Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla, Zakira Shyrose Jaffer Dhalla is a graduate of York University in Canada from where she obtained a BA in Psychology and Sociology and a Masters in the field of Education. She lectures on Islam at... Answered 11 months ago

The constant remembrance of death and the fear of facing Allah swt is, in fact, not only encouraged by the Holy Quran, but is an essential quality that must exist in a true momin.   To find oneself in such a state of reflection is, in actuality, a blessing rather than a burden.

Imam Ali (a.s) in Nahjul Balagha (saying #44) explains,  

"Blessed is the man who always kept the life after death in his view, who remembered the Day of Judgment through all his deeds, who led a contented life and who was happy with the lot that Allah swt had destined for him."

However, it is important to understand that the fear of death and God is not encouraged in Islam simply in order to create a debilitating and paralyzing anxiety in the human being; rather, it is to allow for us to detach from the transient world and to galvanize us into preparation for the everlasting life.

To be consumed with thought of one's mortality should be the goal of every believer and it is this very state of being that elicits true asceticism in the human soul. It not only paves the path towards God Consciousness, or Taqwa, but it also allows for the essential task of detaching oneself from the world ie. Dunya.

Imam al-Baqir (a.s) has said,

'Remember death frequently, for no sooner does man increase his remembrance of death than he begins to renounce this world's life.’

الإمامُ الباقرُ (عَلَيهِ الّسَلامُ): أكثِرْ ذِكرَ المَوتِ ، فإنّهُ لَم ‏يُكثِرْ إنسانٌ ذِكرَ المَوتِ إلّا زَهِدَ في الدنيا

Bihar Al-Anwar, V. 73, P. 64, No. 31

As to the concern whether one’s imaan has come from fear of Allah swt rather than the love of Allah swt, it is important to understand that faith or imaan, in true essence, has to actually include a combination of the two.  True love means one is always working for the Pleasure of one’s Beloved and is always worried about causing, even inadvertently, the Displeasure of the Beloved.  True love, in its most elevated form, means that the concern and anxiety over disobedience comes from a prevailing need to please the Beloved rather than the fear of possible punishment from the Beloved.

Is there hope for us?  Is it possible for us to get salvation? Should we dare to even dream of being forgiven? These are valid questions, indeed. As a matter of fact, a true believer must always be asking themselves this question.  And their state of being should always be in a perfect balance between fear and hope.

According to Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “A believer cannot have belief till both fear and hope are present in him. Nor can he be called as fearful and hopeful till he makes it evident in his actions.”

Staying in this state between anxiety and optimism prevents a believer from sins, protects them from developing a sense of invincibility and keeps them safe from becoming completely discouraged, demoralized and disheartened.

Remembering death often, fearing Allah swt, staying between the states of hope and fear is the quality of the ambiya and truly worth emulating for the Holy Qur’an praises the Prophets (peace be upon them) in the following words:

“Surely they used to hasten, one with another, in deeds of goodness and to call upon Us, hoping and fearing; and they were humble before Us.”

(al-’Anbiya’ 21:90)

May Allah swt infuse us with these towfiqaat (ilaahi ameen).

Remember that fear is often a result of a lack of knowledge. Thus, it is important to work on increasing our knowledge so that we can learn more about Allah swt and His ways.   The more we can understand how Merciful and Loving our Lord truly is, the better we can learn to view the remembrance of death and the fear of God as a blessing rather than a source of anxiety, ilaahi ameen.

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