The Fine Rewards for Those Who Fear Allah
They are given joyful tidings whilst on Earth
As for those people who lead their lives on Earth without fearful awareness of Allah, we will examine below, in the light of the Qur’an, the inexplicable fears they experience and the awesome severity of Allah’s majesty. Those, on the other hand, who fear Allah and are cautious, will, in direct contrast, attain in the Hereafter total security from all types of fear and lead their lives under Allah’s protection and grace. Those true believers who throughout their lives have felt a deep foreboding at the prospect of the Fire when the Day of Judgment arrives, will be kept far away from every kind of fear and will be absolutely safe. Whilst Allah gives these glad tidings in the Qur’an, on the Last Day He will address His servants and announce many more glad tidings:
“My servants, you will feel no fear today; you will know no sorrow.” As for those who believed in Our Signs and became Muslims: “Enter the Garden, you and your wives, delighting in your joy.”
Platters and cups of gold will passed around among them and they will have there all that their hearts desire and their eyes find delight in. You will remain in it timelessly, for ever.
“That is the Garden you will inherit for what you did.”
“There will be many fruits in it for you to eat.” (Surat az-Zuhkruf: 68-73)
In other Qur’anic verses, Allah will give these glad tidings through the mediation of his angels, which will be without a doubt an incredible joy for believers who so intensely hope for the Garden:
The angels descend on those who say, “Our Lord is Allah,” and then go straight: “Do not fear and do not grieve but rejoice in the Garden you have been promised. We are your protectors in the life of this world and the Hereafter. You will have there all that your selves could wish for. You will have there everything you demand. Hospitality from One who is Ever-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Surah Fussilat: 30-32)
The Qur’an stresses that these glad tidings, which last for eternity and are full of goodness, will be attained by those who truly believed during their lives on Earth.
A beautiful life
The lives of those who do not believe in Allah, who do not fear him and who do not behave cautiously will, in keeping with the punishment they deserve, be deprived of the abundance and blessings reserved for believers:
If only the people of the cities had believed and guarded against evil, We would have opened up to them blessings from heaven and Earth. But they denied the truth so We seized them for what they earned. (Surat al-A‘raf: 96)
However, those who believe in Allah with fearful awareness, and have shown good character in their conduct, will be given glad tidings in the life Hereafter of Heaven, and in this world will benefit in the best possible manner from Allah’s kindness and abundance:
Anyone who acts rightly, male or female, being a believer, We will give them a good life and We will recompense them according to the best of what they did. (Surat an-Nahl: 97)
Similar to the way in which the infinite punishment of the disbelievers begins whilst on Earth, for cautious, true believers, the promised infinite goodness will also begin to manifest. As a result of abundance and beauty being amongst the foremost features of the Garden, Allah will provide His beloved, fearful servants with a taste of these blessings during their lives on Earth in order to increase their longing and desires for the Garden.
By the same token, Allah will protect the believers from every form of anxiety and distress during their lives because of their adherence to His commands and prohibitions, because of their living according to His religion and, most importantly, because of their constant reliance on Him, their patience, and their longing for the Hereafter. Instead of distress, Allah causes to descend upon their hearts a feeling of peace and security. In every act of worship or good conduct, big or small, they are aware that Allah is watching them and, that the recording angels record it all in the book of their deeds, hence, they experience a tranquillity that is brought about by the knowledge that in the Hereafter they will be rewarded for it all.
On the other hand, however, there is another point that should not be forgotten: the world is a place of trial. Most certainly, a true believer could be confronted with various hardships and crises. However, whatever the situation, for a believer who fears Allah these difficulties turn out to be a mercy and a reward. A good example of this is the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) (as) who, having been accused of lying and in spite of being on the point of being thrown into the fire by his people, he did not make even the slightest compromise in his beliefs or waver in his submission or in his trust in Allah.
Without doubt being burnt alive is a terrible punishment but in the case of Prophet Ibrahim (as) Allah had ordered the fire to be “coolness and peace” for him and it did not cause him any pain or suffering. Distress, harm and misfortune are a punishment or warning which occur only as a result of a person’s own incorrect manner and bad behavior: “Any disaster that strikes you is through what your own hands have earned…” (Surat ash-Shura: 30).
Otherwise, for a sincere believer who fears Allah to the best of his ability and who is constantly mindful of Allah’s approval in his conduct, punishment is not an issue.
All the hardships which true believers experience in this world are confronted as tests which only enhance the respect and fearful awareness they have towards Allah, as well as further increasing their desire for the Garden. A true believer is aware that these hardships are created for him as a trial and a learning experience, and as opportunities for displaying good conduct, exercising patience and as long as he relies on Allah, as an opportunity for reward in the Hereafter. The Qur’an mentions the particular quality of being able to view all events as an opportunity, in connection with those who truly believe and who are fearfully aware of Allah:
When those who fear Allah are asked, “What has your Lord sent down?” their reply is, “Good!” There is good in this world for those who do good, and the abode of the Hereafter is even better. How wonderful is the abode of the righteous [who fear Allah]. (Surat an-Nahl: 30)
The death of a true believer who has lived on Earth in righteousness will be good and easy, his afterlife will commence with the welcoming of angels, and its continuation will be the comfort and ease that awaits every true believer.
An easy reckoning
True believers will compete for good deeds throughout their lives because of their fear of facing a dreadful reckoning in the Hereafter. They will guard Allah’s boundaries meticulously. The Qur’an describes this fear of the true believers thus:
They fulfil their vows and fear a day whose evil will spread far and wide. They give food, despite their love for it, to the poor and orphans and captive [saying], “We feed you only out of desire for the Face of Allah. We do not want any repayment from you or any thanks. Truly We fear from our Lord a glowering, calamitous Day.” (Surat al-Insan: 7-10)
In the Hereafter Allah will brighten the faces of those who fear Him and the accounting they will give to Him will be eased. The book of their deeds will be given to them in their right hands and the reckoning they feared will be made easy:
As for him who is given his Book in his right hand, he will be given an easy reckoning and return to his family joyfully. (Surat al-Inshiqaq: 7-9)
When the reckoning comes to an end, true believers will be in a state of happiness for having escaped the punishment of Hell. As indicated in the verse above, they will return to their loved ones with joy.
An everlasting life in the Garden
But those who fear their Lord will have Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever: hospitality from Allah. What is with Allah is better for those who are truly good. (Surah Al ‘Imran: 198)
What is the Garden promised to the righteous [who fear Allah] like? It has rivers flowing under it and its foodstuffs and cool shade never fail. That is the final fate of the righteous [who fear Allah]. But the final fate of the disbelievers is the Fire. (Surat ar-Ra‘d: 35)
Believers who fear an encounter with the infinite punishment of Hell, and who are mindful of not rebelling against Allah, will gain the reward of those who fear and act cautiously as Allah has promised, and they will be sent to enter their eternal home:
And those who feared their Lord will be driven to the Garden in companies and when they arrive there, finding its gates open, its custodians will say to them, “Peace be upon you! You have done well so enter it timelessly, for ever.” They will say, “Praise be to Allah Who has fulfilled His promise to us and made us the inheritors of this land, letting us settle in the Garden wherever we want. How excellent is the wage of those who work!” (Surat az-Zumar: 73-74)
For the true believers who enter the Garden, the most joyful surprise and the greatest source of happiness and excitement above all else, will be a verbal salutation from Allah:
“Peace!” A word from a Merciful Lord. (Surah Ya Sin: 58)
Allah will address the true believers in the Garden as follows:
My devotees, you will feel no fear today; you will know no sorrow. (Surat az-Zukhruf: 68)
Allah, Who created mankind, is more aware than we are of what we would enjoy most as a reward for having believed in Him, and these very things are what will await the believers in the Garden. Hence, the immense blessings of the Garden and the wonders it contains lie far beyond the scope of human imagination. Infinite blessings will be offered to believers the likes of which no eyes have ever seen and no ear has ever heard; for the rest of eternity everything they encounter will meet with their every desire:
… They will have whatever they wish for with their Lord. That is the great favor. (Surat ash-Shura: 22)
The Qur’an describes every aspect of everlasting life for the believers in the Garden, such as their places of residence, their clothing, their spouses, the beauty of the surroundings, the foodstuffs and various other delights that await them.
In one Qur’anic verse the eternal lives led by those who fear Allah and the terrifying end to be faced by those who do not fear Allah are compared:
An image of the Garden which is promised to the righteous [who fear Allah]: in it there are rivers of water which will never spoil and rivers of milk whose taste will never change and rivers of wine, delightful to all who drink it, and rivers of honey of undiluted purity; in it they will have fruit of every kind and forgiveness from their Lord. Is that like those who will be in the Fire timelessly, for ever, with boiling water to drink which lacerates their bowels? (Surah Muhammad: 15)
There is no doubt that someone who is conscious and aware needs only to reflect on the scenario for a moment in order for both hope in and fear of Allah to intensify.
The greatest reward: Allah’s eternal satisfaction with them
Allah has promised the men and women of the believers Gardens with rivers flowing under them, remaining in them timelessly, for ever, and fine dwellings in the Gardens of Eden. And Allah’s good pleasure is even greater. That is the great victory. (Surat at-Tawba: 72)
The greatest spiritual pleasure experienced by believers when they enter the Garden is the reality that from that moment on Allah is pleased with them, that He loves them, that He will never punish them, and that they will be His friends for eternity. To have gained Allah’s approval will be the source of a joy and happiness infinitely superior to any earthly comparison. Allah’s pleasure is what brings the ultimate sweetness to the blessings of the Garden. Although the rewards of the Garden are wonderful in themselves, what is more delightful still is the joy of being affirmed by The Lord of all the Worlds as being worthy of receiving His kindness. The Qur’an states:
O self at rest and at peace, return to your Lord, well-pleasing and well-pleased! Enter among My servants! Enter My Garden. (Surat al-Fajr: 27-30)