Question: Is one meant to have an intense fear of death? My grandma died, and I have turned towards making my religion better. However, I just have an immense fear of sinning and dying in that state. I fear Allah’s punishment in the grave due to mistakes that are easily done. I also read online that many inhabitants of the grave are being punished and only a few will succeed. How can I be any better than previous Muslims who might be getting punished now? How can I get a healthy fear of Allah and not despair? I am 19 and my fear prevents me from having a positive outlook of the future, as my fear causes me to overthink and worry, affecting my salah, my sleep, and my health day by day.
Thank you for your question. I commend that such a young soul as yourself has a fear of Allah and the will to strive and commit to improving himself.
Fear and hope
A believer finds his solace and balance in fearing Allah’s punishment and hope in His mercy. Some scholars have said that one should fear one’s youth and transition to having more hope in one’s old age. Others have said that believers should have fear at the beginning of their day and hope towards the end of the day.
Work your fear into something.
Either way, a believer must never be completely hopeful nor completely desperate. One should try one’s utmost to translate one’s fear into action and one’s hope into du`a. For action, learn that which is obligatory on you. Take free courses at Seekers on your absolute essentials,`aqidah, and tajweed to begin. For du`a, turn to Allah at tahajjud time and pray the Prayer of Need. Ask Allah to turn all of your bad deeds into good deeds and judge you by the best of your deeds. He is the All-Merciful, and this is easy for Him.
The magnitude of His mercy
Consider the following prophetic hadiths:
“When half of the night or two-third of it is over. Allah, the Blessed and the Exalted, descends to the lowest heaven and says: Is there any beggar so that he be given? Is there any supplicator so that he be answered? Is there any beggar of forgiveness so that he be forgiven? (And Allah continues it saying) till it is daybreak.“ [Muslim]
“Allah created a hundred mercies, and He placed one mercy among his creation, they show mercy to one another by it, and there are ninety-nine mercies with Allah.” [Tirmidhi]
And most importantly, heed the words from Allah, Most High, from His book, “Say, ˹O Prophet, that Allah says,˺ “O My servants who have exceeded the limits against their souls! Do not lose hope in Allah’s mercy, for Allah certainly forgives all sins. He is indeed the All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.“ [Qur’an, 39:53]
See these excellent articles and videos for more information to defeat your despair:
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.