Tazkiyyah (Spiritual Development)

Fear and Hope in Allah

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True and praiseworthy fear is that which comes between its possessor and what Allah Most High has prohibited. If it transcends beyond this, it could become hopelessness and despair. Praiseworthy hope is when a person performs acts of obedience through a light from Allah and anticipates His reward, or when one commits a sin and then repents to Allah hoping for forgiveness. As for one who is constantly indulging in excesses and wrongdoings and is entertaining hopes of mercy from Allah Most High without doing good deeds, then this is a delusion, empty wishing, and false hope.

Abu Ali al-Rawdhbari said, “Fear and hope are like the two wings of a bird, if they are both balanced, then the bird is stable in flight, and if there is an imbalance, then it could lead the bird to its death.” This is similar in essence to what has been related of Umar. He said, “If it is announced in the assembly [on the Day of Judgement] that only one person is to enter Paradise, I would hope that [that person] is me, and if it is announced that only one person will Hellfire, I would fear that that is me.” Some have related that generally hope should dominate in a person because of the hadith qudsi [in which Allah said]: “I am as My servant thinks of Me, so he should think of Me as he wishes” (Bukhari, Muslim). However, others have said that it is better to let fear be dominant during one’s youth and healthy times, and hope be dominant during old age and illness, based on what the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “None of you should die except while holding good opinion about his Lord” (Muslim).

Source: Imam Abu Hanifa’s Al-Fiqh Al-Akbar Explained, pg. 183.

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