خَفِ اللّهَ يُؤمِنْكَ، وَ لا تأمَنْهُ فَيُعَذِّبَكَ
Fear Allah and he will make you safe, but if you do not fear him he will punish you.
Fearing Allah and avoiding sins is a cornerstone in the practice of Islam. In sermon 64 of Nahjul Balagha, Ali bin abi Talib said:
O creatures of Allah! Fear Allah and anticipate your death by good actions. Purchase everlasting joy by paying transitory things – pleasures of this world. Get ready for the journey, for you are being driven, and prepare yourselves for death, since it is hovering over you.
We discussed the importance of keeping hope in Allah in a previous post. Fear and hope should both be present in one’s heart:
Man’s psyche should contain a perfect balance of fear and hope.
Here is a good article about the same subject.
لايُحْسِنُ عَبْدٌ الظَّنَّ بِاللّهِ سُبْحانَهُ إلاّ كانَ اللّهُ سُبْحانَهُ عِنْدَ أحسْنِ ظَنِّهِ بِهِ
If the believer keeps his hope in Allah, Allah will not let him down.
Islam has put great importance on the virtue of keeping hope in Allah. The following verse from Surat Yūsuf (Joseph) talks about it:
“O my sons! go ye and enquire about Joseph and his brother, and never give up hope of Allah’s Soothing Mercy: truly no one despairs of Allah’s Soothing Mercy, except those who have no faith.”
No matter how big and numerous are the sins of a person, Allah will forgive him if and when true repentance happens. To despair from Allah’s mercy is the second greatest sin in Islam, the first being Shirk. Another sin is Qunut (despondence), which is considered the third greatest sin in Islam.
Hope in Allah extends to worldly matters too. A positive mental attitude is a fundamental factor in reaching success in business, education, sports, health, family, etc…
Research has shown that through emotional intelligence training and positive psychology therapy one’s attitudes and perceptions can be modified to improve their personal and professional life.
مَنْ لَمْ يَحْتَمِلْ مَرارَةَ الدَّواءِ دامَ ألَمُهُ
He who doesn’t tolerate the bitterness of medicine will have lasting pain.
This (of course) applies to the physical as well as the spiritual dimensions of human existence.
كانَ لي فيما مَضى أخٌ فِي اللهِ وكانَ يُعظِّمُهُ في عَيني صِغَرُ الدُّنيا في عَينِهِ. وكانَ خارِجاً مِن سُلطانِ بَطنِهِ؛ فَلا يَشتَهي ما لا يَجِدُ، ولا يُكثِرُ إذا وَجَدَ. وكانَ أكثَرَ دَهرِهِ صامِتاً، فَإِن قالَ بَذَّ القائِلينَ، ونَقَعَ غَليلَ السّائِلينَ. وكانَ ضَعيفاً مُستَضعَفاً، فَإِن جاءَ الجِدُّ فَهُوَ لَيثُ غابٍ، وصِلُّ وادٍ. لا يُدلي بِحُجَّةٍ حَتّى يَأتِيَ قاضِياً. وكانَ لا يَلومُ أحَداً عَلى ما يَجِدُ العُذرَ في مِثلِهِ حَتّى يَسمَعَ اعتِذارَهُ. وكانَ لا يَشكو وَجَعاً إلّا عِندَ بُرئِهِ. وكانَ يَفعَلُ ما يَقولُ، ولا يَقولُ ما لا يَفعَلُ. وكانَ إن غُلِبَ عَلَى الكَلامِ لَم يُغلَب عَلَى السُّكوتِ. وكانَ عَلى أن يَسمَع أحرَصَ مِنهُ عَلى أن يَتَكَلَّمَ. وكانَ إذا بَدَهَهُ أمرانِ نظر أيُّهُما أقرَبُ إلَى الهَوى فَخالفهُ. فَعَلَيكُم بِهذِهِ الخَلائِقِ فَالزَموها، وتَنافَسوا فيها، فَإِن لَم تَستَطيعوها فَاعلَموا أنَّ أخذَ القَليلِ خَيرٌ مِن تَركِ الكَثير.
I used to have a godly brother and what I found to be great in him was that he regarded this world as unimportant. He was not under the influence of his appetite; he didn’t desire food which he couldn’t find but when he found it he didn’t eat much of it. He used to be silent most of the time, but when he spoke he convinced those who argue and he answered questions of those who ask. He used to be weak and was belittled, but when the going got tough, he was lion of the jungle and snake of the valley. When he entered a debate, his argument was decisive. He didn’t blame anyone before he heard his excuse, and he blamed only for things which are to be blamed for. He didn’t complain about ill health until he got well. He used to do what he says, and didn’t say what he wouldn’t do. If others beat him into talking, he would beat them into silence. He preferred listening rather than talking, and when he was confronted with two choices, he would choose the one farther from his liking.
So stick to these virtues and compete within yourselves about them. And if you can’t get them all, then you should know that getting something is better than losing everything.
“أخ في الله” roughly translates to “Brother for Allah”. In order to be brief and because I found no equivalent term in English, I chose the word “Godly”.
Muslims should care for each other as if they were brothers, although no family relationship between them might exist. In the Holy Quran it’s mentioned that:
The believers are but brothers
Who was the person the Imam was talking about in this quote? According to a commentator of the Imam’s sayings, this quote refers to no one in particular. Instead, the Imam was setting a standard of virtues for us to try to reach.