“O ye who believe! Fear Allah as he should be feared and die not except in a state of Islam’’ (4:102)
Fear has been variously defined by one of the most famed commentators of Quran, Abdullah Yusuf Ali—fear of a coward which is unbecoming of a man, fear of a child or of an inexperienced person in the face of an unknown danger is needed for one spiritually immature, the fear of a reasonable man who wishes to avoid harm to himself or to people whom he wishes to protect—such a fear is precautionary against evil as long as it is unconquered, lastly is the fear of Allah (SwT) borne of reverence—the seed bed of righteousness, the mature minds cultivate it as fear of Allah (SwT) acts as a shield from going astray.
Die not except in a state of Islam is a forewarning that to avoid harm hereafter, one may die in state of Islam, which implies total submission to the Will of Allah (SwT). Muslims may not and do not claim that Islam is peculiar to them. From Adam (A.S) to Prophet Mohammad (SaW) all prophets assigned to various regions of the world in various epochs carried the same message, the one and only ‘Truth’. The ‘Truth’ that was carried by all inspired ‘Holy Books’ from Torah to Quran, the ‘Truth’ that Abdullah Yusuf Ali defines so aptly. The learned scholar says that ‘’in essence it amounts to a consciousness of the Will and Plan of Allah and a joyful submission to that Will and Plan’’. ‘’If anyone wants a religion other than that’’ continues Abdullah Yusuf Ali, ‘’he is false to his own nature, as he is false to Allah’s Will and Plan’’. Abdullah Yusuf Ali is emphatic, ‘’such a one cannot expect guidance, for he has deliberately renounced guidance’’.
Islam thus has a much wide connotation than is commonly understood.