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Understanding Hope – Part 3 

Feb 16, 2022

So yesterday we concluded by saying that what is meant by fear of Allah is actually the fear of disobeying Allah, fear of violating any of His commands, fear of earning His wrath and anger, fear of doing such actions which will earn us a place in Jahannum.

However, we need to balance our fear of Allah with our hope in His mercy, in His reward and in His Paradise.
Allah says in the Quraan:

فَقَالَ يَا قَوْمِ اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَارْجُوا الْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَلَا تَعْثَوْا فِي الْأَرْضِ مُفْسِدِينَ
Shuaib AS said: O my people, worship Allah and hope for the Last Day and do not commit abuse on the earth, spreading corruption. [Surah Al-Ankabut 29:36]

Hope in Allah motivates us to perform good deeds and to abandon our base materialistic desires for the sake of righteousness.

Allah said:
الْمَالُ وَالْبَنُونَ زِينَةُ الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا ۖ وَالْبَاقِيَاتُ الصَّالِحَاتُ خَيْرٌ عِندَ رَبِّكَ ثَوَابًا وَخَيْرٌ أَمَلًا
Wealth and children are only adornment of the worldly life, but enduring good deeds are better to your Lord for reward and better for one’s hope. [Surah Al-Kahf 18:46]

The description of Paradise in the Quraan and Hadeeth should increase our resolve to perform good deeds to be rewarded in the Hereafter. In fact, it is a major sin to despair of the mercy of Allah.

Allah said:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ
Say: O My servants who have transgressed against themselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Verily, Allah forgives all sins. Verily, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful. [Surah Az-Zumar 39:53]

And Allah said:
وَمَن يَقْنَطُ مِن رَّحْمَةِ رَبِّهِ إِلَّا الضَّالُّونَ
Who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray? [Surah Al-Hijr 15:56]

Therefore, we should have a healthy balance of fear and hope in our worship of Allah. The idea of balance in worship is expressed eloquently in Ibn Al-Qayyim’s metaphor of the bird on its journey to Allah.

Ibn Al-Qayyim said:
الْقَلْبُ فِي سَيْرِهِ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ بِمَنْزِلَةِ الطَّائِرِ فَالْمَحَبَّةُ رَأْسُهُ وَالْخَوْفُ وَالرَّجَاءُ جَنَاحَاهُ فَمَتَى سَلِمَ الرَّأْسُ وَالْجَنَاحَانِ فَالطَّائِرُ جَيِّدُ الطَّيَرَانِ وَمَتَى قُطِعَ الرَّأْسُ مَاتَ الطَّائِرُ وَمَتَى فُقِدَ الْجَنَاحَانِ فَهُوَ عُرْضَةٌ لِكُلِّ صَائِدٍ وَكَاسِرٍ
The heart on its journey towards Allah the Exalted is like that of a bird. Love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head is healthy, then the two wings will fly well. When the head is cut off, the bird will die. When either of two wings is damaged, the bird becomes vulnerable to every hunter and predator. [Madarij As-Salikeen]

Let us remember that our hearts are just like a bird on a journey to Allah in the Hereafter. Our love of Allah is the basis of our worship, and our fear and hope are like two wings that propel us along the straight path towards our final destination.

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