What is Fear?

Fear is to be frightened and is a result of expecting something which will bring about destruction, harm or injury, and Allah, the one free of all imperfections and the Most High, forbade having fear of the allies of the Satan, and He commanded fear of Himself alone. Fear is of three types:

(i) Natural fear, طبعی خوف such as a person’s fear of predatory animals, fire, or drowning. This is something for which a person is not to be blamed. Allah, the Most High, said about Moosaa,

فاصبح في المدينة خائفا يترقب  

“So he entered in the morning in Pharaoh’s city in a state of fear, awaiting events.”

الغرض صبح کے وقت شہر میں ڈرتے ڈرتے داخل ہوئے

[Soorah al-Qasas (28): 18]

However if this fear is, as mentioned by the author, a cause of his leaving an obligation or doing something forbidden, then it is forbidden. Since whatever causes an obligation to be abandoned, or causes something forbidden to be done is itself forbidden (haraam).  The evidence here is the Saying of Allah, the Most High,

انما ذلكم الشيطان يخوف اولياءه فلا تخافوهم وخافون ان كنتم مؤمنين

“So do not fear them, but fear Me and beware of disobeying Me, if you are truly Believers.”

یہ (خوف دلانے والا) تو شیطان ہے جو اپنے دوستوں سے ڈراتا ہے تو اگر تم مومن ہو تو ان سے مت ڈرنا اور مجھ ہی سے ڈرتے رہنا

  [Soorah Aal-‘Imraan (3):175]

Furthermore fear of Allah, the Most High, is sometimes something praiseworthy, and is sometimes something that is not praiseworthy. It is praiseworthy when it prevents you from being disobedient to Allah, and causes you to fulfil the obligatory duties and to avoid what is forbidden. So if this goal is reached, then the heart settles and is at peace, and is dominated by joy at the blessings of Allah and hope for His reward. It is something that is not praiseworthy when it causes a person to despair of Allah’s Mercy and to give up hope altogether. In such a case the person will give up and may continue in sin due to the fact that he totally gives up hope.

(ii) Reverential fear,  that he fears something and takes that as his religion. This is to be for Allah, the Most High, alone. Directing such reverential fear to anyone other than Allah, the Most High, is major shirk.

(iii) Secret supernatural fear,  such as fearing someone buried in a grave, or a person thought to be pious, who is far away and cannot affect him, yet still he has secret fear for him. This is also mentioned by the scholars as being a case of shirk.

What is Hope and longing (Ar-rajaa’)?

حصول کی اُمید رکھنا It is that a person wishes for something that may be attained and is close, and it may be something that is far off but treated as being something close. This earnest hope which comprises humility and submission may not be directed except to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, and directing it to anyone other than Allaah, the Most High, is shirk.  This shirk  will either be lesser shirk  or major shirk  depending upon the state of the heart of the person in this case. The author uses as evidence the Saying of Allah, the Most High,

اذ اوى الفتية الى الكهف فقالوا ربنا اتنا من لدنك رحمة وهيئ لنا من امرنا رشدا

“So whoever hopes to see His Lord and be rewarded by Him, then let him make his worship correct and make it purely and sincerely for Him; and let him not make any share of it for anyone other than Him.”

جب وہ جوان غار میں جا رہے تو کہنے لگے کہ اے ہمارے پروردگار ہم پر اپنے ہاں سے رحمت نازل فرما۔ اور ہمارے کام درستی (کے سامان) مہیا کر

[Soorah al-Kahf (18):11O] 

 طبعی الرِجاء تمع الشرک: کسی  سے اِیسی چیز کی خواہش یا تمع رکھنا جو دینا اُسکے اِختیار یا قدرت میں نہ ہو۔ شرک میں شامِل ہے۔

 طبعی الرِجاء تمع : کسی زندہ شخص کی چیزحاصل کرنے کی خواہش یا تمع رکھنا جو دینا اُسکے اِختیار میں ہو۔

Hope‘ which is praiseworthy is only that which is found in a person who acts in obedience to Allaah and hopes for reward from Him, or a person who repents from sin and hopes that his repentance is accepted. As for a person who hopes despite the fact that he does not act, then this is delusion and false hopes, and is something blameworthy.

Related Links:

Introduction to Author – Imam Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab

Al-Usool Ath-Thalatha


Audio in Urdu: Dr. Farhat Hashmi – Al-Usul al-Thalathah

Arabic Text: Download Book-Al-Usul Al-Thalaathah

Explanation of Usool Ath Thalatha by Shaykh Uthaymeen




  1. […] Awe (al-khashyah)  is fear founded upon knowledge of the greatness of the One whom he fears, and the complete and perfect Sovereignty and Dominion that is only of Allaah Subhana Watallah.  It is something more particular than fear, and the difference between it and fear will become clear by giving an example: If you fear someone, but you do not know whether he is able to catch you or not, then this is fear (khawf).  But when you fear someone and know that he is fully able to seize hold of you then that is fear/dread (khashyah).  With regard to speech about the rulings for each class of fear/dread, then it is the same as for what has already been said with regard to reverential fear (khawf). […]


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