بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The Heart of a Muslim: A Bird whose Wings are Fear and Hope
It is not strange for a disbeliever to live in this world, while he has forgotten about the life of the Hereafter, not fearing what will happen to him. He has denounced the grace of Allah creating him, denied the existence of Allah, and took as his god his own desire and gave himself to Satan, making attractive to him the world and its pleasures, and tempting him with desires to satisfy his instincts and needs without restriction or fear.
But if this is the case of a Muslim, following the path of the disbeliever, heedless of the Hereafter and his fate in it, then it is a strange matter as the strangeness of his life in this worldly life where the law of his Lord and His rulings have been absent from it. How can a Muslim who believes in Allah, as his Lord, His Prophet Muhammad (saw), as a Messenger, and the Qur’an, as a Book and a constitution, how can he live and Islam has been abolished from his life, except from some acts of worship that have become customs similar to what Christians perform in the church?!
How can he live under a disbelieving capitalist system which imposed on him a life of distancing from Allah, and His guidance and light; a life in which he is racing without deliberation where all his concern is to secure his needs, so his heart died and had no fear in Allah, except those upon whom my Lord has mercy? Why have so many Muslims turned away from the good trade and cling to a deadly losing trade? Why did they lose sight of the Hereafter and got caught up in the mortal world? Why did the hearts of many hardened so that they do not fear the consequence of the sins they committed, and you see them either arrogant to the advice given to them, and pride in the sin takes hold of him, or they rely on the mercy of Allah, so they do not care for sins, big or small, and they say “Allah is Forgiving and Merciful”?! Narrated by Abu Hurayrah (ra) that the Prophet (saw) said that his Lord said:
«وَعِزَّتِي لَا أَجْمَعُ عَلَى عَبْدِي خَوْفَيْنِ وَأَمْنَيْنَ، وَإِنْ أَخَفْتُهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا أَمَّنْتُهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ، وَإِنْ أَمَّنْتُهُ فِي الدُّنْيَا أَخَفْتُهُ فِي الْآخِرَةِ»
“By My Glory, I will not bring for my servant two times of fear and two times of protection; if he fears Me in this world I will protect him on the Day of Resurrection but if he felt safe from Me in the world I will cause him to fear in the Hereafter.”
Did not these people comprehend this divine hadith? Did not they ponder its words? Did not their Lord’s oath with His Glory shake them? How do they live their world in security while they are certain that they are doing well in it and then hoping to live in this security in the Hereafter: have the two times of protection brought together for them? How is that?! Certainly, this cannot happen, and Allah the Almighty, has sworn by His Glory not to bring them together on His servant!
A Muslim must therefore expect good from Allah, just as he must fear His punishment. In order for him to walk smoothly in this world, he must combine the two until he meets Allah Almighty. He has to walk on the earth, seeking the Halal in his actions and avoid the Haram, fearing his Lord, seeking His reward, and not be deluded by his work, thinking that it is his savior and forget Allah’s mercy and grace. It was narrated from Anas bin Malik, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Prophet (saw) entered upon a young man who was dying and said:
«أَنَّ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم دَخَلَ عَلَى شَابٍّ وَهُوَ فِي الْمَوْتِ فَقَالَ لَهُ: كَيْفَ تَجِدُكَ؟ فَقَالَ أَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَأَخَافُ ذُنُوبِي، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: لَا يَجْتَمِعَانِ فِي قَلْبِ عَبْدٍ فِي هَذَا الْمَوْطِنِ إِلَّا أَعْطَاهُ اللَّهُ مَا يَرْجُو وَآمَنَهُ مِمَّا يَخَافُ»
“How do you feel?” He said: “I have hope in Allah, O Messenger of Allah, but I fear my sins.” The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “These two things (hope and fear) do not coexist in the heart of a person in a situation like this, but Allah will give him that which he hopes for and keep him safe from that which he fears.”
This is what a Muslim should be, fearful and hopeful. As fear and hope in Allah Almighty drives man to good deeds and expect good from Allah and His mercy, as they are the way to escape from Fire and enter Paradise. This is what the Prophet (saw) communicated to his Ummah and this is what he sought to instill in the hearts of his Companions and all Muslims. He assured them that they should fear Allah and not feel secure from their alienation and their distance from the guidance of their Lord. They should invoke Him, asking Him to keep them firm as the Prophet (saw) used to do. He was always asking the Lord to keep his heart firm on His religion and His obedience! This is the Messenger of Allah and His Beloved, who Allah has forgiven for him what preceded of his sin and what will follow, and was promised Paradise, so how about us?!
Where are we from the beloved Mustafa, who combined fear and hope, desire and dread and was aware of the greatness of this matter, so he went into this world and worshiped Allah as He should be worshiped until he met Him not altering or intrigued, and he received the reward of Allah and His pleasure and attained His Paradise?
A Muslim must be disconsolate if he commits sin, neglects an obligation or disregards any matter of his religion, and he must fear throughout his life Allah's wrath and vengeance and fear the torment of Fire. This fear is a lamp that illuminates his heart, so if it parts him, this heart would ruin, and its owner would be lost, and his actions would be corrupted. How can a Muslim today guarantee the satisfaction of his Lord and live in this world without fear of his fate in the Hereafter, as if he was sure he is going to attain?! How can he proceed in this world when he neglected this great matter that protects him from the evil of committing sins and prevents him from following desires, so he avoids falling into sins and doing the forbidden actions? Allah (swt) says: (إِنَّ عَذَابَ رَبِّكَ كَانَ مَحْذُوراً) “Indeed, the punishment of your Lord is ever feared.” [Al-Israa: 57[. Fear urges him to do righteous deeds and leave the prohibitions, but without turning into a condemned fear that leads to despair and despondency from Allah's mercy and (إِنَّهُ لَا يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ) “Indeed, no one despairs of relief from Allah except the disbelieving people.” [Yusuf: 87].
A Muslim aspires to obtain Allah’s satisfaction, love, and reward, and to be from the people of Paradise and to attain its blessings. Allah (swt) said:
(إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا وَالَّذِينَ هَاجَرُوا وَجَاهَدُوا فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أُولَئِكَ يَرْجُونَ رَحْمَةَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَحِيمٌ)
“Indeed, those who have believed and those who have emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah - those expect the mercy of Allah. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Al-Baqara: 218].
The Muslim’s aspiration is his hope in the giving of his Lord, which is what motivates him to continue in the good deeds, so he competes in good deeds and strives to increase in obedience, and his heart is attached to Paradise and its grace, and he struggles with his soul (nafs) and wishes it with what Allah promised the righteous in the hereafter, using his time for everything that is good for him and beneficial in it. He must have a living heart bearing the love of Allah, and flying like a bird with his wings! Ibn al-Qayyim says: “The heart on its path to Allah the Almighty is like a bird, where love is its head, and fear and hope are its wings.” Fear and hope are the wings of a Muslim's heart, and he cannot fly or hover to reach his goal if he loses one of them. When a Muslim holds the Book of Allah and recites its verses, he is frightened and terrified of those verses in which Allah promises the disbelievers and hypocrites and worries for fear of being one of them, and when he recites the verses in which He promises the believers bliss and the company of the Messenger (saw), he is happy with that and yearns to attain the rank of those and asks his Lord not to deny him this and to be one of them.
Thus, the believer’s knowledge of the great torment leads him to fear and his knowledge of Allah’s capacity and mercy makes him aspire and hope for his Lord. Rasulullah (saw) said:
«لَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْمُؤْمِنُ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ الْعُقُوبَةِ مَا طَمِعَ بِجَنَّتِهِ أَحَدٌ، وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُ الْكَافِرُ مَا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ مِنْ الرَّحْمَةِ مَا قَنَطَ مِنْ جَنَّتِهِ أَحَدٌ»
“Had the believer known of all the punishment which is present with Allah, no one (of them) would long for paradise. And had the non-believer known of all the Mercy which is in the Hands of Allah, no one (of them) would lose hope of entering Paradise.”
Accordingly, the Muslim must be between the two status: the status of fear and the status of hope, and to be balanced as he does not make one of them prevail over the other. If his soul overcomes him and calls him to sin, he must remember the fear in Allah and His punishment. And if it invites him to stay away from the good deeds, he must return to the remembrance of Allah and to evoke His mercy and forgiveness. Allah (swt) says:
(أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ يَدْعُونَ يَبْتَغُونَ إِلَى رَبِّهِمُ الْوَسِيلَةَ أَيُّهُمْ أَقْرَبُ وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَافُونَ عَذَابَهُ)
“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-Israa: 57]. He follows the guidance of his Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and all other prophets who worshiped their Lord in fear and aspiration.
(إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَباً وَرَهَباً وَكَانُوا لَنَا خَاشِعِينَ)
“Indeed, they used to hasten to good deeds and supplicate Us in hope and fear, and they were to Us humbly submissive.” [Al-Anbiya: 90].
Today, Muslims live under a capitalist system that separates religion from life! A Kufr system that does not fear Allah, nor hope for his mercy! An unjust system spiteful to this religion and its people, so how can a Muslim accept this? How does he accept living without the rulings of his Lord applied on him? How can he remain without an imam who implements the provisions of Islam and protects him from the evil of falling into the desires of the world? How can he feel secure from the punishment of his Lord when he is satisfied with this falsehood? How can he not fear the wrath of his Lord, whose rulings have been disrupted and humanity has returned to darkness and ignorance?!
The believer’s heart must be pulsating with the love of Allah and fly like a bird flapping its wings, out of fear of Allah and hopeful for his mercy, so he will reach the sky and live the life that his Lord has accepted for him, and thus he will be, Allah willing, of the winners. He must hasten to spread the good and restore the light of Allah and work with the sincere workers to support the Deen of Allah and raise the banner of Al-Okab high for fear that his Lord will not impose a blame on him for what the fools did and hope for obtaining his pleasure and register him among the righteous and reformers.
Written for Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by