Ittaqo Allah: Correct definition of

Q306 :What does 'Ittaqo Allah' mean? The term is often translated as "fear God". Do people worship God and do good deeds out of their love to Him or because they fear Him?

A306 : The Arabic term "taqwa", the root from which the verb you have mentioned is derived, means "to be on one's guard" or "to ward off" something that is unpleasant or has some bad or evil associations. When the term is used in a way which refers to God, then the warding off is immediately understood to refer to "incurring His wrath". Thus, we should always fear displeasing God and doing what incurs His displeasure. This is because we expose ourselves to His punishment which is too severe indeed. What Muslims should actually guard against is doing what God has forbidden them, for that is certainly evil. God has forbidden us only what is harmful and what is evil. The translation of 'Ittaqo Allah' as "fear God" is, as you say, rather inadequate, but it is probably the best that translators can do, considering the associations which each language gives to its terms. If you want the best explanation of the term 'Ittaqo Allah' then I refer you to Verses 4 and 5 of the second surah of the Qur'an. These may be translated as follows: "This is the Book, no doubt: a guidance to the God-fearing, who believe in the unseen, attend to their prayers, and spend in charity a part of what We have provided them with; who believe in what has been revealed to you as well as what has been revealed before your time and have firm belief in the hereafter. It is these who follow their Lord's guidance; it is these who shall surely prosper."

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )