Al-Khawf (fear), its Types and its Proof – Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

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Sharh-ul-Usool-ith-Thalaathah : Lesson 22 Part A
Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

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Al-Khawf (fear), its Types and its Proof

Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul-Wahhaab (rahimahullaah) said: 

And the proof for Al-Khawf (fear) is His saying, He the Most High:

إِنَّمَا ذَٰلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

That is just Satan, he incites you to fear his allies. So do not fear them, but rather fear Me if you are truly believers [3:175] 15


[15]: Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzan’s Explanation:

Al-Khawf (fear) is a type from the types of worship, and it is an act of worship of the heart, just the same as is the case with al-Khawf (fear) and al-Khashyah (awe) and ar-Raghbah (fervent desire) and ar-Rahbah (dread) and ar-Rajaa’ (hope and longing) and at-Tawakkul (trust and reliance) – all of these are acts of worship of the heart.

Al-Khawf (fear) is apprehension of something unpleasant, and it is of two types:

  1. Al-Khawf-ul-‘Ibaadah (fear which is worship)
  2. Al-Khawf-utTabee‘ee (natural fear).

The first type: Khawf-ul-‘Ibaadah (fear which is worship), directing this to other than Allaah is shirk, and that is that a person fears someone other than Allaah with regard to something which no-one besides Allaah is able to do, such as his fearing someone being able to cause him to become ill, or being able to take his soul, or to cause his child to die, as is done by many of the ignorant people. They fear regarding their wives’ pregnancies and for their children, from the jinn, they fear sorcerers, they fear the dead, and so therefore they do actions involving shirk to free themselves from this fear. So this is something which no-one is able to do but Allaah, illnesses and death and bringing provision and cutting off life-span, these matters, no-one is able to do them except Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, and likewise sending down blessings or other than that. These matters cannot come about except from Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, so if he fears anyone with regards to anything which only Allaah can carry out, then this is major shirk, because it is diverting a type of worship to other than Allaah the Mighty and Majestic. Like those who fear the graves and of the tombs and of the jinn and of the devils that they can strike them with evil or cause some harm to descend upon them, and so therefore they go and perform actions of nearness to these things to repel their harm, or out of fear of them – this is major shirk. He says, “I fear, if I don’t make a sacrifice for him, that he will afflict me with something, or afflict my children or my wealth, or the like of that, just as was said by the people of Hood:

إِن نَّقُولُ إِلَّا اعْتَرَاكَ بَعْضُ آلِهَتِنَا بِسُوءٍ

All that we say is that some of our gods have struck you with evil [11:54]

They threatened him with their gods and they tried to make him fear their objects of worship.

قَالَ إِنِّي أُشْهِدُ اللَّهَ وَاشْهَدُوا أَنِّي بَرِيءٌ مِّمَّا تُشْرِكُونَ

مِن دُونِهِ ۖ فَكِيدُونِي جَمِيعًا ثُمَّ لَا تُنظِرُونِ

إِنِّي تَوَكَّلْتُ عَلَى اللَّهِ رَبِّي وَرَبِّكُم

He said, “I call Allaah to witness, and you should bear witness, that I am free of whatever you associate in worship along with Him. So plot all of you against me and don’t give me any respite. I have placed my reliance upon Allaah, my Lord and your Lord.” [11:54-56]

This is tawheed, he challenges them, all of them, them and their idols.

So then all of you plot against me, and then don’t give me any respite [11:55]

Don’t give me some time, rather plot against me from this moment, and they were not able to do anything against him, rather Allaah aided him against them.

So the person who fears other than Allaah with regard to things that only Allaah can do, then he has committed major shirk, and this is called the fear which is worship, and the fear which is shirk. Many people have fear of the graves, or of the awliyaa’ (the beloved and obedient servants of Allaah), they fear Satan, they fear the jinn, and therefore they do acts of devotion, putting forward offerings to them, putting forward sacrifices for them, and making vows and giving foods, and other than that, such as throwing money upon their tombs in order to be saved from their evil, or to attain something of their good. Then this is khawf-ul-‘ibaadah (fear which is worship).

The second type: al-Khawf-utTabee‘ee (natural fear): and it is that you fear something which is clear and apparent which is able to do that which you fear from it, such as your fearing a snake or a scorpion or an enemy, these are matters which are clear and visible and are well-known matters, so fearing them is not called shirk, this is natural fear of something which is apparent and known, because you are fearing a means which is clear and apparent, and something which it is desirable for you to protect yourself from and take precaution against, so therefore you take up weapons, you take up a stick to kill a snake or a scorpion, and to kill a wild animal, because these are matters which are felt by the senses, and they contain well-known harm. So if you fear them, then this is not called shirk, rather it is called natural fear.

And therefore Allaah said with regard to Moosaa ‘alaihissalaam:

فَخَرَجَ مِنْهَا خَائِفًا يَتَرَقَّبُ

So he departed from it in a state of fear [28:21]

Meaning from the city

Fearful, looking about [28:21]

Having fear of his enemies, because he had killed one of them.

And he ‘alaihissalaatu wassalaam fled to Madyan, and he was on the lookout, and he was fearing that they would catch him, so this is natural fear. However, a person needs to learn to seek shelter and protection in Allaah the Mighty and Majestic and to take hold of the means through which he can repel harm, and he relies upon Allaah the Mighty and Majestic and has reliance upon Allaah. He the most High said:

فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

So do not fear them (the allies of Satan) but rather fear Me if you are truly believers [3:175]

This aayah is in the soorah Aal-i-‘Imraan in the story of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam along with the people of shirk on the day of Uhud, when the people of shirk threatened them and said, “We will return to them and wipe then out.” So therefore Allaah the Majestic and Most High says:

إِنَّمَا ذَٰلِكُمُ الشَّيْطَانُ يُخَوِّفُ أَوْلِيَاءَهُ فَلَا تَخَافُوهُمْ وَخَافُونِ إِن كُنتُم مُّؤْمِنِينَ

That is just Satan, he incites you to fear his allies. So do not fear them, but rather fear Me if you are truly believers [3:175]

This warning and this threat was just from Satan, meaning he tries to cause you to fear his allies, or to cause whoever will submit to him to fear, from the people and to fear him. Then he will gain ascendancy over them.

Sharh-ul-Usool-ith-Thalaathah. Explanation of the Three Fundamental Principles of Imaam Muhammad ibn ‘Abdil-Wahhaab by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah. Translated by  Daawood  Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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