إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَخْشَوْنَ رَبَّهُم بِٱلْغَيْبِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَأَجْرٌ كَبِيرٌ
Indeed, those who fear their Lord unseen will have forgiveness and great reward. (Surah al Mulk: 12)
The people described in this ayah, fear Allah in all situations, even when they are alone and so they don’t fall short in what they are supposed to do. This is because of their khashyah of Allah. And Khashyah is a type of fear that is associated with knowledge. The ulema (scholars) have more khashyah than the average Muslim.
Only those fear Allah, from among His servants, who have knowledge. [Fatir:28]
The more a person lacks knowledge and understanding, the less fearful he is. For eg. children lack knowledge and reasoning which is why they tend to do dangerous things because they are not aware of the danger. So in order to stay away from danger, the aql (intelligence) must be used. And for the aql to be used, one must strive to seek knwoledge!
And it is only those who have knowledge, who fear Allah, even though they can’t see Him. They are conscious of Him and this is what develops ihsan in their actions. Despite not seeing Him, they do what they are commanded to do, they stay away from everything that is forbidden and they cry over their faults and mistakes, sincerely begging Allah for forgiveness.
The Prophet ﷺ said, “No man will enter the Fire who weeps for fear of Allah, Most High, until the milk goes back into the udders.” [al-Tirmidhi]
The Prophet ﷺ said, “Allah will give shade to seven types of people; one of them will be a person who remembers Allah c and his eyes overflow with tears.” [al-Bukhari]
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “A man among those before you passed by a skull, he looked at it and spoke something to himself, he then said,
يَا رَبِّ أَنتَ أَنتَ، وَأَنَا وَأَنَا، أَنتَ العوَّادُ بالمغفِرةِ، وَأَنَا العوَّادُ بالذُّنُوبِ
‘O my Lord! You are You and I am I. You return to forgiveness, while I return to sins.’ And he fell down in prostration to Allah. So it was said to him, ‘Raise your head. Indeed, you return to sins and I return to forgiveness.’ So he raised his head and was forgiven!” [al-Silsilah al-Sahihah]
The people described in this ayah also do good deeds privately and secretly. And concealing your worship is one of the best things you can do:
The Prophet ﷺ said, “The one who has the ability to conceal his good deeds should do so.” [al-Silsilah al-Sahihah]
It is narrated that when Ibn Abi Layla prayed at night, if someone entered his house, he would lie down on his bed as if he was sleeping. [Hilyatu al-Awliya]
It is narrated that Ayyub al-Sakhtiyani used to pray all night and hide it. In the morning, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up. [al-Dhahabi]
But in contrast, many people today are quick to inform others of the good they have done, wanting and seeking their praise. However this is something that should be avoided at all cost!
The Prophet ﷺsaid, “Seven people will be shaded by Allah under His shade on the day when there will be no shade except His…” He g mentioned the rest of the hadith, which says, “A man who gives charity so secretly that his left hand does not know what his right hand has given.” [al-Bukhari]
He gives the charity so secretly that he himself doesn’t remember!
The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “Three things are a means of salvation; the fear of Allah c in secret and public.” [al-Silsilah al-Sahihah]