When it comes to our worship of Allah and our relationship with Him, we should keep two very important characteristics in mind. These are the issues of both ‘hope’ and ‘fear’. The people of the Sunnah are very different from various sects that are being introduced to the people in our times. Especially in this particular issue. It is imperative that we all be upon clarity in this issue, as it relates directly to our worship of Allah and our connection with Him.
This is the reason that I found it so important to share with all of you the answer Sheikh Uthaimeen gave when responding to a question about this topic. It is very important that we not only be upon clarity in understanding this issue but as well we teach it to our family and friends. May Allah allow us all to benefit greatly to that which the Sheikh explains to us in this article. Allahuma ameen.
The Sheikh was asked:
What is the way of Ahlus Sunnah and the Jamaa’ah in terms of Hope and Fear?
The scholars have differed about do we lean more towards hope or fear.
Imam Ahmad (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “The individuals fear and hope should be equal. So their fear should not be stronger, and neither should their hope”. He then said, “Which ever of them is stronger than it has destroyed that individual”. This is because if the hope over takes them, then mankind will begin to feel safe from the plan of Allah. Yet, if their fear over takes them, they will begin to give up from trying to obtain Allah’s mercy.
Some of the Scholars said, “It is necessary that hope is stronger when we are talking about doing acts of obedience. Just as it is necessary that fear is stronger when we are talking about wanting to do acts of disobedience”. This is because if they have done an action of obedience, then they have come with something that necessitates having good thoughts and opinions. Here in this situation it in necessary that hope is stronger, and we are talking about the hope for the actions being accepted. When they have a strong desire to do an act of disobedience, it is better that their feeling of fear is stronger, so that they may stay away from the disobedience.
Others have said, “Its necessary for the healthy individual to lean more towards fear, and the sick person should lean more towards hope”. This is because the healthy person, if they lean more towards fear they will tend to say away from more disobedience and disobedient acts. Whereas the sick person, if they lean more towards hope, they will meet Allah having good thoughts about their Lord.
That which I see to be correct in this issue is that what the person leans toward changes as the situations themselves change. If they fear that if they lean more towards fear that they will feel hopeless of receiving the mercy of Allah, then they should combat this feeling by leaning more towards hope. and if they fear that by leaning more towards hope that they would begin feeling safe from the plan of Allah and possibly being punished, then they should combat this by leaning more towards fear. Mankind in reality is his own doctor in this situation if he has a heart that is alive. A person with a dying heart and does not bother to cure it or look into its situation, then this situation is not important to them.
[Taken from Fatawah Arkaan ul Islam by Sheikh Uthaimeen]
[Translated by Abu Abdillah Abdul Lateef]
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