Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) was the best of the believers and he excelled others in the fear of God. He was always apprehensive and fearful of God’s displeasure. Although the first revelation was a great spiritual award for him, but it was a state of fear as well. This is why he told Hazrat Khadijah (ra):
لَقَدْ خَشِيْتُ عَلَى نَفْسِي
‘I am in fear of my life’. This was his sense of responsibility as well as his fear of God.
Once some of the Companions vowed to detach themselves from the world and not marry. They decided to spend the nights in worship and fast continually. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) forbade them from doing this and advised them to follow his example. He told them that he had married, slept at night, worshipped at night, fasted on some days and on some days he did not fast. They replied, ‘O Messenger (sa) of Allah, you are different from us. We are weak and sinful. We need to do more good deeds.’ The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) told them in a majestic manner:
إِنَّ أَتْقَاكُمْ وَأَعْلَمَكُمْ بِاللهِ أَنَا
Meaning, ‘I am the most God-fearing and know Allah the most amongst you.’ Inferring that he needed to do more good deeds than anyone else and they needed to follow his example for their salvation. In reality he was the most God-fearing person.
…His fear of God was to such a high degree that he made it very clear to his family and relatives that only their good deeds would benefit them. He himself or any relationship with him would not be of any advantage. He said that if it was not for God’s beneficence and mercy, he could not say anything categorically even about his own forgiveness. In view of God’s attribute, ‘Independent’, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) was always apprehensive about the acceptability of his good deeds.
Muhammad (sa) – The Perfect Man (Qadian, India: Nazarat Isha’at, 2015), 88-90.