Placing One’s Trust in the Creation over Allāh Leads to Perpetual Fear and Oppression

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah

Stress, worry and grief are often connected to a lack of tawakkul (reliance) on Allāh and excessive concern for the dunyā (worldliness).
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The [true] Lord [Allāh] loves to be loved. From among the stipulations of this is that the servant [of Allāh] should love that which makes worship itself possible. For the slave [of Allāh] loves that which he needs and benefits him. In turn, this stipulates that he loves the worship of Allāh. Whomsoever worships Allāh and acts righteously towards mankind fulfils the rights of Allāh and the rights of His servants, as his dīn is sincerely for Him. However, whoever seeks [through his worship] compensation from the servants [of Allāh], whether it be in the form of praise or invocation or other than it, he has not behaved in a righteous manner towards them for the sake of Allāh [alone].

Just as the one who fears Allāh in his dealings with [mankind], and does not fear them over Allāh, will always behave righteously to the creation [of Allāh] and to himself. For the fear of Allāh will drive him towards fulfilling the rights [of the creation] and desisting from oppressing them. As for the one who fears [the creation] but does not fear Allāh, he will oppress himself and them. This is because he fears and puts his hopes in other than Allāh. Indeed, if he is fearful [of the creation] besides Allāh he will find himself in need of defending himself from their evil machinations by any means necessary. Whether this be through deceit or behaving hypocritically, or meeting their evil with that which is like it or greater than it.

Furthermore, if he puts his hopes solely in them [the creation], he will find himself not fulfilling the rights of Allāh with regards to them. For if he does not fear Allāh, in actuality he is choosing to behave in a hostile manner towards them [the creation]. Individuals naturally incline towards overpowering those who do not resist, so then how would the inclination be towards an oppressive person?

Thus, you will find that this category of people [those who do not fear Allāh alone] are always extremely fearful of the creation. They oppress others if they are able to do so, but are contemptuous, despicable, cowards when subjugated. The degree to which they fear the creation is proportional to their display of these [negative] attributes. They are among the reasons for discord [fitan] among mankind.

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah [728 AH]

Anyone who puts their hopes in the creation [alone] will find the creation not granting what he hopes from them. Consequently, he will undoubtedly hate the creation [for this] and oppress them [if able to do so], as he does not fear Allāh. This occurs frequently among mankind. You will find them fearing one another, and putting all of their hopes in one another. Then, they turn towards oppressing one another, or seeking to oppress. Thus, they are all oppressors to one another. Oppressors regarding the rights of Allāh as they fear and put their hope in other than Him, while also oppressing themselves, for these are sins through which their very souls are punished by, as it drives them towards specific types of disobedient acts like shirk and fornication. For if man does not fear Allāh, he will follow his own desires. Especially if he seeks that which [Allāh] has not written for him. He will find his soul seeking out that which will grant it peace, alleviating his despair and sadness. But his soul is devoid of the remembrance of Allāh and His worship by which true comfort is attained. So, instead, he attempts to derive comfort from engagement in ḥarām acts. He engages in obscene behaviour, he drinks intoxicants, and relates lies. He allows his soul to revel in meaningless games and jest. He keeps the company of sinners while engaging in other [acts of disobedience]. His heart will never find [true] comfort except through the worship of Allāh.

For mankind has been created naturally desiring that which is beneficial to it, while defending itself from that which is harmful. His very soul always in a state of want. His longing must undoubtedly centre upon that which is at the apex of his yearning through which his soul can derive comfort and relaxation. [This goal] can only be achieved through Allāh alone. For his heart will never find relaxation except through Him, his soul will find no comfort except in Him, [Allāh says:]

‏لَوْ كَانَ فِيهِمَا آلِهَةٌ إِلَّا اللَّهُ لَفَسَدَتَا 

‘Had there been within the heavens and earth gods besides Allāh, they both would have been ruined.’
[Al-Anbiyāʾ, 21:22]

Anything that is worshipped besides Him will only result in corruption. The heart’s salvation is achieved only through the worship of Allāh alone, to which there can be no partners.

Majmūʿ al-Fatāwá: 1:43-44
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: December 11, 2022
Edited: December 11, 2022

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