On the authority of Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junada and Abu Abdul Rahmaan Muaadh ibn Jabal (may Allah be pleased with both of them) from the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) who said, “Fear Allah wherever you are. And follow up a bad deed with a good deed and it will wipe it out. And behave towards the people with a good behaviour.” (Recorded in al-Tirmidhi)
This hadith was related on the authority of two of the companions, Abu Dharr and Muaadh ibn Jabal (r). Abu Dharr (r) was one of the earliest Muslims, being perhaps the fifth person to embrace Islam. He (r) moved to Madinah after the Hijrah, and was present at many of the battles of the Prophet (s). He narrated approximately 281 hadith.
Muaadh ibn Jabal (r) was an Ansari of the Khazraj tribe. He (r) was known for his gentleness, generosity and modesty. The Prophet (s) stated that he (r) was the most knowledgeable of the Nation concerning what is permissible and what is forbidden. He (r) memorised the entire Qur’an during the lifetime of the Prophet (s) and was sent as a teacher and guide to the people of Yemen. He narrated 157 hadith.
“Fear Allah wherever you are”
Taqwa (translated here as ‘fear’) comes from the root word waqaaya, which means “he protected” or “to protect”. When the word taqwa is used with respect to Allah (swt), as in this hadith, it means that one must fear and protect oneself from the anger and punishment of Allah (swt). These things are what we have to fear above all else, both in this world and in the Hereafter.
Taqwa or fear of Allah, is one of the most important concepts found in the Qur’an and sunnah. It could be described as the foundation of the religion. It has been the command of Allah for all of the Messengers:
“To Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth. We have advised the people of the Scripture before you and you also [O Muslims] to have taqwa of Allah [fear Allah and keep your duty to Him].” (Surah al-Nisaa:131)
Taqwa is such an important characteristic, that whenever the Prophet (s) sent an army out to battle, he would advise them to have tawqa of Allah, as this would be the cause of their success or defeat.
When we realise that Allah (swt) sees us at all times and knows what we do, think and say, then the obvious implication is that we should fear Allah’s anger and punishment at all times. That includes when we are accompanied and when we are alone, and when we are receiving blessings and trials. The Prophet (s) used to supplicate:
“I ask of You to give me fear of You in matters that are not seen as well as those that are witnessed.” (Recorded in al-Nisaai)
The minimum aspect of taqwa is to obey Allah and not disobey Him (swt). To achieve a higher level, one must put some distance between oneself and anything that could anger Allah. The people of taqwa, will leave even permissible deeds out of fear that there might be something harmful in them. Leaving these doubtful or permissible deeds then acts as a barrier between the believer and any acts of disobedience.
When a believer performs all the obligatory deeds that they are capable of and stays away from all the forbidden and doubtful matters, and when they further perform the recommended acts and stay away from the disapproved ones, they are truly deserving of the title muttaqeen “the people possessing taqwa“. The reward for these type of people the highest of rewards. Allah (swt) says:
“And the good end [Paradise] is for the [people of] taqwa” (Surah Taha:132)
May Allah make us of those people who fear Allah (swt) wherever we are and earn His (swt) highest reward. Ameen.