We all need a bright ray of hope
Hope can be said to be a desire for something to happen or for something to become true according to one’s expectations. In Islam, hope is said to have an inclination towards the greatness of God’s unending mercies. Hope, fear and love are the three stations and pillars upon which faith is built.
Allah says :
“Those whom they call upon desire means of access to their Lord, as to which of them should be the nearest; and they hope for His mercy and fear His Torment. Verily, the Torment of your Lord is (something) to be afraid of” (17:57)
Hope propels one to work towards the obedience of God and in turn it makes the journey to the afterlife easier. It should not be mistaken with wishful thinking. Hope involves hard work and reliance upon God as opposed to wishful thinking which is characterized by laziness. Allah says :
“So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord” (18:110)
Hope and its classification
For one to be hopeful, it means that one has worked hard and is expecting favorable results from his hard work. Hope can fall under three types, two of which are praiseworthy and the third carries a burden of blame along with it. They include:
● An individual’s obedience towards God, with Guidance from God and hoping for his reward from God.
● Someone’s act of disobedience towards God, but following it up with repentance and hoping for God’s forgiveness, favor and generosity towards him .
● An individual’s continuous indulgence in sin and error, and hoping for God’s mercy without working on repentance. This is wishful thinking, false hope and deception. The individual only has himself to blame as he will fall into deep regret and sorrow at the end of it all.
Hope brings us closer
As for the two types of hope that are considered praiseworthy, there are differences in opinion as to which type is closer to perfection. Some prefer the first type which is the hope of a righteous person. Hoping for reward from his Lord for his righteousness because it is accompanied by good deeds which justify hope. Others prefer the second type which is the hope of a repentant sinner. This type of hope is accompanied by the humble recognition of sins and is considered to be void of any fault that arises from seeing one’s good works.
Furthermore, hope can be said to be a condition for forgiveness from Allah. How can you seek forgiveness without being hopeful that you will be forgiven by the Almighty. According to this Hadith Qudsi : On the authority of Abu Hurayrah (ra) , the prophet (pbuh) said that Allah said :
“I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. When he draws near to Me an arm’s length, I draw near to him a cubit, and if he draws near to Me a cubit, I draw near to him a fathom. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed” Hadith Qudsi (Sahih Bukhari, Hadith 15)
Fear no more
The meaning implies that forgiveness and acceptance of repentance by the Almighty is subject to His servant truly believing that He is forgiving and merciful. However, not to accompany such belief with right action would be to mock the Almighty.
Hope and fear go side by side. One must, therefore, try to moderate between them . Try not to be too hopeful such that it quells your fear. Try not to be too fearful such that you end up falling into misery. The greatest benefit of hope is that it moderates fear and prevents one from falling into despair.
(Written by Zainab Sulaimon)