Refuting the Saying: ‘O My Lord! I Fear Those Who Do Not Fear You’

Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah

An explanation on the impermissibility of fearing those who do not fear Allāh, and the sufficiency of putting one’s fear and trust in Allāh alone.
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Shaykh al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah [d. 728 AH] said:

Some people say: ‘O my Lord! I fear those who do not fear You.’

These are false, baseless words, the utterance of which is impermissible. Rather, the slave [of Allāh] must harbor fear of Allāh alone and should never be afraid of anyone [else]. For the one who does not fear Allāh is most despicable and not deserving of fear. This is because he is an oppressor, one from among the close allies of Shayṭān. Thus, fearing [such an individual] has been made impermissible by Allāh.

If it is then said: ‘[This individual] may harm me.’

We say: ‘He only harms you by means of the subjugation that Allāh has bestowed on him [over you]. If Allāh wants to defend you from his evil, he would do so easily.’

All command and order derive from Allāh alone. The slaves [of Allāh] are subjugated due only to their own sin. However, if you were to fear Allāh alone, have taqwá of Him1, and put your trust in only Him, He would sufficiently extoll you of the evil of every possessor of it. He would save you from being subjugated. Indeed, He says:

وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسْبُهُ ۚ 

‘And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him.’
[Al-Ṭalāq, 65:3]

As his [the one who does not fear Allāh] subjugation of you is due to your own sin and the fear you have for him, but if you were to fear Allāh and repent to Him from you sins and seek His forgiveness, He would never allow anyone to gain such control over you.

As He says:

وَمَا كَانَ اللَّهُ مُعَذِّبَهُمْ وَهُمْ يَسْتَغْفِرُونَ

‎‏‘And Allah would not punish them while they seek forgiveness.’
[Al-Anfāl, 8:33]

And in the ḥadīth:

‘Allāh said: I am Allāh, there is nothing worshipped in truth except for Me, the King of all Kings, the hearts and foreheads of kings are in my Hands. Whomsoever is obedient to Me, I will make the hearts of those kings full of mercy towards him. Whomsoever is disobedient towards Me, I will make them [the kings] wrathful against him. So do not busy yourselves with cursing the rulers. Rather, repent to Me, and be obedient to Me, I will make them behave compassionately towards you.’2

Endnotes

1. Translator’s note: Taqwá – Establishment of a protective barrier between the slave of Allāh and His punishment through execution of righteous deeds, and refraining from ḥarām.
2. Haythamī in al-Majmaʿ, 5:252 from the ḥadīth of Abū al-Dardāʾ. This narration is weak. Also from al-Daylamī in al-Firdaws: 8032 from the ḥadīth of Anas ibn Mālik but with a different wording.

Source: Majmūʿ al-Fatāwá: 1:46
Translated by: Riyāḍ al-Kanadī

Published: January 10, 2023
Edited: January 12, 2023

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