Remember Your Lord…

وَاذْكُرْ رَبَّكَ فِي نَفْسِكَ تَضَرُّعًا وَخِيفَةً

Remember your Lord within yourself, humbly and fearfully.

(al-A’raf: 205)

Imam al-Razi relates the following amazing insight in his tafsir:

He, the Most High, said, “Remember your Lord [rabb] within yourself,” and He did not say, “Remember your god [ilaah],” nor any of the other Names. He only named Himself in this position with the name of His being the Lord, and He connected Himself to that. All of that indicates towards the furthest extent of mercy [rahmah], closeness [taqreeb], graciousness [fadl] and benificence [ihsaan]. His intent is to cause the slave to become exultant and happy at hearing this Name; because the word ‘Lord’ imparts a sense of nurturing [tarbiyah] and graciousness. At hearing this Name, the slave recalls the various types of favours [ni’am] of Allah upon him; and in reality, his intellect cannot even reach the least of them. As He, the Most High, has said, “And if you were to count the favours of Allah, you would not be able to enumerate them.” (Ibrahim: 34)

So at the manifestation [inkishaaf] of this rank within the heart, hope becomes strengthened. Then when he hears after that His saying, “…humbly and fearfully,” fear becomes great. Then there is existent within the heart both the causes for hope and the causes for fear. At that, faith [imaan] becomes perfected, according to what he said, peace be upon him, “If the fear of a believer and his hope were to be weighed, they would be balanced.” Except that there is one subtlety – and it is that the hearing of the word ‘Lord’ causes hope, and the hearing of the words ‘humility and fearfulness’ cause fear. So when the beginning occurs with that which causes hope, we come to know that the aspect of hope is stronger.

(Mafateeh al-Ghaib by Imam Fakhruddin al-Razi)

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2 Responses to Remember Your Lord…

  1. Shakir says:


    I have a friend whose perception of Islam is quite skewed. When I asked her what she knew about Islam she said that she feels Islam is based on fear. She takes this to be a rather negative attribute as she associates the God of her understanding to be loving, kind and forgiving. Could you please elaborate on the concept of fear in Islam?

  2. the middle road says:

    Wa alaikum salaam wa rahmatullah

    We are commanded to have taqwa of Allah. If we read through the Qur’an we would see that this is one of the most important qualities to have. The command is repeated in numerous ayat.

    Taqwa is usually translated as fearing Allah. But I feel that it would be more accurate to say that it is to be aware of Allah, and to be conscious of Him, to know that He witnesses us at all times, and so on.

    However, some people might emphasise the above point and become apologetic, trying to show that we don’t fear Allah – as they see it as something negative like you mentioned. But in other ayat, we are commanded to have khashyah (reverential fear) and also khawf, which is fear. So we do have to have fear. We fear the punishment of the Hereafter.

    Allah ta’ala is Loving, Kind and Forgiving. But He is also the Severe in punishment, the Powerful. So we can’t just focus and some and ignore the others – we have to take everything into account.

    The fear is what motivates to abstain from sin and evil. If we could just do what we want, without there being any consequences of punishment, people would be more prone to falling into sin. But our fear must be balanced with hope, as is discussed in the post above.

    And Allah ta’ala knows best.

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