What Kind of Moral Values Does a Person Who Fears Allah Possess?
Children of Adam!
In numerous verses of the Qur’an many examples have been provided of the attitudes and behavior of true believers who fear Allah. In the light of these examples the basic moral values possessed by those who fear Allah will be examined below.
They only fear Allah
In accordance with the verse “… you should not fear them but rather fear Me—and so that I can complete My blessing to you so that hopefully you will be guided” (Surat al-Baqara: 150), the true believer does not fear anyone or any community other than Allah. He will know that benefit and loss, good and bad can only come from Allah, that all the incidents he will encounter are only the will and creation of Allah in accordance with the fate predetermined for him by Allah.
This particular quality could be seen in all of the prophets who while communicating Allah’s religion were on most occasions opposed by entire nations but made not even the slightest concession. Allah mentions this quality in the verse cited below:
[Prophets are] those who convey Allah’s Message and fear Him and do not anyone but Allah. Allah suffices as a Reckoner. (Surat al-Ahzab: 39)
A person who has faith in Allah will take on and implement for himself the superior example of the prophets.
They strive to please Allah alone
A true believer lives his life in the knowledge that Allah is the judge of everything; that He is the sole owner of power and strength, and everything comes into existence by His will. For this reason true believers will know that to seek the approval of created beings who, in reality, do not possess power or strength, is of no use whatsoever. To fear Allah and seek His approval in this world will provide protection from the terrifying punishment of the Hereafter:
Is someone who pursues the pleasure of Allah the same as someone who incurs displeasure from Allah and whose refuge is Hell? What an evil destination! (Surah Al ‘Imran: 162)
A time will arrive when every deed, big and small, will be revealed and when a person’s hands and skin will testify against him. A true believer lives his life according to this reality and will absolutely never compromise under any circumstances.
The attitude of the Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) (as) is a very good example. The Prophet Yusuf (as) was able to preserve his chastity against a powerful woman who desired him. Despite all her threats and intrigues, he preferred to go to prison rather than overstep Allah’s boundaries. Allah informs us of Yusuf’s (as) superior strength of character in the Qur’an:
She [the governor’s wife] said, “You see! It’s him you blamed me for. I tried seducing him but he refused. If he does not do what I order him, he will be put in prison and brought low.” He [Yusuf] said, “My Lord, the prison is preferable to me than what they call on me to do. Unless You turn their guile away from me, it may well be that I will fall for them and so become a man of ignorance.” (Surah Yusuf: 32-33)
They always act conscientiously
A person who is a servant of Allah will not put his own needs and desires above the expectations of his Lord. He knows that if he does so despite knowing the truth, he may incur Allah’s punishment on Earth and in the Hereafter. As long as he remains fearfully aware of this danger, he will be safe from displaying the kind of attitude that would bring him within the range of the verses cited below:
However, those who do wrong pursue their whims and desires without any knowledge. Who can guide those whom Allah has led astray? They will have no helpers. (Surat ar-Rum: 29)
Have you seen him who takes his whims and desires to be his god—whom Allah has misguided knowingly, sealing up his hearing and his heart and placing a blindfold over his eyes? Who then will guide him after Allah? So will you not then be mindful? (Surat al-Jathiyya: 23)
They emulate all the good qualities described in the Qur’an
A person who fears Allah will display those attitudes that relate to good character such as loyalty, faithfulness, righteousness, honesty and sincerity. The Qur’an makes frequent mention of true believers who exhibit superior character traits. They are models of humanity that all believers should all strive to emulate. However, as long as someone has no fear of Allah, they can never truly appreciate these characteristics because the moment they meet with a conflict of interest they will inevitably sink to the level of their own immediate advantage, instead of rising to the best of conduct as described in the Qur’an. They are simply unable to experience the kind of anxiety over displeasing Allah, or being accountable to Him, or entering Hell and facing the consequences of their bad behavior, that would enable them to behave better.
They observe Allah’s limits even if no one is looking
Someone who is profoundly aware of Allah will again be fearfully cautious about doing anything that would displease Him, whether anyone else is present or not, because they are aware that any wrongdoing they commit Allah will know of it, whether it is done openly or in secret. Allah knows both the open and the hidden, and even the most secret of secrets and will be revealed and accounted for. Those who are fearfully aware of Allah know that He will present them with situations intended to test the sincerity of their caution. In one of His verses, Allah directs the true believers to:
Abandon wrong action, outward and inward. Those who commit wrong action will be repaid for what they perpetrated. (Surat al-An‘am: 120)
In every situation they turn to Allah
True believers who are fearfully aware of Allah are extremely sensitive when it comes to receiving a response from Him. When any negative incident happens to them or when they feel their work is going badly, or when they are experiencing distress, they will immediately examine themselves as to whether or not they have done anything to displease Allah. Through their supplications they will seek and beg forgiveness from Him. The combination of their longing to gain Allah’s approval with the fear they feel at the prospect of incurring His displeasure, has developed into a superior perceptiveness.
In this regard the attitude of the Prophet Dawud (David) (as) constitutes a great example. In the Qur’an the profound respect displayed towards Allah by Prophet Dawud (as) is revealed by the following incident as related in the Qur’an:
Has the story of the litigants reached you? How they climbed up to the Upper Room and came in on Dawud who was alarmed by them. They said, “Do not be afraid. We are two litigants, one of whom has acted unjustly towards the other, so judge between us with truth and do not be unjust and guide us to the Right Path. This brother of mine has ninety-nine ewes and I have only one.” He said, “Let me have charge of it,” and got the better of me with his words. He [Dawud] said, “He has wronged you by asking for your ewe to add to his ewes. Truly many partners are unjust to one another—except those who believe and do right actions, and how few they are!” Dawud realized that We had put him to the test. He begged forgiveness from his Lord and fell down prone, prostrating, and repented. So We forgave him for that and he has nearness to Us and a good Homecoming. (Surah Sad: 21-25)
Although Prophet Dawud’s decision (as) was absolutely just and there was no doubt about it, he turned to Allah with fear of displeasing Him and nevertheless sought His pardon. It is not possible to imitate an inner fear such as this, which is pure and sincere. Such fearful awareness is only for those who measure Allah as He should be measured, who fear the loss of His approval because of their love and awe of Him.
When we look at the conduct of the prophets and true believers, we see that they are all servants who respectfully fear Allah and who strenuously avoid His punishment. However, at the same time, there is present behind this awe, a very intimate love and friendship. Their continuous and consistent praise and exaltation of Allah is an indication of their total love and attachment to Him.