Some people have problems reconciling the following truths.
First, it is rightly said that you can never love a person whom you fear
(a statement often ascribed to Aristotle). There is no room in the
heart for both fear and love towards the same person or thing. It is
either one, or none.
Second, the highest level of one’s piety is to fear God as He should be
feared (Al ‘Imran, 102).
Whenever God is mentioned, the hearts of true believers become full of fear (Al-Anfal, 2).
Third, believers are expected to love God more than anything else.
Not doing so is a serious spiritual deficiency (Al-Tawbah, 24).
Fourth, true believers, who follow the heavenly guidance, are supposed to have neither fear nor grief (Al-Baqarah, 38).
All of the above assertions are correct. The best way to reconcile
them is to carefully analyse the Quranic concepts of piety, fear, love
and man’s relationships with God, the Creator, and His creations. The
same concepts can be further explained in the light of the Prophet’s
One should also bear in mind that the Arabic language is so reach and
diverse that sometimes two apparently synonymous words may be
significantly different. They may be a world of subtle meanings apart.
Thus, a main condition for truly excelling in any branch of Islamic
studies is the adequate knowledge of Arabic. Without that, more harm
than benefit can be generated, notwithstanding people’s sincere
intentions and the levels of their commitment. In passing, herein lies one of the main causes of the biggest predicaments Muslims face
God reveals that He has sent it (the Quran) (Yusuf, 2), and has made
it (Al-Zukhruf, 3), an Arabic Quran that people may be able to
understand and learn wisdom.
That means that no proper understanding and wisdom (epistemology) are possible without the Quran, or the revealed knowledge, and without the Arabic language as its method and system of communication.
Born to Love and Be Brave
According to the Islamic worldview, people are created to love. They
learn how to hate. When they love, they stay true to themselves and
their primordial nature (fitrah).
To love is to be normal. That is why love is called hubb in Arabic.
Related to the same root word is the word habb, which means seed.
When a person is born, he is implanted with the seed (habb) of love
(hubb), which he is expected to grow and cultivate throughout his life.
To hate, conversely, is an anomaly. A person who hates is abnormal.
That is why hatred in Arabic is called karahiyyah. It is from the same
root word as the words akraha and ikrah, which mean “to force or compel” and “compulsion” respectively.
That implies when a person hates, he goes against his intrinsic nature. He forces an aberrant feeling and activity upon himself.