Worship Allah out of fear or out of love
Assalamu Alaykum. Is someone who worships Allah purely for his sake and pleasure better than one who does so hoping for his rewards since worshiping for rewards becomes a little close to selfish?Is it better if we worship Allah only out of love? Is it haram? Is this concept only held by Sufis? I was very attracted to the dua made by Rabia al Basri who asked Allah to send her to hell if she worshipped him out of fear of hell and exclude her of paradise if she worshiped him in hope of paradise. Also, is someone who helps someone for the benefit of the person better than the one who helps for the sake of Allah since the one who helps for the sake of Allah doesn't actually care about helping the person but is in it for the reward?Jazakallah Khayr.
Wa Alaikum Assalam wa Rahamtu Allah wa Barakatuh,
The answer to your question is a hadith narrated by Aisha:
وعن عائشة ـ رضي الله عنها ـ قالت : ( كان رسول الله - صلى الله عليه وسلم - إذا صلى قام حتى تفطر رجلاه .. قالت عائشة : يا رسول الله أتصنع هذا وقد غُفِرَ لك ما تقدم من ذنبك وما تأخر ؟! ، فقال ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ : يا عائشة أفلا أكون عبدا شكورا )(مسلم) .
Aisha, May Allah be please with her, said:" The messenger of Allah, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him. used to pray until his feet hurts" . So Aisha said: "O messenger of Allah, you do this when Allah has forgiven all sins you commited or will commit? He, peace and blessing of Allah be upon him replied :"shouldn't I be a thankful/grateful servant"
You certainly can see that the prophet who was guranteed Jannah worshiped Allah not for fear of Hell fire but rather out of love for him. However, there is definitely nothing wrong in worshiping Allah to get into paradise and to avoid hell fire. Not all servants have the same degree of faith.
Scholars emphacised though that while we love Allah and would like to worship him for the love of him, love byiteself is not enough and actions should match the feeling. We should realize that we should fear his punishmnet and accept his rewards (Jahannam and Jannah).