Fear of God

by Ali Hammad

An anecdote ascribed to Mullah Nasruddin, the wise fool of the Sufi lore, goes something as follows:
A king known for his sternness said to the Mullah, “You were introduced to me as an oracle, but you turn out to be a common fool. I shall have you hanged.”
Said the Mullah without losing a moment, “But, Sire, I can see the stars in the daylight and the demons deep in the Earth.”
“How did you suddenly become so perceptive?” asked the King.
“Fear, Sire, is all you need,” said the Mullah meekly.

Now ask the question: What is ‘fear?’
Fear to a Sufi is realization of one’s conscience. God is always in one’s conscience, and the conscience is always there to guide one to the right path, but attuning to the conscience and abiding by it may be a different matter altogether. So ‘fear of God,’ referred to in the scriptures and often the topic of private conversations, may only be a reminder to stay in touch with one’s conscience.
That is how I see it.

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8 Responses to Fear of God

  1. aziz anjum says:

    (Be concious of God. Be concious of yourself)
    This is a word from Quran which has been translated very wongly as fear of God. Fear of God is to be concious of yourself. It is stressed a lot in Quran and has been translated and spread in a wrong way.


    • Navid Zaidi says:

      Ali and Aziz: The term ‘Taqwa’ is conventionally translated as ‘Fear of God’ but that does not give us a positive connotation. Fear is a negative emotion and one of the basic aims of Sufi thought is to help us dispel fear from our life. Fear is our true enemy, not sin or pain or suffering or death. And for that purpose, the Quran gives the concept of ‘Tawakkal’ or trust in the power of self-awareness or self-consciousness. I agree with you guys that ‘God-consciousness’ better expresses the positive connotation of ‘Taqwa’.

  2. tagtraumer says:

    I always heard this character referred to as “Hodja Nasreddin”

    • sufiways says:

      You have an admirable breadth of reading. You are absolutely right, it’s the same guy, quite well known in Turkey, Central Asia, Iran, Pakistan, India. Hodja Nasreddin, I believe, is the Central Asian variation of his name. The most comprehensive (but still incomplete) collection of his parables is by Idries Shah.

  3. Pingback: “Ha Ha Ha” Sufi Style | Sufi Ways

  4. Adil Hussain says:

    By fearing HIM, goals like jannah etc may could be achieved; but its always LOVE that takes you beyond that, Man’s ultimate destiny.
    and yes there is fear in love as well, the fear of Losing the beloved 🙂

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