A Believer Is Always Between Love, Hope & Fear
● Ibn al-Qayyim (May Allah have mercy on him) said, “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.” [Madaarij as-Saalikeen: (1/517)]
We should know that fear of Allah should be espoused by love and hope. Fear should not lead to despair or losing hope in Allah’s Mercy. A believer combines both fear of Allah and hope in His Mercy. If he has only fear, it may entail despair of Allah’s Mercy, and if he has only hope, he may feel secure from the plan of Allah. Excessive hope and despair contradict true monotheism. Allah, Exalted be He, says:“Then, did they feel secure from the plan of Allah? But no one feels secure from the plan of Allah except the losing people.” [Qur’an: AI-A’raf: 99]
And He says:“…no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people:” [Qur'an: Yusuf: 87]
He further says:.....who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those astray!” [Qur’an: Al-Hijr: 56]
Isma’il ibn Raafi’ said:
“To feel secure from the plan of Allah is to persistently perpetrate a sin while having hope that Allah will forgive it.” [Narrated by ibn Abi Haatim in his Tafsir: (5/1529)]
Scholars maintain that despair is a complete loss of hope in getting relief or acquiring a happy end. It is opposite to feeling secure from the plan of Allah. Both acts are grave sins.
A believer should not excessively feel afraid of Allah so that he may fall prey and despair of His mercy. Moreover, he should not excessively have hope such that he may feel secure from Allah’s punishment. Rather, the believer should espouse hope with fear, and obediently act upon Allah’s commands. Allah, Exalted be He, says:“…they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive.” [Qur’an: Al-Anbiya: 90]
A servant of Allah, by combining fear of and hope in Allah, will be motivated to take every beneficial means. By keeping hope in Allah’s Mercy, he will hasten in doing good deeds, and by experiencing fear, he will swiftly work on abandoning sins out of fear of Allah. If he experiences despair of Allah’s Mercy, he may, thus, cease doing good, and if he feels secure from Allah’s Punishment, he may turn lax in observing his duties and, therefore, rush into perpetrating evil deeds.
Scholars have said:
“Whosoever worships Allah by according Him reverent love only is a Sufi, and whosoever worships Him by according Him extreme awe only is, thus retaining the belief of the Kharijites’. Similarly, he is a Murji` whosoever worships Allah by only retaining hope in His mercy. As for he who combines love, fear and hope, he is certainly a true believer as depicted in the Ever-Glorious Qur’an,“Those whom they invoke seek means of access to their Lord, [striving as to] which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His Mercy and fear His Punishment.” [Qur’an: Al-Isra': 57]
Allah’s Prophets (Peace and blessings be upon them all) never lost hope in Allah or even experienced despair of His mercy whenever being inflicted with severe tribulations.
, when being given the glad tidings of receiving a child despite his old age and the difficult conditions of his wife, he said, as the Qur’an provides:“And who despairs of the Mercy of his Lord except for those astray?” [Qur’an: Al-Hijr: 56]
Narrating the story of our Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ), the Qur’an provides:“When those who disbelieved had driven him out [of Makkah] as one of two, when they were in the cave and he [i.e., Muhammad] said to his companion, “‘Do not grieve; indeed Allah is with us..’” [Qur’an: At-Taubah: 40]
Therefore, the Prophet’s hope in Allah climaxed at the time of distress. In addition, he (ﷺ) is reported to have said, “After dark comes dawn”.
[Musnad of Ahmad: (1/307, number 2803)]
The Prophet (ﷺ) considered despair of Allah’s Mercy as one of the major sins. It is reported on the authority of ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) that the Prophet of Allah (ﷺ) was asked about the major sins and he said: “(They are) associating others in worship with Allah, despairing of relief from Allah, and feeling secure from the plan of Allah.” [Narrated by ibn Abi Haatim in his Tafsir: (3/931, number 5201)]
Some of the Salaf (early Muslim scholars) would deem it desirable for man to strengthen his feeling of fear at times of affluence and increase his feeling of hope at times of distress.
Keeping fear of and hope in Allah are of the most meritorious devotional acts. They should be sincerely offered to Allah. Additionally, lacking these matters leads to violating monotheism and corrupting one’s Creed.
Allah knows best.
[Summarised by Abu Sarah Imraan Mollagee from the book: Guide to a Sound Creed by Shaykh Salih al-Fawzan (May Allah preserve him).]http://markazsunnahleicester.com/a-believer-is-always-between-love-hope-fear/