Could you give information about being in a state between fear and hope?

Details of the Question
Could you give information about being in a state between fear and hope?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The Quran has verses both giving good news to believers and to the ones who commit good deeds and verses frightening infidels and the ones who lead a life full of sins so that people will do good deeds and avoid harams (forbidden acts).

A person must be in a state between fear and hope. One must not be hopeless because of his/her sins and must not think that he/she will go to Heaven relying on his/her good deeds. He/she must continue to be a believer and obedient to Allah until the end of his/her life.

It is an indication of maturity for a person to continuously think of hell and control his/her acts and manners accordingly. However, hell must be remembered on condition that one will not turn his/her life into a hell on the earth and will not become hopeless of Allah. Therefore, it will enable people to judge themselves, thinking in every step they take “is this step getting me closer to Hell?

Allah did not create some people for Hell. Contrarily, He created Hell for some people. For instance, a state builds a prison, but it does not build it so as to put certain people into it. It builds the prison so that whoever deserves will be put into. Similarly, Allah created Hell for people who deserve it. Otherwise, it would not be consistent with Allah’s justice and wisdom to say, “I prepared Hell for certain people”. This is because it would give those people the right of objection if they do not deserve Hell.

The name of Hell frightens many people and it must. However, we must always be alert as we do not know who will go into Hell.

Being between hope and fear is a balanced state in which every person should be. In fact, even if we are Muslims, it is still possible for us to die as infidels and go into Hell. It is also possible that Allah will let us repent no matter how sinful we are throughout our life and we can die as believers and go into Heaven. It is narrated that Abu Bakr stated: “If I hear a voice calling from the sky ‘All people will go into Heaven except one, who will go into Hell’, I fear that person can be me. Still, if I hear a voice calling ‘All people will go into Hell, except one, who will go into Heaven.’ I hope that person can be me.” A Muslim’s belief must be between hope and fear. Nobody can be sure of whether Allah’s punishment will come to them or not. One can only hope for His Heaven, seeking refuge in His mercy from His wrath and taking refuge in His forgiveness from His punishment. We should keep this balance too. We should hope that Allah will list us amongst the ones who will go into Heaven, worshipping Him properly and fairly.

Man is created in a nature that can do both good and evil deeds. For this reason, one can commit sins sometimes willingly, sometimes unwillingly. Allah indicates that He can forgive any sin, with this statement: “God forgives not that partners should be set up with Him; but He forgives anything else, to whom He pleases” (an-Nisa, 48,116).

It is stated in our books that a heartily repentance submitted to Allah will be accepted. In fact, Allah the Glorious states: “O ye who believe! Turn to God with sincere repentance: In the hope that your Lord will remove from you your sins and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow” (at-Tahrim, 8) declaring that He will accept repentances. The sincere repentance mentioned in the verse is described as follows:

1. Being aware of the fact that one committed sins against Allah, being regretful of them and seeking refuge in Allah.
2. Being sad for committing the sin, being consciously uncomfortable because of having committed such sins against Allah.
3. Being determined not to commit such sins again.
4. Asking for forgiveness from the person, if the sin is related to depriving him/her of his/her personal rights

Our Prophet states in a hadith about sincere repentance as follows:

- Regret for sins
- Performing fard (obligatory) prayers.
- Avoiding to behave cruelly and hatefully.
- Making peace with people whom we are crossed with or we have offended .
- Deciding not to commit that sin again.

We can be hopeful of Allah to accept our repentances if we act in compliance with those conditions, Allah willing. However, one always must be in a state of both fear and hope. We can neither rely on nor boast about our prayers, nor can we be hopeless of our sins. Just like it is so wrong to say “I am so good, I finished this job”, it is also wrong to say “I am done, Allah will not accept me”. Moreover, it is a great worship to understand one’s guilt, to repent and to seek refuge in Allah’s mercy.

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