Fear of Allah

Hubba ‘Arni and Nauf Bukali were lying in the courtyard of Dar ul Ammara at midnight, almost asleep. Suddenly, they saw Imam Ali (‘a) coming towards the courtyard, but in a strange manner. He seemed to be on the verge of falling, and was supporting himself by placing both hands against the wall. He was reciting the last verses of Surah Aal e ‘Imran:
Undoubtedly, in the creation of the heavens and earth, and the alternation of day and night, there are many signs for those who understand. Those, who remember Allah standing and sitting, while lying on their sides, and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth, and say, ‘Our Lord! You have not created this in vain! Glory be to You! Save us then from the chastisement of the fire.
Our Lord! Surely, whomsoever You make enter the fire, him You have indeed brought to disgrace, and there shall be no helpers for the unjust. Our Lord! Surely, we have heard a Prophet calling to the faith, saying; “Believe in your Lord!” So, we did believe.
Our Lord! Forgive us therefore our faults, and cover our evil deeds and make us die with the righteous. Our Lord! Grant us what You have promised through Your apostles, and disgrace us not on the Day of Resurrection; surely, You do not fail to fulfill Your promise.’
Hubba couldn’t believe his eyes and ears and was staring amazed at Imam Ali’s (‘a) condition. Nauf, on the other hand, was weeping uncontrollably. Imam Ali (‘a) came near their beds and asked Hubba: ‘Are you asleep or awake?’
‘Awake and shocked! Seeing your fear of Allah, we don’t stand a chance!’
‘O Hubba! We will all face Him one day, with no act of ours concealed from Him. He is closer to us than our own jugular vein, with nothing between.’
He then moved towards Nauf, and asked, ‘Are you sleeping?’
‘No, Maula, I’m awake, weeping.’
‘O Nauf, weeping today out of fear of Allah will brighten your eyes tomorrow on the day of Judgment. Each tear will put out the fire of hell. No man enjoys a status greater than one who weeps due to fear of Allah and befriends for the sake of Allah. He who befriends Allah should befriend only for the sake of Allah and never value anything above it. He should be hostile only for the sake of Allah. This hostility will hold nothing but good for him. Whoever reaches this stage attains the heights of true faith. I have done my duty and warned you. So, fear Allah.”
He then walked on, muttering softly: ‘My Lord! I wish I knew whether You turn away from me when I am negligent, or keep watching me? I wish I knew what You think of me during the long hours of forgetful sleep and when I am lacking in thankfulness.’
‘By Allah! Ali (‘a) spent all night in this state, until the call for the dawn prayer was heard,’ said Hubba and Nauf.