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Ar-rajaa (Hoping for good from Allah)
The Concept of having hope in Allah: The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Facilitate things for the people (concerning religious matters) and do not make it hard for them, and give them good tidings and do not make them run away (from Islam)” (Narrated by al-Bukhari).
Having hope in Allah : To feel the presence of Allah and His Beneficence and Mercy, as well as taking comfort in contemplating over His blessings and what He has granted us, and being sure that all of this is from Allah. Hope is a guiding light that takes hearts to Allah and to Jannah. Allah the Exalted says: "And whoever does wrong or wrongs himself, but then seeks forgiveness of Allah, he will find Allah Forgiving and Merciful" (An-Nisâ": 110).
Types of hope:
There are three types of hope: two which are praiseworthy and one which stems from arrogance and is thus dispraised:
1-Hope held by he who obediently follows Allah"s commands, acting according to the way of life Allah set down for us, and hoping to gain His rewards.
2-Hope held by he who has committed sins and then repents, hoping that Allah will forgive his sins, erase them, overlook them and not expose them.
3-Hope held by he who is neglectful, and indulges in sins and wrongdoings, but still hopes for Allah"s forgiveness without doing anything to attain that forgiveness!! This is arrogance, wishful thinking and misguided hope which can never be considered as being praiseworthy. The Mu"meneen have hope in their hearts that is accompanied by action. Allah the Exalted says: "Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah - they expect the mercy of Allah. Allah is Forgiving and Merciful" (Al-Baqarah: 281).
Levels of Hope:
Hope has levels and degrees, each person having a different level than another. These levels are:
1-Hope that urges the Mu"men to be diligent in worshipping Him and generates a feeling of pleasure when he performs any worship, even if the act was difficult. This hope safeguards him from committing sins or reprehensible acts. He who hopes for good from someone, seeks him.
2-Hope held by those who try hard to stop habits to which they are accustomed and which make them deviate from pursuing the path of their Lord. This hope also unites their hearts towards Him.
3-Hope of those who have true hearts. This refers to hoping to meet the Creator, having a longing for Him and the heart being attached to only Him. This type of hope is the best and the highest degree. Allah says: "So whoever would hope for the meeting with his Lord - let him do righteous work and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord" (Al-Kahf: 110).
Allah also says: "Whoever should hope for the meeting with Allah - indeed, the term decreed by Allah is coming. He is the Hearing, the Knowing" (Al-"Ankabût: 5).
The connection between hoping in Allah and knowing His beautiful names and attributes:
The Mu"men who has hope in his heart observes all the acts of obedience. He carries out the necessary actions of Iman with the hope that Allah (mighty and majestic is He) will protect him from being misguided and accept his deeds, and not reject them. He also has hope in his heart that Allah will double his reward; for he does his best and has hope in the Mercy of his Lord. Such a person acts in such a manner because he knows Allah"s beautiful Names and Attributes. A few of these Names are: Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful), Al-Wadood (the Most Loving), Ash-Shakoor (the Thankful), Al-Kareem (the Most Generous), Al-Wahhaab (the Bestower), Al-Ghafoor (the Forgiver) and Al-Lateef (the Most Gentle). And such a person also has feelings of fear in this worldly life because he hopes to attain security when he stands before his Lord (mighty and majestic is He) on the Day of Judgement.
The fruits of having hope in Allah:
1-It cultivates in the hearts of those who have this hope the love of striving to perform righteous deeds and acts of obedience as best as they can. The Mu"men who has hope in Allah always seeks and hopes for his Lord"s Beneficence and holds a good opinion of Him, the Exalted.
2-It helps the person who has this hope in his heart to become used to observing different acts of obedience, however difficult or hard the conditions in which he has to observe them may be.
3-It helps the person who has this hope in his heart to persist on drawing nearer to Allah, calling on Him, being polite but persistent in asking Him.
4-It illustrates the slavery and dire need of the slave for his Lord (mighty and majestic is He), and that the slave cannot - even for a blink of an eye- do without the bounties and beneficence of his Lord. A Mu"men holds a good opinion of Allah and so he acts in a good way (as he sees that his good deeds are rewarded), and the sinner has a bad opinion of Allah and so his actions are bad (as he doesn’t think he will be rewarded for his deeds).
5-It makes the person be totally aware and be certain that Allah exists and that He is the Most Generous, for He the Exalted is the Most Bountiful of those who are asked and the Most Munificent of those who give. Allah the Exalted loves that His slaves ask Him and are persistent in their requests and that they hope for good from Him.
6-Hoping in Allah places the slave on threshold of loving Allah and takes him towards being able to love Him perfectly, for the more hope he has and the more he is granted what he wishes, the more his love for his Lord increases and the more he becomes thankful and pleased with Him. This is considered as a requirement and a pillar of being in a state of slavery towards Allah. One of the aspects of trusting Allah is to know that Allah will never fail those who seek refuge in Him.
7-It is an incentive for a Mu"men to reach the rank of being thankful, for it motivates him to reach the rank of being grateful to Allah for His bounties, which is the essence of slavery towards Allah.
8-It makes one become aware of Allah"s Beautiful Names and Attributes, for He is Ar-Raheem (the Most Merciful), Al-Kareem (the Most Generous), Al-Mojeeb (the Supreme-Answerer), Al-Jameel (the Most Beautiful) and Al-Ghanei (the Rich, the Independent).
9-It is a reason why the slave of Allah achieves what he hopes for, which in turn encourages him to ask for more and draw nearer to Allah. Thus a Mu"men continues to increase in Iman and draw closer to Allah.
10-The amount of joy felt by the Mu"meneen on the Day of Judgement for receiving what they used to hope for of the pleasures of their Lord, Jannah, and beholding Him depends on the level of the hope and fear they had of Him in the worldly life.
Rulings and notes about having hope in Allah: If a balance were to weigh fear and hope in a Mu"men"s heart, it would indicate that both have the same weight.
1-Fear needs to be present with hope, and hope needs to be present with fear in the heart of a Mu"men. So when the person has fear, he should also have hope in Allah. "What is (the matter) with you that you do not attribute to Allah (due) grandeur?" (Nûh: 13).
Allah (mighty and majestic is He) says: "Say (O Muhammad) to those who have believed that they (should) forgive those who expect not the days of Allah" (Al-Jâthiya: 14). I would not like for my reckoning to be decided by my father; for my Lord, Allah, is better to me than my father.
Imam Sofian Al-Thawri
The phrase “those who expect not the days of Allah” in the above ayah (verse) refers to those who do not fear that Allah may send calamities of destruction and death upon them as He sent on the previous nations.
2-Hope is a medicine that we need when:
- despair prevails in the soul so it stops worshipping Him.
- fear overcomes a person and he harms himself and his family because that fear has gone beyond the appropriate limit. It is necessary, then, that this fear is balanced and set right by something else, namely hope, which is normally present in the heart of the Mu"men. Worship can only be perfect when both fear and hope are present. A Mu"men abstains from forbidden actions due to fear and he continues to perform good deeds due to having hope.
Imam ibn Katheer
3-Hope is the opposite of despair, which is to believe that Allah"s mercy does not exist and, therefore, the heart stops seeking it. Despair causes one to become misguided or even become a Kafer, as Allah says: "…and despair not of relief from Allah. Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people" (Yûsuf: 87).