What is the meaning of Having a good opinion about Allah and being between hope and fear?
Submitted by on Sat, 05/12/2009 - 17:14
Dear Brother / Sister,
The Prophet (PBUH) came to a moribund young man and said: “How do you feel?” He said: “I expect forgiveness of Allah and fear my sins” Then said the Prophet (PBUH) : “At this critical moment, if the hope of being forgiven and fear of sins are united in one servant’s heart, then absolutely, Allah grants him what he wishes and protects him from the torment that he fears” (Nesei, Zuhd: 31)
Although this event has happened to a young man, it is true for everybody. But the importance of this event and the young man is: The period of youth is indeed a term when the balance between hope and fear is often lost. The young man is sometimes too much hopeful and supposes he will go to Paradise directly. And sometimes, he becomes desperate because of his plenty of sins and thinks that he may not be forgiven.
This very hadith is a good tiding and also a warning for our youth who have a very quickly changeable world.
Our religion encourages us to lead a life which is balanced between hope and fear. Our glorious Lord ordains : “ Say (O Muhammad) : O my servants who wronged themselves through overly transgression! Do not despair of my mercy. Surely, Allah forgives all sins. Undoubtedly, He is most forgiving and most merciful. Thus, repent and surrender to your Lord before the torment comes, otherwise you may not find any helper” (Zumer, 53-54)
Our Lord has stated that He may forgive any sin except associating partners with Him. Therefore, one must never be desperate. Because, Satan is the mere one who is hopeless of Allah’s mercy. But, being hopeful does not mean to continue to sin, not to fear Allah’s wrath and feel sure to be forgiven.
For instance, Hz. Omar expresses this criterion which is a guide for our youth: “If I hear that : “All human beings will go to Heaven except one, I fear to be that single man. Similarly, if I hear that everybody will go to Hell except one, I hope to be that person”
This very thought is the apex of being between hope and fear. Namely, one should both fear Allah’s wrath and think of his sins, and be hopeful about Allah’s mercy.
It is remarkable that, there is no paradox here. Because, what is under consideration is hope and fear. Their opposites are no fear and no hope at all. What we are recommended is not both fear and not to fear, or hope and not to hope at the same time. We are expected: “not to be hopeless because of excessive fear”, and “not to be fearless because of excessive hope”
Therefore, one may be both afraid and hopeful at the same time.
Another important point expressed in the hadith is the fact stated in the Holy Hadith (a Holy Hadith is a Hadith conveyed by the Prophet but the meaning is from Allah) : “I am just as my servant thinks how I am. I treat him however he knows me.” According to this hadith, if we expect Allah’s mercy, we get it accordingly. Besides, we must not have a bad opinion of Allah. Namely, the thought “I am too sinful, I will receive the torment, for sure.” is meddling in Allah’s business. What is better is to say: “I am very sinful but my Lord has a vast mercy” and repent and seek refuge in his forgiveness.
It is wrong to think for a person “I am definitely destined for Hell”, or “I am definitely destined for Heaven” , it is a grave sin. The right choice to think is “I am surely vey sinful and I fear Allah’s torment, but at the same time I regret for my wrongdoings, He can forgive me. Moreover, Allah gave me the chance to commit some good things too. My good deeds are from his bounty. I hope, He treats me with His mercy."
Our Prophet states that “Noone’s good deeds can take him to Paradise. Neither can mine. I may not enter Paradise unless Allah’s mercy helps me” and mentions the man in the old times who killed a hundred men but then repented sincerely and was consequently forgiven.
This is exactly what we mean as being between fear and hope. On one hand, the Prophet admits that he may not enter the Paradise without Allah’s mercy; on the other hand, a man who killed a hundred men was forgiven because of an absolute and sincere repentance.
“UCB” is defined as a spiritual and interior disease, where the person trusts his/her good actions, which is, as bad as despair.
May our Lord keep us between hope and fear in our whole lives till we enter the grave with faith and a good ending.
Questions on Islam
- how to become a good muslim?
- If I repent for my sins, will Allah forgive me?
- The Repentance made with Heart and Soul
- How can we repent for a serious sin?
- How and when should we supplicate? What are the most grateful supplications?
- What does fear of Allah and love of Allah mean?
- What should I do to keep my sins hidden?
- How to ensure eternal Tauba after sinning frequently?