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Between Fear and Hope – Part 1

Feb 14, 2022

Our theme for this week is trying to understand how to balance two very important traits that every Believer ought to have – Hope and Fear of Allah.

One of the distinguishing traits of those believers who have attained to perfection in their faith, is their fear of Allah that is born of their reverence and love for Him. In reality fear of Allah is fear and anxiety that the servant may lose the infinite love, pleasure and contentment that our Lord has for us. That is why the ever-vigilant hearts of those believers who have perfected their faith, tremble with awe when the name of Allah is mentioned. This state also brings about other elevated traits, such as correct etiquette towards Allah, sincerity and taqwa (Allah-consciousness or piety).

There must always be in the heart of the believer, fear that one may be deprived of gaining Allah’s pleasure and love and being afflicted with His punishment; and at the same time hope of attaining to His endless mercy and compassion. That is, the heart of the believer must oscillate between the two poles of fear and hope. The believer must preserve this balance in his heart, through constant prayer, in recognition of his state of nothingness and seeking refuge, until Certainty, that is death comes to him.

Islam teaches us to worship Allah out of love for Him but with a healthy balance of fear and hope.

Allah says:
تَتَجَافَىٰ جُنُوبُهُمْ عَنِ الْمَضَاجِعِ يَدْعُونَ رَبَّهُمْ خَوْفًا وَطَمَعًا وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
They arise from their beds and they supplicate their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend from what We have provided them. [As-Sajda 32:16]

And Allah also said:
إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا ۖ وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ
Verily, they would hasten to good deeds and supplicate to Us in hope and fear, and they were humbly submissive to Us. [Al-Anbiya 21:90]

Bara bin Azib RA reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْلَمْتُ وَجْهِي إِلَيْكَ وَفَوَّضْتُ أَمْرِي إِلَيْكَ وَأَلْجَأْتُ ظَهْرِي إِلَيْكَ رَغْبَةً وَرَهْبَةً إِلَيْكَ
O Allah, I submit my face to you and entrust my affair to you. I commit myself to you out of hope and fear of you. [Sahih Muslim]

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