If one looks meticulously at life, one grasps that fear dominates human psyche and regulates provisional existence of mankind on the earth. It is an inseparable element of human instincts as those of love, hate, anger and other forms of emotions and instincts.

The capacity to fear is part of human nature. It operates as an authority often instructing, commanding and, on occasions, cautioning individuals not to indulge in those adverse activities that lead them to detrimental consequences. It is like breath of life that resides in the interior of a living soul often causing a scope for security and safety.

Nothing Left to Fear

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Citing fear as the essential constituent to oil the wheel of life, Dr. Michael Stadler in his renowned book The Psychology of Sailing records, ‘ As long as fear is the response to actual danger, it is a natural and even useful phenomenon’.

Richard Henderson, a well-known American author, expresses, ‘Fear gives birth to self-confidence’.

Man, in fact, is born in fear howsoever he or she boasts himself/herself of. From cradle to the grave, fear keeps in human in a subdued state of slumber waiting for a chance to be acted upon.

Relationship does not alone rely upon love. It is a fictitious claim and deceitful publicity. In truth, it excavates its root in fear. It receives its sustenance from fear and yields its allegiance to fear.

An instance in the direction may be referred to the harmony between a child and a father. The modification of a child’s behavior at home, apart from love, also results from the awe and fear of father, and in the process, the character of child is shaped to a desirable outcome.

Another example in the direction refers to that of strong feelings of patriotism in the heart of a citizen whose only jingoistic attachment towards his/her country is not sufficient enough to inject the spirit of making a law-abiding citizen until fear constantly reminds him/her of facing the consequences.

Fear, in short, is a basic survival mechanism. It sharpens one’s senses and improves one’s capacity to anticipate. It also assesses risks inherent in certain situations.

The argument leads to the conclusion that one should nurture fear as it strongly affects the vitality and centrality of life. It causes relationship and improves the prospect of submissiveness. Fear, in fact, is a hope.

Only this ‘fear’ is required to be cultivated in heart to establish a superior relation with the Almighty, the One who sustains and nourishes us; the One who causes us to birth and causes us to death; the One who causes us to misery and causes us to happiness and the One who causes to cause everything in the universe. Woodrow T. Wilson reflects, ‘Fear God and you need not fear anyone else’.

It is absolutely this fear that some of the verses of the Holy Quran intend to cultivate in man.

Indeed, some of the verses in the Holy Book of which description is beyond the imagination of man are startling. Man commonly thinks… the earth, the sun, the moon, the sea, the mountain – all heavenly bodies will last forever.

The Holy Book claims: “When the Sky is rent asunder and hearkens to the Command of its Lord, and it must do so; and when the Earth is flattened out, and casts forth what is within it and becomes empty, and hearkens to the Command of its Lord and it must do so; then will come Home the full Reality” (LXXXIV: 1-5).

One may think that the heavens one sees above – high and sacred, seemingly vast and limitless, eternal and timeless – are not created matter. But they are. And they remain just so long as God wills them so, and not a moment longer.

As soon as His command issues for their dissolution, they will obey and vanish, and all their misery will be emptied out. And it must necessarily be so; their very nature as created beings requires that they must listen to the voice of their Creator even to the extent of their own extinction.

Likewise, one may think the earth so solid and real. All our perishable things dissolve into the earth. But the earth itself will dissolve into a truer Reality one day.

The fear is further aroused as in the following verses: “When the Earth is shaken to her utmost convulsion, and the Earth throws up Her burdens from within, and man cries distressed: ‘What is the matter with her?’- On that Day will she declare her tidings: For that thy Lord will have given her inspiration” (XCIX: 1-5).

To the ordinary human observer, a violent earthquake is a terrifying phenomenon, in its suddenness, in the mysterious origin, and in its power to destroy and uproot the strongest buildings and to bring up strange materials from the bowels of the earth.

The Overwhelming Event which ushers in the Judgment will be a bigger and more far-reaching convulsion than any earthquakes that one knows.

The argument leads to the fact that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. It is not a passive oppression by an outside feeling, but an active assertion of one’s own will to recognize Lord, the Cherisher.

Hearts come to God by no higher motive than fear. In the words of Marianne Williamson, ‘We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone’.

Signs, Miracles, Portents and Natural Disasters are sent by as a warning to strike terror into the hearts of a soul to return to the right path and be obedient to the Lord of the universe. The Divine Scripture addresses: ‘O you who believe! Fear God as He should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam’ (III: 102).

Psychologists have addressed the hypothesis that fear of death motivates religious commitment, and that it may be alleviated by assurances about an afterlife. Empirical research on this topic has been equivocal.

According to Kahoe and Dunn, people who are most firm in their faith and own higher degree of fear, attend religious services more than those who do not.

It is time man inculcates ‘fear’ in order to comprehend the ultimate Truth, the final Destination and keep away from all disgraceful activities that corrupt and darken human soul. Love for God in us should be as spontaneous as the fear for Him. In fact, ‘To live with fear…is the final test of maturity’ as Edward Weeks noted, and the real pathway to salvation.

Categories: Faith, Islamic Perspective

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