Natural fear is not sinful
Fatwa No: 359449

Question

I shared a video posted by someone which shows a sting operation disclosing such-and-such to be liable for a Muslim massacre, but these are old clips, and the culprit has now been set free by the supreme court, so I immediately deleted the video thinking that I might face a legal notice of defamationion of that individual, as he has been given a clean sheet and we Muslims hate this guy. Is there any sin, Kufr (disbelief), or Shirk (polytheism) in this fear?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

This kind of fear is neither a sin nor Kufr, because it is a natural fear that often happens to people.

The scholars divided fear into three types:

1. The secret fear: it is for a person to fear that others can affect him if they wish with disease, poverty, or any calamity with their ability and will.

2. That a person does what is forbidden due to his fear of the injustice of an oppressor; or refrains from doing an obligation, such as jihaad; or enjoining good or forbidding evil; and so forth, out of fear of the injustice of an oppressor.

3. Fearing an enemy, a wild animal, drowning, destruction [like in the case of an earthquake or any other cause of destruction], or an apparent harm, and this is called natural fear.

The scholars stated that the first type of fear is Shirk and the second type is prohibited. The third type occurs naturally and is Islamically permissible, as it is a natural instinct that is beyond one’s own will or control; it is not dispraised in the Islamic Shariah. This is the type which Allah mentioned about Moosa (Moses), may Allah exalt his mention, in the following verses of the Quran:

·     {So he left it, fearful and anticipating [apprehension]. He said, "My Lord, save me from the wrongdoing people."} [Quran 28:21]

·     {So I fled from you when I feared you. Then my Lord granted me wisdom and prophethood and appointed me [as one] of the messengers.} [Quran 26:21]

·     {And they have upon me a [claim due to] sin, so I fear that they will kill me.} [Quran 26:14]

·    {But no one believed Moses, except [some] youths among his people, for fear of Pharaoh and his establishment that they would persecute them. And indeed, Pharaoh was haughty within the land, and indeed, he was of the transgressors.} [Quran 10:83]

Allah knows best.

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