We follow speed limits because we fear getting a ticket.
We show up on time to work because we fear getting fired.
We show up for our exams because we fear failing.
Fear has levels, however. Many of us may fear one parent more than the other, or fear one law more than another. We may easily speed, but avoid using a technological device while driving because the consequences and chance of getting caught seem more dire. Our behaviour and choices are molded by the things we fear. Several men in positions of power have used their status to abuse countless individuals, and have only now begun to acknowledge their actions and seek retribution in the face of their fear for public scrutiny. It seems fear was nowhere to be found when they were in the act of committing their crimes.
Fear plays an important role in the life of a Muslim. It is simple- we fear Allah (swt) and His Wrath, and as such, we are careful to avoid the acts that would earn His displeasure. Fear in Islam is simple- you fear Allah (swt) and absolutely no one else. Why then, is our fear of humankind far greater than our fear of Allah (swt)?
When it comes to the age of internet and social media, we fear increased surveillance and lack of privacy- perhaps rightly so. But when have we felt genuine fear for the fact that Allah (swt) has always been aware of every single thing that we do?
The profanity that slipped out in our road rage, pressing snooze on our alarm for fajr. The time we argued incessantly with our mother and spewed venom while biting the back of another soul. What about the moments when we let anger and pride overtake our sensibilities and told ourselves that it was our right to vent?
Perhaps no one will ever learn of our misdeeds, but Allah (swt) has always Known and every single thing we have done will be taken into account. When have our hearts genuinely shaken in fear that Allah (swt) is Al-Hakam, the Supreme Arbitrating Magistrate, the One Who Never Wrongs Anyone and is the Ultimate Deliverer of Justice?