of them in this world. However repayment to those who are arrogant and do not repent is a relief for those who are exposed to cruelty and those who watch them. Consequently the al-Muntaqim name of God brings joy to a person of faith who has a conscience.
Fear of God is essential in order to be a good servant of God and to deserve Paradise
What is explained above are great facts that motivate a person of faith. The outlook of a person who really loves God and thus severely fears of having a flaw in his servanthood to God is totally different from other people. Such a person does not commit unlawful deeds, does not ignore his acts of worship and remain heedless to the voice of his conscience. In brief he remains extraordinarily meticulous in everything he strives to earn God’s good pleasure. Such a person is scrupulous, not egotistical and until the end of his life he remains a self-sacrificing and compassionate person. Such a person never gives harm to others and fears a lot from doing something for which he will not be able to give an account to God. He lives every moment of his life aware that he will account for them to God and that God watches him every second. Aware that the real life is not in this world but in the Hereafter, he feels the joy and fervor of loving God. This fervency in no way abates until the end of his life.
In the Gospel fear of God is described with the following words and thus Christians are called to fear of God:
… live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. (1 Peter, 1:17)
Since, then,we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. (2 Corinthians 5:11)
… your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”(Revelation 11:18)
… let usbe thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe. (Hebrews 12:28)
If a person is not in awe of being a good servant to God, and he claims to have love of God but does very few things to earn God’s good pleasure, and despite all of these asserts that his love of God suffices for deliverance in the Hereafter, then this is not the sincerity God asks from a person. Such a person apparently lacks the most basic element –that is fear of God- that will encourage him for being a better servant to God. Without being in a spiritual state between fear and hope, that is not giving a thought to whether his deeds for God are sufficient or not, a person will believe that his love of God is enough to deserve Paradise. This is the state of some Christians who reject the importance of having fear of God, and simply believe and advocate that the love of God is sufficient. Consequently these Christian brothers need to ponder once again over the meaning of the fear of God in the form it is described above and abide by the call of the Gospel, that is, “ [to] worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.” (Hebrews, 12:28)