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To have hope is to look at the vastness of Allah's mercy and to realize that He is able —and desirous— to provide the best for His sincere believers. What contradicts that state of hope is giving up on receiving Allah's provision.
When a person does a deed, he should have more hope than fear in Allah, because this reminds him to think good of Allah and to expect His goodness.
"I am just as My slave thinks I am, (i.e. I am able to do for him what he thinks I can do for him). (al- Bukhari and Muslim).
Aisha said: "O Messenger of Allah, [regarding the verse:] "And they who give what they give (their charity) while their hearts are fearful" [23:60], Are they those who steal, commit fornication and drink alcohol? He (ﷺ) replied: "No, Oh daughter of Siddeeq. They are the people who fast, perform prayer, and give charity, while fearing that their actions will not be accepted: "It is those who hasten in doing good deeds" [23:61]."
This is the highest level of hope and is the most praiseworthy. Its motivation is to please Allah and to avoid displeasing Him.
But as for the sinner who insists on being disobedient and does not repent while imagining that he can nevertheless expect the mercy of Allah while minimizing his need for a penitent and pure heart, he is really wishing —not having a reasonable expectation grounded in a valid hope. This distortion and misunderstanding of the second type of hope is blameworthy.
To be fearful means to experience the grief that overcomes (afflicts) a person due to the expectation of something potentially harmful. If the harmfulness of something is certain then it's called khashya, which is the opposite of safety — not the opposite of hope. Danger motivates one to be in fear, whereas hope motivates one to be encouraged.
A sound heart is one which combines Love with a balance of Fear and Hope.
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
"The heart on its way to Allah is like a bird: Its head is love; hope and fear are its wings. If the heart has [a healthy] fear in it, then it will burn all of its desires and remove the worldliness from itself."
There is an obligatory —and healthful— Fear of Allah that encourages you to fulfill what is required of you according to the Guidance of your Creator and to leave aside what is prohibited by it.
A healthy fear encourages you to do what is praiseworthy and to leave that which is disliked.
This is when one fears harm from the various false "gods" worshipped by idolaters —those alleged divinities or forces other than the singular, undivided Absolute Sovereign of the Universe.
This is when the fear of other people leads one to disobedience of Allah —either to commit a sin or to leave off something required by Allah.
There is another, permissible type of fear, such as the natural fear one feels towards the threat of bodily or other harm, such as from a violent person, a wild animal or a natural disaster.
Asceticism and the Wealth of this World
An ascetic believer renounces something for that which is better than it. Renouncing the meaningless ornaments and amusements of this world relieves a burden from one's heart and body, but longing for them increases worry and anxiety.
'Loving' worldly gain, favoring its temporal enjoyment, is the source of temptations and sins which undermine the integrity of our hearts, while 'hating' it, preferring instead the approval of Allah is the cause of every good deed. To renounce this world is to remove its allure from your heart —not to remove it from your hands while your heart is still attached to it. For that would be the asceticism of the ignorant people.
Lastly, how should the Believer relate to the things of this world and to his opportunities for owning and using its resources, if he seriously wants to maximize a pure and clean heart?
5) A person who seeks the wealth of this world out of necessity, such as a hungry or naked person who does not have food or clothing. This is a desperate person. It is required of the rest of us, as a religious obligation, to help provide for the needs of the destitute. By sharing our wealth —whether small or great— the rest of us are afforded the remarkable opportunity for purifying our spiritual hearts, and thus for attaining nearness to Allah in the Next Life.
The Prophet (ﷺ) said:
"How great is good wealth when it is put in the hands of a righteous man!" (Ahmad)
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THIS SERIES has examined the spiritual heart, especially its acts as they build and reflect one's motivations in doing good and avoiding harm. We have explored how wrongdoing and sin emanate from unfortunate and blameworthy decisions made in the heart, and how understanding the mechanisms at work in the spiritual heart can be harnessed so as to maintain a pure heart and thus help one to please Allah and to gain His highest reward.
By pure acts of the heart we live out the qualities that Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) brought anew to the world with Islam, promoting these perfect personal practices through both example and instruction, Finally, we detailed major attitudes and behavioral characteristics that display the fruits of sincerity in the pure heart.
May Allah honor and multiply our faltering human efforts to understand and carry out His perfect Religion, wherever we live.
I would like to acknowledge my debt of gratitude for assistance in writing this article to Al-Azhar University graduate, Mr. Ahmed Nagy, now Director of the online Firdaws Academy for English language teaching of the Qur’an, Arabic language and Islamic Studies where the author is a tutor.