Some words on hope

Since 2012-11-27

In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "none of you should die but hoping only good from Allah, the Exalted and Glorious".




In the name of Allah the most Gracious, the most Merciful

Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger
Hope is one of the pillars of worship; because Worship is based on love, fear, and hope.

And hope is a great work of the heart, the religious texts concerted on mentioning it, and praising its people.

Allah the Almighty said: “Those whom they invoke seek means of access to their Lord, [striving as to] which of them would be nearest, and they hope for His mercy and fear His punishment.” [Al-Isra' 17:57]

{أُوْلَئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ يَبْتَغُونَ إِلَى رَبِّهِمْ الْوَسِيلَةَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَافُونَ عَذَابَهُ...}
الإسراء: 57

Transliteration: Olaika allatheena yadAAoona yabtaghoona ila rabbihimu alwaseelata ayyuhum aqrabu wayarjoona rahmatahu wayakhafoona AAathabahu

So seeking the means to Him is requesting to be close to Him by means of worship and love; hence, He stated the three stages of faith as love, fear, and hope.

Allah the Almighty said: “Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allah - indeed, the term decreed by Allah is coming.” [Al-Ankabut 29:5]


{مَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُواْ لِقَاءَ اللَّهِ فَإِنَّ أَجَلَ اللَّهِ لآتٍ...}
العنكبوت: 5

Transliteration: Man kana yarjoo liqaa Allahi fainna ajala Allahi laatin

He also said: “those expect the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Al-Baqarah 2:218]


{أُوْلَئِكَ يَرْجُونَ رَحْمَةَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ}
البقرة: 218

Transliteration: olaika yarjoona rahmata Allahi waAllahu ghafoorun raheemun

In Sahih Muslim, the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "none of you should die but hoping only good from Allah, the Exalted and Glorious".


‹‹لا يموتن أحدكم إلا وهو يحسن بالله الظن››
رواه مسلم

It is in the Sahih that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said: "Allah the Almighty says: I am as my slave thinks of Me, so let him think of Me as he wishes". [Declared authentic by Al-Albani]

‹‹قال الله تعالى: أنا عند ظن عبدي ، فليظن بي ما شاء››
صحيح الألباني

The limits of hope

1 - It was said that: hope is a sharpener that prompts the hearts to hasten to their beloved's country, which is Allah and the Hereafter, and it makes the journey appealing to the hearts.

2 - It was said that: hope is to be optimistic about the generosity of Allah, blessed and exalted, and to be satisfied to view His generosity.

3 - It was said that: hope is confidence in Allah, Blessed and Exalted.

4 - It was said that: hope is to look at the magnitude of Allah's mercy.

Combining between fear, hope and love

Through his path to Allah, the believer should combine the three pillars; love is like the head of a bird, fear and hope are its wings; when the head and wings of the bird are sound, then the bird will have a good flight, but when the head is cut off, the bird is dead, and when it loses its wings the bird is vulnerable to every hunter and predator, as was stated by Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him.

Types of hope

There are three types of hope: two praiseworthy types and one type which is deceptive and blameworthy.

The first two types: the hope of a man who obeys Allah knowingly under the light of Allah; he is hoping for His reward, and the hope of a man who committed sins and repented from them, he is hoping for the forgiveness of Allah and His pardoning, kindness, His goodwill, and His forbearing, and generosity, those two types are praiseworthy.

And the third type: it is the hope of a man, who is excessively negligent and commits sins abundantly, he hopes for the mercy of Allah without working to deserve it; this is vanity, wishful thinking, and false hope.

The difference between hope and wishful thinking

The difference between hope and wishful thinking is that wishful thinking goes with indolence; a wishful thinker does not exert any effort or show any diligence.

Hope goes with exerting efforts, and the correct trust in Allah.

The first: is like those wishing to have a piece of land to sow and harvest.

And the second: is like those who plough their land, farm it, and sow it, and hope that the plants come out and grow.

A question: which is more complete: the hope of the good doer who hopes for the reward of his good doing, or the hope of the repentant sinner who hopes for the forgiveness of his Lord and His pardoning?

The answer: there is a dispute regarding this issue: one group favoured the hope of the good doer because he has taken the means to obtain it, the other group favoured the hope of the repentant sinner because his hope is free from the means of work: it is combined with the humility of sin.

Hope does not apply except with the right deeds

The scholars unanimously agreed that hope does not apply except with the right deeds.

But leaving work and persistence in committing sins; just depending on the mercy of Allah, and thinking well of Him, the Almighty, is not hope at all; however, it is ignorance, foolishness, and arrogance; because the mercy of Allah is close to those who do good deeds, not to those who are negligent, stubborn and persistent in committing sins.

Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said about those who persist in committing sins depending on the mercy of Allah: "This type of people has depended on the texts of hope, counted on them, and are hanging with both hands to them, if they were reprimanded because of their indulgence on sins, they would quickly narrate what they learn about the magnitude of Allah's mercy, and His forgiveness and the texts on hope. There are a lot of odds and wonders of this kind of ignorant people" (The Sufficient Answer, Ibn al-Qayyim, p. 67-68).

Then he, may Allah have mercy on him, quoted many examples of the anecdotes of those people.

The regulator of good hope

Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy on him, said: "good hope is combined with the reasons of escape (from hellfire), but when there are reasons for doom, there is no place for good hope.

If it is said: nevertheless, but there is a place for good hope, and the evidence to this is the magnitude of Allah's forgiveness, mercy, pardoning, and generosity, and that His mercy is put before his wrath, and that punishment will not benefit Him and that forgiveness will not harm Him.

it will be said: it is like that, and above that Allah is more dignified, more generous, and more merciful, but He puts all that in the appropriate place; for He has the attributes of wisdom, dignity, revenge, and the severity of seizure, and that He punishes who deserves to be punished; so if it is to be dependent on His names and attributes, the righteous and the immoral, and the believer and the infidel, and his friends and his enemy; would all rely on His attributes, so how could the offender benefit from His attributes, while he is a subject of His rage, wrath, and curse; he has disobeyed His commands and violated His sanctities?!

So thinking well of Allah benefits only those who repent and remorse, and who give up committing sins, and who exchange evil with good, and spend the rest of their life in righteousness and obedience, and after that they think well of Allah; this is well thinking, but the former is arrogance, we seek help from Allah" (The Sufficient Answer, p. 76-77).

The benefits of hope

After we have been shown the limits and regulations of hope, here are some of its benefits and attributes; because if hope is put in its right place and if directed correctly it will produce great fruits. Some of the virtues and fruits of hope are:

1 - To show slavery, poverty, and the need to what the slave hopes from his Lord, and what he looks for from His kindness, and that he cannot do without His bliss and kindness the blink of an eye.

2 – That hope is favoured by Allah; as Allah the Almighty loves from His slaves to hope from Him, and ask Him of His bounty; because He is the right King the oft-Generous; He is the most munificent when asked, and the most generous when He gives.

The oft-generous likes it more when he is hoped for, aspired to and asked.

3 - Getting rid of the wrath of Allah; he who does not beg Allah, Allah gets angry with him, and the one who begs is hoping and requesting.

4 - Hope is a sharpener that prompts the slave to hasten in his journey to Allah, and it makes the journey appealing to him, it incites him to continue and abide by the right path; but for hope none would have taken this journey as fear alone does not motivate the slave, however, he is motivated by love, is disturbed by fear and is prompted by hope.

5 - Hope puts the slave on the threshold of love; whenever his hope intensifies and he gets what he hopes for, his love for Allah the Almighty and praising Him increase, as well as his state of pleasance of Him and by Him.

6 - Hope puts the believer on the highest standings which is praising: the essence of worship; if the believer obtained what he hoped for it is a motive to praise Allah.

7 - Hope requires a greater knowledge of Allah, His names and their meaning, and the believer's attachment to them; because the hoper is attached to the Beautiful Names of Allah, worshiping and invoking Allah by them.

8 - Love is not separate from hope; each one of them extends the other, and strengthens it.

9 - Fear requires hope, and hope requires fear; every hoper is fearful, and every fearful is a hoper.

10 - If a person's heart is attached to hope from his Lord, and that Allah gives him what he hopes for, that is nicer and sweeter on the slave, than when he does not get what he hoped for.

11 - There is awaiting and anticipation in hope, as well as expecting Allah's grace, which require the attachment of the heart to the mentioning of Allah and knowing His beautiful names and attributes, and that the hearts wander in the beautiful garden of His names and take their share from the attribute of each one of them. (See: "the Paths of the Successful" Ibn al-Qayyim 2 / 36-55)

O Allah, I ask You for Your love, Your fear and hope. O Allah, bless our Prophet Muhammad.

Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al-Hamad
Dar Ibn Khuzaimah

Translated by website

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