Muslims are required, as far as Shari`ah is concerned, to fear Allah’s wrath and punishment and to hope for His mercy and forgiveness. Muslims have to strike a balance between these two parallels, i.e. hope and fear of Allah. Therefore, Muslims have to keep on observing Allah’s commandments and staying away from His prohibitions while hoping to enjoy the eternal bliss in Paradise and to stay away from Hell.

Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Shah, member of the Executive Committee of the Fiqh Council of North America and the Religious Director of the Islamic Society of Milwaukee, stated: One should remember that Allah is Oft-Forgiving but at the same time He is the Utmost Irresistible and Punishing. He forgives the ones who come to Him with repenting hearts and undo their wrongs, but at the same time He never forgets nor forgives the ones who show haughtiness and do not heed His warnings.

A Muslim should always be concerned about his or her duties toward Allah and toward his or her human fellows. One cannot intentionally and continuously violate Allah’s commandments expecting Him to forgive and forget! The Divine forgiveness requires some preparedness on part of the believer, and fearing Allah’s punishment is the intrinsic part of that preparedness.

There must be a balance between the fear of punishment and the hope for forgiveness. Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A true believer is always wavering between fear and hope; when the fear of punishment is dominating the soul, the hope for forgiveness kicks in and mitigates the fear. But when the hope makes a believer too lax, the fear motivates him or her to do more for the pleasure of Allah.”
Therefore, we must advise our brothers and sisters to strike the balance between their duties toward Allah and their hopes for His forgiveness.