My Fear of Allah swt (an email response)
Although I did not want to watch the video you had sent me, I felt as though it would be rather closed minded of me not to, as you did take your time to write me.
If you have watched some of my videos, you have seen that I have lived a very interesting life. My life was not filled with death, or poverty, thank God, but I have experienced many things, that even I choose not to share with my viewers. Throughout my life I had always challenged my boundaries, pushed the envelope, and some how I always seemed to come out alive. I used to struggle with being true to myself, being a good person, but always wanting my cake and to eat it as well. Anytime I wanted to "push my boundaries" I found myself analyzing everything. Would I get in trouble? Would I hurt someone? How could I hide this or that? I knew my plan before I acted. I always felt indestructible. I thought I could get away with just about anything. There was nothing to prove otherwise. I lived my day to day life, having fun, being free and defiantly not believing in God, or at least the God you and I have come to know growing up. I never understood how "God" could allow all this bad to happen. I never understood why one person would go to hell, but not the other. I simply figured, If there is a "God" I would be judged on if I was a good person, and not all the petty sins I had committed. Again it was a way of me never having to suffer the consequences for my actions. Needless to say, with all of the thought that went into committing my sins, I never felt regret, nor did I ever feel guilty for any of my actions. I could justify just about anything I did, and was even able to manipulate myself.
The past few years on the other hand, started to show me I couldn't live like this forever. Nature finally wanted me to pay for my actions. I went through a period of time were I felt a little lost about who I was, what my beliefs and morals were. I had always been a very nice person, open minded, compassionate, but I couldn't figure out why I was doing the things I was. I had almost wished that I suffered my consequences earlier, or at least thought of the repercussions for my actions more greatly, to instill a bit of fear inside myself; so I may not have wanted to act on my thoughts so easily.
The video you sent me was how I thought as an Atheist. I simply couldn't grasp the thought of religion, heaven or hell. I thought it was for weak minded people. I knew religion had its positive, but I saw more negative, which caused me to become a bit closed minded. I took everything so literal, because that is how I was seeing religion being practiced. "Your going to hell!" "You cant do this...you cant do that..." It wasn't until I really started studying Islam that I found out the truth.
I apologize if my email has veered off topic a bit. I promise I am getting to my point.
About 2 months ago, I ran into a situation where I feared God (Allah swt) We are taught in Islam to have this level of fear for our creator; "God fearing" I am sure you have heard this expression. I thought back to my childhood, having grown up in a liberal Christian family. I thought about how Christians love God, he is their friend and is always there to help guide them. So, I became sad. I thought to myself, I am not supposed to fear Allah swt! This is not how I want to live my life, in fear of my creator, and being damned to hell for eternity if I were to sin. I really started to analyze my faith and myself. I thought back to all those times I didn't have fear. I thought back to all of the horrible things I have done, because I didn't feel that the repercussions were great enough. I compiled all of my knowledge of Islam, every lecture, article and video I had ever come in contact with. I reviewed my Islamic fundamentals, I grasped the true meaning of verses I hadn't before. I looked at my main thought "God fearing" and tried to find a rational thought for why I should fear Allah swt, but...love him as well. After all, I made a commitment to Allah swt and myself to be a Muslim, and I wasn't going to easily give up on it. Allah swt did not give up on me. I started to think of the fear I had for Allah swt. Never having experienced this type of fear before my natural thought was instantly, fear = bad. This was what had made me sad after all, to feel that my fear of Allah swt was bad. How many times are we taught that fear can also be a good thing? The fear we have for our parents when we come home with a bad grade, the fear we have for our boss when we arrive 15 minutes late for work, the fear we have for the law, that we may acquire a speeding ticket, so we try to be upstanding citizens in our community. This is the fear I had always lacked. I love the law, it is what keeps our streets safe, and our community easier to live in. I love my boss, because he has employed me over anyone else he could have hired. He pays my bills, makes sure I have a roof over my head and food on my table. Most importantly, I love my parents. My parents gave me life through conception. My parents have molded me into the person I am today. They taught me life's lessons, and never wished the worst of me. My parents rewarded me gifts among gifts, that I could never repay them for. They have showered me with love and compassion. My parents forgave me when they didnt have to, and pushed me when I needed to be pushed. I am forever grateful for everything my parents have ever done for me.
When I return to my main thought "God fearing" I remember how much I love Allah swt. Allah swt gave me life, by creation. Allah swt has guided me through life, throughout the good, and the bad. Allah swt kept my heart humble, even as evil corrupted my actions. Allah swt showed me the miracles of life, the beauty of this world and of his creation. Allah swt has blessed me with an easy up bringing, food, water, shelter, an amazing family and friends, and love. Allah swt filled my heart with compassion for others. So I asked, where is my compassion for Allah? It is here, in my heart, my thoughts and my actions. I live my life by the guidelines of Allah swt, by Islam. Allah swt is the most forgiving, the most merciful and Allah swt is the most compassionate.
We are told in Islam that no one knows who will enter the hell fire. When I say this, I mean we cannot point fingers to whom may be condemned as an individual. No matter who the person is, only Allah swt is knowledgeable of all things. He knows our good deeds and our bad deeds. For someone we may see as evil, could in fact do many good deeds in the eyes of Allah swt. Same goes for the opposite. For someone we may see as good, could in fact do many bad deeds in the eyes of Allah swt. I don't believe Allah swt wants us to fear him in the way we perceive fear to be, but I do believe he wants us to fear the hell fire in this way. We must always be reminded that this life, yet beautiful and rewarding at times, may only be temporary. We must grasp the thought that we do not know how Allah swt will judge us, so we should try to adhere to our natural state of awareness, which includes such characteristics like kindness, sincerity, humbleness and understanding. When we start to feel that our actions have no repercussions is when our deviant sides emerge. Allah swt states in the Quran that hell is not eternal for most. It is only eternal for those who have committed sin among sin, that the bad may weigh out the good greatly. And for this, maybe eternal hell is not so preposterous after all.
Your opinion is very understandable, as I felt that way once. My life has given me experiences that prove Islams truth. Some may interpret a simple word to be such, as the other may interpret it entirely differently. We were all given a brain to think for ourselves. This is a blessing of Allah swt. What is logical for one may not be so for another. When I read Quran I see life and love, I see compassion and guidance. I concentrate on the message of Allah swt, as you concentrate on the condemnation from Allah swt.
I do not expect others to feel the same way as myself, as we have all been through different life experiences that bring us to a certain path, a certain perspective on life, love and death.