The 3 Emotions that Constitute a Healthy Relationship with Allah
LOVE – HOPE – FEAR
The formula to build a connection and healthy and balanced relationship with Allah Almighty is Love, Hope and Fear.
All three components are required to grow spiritually.
There are 124 verses that mention khawf or fear in the Qur’an. However, on their own they are not sufficient to reflect Islam or Allah Almighty. Being terrified is not what connects us to Allah Almighty.
Acting from fear and acting from love deliver different outcomes. If you act from fear, you feel forced and you don’t necessarily complete actions properly. Whereas if you act out of love then you put it everything you can. You act from the bottom of your heart and deliver 110%.
One of the earliest converts to Islam was a young shepherd responsible for a herd of sheep. The Prophet (peace be on him) once came with Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) and said, ‘O boy, do you have milk for us to drink?’ and I said, ‘I can’t let you drink their milk.’ The Prophet (peace be on him) said, ‘Do you have a virgin sheep that has never mated with a male?’ I said, ‘Yes’ and brought it to them. The Prophet (peace be on him) caught it and stroked its udder and prayed to Allah till the udder filled. Abu Bakr brought him a concave rock into which he milked the sheep. Abu Bakr drank the milk, and then after that the Prophet said to the udder, ‘Shrink,’ and it did.
The boy, Abdullah ibn Masud went to the Prophet after this incident and said to him, ‘Teach me this kind of talk.’ The Prophet (peace be on him) said, ‘You are already a learned boy.’ (i.e. Allah is already inspiring you with what is right)
His honesty and fear of displeasing God was very apparent. Soon after he came to the Prophet (peace be on him) and asked to hear some verses, and immediately converted to Islam.
The Prophet (peace be on him) observed that he was someone who already had the fear of Allah Almighty in his heart which prevented him from sinning. He was inspired with special knowledge.
He went on to become a top faqih for the companions. Omar (may Allah be pleased with him) found him invaluable and eventually when he sent him to Iraq, saying: ‘I have sent you the best.’
Thus fear leads to obedience of Allah Almighty, not because we fear punishment, but because we fear displeasing Him and know that He, with all His might and majesty, is truly worthy of being obeyed.
Our obedience should not lead to a false sense of security and satisfaction. If we allow ourselves, we can be deceived by our good deeds, which is why the Prophet (peace be on him) warned:
‘Be deliberate in worship, draw near to Allah, and give glad tidings. Verily, none of you will enter Paradise because of his deeds alone.’
They said, ‘Not even you, O Messenger of Allah?’
The Prophet said, ‘Not even me, unless Allah grants me mercy from himself. Know that the most beloved deed to Allah is that which is done regularly even if it is small.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)
This is why we pray:
O Allah, it is Your mercy that I hope for, so do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for a blink of an eye and rectify for me all of my affairs. None has the right to be worshipped except You.
Fear is incomplete without LOVE, hub lilallah, which should be the main driver of our actions.
Yet, we cannot have love alone, without any limits. We do not have love and forgiveness without responsibility. And we do not shed our sins to someone else, or believe that Jesus carries our sins.
In Islam, there is mutual love between Allah and His worshippers. But this can be open to abuse if a worshipper breaks Allah’s rules in the expectation that Allah Almighty will simply forgive his sins out of love. A parent who overlooks all their child’s mistakes is not a good parent but an irresponsible parent, whose child will become spoilt. Therefore loving Allah Almighty means wanting to do better. Not use His love as an excuse to disobey Him. This is why the penalty of hellfire is a deterrent.
When you obey Allah Almighty out of love, your salah has a different quality. We can reflect our love to Allah in our salah, which is the best ibadah and put our efforts in increasing our love bringing us closer to Him. We are mindful of endless favours that we have been blessed with. This increases obedience, not disobedience.
A believer hopes that Allah Almighty will accept his deeds, despite their imperfections. We might have not done 100%, but we hope that He will accept our humble deeds.
As believers are not angels and despite our best efforts we make mistakes, and we never lose hope in the mercy of Allah Almighty. Allah Almighty can forgive all things when we repent sincerely. The Prophet (peace be on him) taught us to be people of optimism and hope. Repent and move on. Lean on the vast mercy Allah Almighty which will envelope your sins and everyone. Every test or every sin is not the end of the story it is the beginning of a new chapter.
Once Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) approached the Prophet (peace be on him) saying, ‘My sins! My sins!’ The Prophet (peace be on him) taught him the supplication:
Oh Allah, your forgiveness is greater than my sins and my hope in Your mercy is greater to me than my actions.
When Jabir had repeated this three times, the Prophet (peace be on him) told him:
‘Go, for verily Allah has forgiven you.’ (Al Hakim and Al Bayhaqi)
In the hadith Qudsi, narrated by Abu Hurairah, Allah Almighty says:
I am as my slave thinks of me and I am with him whenever he remembers me.
In another hadith recorded by Muslim, the Prophet (peace be on him said:
Let none of you die without having a good opinion of Allah High and Mighty.
We cling to hope while trying to do our best to fulfil our obligations.
Our love Allah Almighty thus drives us to worship Him more and to perform our ibadah with perfection. As we seek a deeper connection with Him we try harder to refrain from sins. And we ask Allah Almighty to increase our love of Him.
How to Increase our love of Allah
- Recite more – The words and Book of Allah are the instructions and guidance for mankind, so we need to connect with them. Recite regularly, even if it is a page or half a page. We need this light to illuminate our heart and life.
- Reflect on the verses which talk about love, fear and hope.
- Feel and act upon the verses. For example, apply them in salah, in work, in relationships.
- You need to always remember that Allah is watchful. He is Ar Raqeeb and knowing this brings fear to us and increases our good deeds. Just as CCTV in the office makes employees more productive and waste less time.
Love and hope and fear are essential ingredients which when balanced delicately against each other create a healthy foundation for our relationship with Allah Almighty.
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