Fear and Hope: God’s Two Blessings

Fear and Hope: God’s Two Blessings

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If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, then they should be concerned about themselves.

It is narrated in a prophetic saying that God said ”I will not give my servant two assurances at the same time.” (Ibn Hibban)

Fear and hope are two great blessings that God has given us or will do so in the future. Using these two blessings in a measured way as a vehicle to reach God is another blessing, indeed a greater blessing.

For a Better Life

There’s an association between one’s sense of security and a life of comfort and possibly luxury while fear is connected with leading a life in poverty and destitution. At first glance, this may readily provide a partial explanation to the hadith above, but it would be wrong to assume that this is an exhaustive commentary.

Another way to understand this hadith could be as follows:

If a person is living carefree and in indulgence in the world, is not concerned about the next life, and has no worries about the destruction of his soul and spiritual life, and if that person has no fear of the losing his subtle qualities, no fear of the death of his feelings and the extinction of his spiritual faculties and thus lives without fear, that person cannot be without fear in the next world.

If a person lives with fear in this world-fear in the sense mentioned above, and is always anxious both in his words and actions, saying: ”O my Lord! If it were not for Your benevolence, I could not protect my faith; if not for Your grace, I could not protect my subtle points; if not for Your generosity, I could not survive; if not for Your compassion and mercy, I cannot enter Heaven. If not for the beloved, the mercy of the world, I would not have found my way and would have remained in depravity.”

If he can always exist in this fear and frequently take himself to account, control himself, and take the opportunity to renew himself, in the next world-God willing-there will be no fear for him.

However, there is an indispensible truth in the way this question is phrased, and it is not far from the meaning expressed in the hadith. If a person acts without concern and fear as if he came to this world only to live, and if he never feels any anxiety, then that person should be concerned about himself.

In fact, even if this does not happen often, he should worry about living only in comfort and languor and feel shame for it. The following example clarifies the matter a little more.

As related in sound narrations, `Umar ibn `Abdulaziz would sometimes repeat the verse, ”When the chains are around their necks, and fetters (around their legs). They will be dragged,” (Ghafir 40:71) and would fall on the floor.

In addition, he would read this verse many times and pass out:

You consumed in your worldly life your (share of) pure, wholesome things, and enjoyed them fully (without considering the due of the Hereafter, and so have taken in the world the reward of all your good deeds). So this Day, you are recompensed with the punishment of abasement because of your scornful arrogance on the earth against all right, and because of your transgressing (the bounds set by God). (Al-Ahqaf 46:20)

Sound Heart/Belief

Yes, it is very normal for a believer with a sound heart to have such a concern, and actually this fear is the result of profound contemplations. But God may have also given this world in terms of substantial health to a person as He gave to `Abdur-Rahman ibn `Awf and `Uthman ibn `Affan, two giant believers.

In that case, believers should make use of their wealth for the sake of lofty purposes and serve humanity for the sake of God. It is not necessary to give away possessions entirely; it is better to give in measured terms to those who are in need.

A part of the assets should be retained so that they can be invested and wealth multiplied; thus, in the end one can donate a greater amount. Let it suffice that our intentions are pure, that we know this wealth is a trust from God and that we are ready to give it away when our Lord wants it.

This should be a benchmark against which we frequently check the level of our hearts. Can we comfortably say, deep within our consciences, that we are ready to give every time we hear the command and suggestions by Our Lord? Can we say, ’Yes, O My Lord, I am ready to give!’?

If we can do this, in other words, if the state of our heart is not attached to the possessions we have, then an increase in wealth can bear no negative impact upon us, and our property will not be the cause of any worry concerning the Hereafter, if God so wills.

On the other hand, if a person insists on living heedlessly, having no belief or spiritual quest, simply, yet unwisely seeking to please the never-pleased carnal self-may God forbid-such a person will be bogged down in the swamp, headfirst. Let these two points not be confused.

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Source: The Fountain Magazine

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The Muslim and Belief in Divine Decree

The Muslim and Belief in Divine Decree

The sixth and last article of Islamic faith is belief in divine decree which means that everything good or bad, all moments of happiness or sorrow, pleasure or pain, come from God.

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Nothing occurs in the heavens or on earth without the Will of God.

First, God’s foreknowledge is infallible. God is not indifferent to this world or its people. He is Wise and Loving, but this should not make us fatalists, throwing up our hands and saying, ‘what’s the point of making any effort?’

God’s foreknowledge does not compromise human responsibility. God holds us accountable for what we can do, what is within our capability, but He does not hold us accountable for things we cannot do. He is Just and, as He has given us only limited responsibility, judges us accordingly.

We should think, plan and make the right choices, but, if sometimes things do not turn out the way we want, we need not lose hope or get depressed. We should pray to God and try again. If in the end we still do not achieve what we wanted, we should know we have tried our best and are not responsible for the results.

God knows what the creatures will do, encompassing everything by His knowledge. He knows all that exists, in entirety and totality, by virtue of His eternal foreknowledge.

Truly, nothing is hidden from God, in the earth or in the heavens. (Aal `Imran 3:5)

Whoever refuses this denies God’s perfection, because the opposite of knowledge is either ignorance or forgetfulness. It would mean God would have been mistaken in his foreknowledge of future events; He would no longer be omniscient. Both are deficiencies which God is free of.

Second, God has recorded everything that will occur until the Day of Judgment in the Preserved Tablet (Al-Lawh Al-Mahfuz). The life spans of all human beings are written and the amount of their sustenance apportioned. Everything that is created or occurs in the universe is according to what is recorded there. God has said:

Did you not know that God knows (all) that is in the heavens and the earth?  It is (all) in a record.  Surely that is easy for God. (Al-Hajj 22:70)

Third, whatever God wills to happen happens, and whatever God does not will does not happen.  Nothing occurs in the heavens or on earth without the Will of God.

Fourth, God is the Creator of everything.

…He has created everything, and has ordained for it a measure. (Al-Furqan 25:2)

In Islamic doctrine every human act both in material and spiritual life is predestined, yet it is incorrect to believe the action of fate is blind, arbitrary, and relentless. Without denying divine interference in human affairs, human liberty is kept intact. It does not discount the principle of man’s moral freedom and responsibility. All is known, but freedom is also granted.

Man is not a helpless creature borne along by destiny. Rather, each person is responsible for his acts. Lethargic nations and individuals indolent to ordinary affairs of life are to blame themselves, not God. Man is bound to obey the moral law; and he will receive merited punishment or reward as he violates or observes that law.

However, if such is so, man must have within his power the ability to break or keep the law.  God would not hold us responsible for something unless we were capable of doing it:

God does not burden any human being with more than he is well able to bear. (Al-Baqarah 2:286)

Belief in divine decree strengthens one’s belief in God. A person realizes that God alone controls everything, so he trusts and relies on Him. Even though a person tries his best, at the same time he relies on God for the final outcome. His hard work or intelligence does not make him arrogant, for God is the source of all that comes his way.

Finally, a person attains peace of mind in the realization that God is the Wise and His Actions are dictated by wisdom. Things don’t happen without a purpose. If something reached him, he realizes it could never have escaped him. If something misses him, he realizes it was never meant to be. A man achieves an inner peace, inwardly at rest with this realization.

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Source: islamreligion.com.

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