Khowf (Fear)

Khauf : a state of the heart fearing Allāh Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala in such a way that specifically fearing his attributes of wrath and punishment and the manifestation of this wrath and punishment one abstains from committing disobedience.

Its ruling

Fear; it is from the most honorable attributes and the most beneficial to the heart. It is obligatory on every individual as Allah says “It is only Shaitan that suggests to you the fear of his Auliya’ so fear them not, but fear Me107, if you are (true) believers.” Imaraan:175

Also Allāh says “fear none but Me,” [Baqarah:40],  “fear not men but fear Me,” [Al-Ma’idah:44].

Abu Al-Qasim Al-Junaid said, “khawf is to expect punishment as long as you breathe.” It has been said that khawf is the restlessness of the heart because of the remembrance of the cause of fear. It has also been said that khawf is the strength in knowledge of the rulings and decrees. This is the reason for khawf and not khawf itself. It was also said that khawf is the escape of the heart from the occurrence of adversity when the heart senses it.



Khowf is general; fear whereas Kashya is specific.

Ibn Qayyim said “Khauf is for the general believer and as for Kashya (the highest level of fear) it is for the ‘Ulamaa (the people who know Allāh Jalla-wa-‘Ala with knowledge). “It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that have al-kashya. Verily, Allāh is All-Mighty, Oft-Forgiving.” [Fatir:28].

This verse does not mean that kashya is limited to the ‘Ulamaa, but rather, they possess the quantity and quality. Quantity of knowledge leads, by necessity, to quality in ‘action’.

As a result khashyah is associated with knowledge. Ones khauf and kashya will depend on the depth of his knowledge (of Allāh and Islam and SallAllāhu ‘alyhi wa sallam).”

And Ibn Qayyim gives the following hadith as evidence, as Muhammad said:

“Verily, I am the most knowledge of Allāh, indeed I am the most severest (i.e. the most best towards) Him in kashya.” [Bukhari and Muslim]. And he is the most knowledgeable of Allah

In summary, kashya (which is in the level of ihsaan) requires detailed knowledge of Allāh, his Names and Attributes and actions whereas kahuf does not require detailed knowledge.

Statments regarding Khawf

  • Abu Hafs said, “Khawf is the whip of Allah. He corrects with it those straying from His door.” He also said, “Khawf is a light in the heart, with it one can see the good and evil. Everyone you fear you run away from except Allah. When you fear Him, you run away to Him.” The person with khawf is a person fleeing from His Lord to His Lord.
  • Abu Sulaiman said, “When khawf departs from any heart, it falls apart.”
  • Ibrahim bin Sufyan said, “When khawf settles in the heart, it burns the places of vain desires within it and it kicks out the love for this world.”
  • Thun-Nun said, “People are on the road (meaning the Straight Path) as long as they have khawf. When they lose it, they stray from the road.”
  • The truthful khawf is what comes between the person and the prohibitions of Allah. If khawf exceeds that, then there may be a concern for getting into despair and hopelessness. Abu Uthman said, “The true khawf is being cautious of committing sins manifest or hidden.”
  • The positive and recommended fear is that which bars man, the individual, from haram. Fear beyond that is in danger of leading a person to despondency which is forbidden (Madirij salikin 1/548)
  • I heard Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah say, “The commendable khawf is what restrains you from the prohibitions of Allah.”
  • Al-Harawi said, “Khawf is to slip away from comfort and security by recognizing the warning of Allah.” The beginning of khawf is to fear the punishment. This is the kind of khawf that produces sound emaan (faith). This can be attained by believing in the warnings of Allah and remembering the sin. Khawf is preceded by feeling and knowledge. It is impossible that a person may have khawf without having feelings of fear.
  • Ghazali (rahmatullahi `alayhi) sais: “Fear rips away desires and muddens luxuries so that cherished sins become reprehensible, just as a honey lover is repelled by it when he learns that it has poison in it. This is how fear burns desires; disciplines the organs; subordinates the heart and gives it tranquility. It also enables the heart to rid itself of pride, hatred, and envy; and it leaves it absorbed in it (fear). Hence, the heart becomes preoccupied with its own worries and looks towards its best interest in the long run. It is then engaged in only matters like meditation, self-analysis and struggle. It cherishes its time and moments.” [Ihya: 4/160]
  • Ibn Qayyim (rahimahullah) says Khawf is one of the highest posts on the highway and most prolific of the heart. It is incumbent upon every Muslim (to fear Allah).

Khawf and Rajaa 

Khawf (fear) and rajaa’ (hope) complement one another. The similitude of the heart in its travel to Allah is like a bird. Love is its head, and khawf and rajaa’ are the wings. When the head and both wings are sound, the bird is capable and skilled in flying. However, when the head is cut off, the bird will die. When the bird loses a wing, it then becomes a target for every hunter and predator.The scholars favored, however, the wing of khawf over the wing of rajaa’, especially when the person is young and healthy. But they favored the wing of rajaa’ over the wing of khawf when the person is about to leave this world.

Abu Sulaiman said, “The heart ought to have more khawf. When rajaa’ dominates, it ruins it.” It was also said, “The best state is to have the same amount of khawf and rajaa’, but to have more love. Love is the boat, rajaa’ is the leader, khawf is the driver, and Allah is the One Who helps those reach the goal by His Grace and Generosity.”


Khawf is not sought itself. It is simply a means sought to obtain something else. It disappears when the cause of khawf disappears. That is why the people of Paradise will have no khawf, nor will they grieve.

Khawf is related to deeds and actions, while love is related to Allah and His Attributes. The love of the believers to their Lord multiplies when they enter the House of Bliss and they will have not fear. For that, the station of love is greater and higher than the station of khawf.

khawf is associated with two things: first, the thing feared; and second, any thing that may lead to it. 


As if you have Khauf, which is fear of any creation, of something that only Allah can do – then this is a kind of Shirk.

But if you fear the creation of something that they can do, like when you fear the snake to bite you and poison you; if you fear the lion to attack you and eat you up; if you fear the enemy to kill you; that is a natural fear which is not from the shirk.

But when you fear someone who is dead to harm you, then this is shirk. Something that does not posses the ability to harm you while you fear it this is shirk.

And when you fear someone the way you fear your Lord, then this is a way of worship, which is shirk.

How can one fear Allāh?

  • Firstly, one should embed in his heart that Allāh is Al-Akbar; there are no other essences that are Greater than Him Jalla-wa-‘Ala. It is reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas RadiyAllāhu ‘anhu that the SallAllāhu ‘alyhi wa sallam said: “The seven heavens and the seven earths are no more in Allāh’s Hand than a mustard seed in the hand of one of you.”
  • Secondly, one must know and believe that Allāh Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala sees everything. Nothing surpasses His sight; to Him Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala the apparent and the hidden are both apparent; He ‘Azza-wa-Jalla can see the useable – He can see, for example, speech. Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala says:

“No vision can grasp Him, but His Grasp is over all vision.” [An’am:103].

  • Thirdly, one must know and believe that Allāh Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala can hear everything – from the smallest movements of the ants beneath the rocks to the tawaf of the angels around al-Bait al-Ma’mur, from the calls of the fish in the deep oceans to the calls of the angels in the highest peaks of the heavens – (clearly and without interference) and He ‘Azza-wa-Jalla responds as He so wills.
  • Fourthly, one must know and believe that Allāh Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala is al-‘Alim (All-Knowing) al-Khabir (All-Aware); which is some of the manifestations of being All-Seeing and All-Hearing. That is, for example, if a person is trapped in a storm in the ocean Allāh can see him and hear his call. In addition, Allāh is aware of his complete past, his future and his destiny.

Thus, if one knows that Allāh is Al-Akbar, As-Sami’, Al-Baseer, Al-‘Alim and Al-Kabir, then naturally al-Khauf will be manifested in him. Furthermore, if one knows that Allāh being Al-Akbar, As-Sami’, Al-Baseer, Al-‘Alim and Al-Kabir serves the purpose of Him being Al-Haseeb (The One that Takes into Account) then he must feel khauf. Allāh created every individuals soul individually, created his essence individually, created his path individually and, therefore, one must be taken into account individually.

Allāh says: “Verily, Allāh is swift at reckoning.” [Ibrahim:51]

But because Allāh is Al-Rahman He does not reckon instantly, i.e., when a slave is disobedient Jalla-wa-‘Ala sends him signs so that he may return to Him Jalla-wa-‘Ala. That’s why, for example, before ‘Azza-wa-Jalla sent punishment to the qaum of Nuh ‘alyhis salaam Allāh Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala ordered Nuh ‘alyhis salaam to build a huge arc. Thus, the arc was a sign for the people to repent and return to Jalla-wa-‘Ala. We find in the Sunnah of Allāh that He sends signs before He reckons and this if from His Mercy.


Here we find a remarkable difference between fearing allah and fearing other than Him.  In this life when you fear something/one you run away from them. This is natural so to as save yourself from harm from that thing they would dread meeting that being.

Abu Hafs (ra) said: ‘Everybody who fears creation runs away from it. Those who fear Allah run to Him.’(5) Madirij Salikeen: 1/550 and the Qushairiyah Epistles

Abu Qasim (ra), the wise man, used to say: ‘Whoever fears something runs away from it, and whoever fears Allah runs to Him.’(4) 4. Ihya ul Uloom: 4/153

That is becuase when man fears his Creator he seeks refuge with Him and begins to obey Him. This is the awe of Allah which is quite apparent in the verse: ‘So run (escape) towards Him…’(3) 3. Surah Dhariyat: 50  Ibn Abbas (rd) explained this verse as meaning: ‘ Run towards Him through repentance; escape from Him to Him and obey Him.’

Ibn Qayyim (ra) said: ‘Escaping means to ran away from something to something. There are two kinds of escape: one of the fortunate and the other of the unfortunate. The unfortunate ran away from Allah, not to Him. The fortunate ran to Him. As for running away from Him to Him, that is the escape of His friends.’ (6) lbid: 1/504

We note that while Allah says “fear me,” He Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala in essence is not fearful. But rather, he is al-Jameel, al-Raheem, al-Rahmaan, al-Lateef. His essence is that of Mercy etc.

The Prophet sallAllāhu alaihi wa sallam stated, “Verily Allāh is Beautiful and He loves beauty.” [Muslim]. Likewise, He is beautiful in His attributes. Each and every one of His attributes are attributes of perfection, and qualities of praise and magnificence.

On that day, one of the punishments of the disbeliever’s will be that they will be veiled from the beauty of Allāh, Who’s beauty will beautify the believers. Allāh says “on that day their faces (believers) will be bright – because they will be looking at their Rabb.

When Allāh’s attribute of punishment is manifested He becomes fearful. Like when He Al-Qadir, Rabb as-Samaawati wal ard will grasp the heavens and the Earth and shake it exclaiming “”(Whose is the sovereignty this day? [Ghafir:16]) and on that day nobody will answer. So what is feared is the manifestation of His wrath in His essence, but, in essence He Subhanahu-wa-Ta’ala is not fearful.

so when someones says Ittaqillah he is saying protect yourself from the PUNISHMENT of Allah by obeying Him/Staying away from His prohibition.

know, if one flees away from Allāh out of fear or out of hope then he does not have true fear of Allāh. True fear is to run from Him (His punishment) to Him (His mercy obedience His beautiful names and attributes etc)


This kind of fear is good because it is positive and creates a positive reaction which leads towards loving Allah and abstaining from evil. This attribute of fearing Allah is one of perfection just as loving Allah is an act of perfection, i.e. it illustrates the might and perfection of Allah. It is unlike fear of the creation where being frightened is considered (and is) a sign of imperfection and weakness.

Fear in relation to Ebaadah

When we worship Allah upon Taqwa, as we have mentioned previously HERE there are 3 emotions that are present before during and after any worship. Love, Hope & Fear.

Allāh says in : “And those who give what they give (in charity) while their hearts are full of fear that to their Lord they must return.” [Mu’minoon:57-61]

Aisha once asked the Prophet, “O Messenger of Allah, when Allah says And those who give that (their charity) which they give with their hearts full of fear…” [23:60] is he the one who commits adultery, drinks alcohol or steals?” He said, “No, daughter of As-Siddeeq. It is the man who fasts, prays, and pays sadaqah. But he fears that none will be accepted from him.” (Tirmithi and others)

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, “By Allah, they performed the acts of obedience and struggled in them and they were afraid that their deeds will be rejected.”

The believer has combined good deeds and fear and the hypocrite has combined bad deeds and a sense of security.

Ibn ‘Umar said: “If I knew that Allaah had accepted even one good deed from me, death would be the most dear thing to me, because Allaah says, ‘Verily, Allaah accepts only from those who are al-Muttaaqoon (the pious)’ [al-Maa’idah 5:27

Ibraheem after having the honor of doing one of the most amazing ebaadahs that man kind knows, the building/Reconstruction of the Ka’bah after finishing it, what does he say? Subhanallah a Rasool that has no riyaa no nifaaq, a sound pure heart free from the love of Dunya after building/Reconstructing the Ka’ba he begs Allah. O our Lord, Accept from us Indeed You are As-Samee Al-Aleeem and accept our repentance Indeed you are At-Tawaab Ar-Raheem. Thus beautifully demonstrates his fear and diere need for Allah to accept from him, If this is the state of ibraheem then how more then should we beg Allah to accept our lowly deficient deeds?

Fear in relation to life

every verse in the quran every hadith that speaks about Allah punishment whether in this life or the next pertains to this section. Every verse/hadith that speaks about hell is a manifestation of Allahs punismnet the more we know and learn about these the more our Khaowd will increase.

This section is one of the most importat sections on this topic. Because when one sits down and reads the verses and hadeeth of Allahs mercy and forgivness one will think that he is saved from Allah punisment no matter what. He will think he can do what ever he likes and Allahs mercy will be suffiecnt for him. This person without the balance of Khowf will go astray.

but this section is also very imporant for the good dooesrs amusghts us those who pray fast read quran give chairty etc. Because shytan will come and say … You are a good slave of Allah you have notheing to fear but again this is faulse and many are those who became currupt after becomeing good strong muslims .

It has been authentically narrated upon the messenger (saw) that he said: “Indeed the actions are by ones final action” (Collected by Tabaraani in Mu’jam Al Kabeer 6/143)

Narrated Abi Abdurrahman Abdullah bin Mas’ud, May Allah is pleased with him:
Allah’s Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, “(The matter of the Creation of) a human being is put together in the womb of the mother in forty days, and then he becomes a clot of thick blood for a similar period, and then a piece of flesh for a similar period. Then Allah sends an angel who breathes the soul into him, and is ordered to write four things. He is ordered to write down his (i.e. the new creature’s) deeds, his livelihood, his (date of) death, and whether he will be blessed or wretched (in religion). So, by Allah the One, a man amongst you may do good deeds till there is only a cubit between him and Paradise and then what has been written for him decides his behavior and he starts doing (evil) deeds characteristic of the people of the (Hell) Fire. And similarly, a man amongst you may do (evil) deeds till there is only a cubit between him and the (Hell) Fire, and then what has been written for him decides his behavior, and he starts doing deeds characteristic of the people of Paradise.” Narrated by Al-Bukhari.

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “A man may do the deeds of [the people of] Paradise, [that which is apparent to the people] or so it seems to the people, although he is one of the people of Hell, and a man may do the deeds of [the people of] Hell, or so it seems to the people, although he is one of the people of Paradise.” 

Ibn Rajab (may Allaah have mercy on him) said:  The words “as it appears to people” indicate that what is hidden may be different from what is apparent to people, and that a bad end is because of a hidden problem in a person that people are not aware of, whether it is a bad deed and the like, so that hidden quality may lead to a bad end at death.  Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam (1/57-58)

so this person in the apparent is the best of people when he walks with the people has the best of adab he is a righteous person etc but when he is at home with his family his wife his children  is the worse of people

so we must ask allah for the best end … its the most important

Shihr who said : ‘I said to Umm Salamah : ‘O Mother of the Believers, what is the duaa’ which the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) would supplicate the most while in your presence? ’So she said : ‘The frequent supplication of his was :

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِى عَلَى دِينِكَ

“O, Turner of the hearts, turn our hearts to Your obedience.”

And also reported by Imaam Ahmad , from the hadeeth of ‘Aisha (radhiyaAllaahu anha): ‘The Dua’ which the Prophet (sallahAllaahu alayhi wasallam) used to supplicate with a lot…’ then she mentioned it.

A du’aa that he mentioned pertaining to this is:

يَا مُقَلِّبَ الْقُلُوبِ ثَبِّتْ قَلْبِى عَلَى دِينِك

Oh turner of the hearts (Allah, the Most High), keep our hearts firm on your religion

The sahaba Abdullah bin ‘Amr bin al-‘Aas asked, ‘Do you fear for us?’ he heard Allaah’s Messenger saying, naam “All the hearts of the offspring of Aadam are between two fingers of Ar-Rehman’s Fingers, as one heart. He turns it (in any direction) as He wills. Then Allaah’s Messenger said, “O Allaah! The Turner of the hearts, turn our heart towards Your obedience.” [Saheeh Muslim vol.4, p.1397, no.6418]

A great companion from the companions of the messenger of Allah one day was crying at the time of his death. So it was said to him, ‘Why are you crying? Did you not believe in the messenger? You saw his face, you shuck his hand. He said, I herd the messenger of Allah say, ‘Allah grabbed his slaves with two hand fulls then He (Allah) said these (referring to thoise in one hand) are in jannah and these (the other) are in Hell and I dont know of which hand i was in. [Musnad Ahamed – Saheeh]

ibn rajab Jaami’ al-‘Uloom wa’l-Hukam

and some of the salaf used to say nothing makes the eyes cry more . what has made it cry alketaabusaabiqi the this that was ritten for you before you was created

sufyan ibn uyaynah he used to shake/shiver because of what allah knew of him and the things that are going to come just before he dies and he used to always cry and say i fear that i am in the Umulketaab as a sheqeeya (written umusgt the peoplle of hell)

and he would also say i fear my emaan is taken/ripped out of me away from me just before my death

Mâlik b. Dînâr (tabieen) it was said he would stand all night and he would grab his beard and then would say My Lord you know the people who are going to live in jannah from the people who going to live in the hell fire so which of the two is the aboude of Malik in

Upon the Authority of Abdullah ibn Amr (Radhiyallahu ‘Anhumaa) who said: ‘The Messenger of Allah came out to us (on an occasion) with two books in his hands and said: “Do you know what these two books are? so we said ‘No Oh messenger of Allah! Unless you inform us! So He said concerning the book in his right hand: “This is a book from the Lord of all the worlds, in it are the names of the people of paradise, their fathers names and their tribes. Their information is then summerised (at the end of the book) and concluded. There will be no increase (to the contents of the book) nor (decrease from it). Then he said concerning the book in his left hand: “This is a book from the lord of all the worlds in it are the names of the people of the hellfire, their fathers and their tribes. Their information is then summerised (at the end of the book) and concluded. There will be no increase (to the book) nor (decrease from it) ever.

(So) do that which is correct (and good) and come as close as possible to being upright and balanced. For indeed the last action that a person of paradise will perform (in the life of this world) will be one of the actions of the people of paradise (ie a good action), regardless of the actions he performs (ie through his life). And indeed the last action a person of the hellfire will perform (in the life of this world), will be one of the actions of the people of hellfire, regardless of the actions he performs (ie through his life). Your lord has concluded (grouping) his servants. (Then he recited) “A party in paradise and a party in Hellfire (Suratush Shuraa Vs “7)

(collected by Ahmad, At Tirmidhi and Nasaa’ie and declared ‘Saheeh’ By shaikh Al Albaani in Saheehul Jaami’ 88)


Allāh says: “إِنَّمَا يَخْشَى اللَّهَ مِنْ عِبَادِهِ الْعُلَمَاءُ”

Which means: “It is only those who have knowledge amongst His servants that fear Allāh.” [Fâtir: 28]

Ibn Mas‘ūd and others commenting on this verse said: “Sufficient knowledge is that one fears Allāh, and sufficient ignorance is to be deceived of Allāh.”

[Ibn ‘Abdu’l-Barr #1514; Imām Ahmad in al-Zuhd, p. 158; Ibn Abi Shaybah and it’s sahīh]

Abū Hurayrah (radiyAllahu’anhu) as he wept just before he died:

“I do not weep for your world! I weep because of the far journey I am going on and the little provision I have. Now I have ensued on a climb that will end in settling down in a Paradise or a Fire, and I do not know to which of them I will be taken.”

(Hilyatul al-Auliyaa, 1/383)

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