Ghazali on fear (khawf). Part 2

Ghazali lived in 5th century Hijri and his book, Kitaab Al-Arba’in Fi Usul ad-Din, ‘The Forty Principles of the Religion,’ which he wrote before his death, is a summary of Ihya Ulumuddin, and his life’s works and thoughts. In his last ten principles (good traits) out of the forty principles, he covers tawbah (repentance) first and then khawf (fear), explaining them from his own understanding. Ghazali quoted that only those who have knowledge truly fear Allah. They fear Him more than those who do not have knowledge. Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. (35:28) If you search the word khawf and khashya it appears throughout the Quran. Fear is not just a negative emotion as we think of it. From childhood, we see fear as terror, but this is not the right fear. Fearing Allah is not about being terrified of Him. It is fear coupled with love – it is the fear of displeasing him. The more know Allah the more we fear Allah, the more we appreciate Him. Knowing about His attributes make us fearful of Him. There is a level (station) in Sufism which Imam Qushayri mentioned in his Risala al Qushayriyya fi ‘ilm al- tasawwuf (The Treatise of Qushayri) which is fearing Allah. There are some people who have no fear of Allah at all. Ghazali calls them stupid. Out of their ignorance they do not love or fear Him.  Without comparing the them, it as like a child approaching a snake because he is oblivious to the potential danger. If you do not know, follow those who know There are two levels of Khawf. The first is fear out of knowledge of Allah. The second is when you lack knowledge, then you simply follow what you have been told to … Continue reading Ghazali on fear (khawf). Part 2