Hope in Allah

Extract from the book: The Purification of The Soul, compiled from the works of Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Ibn al-Qayyim al-Jawziyya, and Abu Hamid al-Ghazali.

This is the peaceful state of a heart that awaits what is dear to it. If the means-by which what the heart awaits may come-are not present, then stupidity and folly would be more accurate descriptions of its state. If, on the other hand, what it awaits is certain to happen, then neither can certain hope be the term to use in describing its state: one cannot say, “I wish the sun would rise at sunrise”, but one can say, “I wish it would rain”.

Those who study the heart have taught that this world is like land which is cultivated for its fruits in the next world: that the heart is like the earth, that belief is like the seeds, and that acts of obedience are like ploughing up the soil and clearing it for planting and digging channels to bring water to it.

 The heart which is in love with this world is like barren earth in which seeds cannot sprout. The Day of Resurrection is like the day of the harvest, and no one reaps what he did not sow. No seed other than the seed of belief can grow, and belief rarely brings forth any fruit if the heart is rotten and lacking morality.

In the same way that seeds do not sprout in barren earth, so a servant’s hope for Allah’s forgiveness can be compared to the hope of a farmer.

If anyone searches for fertile soil, sows it with good healthy seeds, supplies it with what it needs when it needs it, pulls out the weeds and anything else that might hinder or ruin the growth of the crop, and then sits waiting for
Allah’s blessings in the form of His keeping unfavourable weather and destructive pests away until the crop has finished growing and is ripe-then his waiting can be described as hope.

 
 

If, however, he sows the seeds in hard, barren soil which is too high up for water to reach it, and does nothing to care for the seedlings, and then sits waiting for a harvest-then his waiting can only be described as folly and stupidity, not hope.

So, the term hope only applies to waiting with longing and yearning for something to happen, after all the means which will assist in the realisation of this desire-that is, all those means which are within the servant’s power and choice-have been utilized.

The things which are not within the servant’s control, and which are entirely within the domain of Allah’s generosity, also play a part. Allah, Exalted is He, is able to prevent all harmful phenomena and obstacles, if He so wishes.

If the servant sows the seeds of belief, and waters them with obedience to and worship of Allah, and purifies his heart of bad elements, and then waits for Allah’s blessings in the form of His keeping him steady in that state until his death, and then granting him an excellent end and His forgiveness-then his waiting is truly hoping for the best.

Allah, the Exalted, says:

“Surely those who believe and those who make hijra and struggle in the way of Allah, these are the ones who have hope of the mercy of Allah; and Allah is Forgiving, Compassionate. (2:218)”

This means that such people are worthy of hoping for Allah’s mercy. Allah did not intend to restrict hope in Him to them alone,

for others can also have hope, but He distinguishes them as the only people whose hope is really well-founded.

The one whose hope guides him to obedience of Allah and deters him from rebelling against Him has true hope; whereas the hope which leads a person on to idleness and being immersed in wrong actions is only stupidity in disguise.

It should be pointed out that anyone who hopes for something must satisfy three conditions:

First, he should hold dear what he hopes for.

Second, he should be afraid of missing it.

Third, he should strive to achieve what he hopes for.

If hope is not connected to any one of these prerequisites, then it is only wishful thinking-hope is a different matter all together.

Everyone who is hopeful is fearful. Whoever walks a path, makes haste when he fears that he may miss the goal that he hopes for.

It has been related by Abu Huraira that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Whoever is afraid of being plundered by the enemy sets out in the early part of the night, and whoever sets out early reaches his goal. Be on your guard! The treasures of Allah are dear and precious. Wake up! The treasure of Allah is the Garden.”1 Allah, Glorious and Exalted is he, says that which means:

Say: “O My servants who have wronged their souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah, for surely Allah forgives all sins; surely He is Forgiving, Compassionate. (39:53)”

And also:

“And surely your Lord is full of forgiveness for mankind for their wrongdoing. (13:6)”

It has been transmitted on the authority of Umar ibn al-Khattab, may Allah be pleased with him, that some prisoners were brought before the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Amongst them there was a woman who was searching for someone in the crowd. When she found a baby amongst the prisoners, she took it in her arms, cradled it next to her breast, and allowed it to suckle.

Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Do you think this woman would ever throw her child into the fire?” We said, “By Allah, as long as it was in her power, she would never throw her child into the Fire!”

Then the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Allah is more merciful to His servants than this woman is to her child “.2

It has been related on the authority of Abu Huraira that he heard the Messenger of Allah , may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “When Allah created the creation, He decreed something for Himself, and a clear record is with Him confirming that, “Truly, My mercy prevails over My wrath “.3

It has been reported on the authority of Anas that he heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, “Allah, Exalted is He, has said, ‘O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me and ask of Me, I will forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and were you then to face Me without having associated anything with Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it”.4

Yahya ibn Ma’adh said, “In my opinion, the worst kind of self-delusion is for someone to sin excessively and then to hope for forgiveness without feeling any remorse; or it is to expect to draw near to Allah, the Exalted, without obeying or worshipping Him; or it is to hope for the fruits of the Garden after having only planted the seeds for the Fire; or it is to seek the abode of the obedient through committing wrong actions; or it is to expect a reward after having done nothing worthwhile; or it is to place hope in Allah, Glorious and Mighty is He, after having exceeded all the limits”.

Do you hope for forgiveness when you have not trodden its path? A ship does not sail on dry land.5

Notes

1.  Hasan, at-Tirmidhi. Sifat al-Qiyyama, 7/146, classified as hasan gharib; also al-Hakim, Kitab ar-Raqa’iq, 4/307.

2.  Al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Adab, 10/426;Muslim, Kitab at-Tawba, 17/70

3.  Al-Bukhari, Kitab Bad’al-Wahiy, 6/287; Muslim, Kitab at-Tawba, 17/68

4.  Hasan, at-Tirmidhi, Kitab ad-Da’awat, 9/524; classified as hasan gharib.

5.  Ibn Hibban has related in his book, Rawdhat al-‘Uqala’, p.284, that the poet Abu’l-‘Atahiyya said, “I went to see Harun ar-Rashid, the commander of the faithful, and when he saw me, he said, ‘Are you Abu’l-‘Atahiyya, the poet?’ I said, ‘Yes’. Then he said to me. ‘Give me some counsel in a few lines of poetry, and be brief!’ I recited to him:

         Do not feel secure from death at any time:

Even if you seek protection

In your advisers and your guards,

Know that the arrows of death

Are always pointing in your direction,

Whatever armour and shields we may have.

Do you hope for forgiveness

When you have not trodden its path?

A ship does not sail on dry land.”


 

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But the Hereafter is More Enduring

Part I: Paradise

By Safaa Alshiraida

Would you purchase that which ends at the price of that which is eternal? Would you purchase the deceiving conveniences of this life at the price Paradise (Jannah)?

You would say that no person with a sound mind would answer in the affirmative. But a close look shows that many people prefer the life of this world and are heedless of the hereafter. In fact, the main problem with most people is disbelief in Allah and the hereafter or prefering the life of this world on the life hereafter.

Allah (SWT) says:

    “Beautified for men is the love of things they covet; women, children, heaped up hoards of gold and silver, branded horses, the cattle and well-tilled land. This is the pleasure of the present world’s life; but Allah has the excellent residence on return to Him” (Surat Al Imran 3:14)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have said: “The world is green and pleasant, and Allah will appoint you vicegerents in it and will see how you conduct yourselves. Then safeguard yourselves against the world and safeguard yourselves against women”
(Muslim).

But this wrong behavior is the one that brings the wrath of Allah (SWT)

Allah (SWT) says:

    “Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter. Their torment shall not be lightened nor shall they be helped” (Surat Al-baqara 2:86)

In order to have the precise and accurate criterion for evaluating one’s deeds in this life, a Muslim should always be mindful of the following three extremely important pictures: Jannah and what Allah has prepared in it for the righteous, Hell-fire and what Allah has prepared in it for the rebellious, and the life of this world and how short and insignificant it is relative to the Hereafter. A blur in any of these pictures results in a significant imbalance in one’s life.

  1. Learning About This World:

Preferring this life to the Hereafter contradicts the fact that this life is nothing compared to the life hereafter. Allah (SWT) says:

    “You prefer the life of this world. But the hereafter is better and more enduring. (Surat Al-a’la 87:16-17)

Allah (SWT) also says:

” Do you prefer the life of this world to the Hereafter? But little is the comfort of this life, as compared with the Hereafter”. (Surat At-tawba 9:38)

Preferring this life to the Hereafter also contradicts the bargain that a Muslim has concluded with his Lord,

    “Allah has purchased of the believers their lives and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the Garden of Paradise (Surat At-tawba 9:110-1)

Sahl ibn Saad relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: ” Your being allotted a strip in Jannah no wider than your horse-whip is better than the world and all it contains “
(Bukhari & Muslim)

  1. Learning About Jannah:

Allah (SWT) says:

    “And be quick in the race for Forgiveness from your Lord, and for a Garden as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious” (Surat Al Imran 3:133)

He also says:

    “As to the righteous, they will be in a position of security, among Gardens and springs; dressed in silk and in rich brocade, facing each other. So, We shall join them to companions with beautiful, big, and lustrous eyes. There can they call for every kind of fruit in peace and security. Nor will they there taste death, except the first death, and He will preserve them from the penalty of the blazing fire.” (Surat Ad-dukhan 44:51-6)

Describing Jannah, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “A believer will have a tent in Jannah hollowed out of a single pearl of which the length will be sixty miles in heavens. The believer will have his family with him, he will go about in it and one of them will not be able to see another”
(Bukhari & Muslim).

He also said: “The first group that enters Jannah will be like the full moon; and those who follow them will be like a very bright planet in the sky. They will not be in need of passing water or of answering the call of nature or of spitting or of blowing their noses. Their combs will be of gold and their perspiration will be like musk. Their fireplaces will send forth the fragrance of aloes. Their consorts will be beautiful large-eyed maidens. They will be all equally well behaved, their features like their father Adam and in height like him rising sixty arms length towards the sky” (Bukhari & Muslim)

Abu Sa’id reported the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: “Allah (SWT) will call the dwellers of Jannah and they will respond: `Here we are, our Lord, and all good is in Your Hands’. He will ask them: `Are you happy?’ They will answer: `Why should we not be happy, our Lord, when You have bestowed upon us that which You have not bestowed on any of Your other creation’ He will say to them: `Shall I bestow upon you even better than that?’ They will inquire: `What could be better than that?’ He will say: `I bestow upon you My Pleasure and I shall never hereafter be wroth with you'” (Bukhari & Muslim)

When one knows what Allah (SWT) has prepared in Jannah, and realizes that such a position is attainable only through faith and good deeds and steadfastness on the Path of Allah, that will motivate one to be indifferent to this world and only take it as a path to the Hereafter where real happiness is awaiting him/her. One will then behave according to the Prophet’s teaching: “Be in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveller”
(Bukhari).

We will discuss in part II of this article, inshaAllah, learning about Hell-fire.

    But the Hereafter is More Enduring

Part II: Hell-Fire

 

By Safaa Alshiraida

We asked in Part I of this article the following question: Would you purchase that which ends at the price of that which is eternal? Would you purchase the deceiving conveniences of this life at the price Paradise (Jannah)?

We also mentioned that in order to have the precise and accurate criterion for evaluating one’s deeds in this life, a Muslim should always be mindful of the following three extremely important pictures: Jannah and what Allah has prepared in it for the righteous, Hell-fire and what Allah has prepared in it for the rebellious, and the life of this world and how short and insignificant it is relative to the Hereafter. A blur in any of these pictures results in a significant imbalance in one’s life.

We discussed in Part I of this article the stand concerning this life and paradise. We now discuss the Hell-fire.

  1. Learning About The Hell Fire:

Allah (SWT) says:

    “O mankind! Fear your Lord! For the convulsion of the Hour (of Judgement) will be a thing terrible! The Day you shall see it, every mother giving suck shall forget her suckling babe, and every pregnant female shall drop her load (unformed); you shall see mankind in a drunken riot, yet not drunk; but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah” (Surat Al-haj 22:1-2).

Ibn Katheer, in the interpretation of the above verses, cites the following Hadith: Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah (SWT) will say: O Adam! He will reply: Here I am, Our Lord, and all the good is in Your hands. Then there will be a loud call saying: Allah commands you to take from among your off-spring a mission for the hell fire. Adam will ask: My Lord! and who are the mission for the hell fire? Allah will say: Out of each thousand, take out nine hundred and ninety nine! At that time every pregnant female shall drop her load unformed, and a child will become gray-haired.
And
you shall see mankind in a drunken riot, yet not drunk; but dreadful will be the Wrath of Allah.
When the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned this, the companions were so distressed and their faces got changed in color. Whereupon The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Nine hundred and ninety nine from Gog and Magog will be taken out and one from you. Your similitude (you Muslims) among people is that of a black hair on the side of a white ox, or a white hair on the side of a black ox; and I hope that you will be one fourth of the dwellers of Jannah; the companions made Takbeer; he said: I hope that you will be one third of the dwellers of Jannah, they made Takbeer again, he said: I hope that you will be one half of the dwellers of Jannah; then they made Takbeer.”
(Bukhari)

Dear brothers and sisters, think deeply about the above verses and Hadith, since in them is a call for everyone to strive and struggle against anything that might bring him closer to the Hell Fire and away from Jannah; a call to hold fast to the Rope of Allah and follow His Path. Never be deceived by the large number of misguided people who are walking steadily and quickly on the road to Hell fire. Allah says:

    “And when the sight is dazed, and the moon is buried in darkness, and the sun and the moon are joined together. That Day will man say: Where is the refuge?. By no means! No place of safety. Before Your Lord (alone) that Day will be the place of rest. That Day will man be told all that he put forward and all that he put back. (Surat Al-qiyama 75:7-13)

On that day, the disbelievers, those who have bought this world at the price of the Hereafter, will go back with their memories to that which they have done in this life. Each one of them will ask himself: Where is my long life? Where is my beautiful eyesight? Where? Where? At that time they will be awakened by Jahannam coming out suddenly to take them; all their dreams will vanish, and all their hopes will suddenly be annihilated. “The Day they see it, it will be as if they had tarried but a single evening or at most till the following morning” (Surat Surat An-nazi-at 79:46).

    The angels of punishment will then come to take the disbelievers, with chains and yokes, they will then be covered with tar and fire blown onto them “Their garments of liquid pitch, and their faces covered with fire” (Surat Ibrahim 14:50). Then the angels of punishment will put the carcans around their necks so that their heads are forced up. “We have put yokes round their necks right up to the chins so that their heads are forced up” (Surat Ya Sin 36:8). The angels will throw them, face down, into hell fire. “When the yokes shall be round their necks, and the chains; they shall be dragged along in the boiling fetid fluid; then in the fire shall they be burned” (Surat Ghafir 40:71-2). Then when they have entered the Fire, they find that the angels had tailored garments for them “But those who deny their Lord, for them will be cut out a garment of fire; over their heads will be poured out boiling water. With it will be scalded what is within their bodies as well as their skins. In addition there will be maces of iron (to punish) them. Every time they wish to get away therefrom, from anguish, they will be forced back therein, and (it will be said), `Taste the penalty of burning!'” (Surat Al-haj 22:19-22). The angels of punishment then drag them across narrow paths where they get crowded in the heat of Jahannam. “And when they are cast, bound together, into a constricted place therein, they will plead for destruction” (Surat Al-furqan 25:12-7). In the middle of the heat, they try to run for shade but all they find is a “shade of black smoke, nothing to refresh, nor to please” (Surat Al-wa-qi-a 56:43-4). They cry of hunger, the angel of punishment replies: “Then will you truly, O you that go wrong and treat truth as falsehood! You will surely taste the tree of Zaqqum, then will you fill your insides therewith” (Surat Al-wa-qi-a 56:52-3). Allah (SWT) describes that tree: “For it is a tree that springs out of the bottom of Hell-fire, the shoots of its fruit-stalks are like the heads of devils” (Surat As-saffat 37:64-5). They then crave a drink of water to cool their throats “And if they implore relief they will be granted water like melted brass, that will scald their faces. How dreadful the drink!” (Surat Al-qahf 18:29).

Nu’man ibn Bashir relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The least tormented of the denizens of the Fire will be a person who will have two brands of fire under his feet whereby his brain will boil. He will imagine himself to be the most tormented person yet he will be the least tormented of them.” (Bukhari & Muslim). He also said “On the Day of Judgement hell will be brought and it will have seventy thousand bridles, each bridle being pulled by seventy thousand angels”
(Muslim).

Ibn Umar related the Prophet (peace be upon him) as saying: “When the people of Jannah have entered Jannah and the people of the Fire have entered the Fire, death will be brought and will be placed between the Fire and Jannah, and then it will be slaughtered, and a call will be made that, `O people of Jannah, no more death! O people of the Fire, no more death!’ So the people of Jannah will have happiness added to their previous happiness, and the people of the Fire will have sorrow added to their previous sorrow”
(Bukhari & Muslim)

Learning about the Fire and what will be going on therein -we seek refuge in Allah from it – is a very successful means to help one stand all the hardships of this life and reject all its temptations.