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||Monday, March 24, 2003 07:16 AM |
Hope : Islamic Perspective
Life on this earth is a period of trials & challenges. Physical life is only temporary – the spiritual life continues beyond the physical realm. Life is a series of problems – that is the definition of life. One cannot wish for a life without problems; the only place where there are no problems is in Jannah – but we have to earn our seat for that abode. The other extreme is where there are continuous problems and difficulties – that is in Hellfire – for that also, one has to earn one’s ticket for the hellfire. Between these 2 extremes is our life on this earth. The problems that we are faced with are sometimes easy to manage while other problems seem so huge and insurmountable that we give up all hope of finding a solution to that problem. The laser weapon to smash problems is a characteristic called hope, while the absence of such a quality is called ‘despair’ or ‘hopelessness.’ This short article examines this quality of hope and how we can apply it in our daily lives and thereby attain a sense of inner peace and tranquility, while at the same time anticipating the challenges of tomorrow with the memory of the failures of yesterday.
2. DEFINITION OF HOPE
Hope = anticipation; belief; desire; expectancy; light at the end of the tunnel; aspire towards something; look forward to; optimistic; assured; reassuring; confidence.
Hope is usually described with light-metaphors, such as “a ray of hope‘; a glimmer of hope; light at the end of a dark & long tunnel’; a beam of sunshine through the stormy clouds; every cloud has a silver lining;
3. EXAMPLES OF TYPICAL PROBLEMS
When faced with life’s challenges, one needs various tools to equip oneself to cope with these challenges (see related article on ‘patience & perseverance’). In one’s everyday life, one is typically faced with some of the following problems. The way to deal with these problems depends on our outlook on life, whether it is negative and filled with despair, or it is positive and hopeful:
[Remarks]Economy looks bad; crime is high; business is down; no future in the country; people don’t have liquidity and cash flow anymore
[Outlook/despair]Gloomy; hopeless; worrying; concern
[Outlook/hope] Persevere; try something else; look for opportunities
[Remarks]Global onslaught against Muslim countries (such as Afghanistan; Palestine; Iraq; Chechnya; Kashmir) and verbal or physical humiliation and assault on muslims by other communities
[Outlook/despair]Frustration at media bias & manipulation; anger at global muslim apathy; helplessness at observing the massacre of muslims; feeling of hopelessness and despair at the condition of children in Afghanistan, Palestine and in vast areas of poverty stricken Africa
[Outlook/hope]Take action; educate oneself; strive and pray to Allah (SWT); rectify misconceptions about Islam
[Remarks]Couple have regular arguments and fights; many times the families have mediated to solve the problems but to no avail
[Outlook/Despair]No hope to save the marriage
[Outlook/hope]Look for the good in both partners & search for win-win scenarios
[Catergory] Illness & sickness
[Remarks]Doctors have diagnosed terminal illness
[Outlook/Despair] Situation looks bleak and hopeless
[Outlook/hope] Never give up hope, ones sins are being cleared, increase in prayers and patience.
[Remarks] Influence of TV, music, drugs, fast cars
[Outlook/Despair] What kind of future is there for our kids? What kind of leadership are we training?
[Outlook/hope] Educate our children and the community about the dangers of immorality; have workshops and leadership summer camps
[Remarks] Children are more keen on video games, TV and sport than in reading & school & University
[Outlook/Despair] Situation is worrying; is there any hope that we can inculcate a culture of learning?
[Outlook/hope] Inculcate a love for reading amongst our children
[Remarks] Muslim apathy at the onslaught against muslims
[Outlook/Despair] Some muslim ‘leaders’ have become lovers of this material and temporary physical world with its illusion of temporary riches and gold
[Outlook/hope] Inspire ourselves and others for individual, local and global Islamic revival
[Remarks] Exam was very difficult – child did not prepare sufficiently
[Outlook/Despair] Outcome looks hopeless
[Outlook/hope] Study to the best of your ability, then keep hoping for a positive outcome
[Remarks] We commit sins daily, both major and minor, both intentionally and unintentionally
[Outlook/Despair] Outcome is both fear in Allah’s (SWT) punishments and hope in His Mercy
[Outlook/hope] Pray to Allah (SWT) & keep hope for Allah’s (SWT) Forgiveness and Mercy and improve oneself
[Catergory] Getting married
[Remarks] It is very difficult to find a suitable marriage partner; whom will our children get married to? We only pray for their happiness, yet we are worried,
[Outlook/Despair] Situation looks worrying & hopeless; how do you reduce the worry of opening this surprise package (lucky packet) & ensuring a better outcome
[Outlook/hope] Look for piety and a good heart; marriage requires patience & perseverance and lots of hope (see related article on marriage)
[Remarks] Try to lose weight; tried out different diets and exercise and machines
[Outlook/Despair] Situation looks hopeless; weight is simply not coming down
[Outlook/hope] Focus on the positive; visualize a more fit & healthy body and contiue the discipline.
[Catergory] Drugs; gambling
[Remarks] If your loved ones and children or parents are addicted to these evils and despite many attempts they still continue indulging in drugs & gambling
[Outlook/Despair] Situation looks hopeless; the people who care for you & love you get sick with worry and despair and hurt
[Outlook/hope] Keep hope alive that the loved ones in your life need your love and compassion; be kind to them; send to drug rehabilitation; (see related article on Drugs) and make much remembrance of Allah and prayers.
4. WHAT IS HOPE?
Hope is a way of thinking about the future. You cannot hope over something that has already happened – that is a memory. A memory is about a past event. You cannot change the past. Memory can be either a good memory or a bad memory or a memory filled with regret – but there is nothing that you can do to undo the events of yesterday, except learn from the past. On the other hand, the future has not yet happened. Hope is the desire that you keep inside of you while waiting for the results or outcome of an event. It is the thoughts that you keep in your mind that anticipate an outcome (positive, good, pleasant, rewarding, relieving, happy outcome) that you want. Hope is your dream. Hope is obtained with confidence, optimism, looking for solutions where others see only problems. Hope is our desire to excel and to achieve, despite all odds. Hope is the only choice that we have to function effectively as human beings. Without hope we have nothing. In the absence of hope we have hopelessness, despair, gloom and doom. Hope inspires us to try once more with patience and perseverance while despair and worry weaken us to give up too soon. Hope fills our lives with the dreams and visions of a better tomorrow, while despair; worry and hopelessness fill our lives with nightmares of terrible calamities. There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran making reference to this quality of hope and how we can inculcate hope in our daily lives. Furthermore, the entire life of the Prophet (SAW) is a living example of the quality of hope in action – the Prophet (SAW) patiently persevered, despite insurmountable odds and hardships, in the face of enemies numerically larger & stronger, yet despite all of this, he (SAW) never gave up hope of victory of establishing the Religion of Islam. It was his single minded focus on hope and his Trust in Allah (SWT) , that he did not even consider the possibility of failure . The following few verses and quotes give insight into the application of hope in our lives.
5. HOPE UNDER DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES
Whenever we are faced with any difficulties or problems, then there are several ways in which to solve a problem: we can talk to a friend or colleague or delegate the problem to someone else who has knowledge about these matters (an ‘expert’ eg a doctor or an álim or an engineer or an architect or a plumber etc), or read books or ponder over the problem by ourselves. Whichever method that we use, the main key to solving any problem is to first have a deep understanding of that problem, for every problem contains within it the seeds of its own solution. The only way to dismantle a problem and lay it bare is to have hope, patience and perseverance and a determination born out of a steel furnace. Hope is that mindset that says “I can do it”, “everything will work out fine”. Hope is the mindset that envisions a positive outcome, a successful outcome and then focus all your energies in making that anticipated possibility a reality. Too often, our own potential for success is weakened by negative people & negative news (radio +TV+ Newspapers) around us who tell us all the time: “don’t even try, there is no hope’; “there is no future in this country ‘; or ‘what is the use of trying “; or “the future is very bad”; these are the messengers of doom and gloom and the best advice is to stay away from them. Take charge of your own life and fill your mind with possibility thinking and hope and place your trust in Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) did not send us to this world to fail. He (SWT) did not send us to this world so that we must lose all hope and fall into despair. On the contrary, Allah (SWT) has made us the best of Creation and he has given us faculties and powers at our disposal and He has given us Guidance through the Quran & the Sunnah which forever shows us the Straight Path. This is the Religion of Hope. It therefore follows, that the followers of this religion must also be visionaries of hope and patiently persevere in all their activities according to the Wisdom of the Quran & Sunnah. It is only in this way, that we can arm ourselves against the fluctuating vicissitudes of life & get a deeper understanding of our mission here on Earth.
6. CONDITION OF THOSE WITHOUT HOPE
Some of the unbelievers cannot envision the future; they do not believe in the Accountability in the Hereafter; they have no hope that One Day they will be meeting with Allah (SWT) & give account of their life here on earth. These people are left without direction in their trespasses, for a while:
S10V11: We leave those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, in their trespasses, wandering in distraction to and fro.
These people are lost and have no clear direction regarding their mission & purpose in life. Hence they will pursue activities that give temporary pleasures and material gains irrespective of who they harm or hurt in the process. They will commit sins and evil openly & knowingly because they are a people without morals and guidance. If they cannot get what they strive for they become despondent, full of despair and unhappiness. Yet there are some believers as well, who out of ignorance or wrong direction, pursue other creations of Allah (SWT) (soothsayers and hakims and fortune-tellers) to give them good news and hope. Yet, Allah (SWT) clearly says:
S71V13: What is the matter with you, that ye place not your hope for kindness and long-suffering in Allah?
Those people who are fooled by the illusion of this temporary world, and are deceived by the temptations and whisperings of Satan, are followers of false hope – they are the losers:
S10V 7-8: Those who rest not their hope on their meeting with Us, but are pleased and satisfied with the life of the present, and those who heed not Our Signs, - their abode is the Fire, because of the (evil) they earned.
Those who are pleased with the life of the present are only deceiving themselves by thinking that this world is all there is. Little do they realize that this world is only a small amount of time compared to the Hereafter. People for strive for the pleasures for this world and forget about their encounter with Allah (SWT) in the Next world, are living on false hope and disillusionment – they are in a state of denial:
S15V3: Leave them alone, to enjoy (the good things of this life) and to please themselves; let (false) hope amuse them: soon will knowledge (undeceive them).
Hence, it is clear from the above verses, that the first primary requirement for leading a moral & righteous life is to have an unequivocal belief of the hope of meeting Allah (SWT) on the Day of Accountability, where all deeds and all our actions (those actions that we did and those that we failed to do) will be revealed. Without this hope being at the forefront of one’s psyche, one will lose sight of one’s mission & purpose as a Muslim.
7. MEETING WITH ALLAH (SWT): HOPE AND FEAR
Once it is clear, that everyone, whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, whether you are black or white, male or female, Jew or Christian, Hindu or Buddhist, young or old, literate or illiterate, prince or pauper, employer or employee, husband or wife, mother or father, and whether you like it or not, all of us, individually, past, present and future, will be meeting Allah (SWT) without doubt. This meeting with Allah (SWT) will be in a state of fear and hope: fear about Allah’s (SWT) punishment for the sins that we committed knowingly and unknowingly, and hope for the Mercy of Allah (SWT) and for His Forgiveness and Compassion.
Sahih Al-Bukhâri Hadith 8.476 Narrated by Abu Huraira (RA)
I heard Allah's Apostle (SAW) saying: “Verily Allah created Mercy. The day He created it, He made it into one hundred parts. He withheld with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent its one part to all His creatures. Had the non-believer known of all the Mercy which is in the Hands of Allah, he would not lose hope of entering Paradise, and had the believer known of all the punishment which is present with Allah, he would not consider himself safe from the Hell-Fire."
No one knows what his or her ultimate fate will be. You can pray 5 times Namaz , go for hajj , pay your zakaat and fast , but that by itself is no guarantee for safety from Allah’s (SWT) punishment. On the other hand, some people think that they can skip namaaz and fasting and as long as they do ‘good deeds’ then they are safe from Allah’s (SWT) punishment. Only Allah (SWT) knows the cleanliness of our hearts. It is not our job to look at another person’s actions and behavior and predict whether or not he is a Muslim or kâfir, or whether he is going to paradise or hell – Allah (SWT) Alone, has Knowledge Supreme and Knowledge of everything. Hence, in this state of uncertainty, we must continue having a state of both fear of Allah’s (SWT) punishment as well as Hope in His Mercy – our hope must never diminish for Allah (SWT) is the Most Gracious, the Most Beneficient, the Most Merciful and the Most Generous.
S32V16: Their limbs do forsake their beds of sleep, the while they call on their Lord in Fear and Hope.
S17V57: They hope for His Mercy and fear His Wrath: for the Wrath of thy Lord is something to take heed of.
Our deeds by themselves do not guarantee us safety from the Hellfire – it is only through Allah’s (SWT) Mercy and Forgiveness that we will be saved from His punishment and enter Jannah.
S13V12: It is He Who doth show you the lightening, by way of both fear and of hope.
S30 V24: And among His Signs, He shows you the lightning, by way both of fear and of hope, & He sends down rain from the sky and with it gives life to the earth after it is dead; verily in that are Signs for those who are wise.
In the above verses, ‘lightning ‘ is a metaphor for both fear and for hope. When there is no hope left, then there is utter darkness, doom and despair. Through this darkness, comes a ray of light – this light removes the darkness. In the above verse, this ray of light is not a gentle light like the ray of the sun, but is a light (lightning) that has tremendous energy & power & can cause death and is only momentary. This phenomenal power thus evokes fear in the observer; but at the same time, this same power removes the darkness to show the way and it heralds the rain which gives life; hence it inspires both fear and hope, but the hope is greater than the fear (ie the benefits outweigh the risks). Similarly, our spiritual fears and hopes of meeting Allah (SWT) inspire within us these opposing feelings; just as we cannot run away or hide from the fear of lightning and pretend that it will go away (& yet hope to get its benefits), so too we cannot run away or pretend that we will not have to meet Allah (SWT). Hence it is an event that we dread out of Fear, but at the same time it is an event in which we have Hope of Allah’s (SWT) Mercy and Kindness. Our level of Hope & love must be greater than our level of fear and this hope is given nourishment by the following saying of the Prophet (SAW):
Sahih Al-Bukhâri Hadith 4.416 Narrated by Abu Huraira (RA)
Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said, “ When Allah completed the Creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, ‘My Mercy overpowers My Anger’ “
Furthermore, the Mercy of Allah (SWT) extends far and wide & He is the Protector, Sustainer & Nourisher of everything in the Entire Universe:
S42V28: He is the One that sends down rain (even) after (men) have given up all hope and scatters His Mercy (far and wide). And He is the Protector, Worthy of All Praise.
8. HOW TO KEEP HOPE ALIVE
The balancing emotions of Hope vs. Fear, together with the overwhelming Mercy, Compassion & Kindness of Allah (SWT) does not mean that we can do as we like. On the contrary, this should inspire us to strive to do as much good as possible and then place our Trust in Allah (SWT). Hope comes from an expectation that one has followed the right path to the best of one’s abilities. There are numerous verses in the Holy Quran that enjoin the believer towards good and abstaining from sin. It is only by rehearsing the Book & implementing the guidelines, that one is then in a position to have one ‘s hopes risen to awaiting a pleasing reward – as you reap so shall you sow:
S35V29: Those who rehearse the Book of Allah, establish regular Prayer and spend (in charity) out of what We have provided for them secretly and openly, hope for a Commerce that will never fail.
The above verse makes it quite clear that we first have to rehearse the Book, establish regular prayer and spend in charity and then only hope for a good outcome. Furthermore, the best example to follow is that shown to us by the Holy Prophet (SAW) and it is through following the Quran and the Sunnah, that our hope in Allah’s (SWT) Mercy and Kindness is increased:
S33V21: Ye have indeed in the Apostle of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Final Day and who engages much in the praise of Allah.
Furthermore, Allah (SWT) says:
S2V38: Whosoever follows My Guidance, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve
The religion of Islam is a religion of Peace – it is a religion of Hope; it inspires hope in the believer and not despair:
S3V126: Allah made it but a message of hope for you.
Furthermore, Islam is a perfect religion. We have been Blessed with the 2 sources, the Quran and the Sunnah; These two sources of Knowledge and Wisdom shed light in our darkest hours; they bring a ray, a glimmer, a floodlight of hope when there is only despair and confusion. No other source is required or necessary for all eternity to come, for the religion has been perfected:
S5V4: This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.
9. HOW THE UNBELIEVERS PLOT & PLAN & TRY TO DASH OUR HOPES
The Muslim world currently is undergoing much trials, tribulations and turmoil. The suffering in Palestine has reached unimaginable proportions. There are daily detentions, bulldozing of homes, loss of limb and life, ongoing savagery and brutality and torture. There are more than 5 million Palestinian refugees living in squalor. Afghanistan has been bombed and many thousands have been killed and many millions have become refugees. Iraq has faced more than 10 years of sanctions with loss of life through malnutrition & starvation & lack of medical supplies & is currently facing another beating. The beautiful, scenic land of Kashmir and her people are bleeding. There is devastation in Chechnya, in Indonesia, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan & Malawi; the majority of the world’s population (4/5th) is living in poverty, while 1 Billion is living in abject poverty, with many hundreds of these millions being Muslims. The pious followers of Islam are being labeled as ‘terrorists “, “fundamentalists “ and their activities are being documented and monitored as ‘suspects.” Women in Hijab are being ridiculed in some areas, and men with beards and a topi (or turban) with Muslim names, are being targeted in some countries. Many Muslims are being held in detention without trial or access to lawyers, where their basic civil rights are being violated. Palestinians are being tortured daily in the Israeli cells, while the Muslims held in Cuba in Guatanamo Bay are being treated worse than animals – no animal rights organization be it the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) or the Global Protection for Animal Rights will ever condone the same treatment to animals. All the above is openly evident to the entire world, yet the only response is weak rhetoric from Heads of States who delude themselves that they are leaders. The most shameful silence, is not the silence of the human rights organizations, nor the silence of the freedom loving people of this world, nor the silence of the Truth & Justice seekers of this world, but the most shameful & humiliating silence is the silence from the Arab & Muslim world and the apathy among the majority of Muslims. There are only a handful of Muslims, a small handful, who keep the flames of hope burning and inspire us with their action and their unshakeable Faith in Allah (SWT). These are the one’s who drink deep and long from the following verses:
S4V104: and slacken not in following up the enemy: if ye are suffering hardships they are suffering similar hardships; but ye have hope from Allah, while they have none.
S2V218: Those who believed and those who suffered exile and fought (and strove and struggled) in the Path of Allah they have the hope of the Mercy of Allah; and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful
S8V30: Remember how the unbelievers plotted against thee, to keep thee in bonds, or slay thee, or get thee out (of thy home). They plot and plan, and Allah too plans, but the Best of planners is Allah.
We should not become despondent by the unbelievers planning and plotting; for Allah (SWT) is the Master Planner; furthermore the way to ignore their mockery of Islam and Muslims, is by striving against them, and if we are not in a position to do so, then simultaneously to celebrate the Praises of Allah (SWT):
S15V97-99: We do indeed know how thy heart is distressed at what they say. But celebrate the Praises of thy Lord, and be of those who prostrate themselves in adoration. And serve thy Lord until there come unto thee the Hour that is certain.
The believers have to place their hope and Trust in Allah (SWT) for Allah (SWT) is the One to Help and the One to Protect:
S8V40: Allah is your Protector, the Best to Protect and the Best to Help.
S27V79: So put thy Trust in Allah: for thou art on (the Path of) manifest Truth.
Despite what the unbelievers plot and plan and no matter how bleak the outlook appears, the believers are filled with the Hope from the following:
S3V139: So lose not heart, nor fall into despair: for ye must gain mastery if ye are true in faith.
S23V1: The Believers must (eventually) win through.
Furthermore, Allah (SWT) Promises that the Unbelievers plans will eventually fail:
S24V57: Never think thou that the Unbelievers are going to frustrate (Allah’s Plan) on earth: their abode is the Fire, - & it is indeed an evil refuge.
It is important to note that the believers can only win through by action – apathy is the opposite of action. The believers have to strive & struggle and persist patiently and persevere despite all odds, and then only will they win through. But if the believers are apathetic and if the wealthy Muslim nations with all their wealth are focused on material gain and material riches, then we have already lost the battle. We have to wake up from our slumber and apathy and strive and struggle to earn the Pleasure of Allah (SWT). This responsibility is on each and everyone individually and collectively. Each one of us has to strive in our own way, no matter how little that striving is, as long as it is ongoing. Allah (SWT) encourages us to strive and the struggle will be something within our capabilities even if we do not think so:
S23V62: On no soul do We place a burden greater than it can bear.
It is only by patiently persevering and keeping hope alive that one can lead a full life in this world, our temporary abode:
S30V60: So patiently persevere: for verily the promise of Allah is true: nor let those shake thy firmness who have (themselves) no certainty of faith.
When you see the unbelievers in their pride and arrogance and their strutting about like proud peacocks & the blatant lies and media propaganda that they disseminate, don’t become discouraged:
S40V4: None can dispute about the Signs of Allah but the Unbelievers. Let not then, their strutting about through the land deceive thee!
10. HAVE HOPE IN ALLAH’S (SWT) FORGIVENESS
All of us commit sins intentionally and unintentionally. When we forget to do something that we know that we should, we become despondent and discouraged. Despite these mistakes on our part, we should never give up hope in Allah’s (SWT) Mercy. Allah (SWT) is the One to Forgive. If He does not forgive us, then we are surely lost. We therefore have to strive within our individual capacity, to learn & understand this wonderful deen and then apply it to our own lives and teach others. Our understanding will always be far from perfect and being frail human beings, we will continue to make errors. Because of this inherent weakness within ourselves, our constant battle between our Nafs and our conscience, Allah (SWT) has given us Hope in the form of sincere repentance:
S66V8: O ye who believe! Turn to Allah with sincere repentance: in the hope that your Lord will remove from you your ills and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow.
We should keep this Hope alive at all times that on the Day of Accountability, Allah (SWT) will forgive us our faults
S26V82: and Who, I hope, will forgive me my faults on the Day of Judgment …
For Allah (SWT) is the One to Forgive:
S22V60: For Allah is One that blots out (sins) and forgives (again and again).
Hence believers keep their hopes alive by remembering Allah (SWT) often, and follow the Guidance that He has sent to us:
S2V152: Then do ye remember Me; I will remember you.
S20V123: Whosoever follows My Guidance will not lose his way, nor fall into misery.
11. MAN’S INCESSANT HOPE
As stated earlier, hope is a state of mind that looks forward to a positive and favorable future outcome. For example,
You have studied hard for your exams and you are hopeful that you will pass.
You have found the girl of your heart and are hopeful that she will agree to marry you.
You have prepared a business plan and you are hopeful that you will get funding for it.
You have opened a new business and you are hopeful that it will succeed.
You are hopeful that one day Palestine will be free, the land will be returned to its rightful owners and the refugees will return home to the land of their birth.
In this way, man spends his whole life in hope. It is in this state of hope that death eventually overtakes him, meaning that at the time of death, for many of us, there will still be a lot of things still left to do; our “in-tray” will still be full.
Sahih Bukhâri Hadith 8.429 Narrated by Abu Huraira (RA)
I heard Allah’s Apostle (SAW) saying: “ The heart of an old man remains young in two respects ie his love for the world (its wealth, amusements and luxuries) and his incessant hope.
Sahih Al-Bukhâri Hadith 8.427 narrated by Anas bin Malik (RA)
The Prophet (SAW) drew a few lines and said: “ This is (man’s) hope, and this is the instant of his death, and while he is in this state (of hope), the nearer line (death) comes to him”
12. HOPE & DEATH
When a person dies then all good deeds come to an end except those deeds that continue earning blessings even after the person has died, such as a well from which people drink water, or a Quran that has been bequeathed, or a mosque that has been built or a child that prays on behalf of the deceased. In this manner, a person has hope in the Mercy of Allah (SWT) that he can continue doing good deeds for others even though they are dead:
Sahih Al Bukhâri Hadith 2.470 Narrated by Áisha (RA)
A man said to the Prophet (SAW): “My mother died suddenly and I thought that if she had lived she would have given alms. So, if I give alms on her behalf, will she get the reward?” The Prophet (SAW) replied in the affirmative.
In this manner if a son or daughter feel regret that they have not done enough for their parents while they were still alive, have the opportunity to do good deeds on their behalf and have hope for Allah ‘s (SWT) Mercy and Forgiveness
13. HOPE TO BE WITH THOSE YOU LOVE
Your life in the Hereafter will be spent in the company of those whom you love and you should have hope for such company:
Sahih Al-Bukhâri Hadith 5.37 Narrated by Anas (RA)
A man asked the Prophet (SAW) about the Hour saying, “When will the Hour be?” The Prophet (SAW) said, ”What have you prepared for it?” The man said, ”nothing, except that I love Allah and His Apostle.” The Prophet (SAW) said,” You will be with those whom you love.” We had never been so glad as we were on hearing that saying of the Prophet (SAW). Therefore I love the Prophet (SAW), Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA), and I hope that I will be with them because of my love for them though my deeds are not similar to theirs.
14. GIVE HOPE TO THE SICK
When you visit a person who is in ill-health, cheer the person and give him or her good news and hope. Don’t tell the person that his condition is terrible or that he is a ‘gonner”:
Al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1572 Narrated by Abu Said (RA)
Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “ When you go in to visit an invalid, express a hope that he will live long. That will not avert anything, but it will comfort him”
Furthermore, any difficulty or hardship that one suffers is expiation for sins:
Sahih Al-Bukhâri Hadith 7.545 Narrated by Abu Said Al-Khudri (RA) & Abu Huraira (RA)
The Prophet (SAW) said, “ No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.”
15. HOPE AND PRAYER
Hope in Allah (SWT) means that one should seek Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness and pray often to Allah (SWT). Supplications and seeking the Help of Allah (SWT) is the way of keeping hope alive, since Allah (SWT) is the Best of Helpers. However, in seeking the Help of Allah (SWT) one should show forbearance, patience and perseverance. Surely Allah (SWT) hears the call of everyone & He is indeed Near to us:
S2V186: When My servant asks thee concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them); I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calleth on Me.
Sahih Bukhâri Hadith 8.352 Narrated by Abu Huraira (RA)
Allah’s Apostle (SAW) said, “ The invocation of anyone of you is granted (by Allah) if he does not show impatience.”
The significance of the above is that one should never give up hope nor despair of the Mercy and Help of Allah (SWT). It is our own sense of weakness & impatience that we cannot understand why the Help of Allah (SWT) does not come immediately. We often wonder why there is so much poverty or suffering in Palestine & other parts of the world; or we wonder why our prayers have not been answered. The above verse and the Hadith shed light that Allah (SWT) is the Best of Planners and His Help will surely come – it is up to us to keep that hope alive in our hearts and never despair.
16. HOPE AND RELIGION
Religion is a vast subject with many rules and regulations, do’s and don’ts and yet at the same time it is meant to be easy. Allah (SWT) does not want to put us through unnecessary hardships. The Prophet (SAW) advised us to follow the path of moderation and not be extremists in whatever we do. If we expect excessive acts of worship from the believers then we may inadvertently chase them away from the religion. Instead, we should inspire them with hope and optimism and motivate them so that they come to love the religion and not run away from it:
Sahih Bukhâri Hadith 1.69 Narrated by Anas bin Malik (RA)
The Prophet (SAW) said, “Facilitate things to 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).
17. WITH EVERY DIFFICULTY THERE IS RELIEF
S94V5: So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: verily, with every difficulty there is relief.
The above verse is full of hope that inspires and motivates us and shows that there is always a bright light at the end of the tunnel. Whenever we are in any difficulty the above verse inspires us to patiently persevere in our efforts and place our full hope and Trust in Allah (SWT). Allah (SWT) is the Best of Planners and during times of difficulty as well as during time of ease, we should always remember Allah (SWT). When we patiently strive in the Path of Allah (SWT), then we open ourselves to Allah’s (SWT) Kindness:
S3V30: And Allah is full of Kindness to those that serve Him.
In addition, Allah (SWT) in His Mercy & Kindness, has appointed Angels to protect us and to pray for our Forgiveness:
S82V10-V11: But verily over you (are appointed Angels) to protect you, Kind and honorable, - writing down (your deeds).
S42V5: The Heavens are almost rent asunder from above them (by His Glory): and the Angels celebrate the Praises of their Lord and pray for forgiveness for (all) beings on earth. Behold! Verily, Allah is He the Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.
Relief comes after difficulty when one is striving in Allah’s Path; one should have a goal and set one’s sights on that goal. With every striving there will be obstacles – success does not come easy; but patience and perseverance together with an unshakeable Belief in Allah (SWT) gives one the impetus to carry on despite the difficulty and despite the hardships, with the knowledge that this too will end and this striving will bear fruit:
S53V39-V40: Man can have nothing but what he strives for. That (the fruit of) his striving will soon come in sight.
Continuous striving is the only way to overcome obstacles. It was only through striving, persistence and perseverance that Apartheid in South Africa was dismantled when many people thought it impossible. Similarly, it was only through the same striving and surmounting huge obstacles that the Berlin Wall came crumbling down, and that Communism has failed and so too will all oppressors come tumbling down, including the oppressive regime of the Apartheid Zionist State of Israel. The will of a people inspired by freedom and return of their land together with hope as their rocket fuel will propel them to continuously persevere against the oppressor, because their only hope is victory in life or victory in death. Allah (SWT) has promised that His Religion will prevail:
S58V21: Allah has Decreed: “ It is I and My Apostle who must prevail”
18. HOPE THAT OPPRESSORS WILL EVENTUALLY FAIL
Many believers all over the world are being mistreated and tortured simply for their belief. They are suffering various forms of difficulties and hardships:
S85V8: and they ill-treated them for no other reason than that they believed in Allah Exalted in Power, worthy of all Praise!
The oppressors parade the earth with brutal arrogance, racism and discrimination, regarding one race or nation more worthy of respect than another and having total disregard for fairness, justice, mercy, compassion and a sense of Fear of Allah (SWT). Yet, their time will come soon and they will face a humiliating punishment. Media blackouts, propaganda, lies and conspiracies will not help them on a Day when all will be revealed:
S64V7: The unbelievers think that they will not be raised up (for judgment). Say: “Yea, by my Lord, ye shall surely be raised up; then shall ye be told (the truth) of all that ye did. And that is easy for Allah.”
S58V5: Those who resist Allah and His Apostle will be humbled to dust, as were those before them: for We have already sent down clear Signs. And the Unbelievers (will have) a humiliating penalty.
S83V29: Those in sin used to laugh at those who believed,
S83V34: But on this Day the Believers will laugh at the unbelievers.
These verses inspire us and fill our hearts to the brim with hope.
19. ACTION PLAN AND WAY FORWARD
(1) Always keep hope alive
(2) Patiently persevere in pursuing your goals
(3) Understand the nature of the problem you are faced with – either plan & strategize or get expert help
(4) Make adequate plans and preparations and only then place your Hope & Trust in Allah (SWT) – ie ‘tie your camel then place your Trust in Allah (SWT)”; for example, don’t expect to pass your exams by not studying and falsely believing “Oh I will just pray to Allah (SWT) and hope that I will pass”
(5) Success does not come to you while you are in your armchair –it is easy to be an armchair critic and criticize the attempts of others; rather, get up and do something; strive hopefully;
(6) Every effort counts, no matter how small; oppression and suffering will end only if we are willing to strive in the Path of Allah (SWT); we should not be complacent with our comfort level but rather think of our fellow muslims in all parts of the world who are undergoing various forms of hardships
(7) Inspire our youth with hope for the future – we cannot leave them with a world filled with despair and hopelessness; we have to inculcate in them the love for this wonderful Deen, so that they can become hope-filled leaders of tomorrow
S93V4: Verily the Hereafter will be better for thee than the present.
We all face hardships and difficulties in our lives. These can be related to our own personal lives and our individual goals, as well as difficulties pertaining to collective problems faced by society, our community or the global Ummah. Whatever the nature of the problem, the main criterion is to have hope for a better outcome. Hope gives us the energy and drive to continue despite insurmountable obstacles. Hope gives us the link between this temporary abode and our Final Abode. Hope is the fuel that motivates, inspires and challenges us to go the extra mile and to motivate others to stand up once again from the dust and fight one more day. Hope is the antithesis of despair and failure. Hope drives one upward the ladder of success in any endeavor. When all hope is lost then all energy also dissipates. All problems seem bigger than they are, when wearing the spectacles of despair (making mountains out of molehills). All problems seem much smaller than they are, when wearing the spectacles of hope. Our life in this world is temporary. We need to sow the seeds that will reap the rewards in the Hereafter. The Prophet (SAW) is a champion of hope. He never faltered or wavered in his mission to establish the Law of Allah (SWT) on Earth. Despite difficulties, hardships, perseverance and loss of loved ones, he never fell into despair and gloom; he always maintained his Hope and he always placed his Trust in Allah (SWT). He continually strove against all odds when lesser men would have easily given up, and it was through his fortitude, patience and perseverance and his unshakeable belief, that Victory came to him. May Allah (SWT) Guide us to the Straight Path and fill our lives with Peace, Contentment, Bliss & Hope.
Foundation for Islamic Publications
P O Box 13278, Laudium, 0037
Editor: Ahmed Adam