As-Sunnah Vol. 2 Issue No. 8


‘It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah.’ [Soorah Fatir (35): 28]

Grammatical structure of the verse: The subject of the verse is ‘al-ulama’ (those who posses knowledge) and the word, ‘Allah’ is ‘maf’ool muqaddam’ (i.e., object appearing before the subject). In accordance to this grammatical structure, the verse emphasizes the fact that no one fears Allah except those who have knowledge. The verse does not mean that Allah is the one who fears those who have knowledge, Exalted be He far above any such thing. According to the grammar rules, if the subject was to be mentioned first in the verse, it would change the intent to mean, ‘those who have knowledge fear nothing but Allah,’ which is incorrect, for there are some knowledgeable people who fear things other than Allah. Hence, Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said concerning this verse, ‘This indicates that everyone who fears Allah has knowledge, which is true; it does not indicate that everyone who has knowledge fears Him.’ [Majmoo al-Fatawa (7/539). See also Tafseer al-Baydaawi (4/418) and Fath al-Qadeer (4/494).]

Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said in Majmoo al-Fatawa (17/21), ‘The meaning of the verse, ‘It is only those who have knowledge among His slaves that fear Allah’ is that no one fears Him except the one who has knowledge. Allah tells us that everyone who fears Allah has knowledge, as He says in another verse, ‘Is one who is obedient to Allah, prostrating himself or standing (in prayer) during the hours of the night, fearing the Hereafter and hoping for the Mercy of his Lord (like one who disbelieves)? Say, ‘Are those who know equal to those who know not?’ [Soorah az-Zumar (39): 9] [End quote]

The meaning of knowledge mentioned in this verse
Ibn Katheer (rahimahullah) said, ‘Those who fear Him as He should be feared are those who have knowledge of Him (Allah), because the more a person knows of the Almighty, All-Powerful, the more he will fear Him.’ [See, Ibn Katheer]

Shaikh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah) said while answering a question concerning the meaning of the verse (35): 28, ‘This lofty verse implies that the knowledgeable – i.e., those who possess the knowledge about Allah, His Religion and His Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet – have the most perfect fear of Allah amongst mankind, and the most complete Taqwa (piety) of Allah and His obedience, and at the head of them are the Prophets and the Messengers (alaihimus-salaam). So, the meaning of, ‘It is only those …that fear Allah,’ is the complete fear of His knowledgeable slaves, and they are those who know their Lord through His Names and Attributes and His Great Right and they are aware of His Sharee’ah and believe in that which is with Him from the rewards for those who fear Him and that which is with Him from the punishment for those who forsake and disobey Him. Thus, due to their profound knowledge about Allah and their knowledge about the Truth, they possess the most intense fear of Allah.’ [See, Majmoo Fatawa wa-Maqalat Mutanawwi’a (part 4). Arabic version obtained from]

Ibn Abbas said, ‘the one among His servant who knows about Ar-Rahman, is the one who does not associate anything with Him; the one who accepts as lawful that which He has permitted and accepts as unlawful that which He has prohibited. He obeys His commands and is certain that he will meet Him and be brought to account for his deeds.’ [Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Everybody fears Allah in accordance to his knowledge
Shaikh Ibn Baz (rahimahullah) also said while explaining the verse (35): 28 ‘This verse does not mean, ‘no one fears Allah except the scholars (those who possess knowledge).’ So, every Muslim man/woman and every Mumin (believing) man/woman fears Allah, but their fear is in varying degrees and not of the same grade. So, the more the believer possesses the knowledge about Allah and comprehends His Religion – the greater is his fear of Allah. If his knowledge is less, so is His understanding (and awareness of Allah and His religion) and subsequently his fear of Allah. Thus, people are of varying degrees in this matter and so are the scholars… but all the believing men and women fear Allah in accordance to their knowledge and degree of Eeman and thus, Allah says, ‘Verily, those who believe and do righteous good deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their reward with their Lord is Adn (Paradise) underneath which rivers flow, they will abide therein forever, Allah is Well-Pleased with them, and they with Him. This for him, who fears his Lord.’ [Soorah al-Bayyinah (98): 7-8]

‘Verily, those who fear their Lord unseen (i.e. they do not see Him, nor His Punishment in the Hereafter, etc.) their’s will be forgiveness and a great reward (Paradise).’ [Soorah al-Mulk (67): 12]

‘But for him who fears the standing before his Lord, there will be two Gardens (in Paradise).’ [Soorah ar-Rahman (55): 46]
Everybody deserves reward for their fear of Allah, regardless of whether they are from the scholars or common people. However, scholars posses the complete fear of Allah due to their profound awareness, comprehension and great knowledge about Allah. So, their fear of Allah is greater...’ [See, Majmoo Fatawa wa-Maqalat Mutanawwi’a (part 4). Arabic version obtained from]

Conclusion: Every Muslim man and woman should strive his best in learning about Allah and His Religion for the more one learns and knows Allah the more he will fear Allah and consequently the less he will disobey Him, as Said ibn Jubayr said, ‘Fear is what stands between you and disobeying Allah.’ [Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Al-Sa’di t, ‘The more a person knows Allah, the more he will fear Him, and the fear of Allah will make him refrain from sin and prepare to meet the One Whom he fears. This is indicative of the virtue of knowledge, for it calls one to fear Allah. The people who fear Allah are the ones who will be honored by Him, as Allah says, ‘Allah will be pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.’ [Soorah al-Bayyinah (98): 8] [Quoted from Ibn Katheer]

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, ‘The one who has knowledge is the one who fears the Most Merciful in private, and seeks that which Allah wants for him and abstains from that which incurs the wrath of Allah. Then al-Hasan recited the verse, (35): 28. [Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

It was narrated that Ibn Mas’ood @ said,
‘The sign of knowledge is not narrating many ahadeeth.
Rather, the sign of knowledge is fearing Allah a great deal…’

[Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Said ibn Jubayr said,
‘Fear is what stands between you and disobeying Allah.’
[Quoted from Tafseer Ibn Katheer]

Taken from As-Sunnah Newsletter -


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