Worship Based on Affection
At the peak of his God-Seeking, man worships God on the basis of affection rather than out of desire for the Paradise or fear of the Hell; the same way as Imam al-Sadiq (A.S.) said about his own worship:
"In worship of the Almighty and Glorious God, people are in three group: one group worship Him for reward, which is the worship of the greedy and that is avarice; the other group worship Him out of fear of the Hell, which is the worship of the slaves and that is fearfulness; but I worship the Almighty and Glorious God out of love and affection for Him which is the worship of the noble, and that is the source of safety and security, for the Almighty and Glorious God says: (And they are secure of that Day's fear). (Al Naml: 89) And also for His Almighty and Glorious saying: (Say if you love Allah...) (Ali Imran:31)
Thus whoever loves Almighty and Glorious Allah, He would love him too and whomever is loved by Almighty and Glorious Allah, he will be secure (of the terror of the Judgment Day).(Mizan al-Hikmah, VII, 3418: 11647.)
Friends of God's Fear
The first question, after discussing the issue of love of God that crosses one's mind in respect to the elixir of self- building is that if God is kind and affectionate and His love is the most influential element of evolution, so why is there so much stress on fear of God Almighty in Islamic texts? Why the Holy Qur'an does regards fear of God as the most eminent quality of the Ulama? And finally, are love and fear consistent?
The meaning of fear and love of God is to be reviewed.
The Meaning of Fear of God
The First point in interpreting Divine fear and love is that the fear of God is indeed fear of committing sins and evil acts. Imam Ali (A.S.) said:
"Do not fear except of your own sins and do not hold out hope except in God". (Mizan al-Hikmah, IV, 1572: 5225; Ghurar al-Hikam, 10162.Similar concept is found in Nahjul Balagha, maxim no. 82)
Do not Fear God
One day Imam Ali (A.S.) encountered someone whose face had been transformed out of fear; he asked him:
"When has happened to you?"
The man answered: I am afraid of God!
The holy Imam (A.S.) said:
"Servant of God! Be afraid of your sins and fear Divine Justice in judging your wrongdoing against His servants! Obey God in what He has obligated you to do, and do not disobey in what is good for you. So, do not fear God as He does no injustice to anyone and He does not chastise beyond one deserves."(Mizan al-Hikmah, IV, 1572:5223, quoted from Bihar al-Anwar, LXX, 392:60.)
Fear of Separation
Hence, nobody should fear God; rather we should fear ourselves not to be encumbered by the outcome of our own unseemly actions.
The fear of the friends of God of their unrighteous actions to be punished, however, is different from the fear that other people have.
Those who have driven out the love of other than God from their hearts and their obedience to God is neither for the fear of Hell nor for the hope in Paradise, only fear of separation. For them the torment of separation from God is more painful than the Hellfire. Thus the leader of the friends of God, Amir al-Mu'minin Ali (A.S.) laments in his supplication to God:
"So if You subject me to the punishments with Your enemies, gather me with the people of Your chastisement and separate me from Your friends and favorites, then suppose, my God, my Master, my Protector and my Lord, that I may be able to endure Your chastisement but how can I endure separation from You?"(Supplication of Kumail)
The comments on the holy verse, (They call on their Lord in fear and hope) (Al Sajdah: 16) as follows:
"What is this fear and hope? Fear of separation from and hope of union with Him. Parallel to this in concept is the saying of Amir al-Mu'minin Ali (A.S.) in supplication of Kumail:
Then suppose, my Allah,... that I may be able to endure Your chastisement, but how can I endure separation from You?
And also in the supplication of Imam al-Sajjad (A.S.):
Joining Thee is the wish of my soul, and toward Thee is my yearning."(Psalms of Islam, p. 247.)
The renowned Gnostic and jurist the late Mulla Ahmad Naraqi also said in this respect:
Said in supplication the king of awliya, may my soul be sacrificed to him, that O my Lord, O God,
Maybe I can tolerate your punishment, how can I endure your separation O Friend?
The wet-nurse frightens the kids of fire [and says] do not play such and such otherwise,
I'll place fire on your hand and foot, stigmatize your face and back,
But they frighten the lion-hearted man [Ali (A.S.)] of the chastisement of separation with a thousand fold fear and awe.(Mathnawi of Taqdis: 215.)
The Elixir of Love