Updated: Sep 29, 2021
Confining one’s vision of existence to a worldly life and a dying world, ends with a person deliberately accepting the submission to a materialistic life in which the ultimate worry is tomorrow. In this tomorrow, one wishes to receive the good news of the long-awaited achievements and the fulfillment of dreams. Driven by hope, he/she continues to wish to attain that tomorrow. But then, death comes prior to one having lived that tomorrow. Narrated Anas bin Malik, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) drew a few lines and said, "This is (man's) hope, and this is the term of his death. And while he is in this state (of hope), the nearer line (death) comes to Him."
Hope, being a natural disposition in the human, constantly generates aspirations to catch greater moments of joy, higher levels of pleasure and a life of ease. But what good is hope, if death comes and destroys everything? What good is hope, if there is not a certain future in which the dream will come true? The dream being one of bliss in blissful abode. Cannot one reflect on the impact of uncertainty on the individual's psychology, spirit, mind, soul, hence on his/her being? Can they not think that the absence of God from life is a condemnation to the worst of suffering - the very painful aching of a soul in denial of its own identity, yet wishing to find peace in the heart!
It is the “blind” hope that makes one arrogant, mocking everything that does not rhyme with his/her whims and opinions. A “blind” hope, which continues to be nurtured by the increase in possessions one continues to accumulate. “No! [But] indeed, man transgresses. Because he sees himself self-sufficient” (96:6-7). This “blind” hope leads one to conclude, "What is God for, when one is in control of his/her destiny?" This is, indeed, the utmost blindness.
To the call of reason, the call to submit to Allah (swt), the people of Shu’aib (pbuh), said, "'O Shu'aib! Does your (religion of) prayer command you that we leave off the worship which our fathers practiced, or that we leave off doing what we like with our property? Truly, you are the one that forbears with faults and is right-minded!'"(11:87). Saying this sarcastically shows an arrogance built on an erratic hope and on ignorance. The amazing answer of Shu’aib (pbuh) instructs one to link with the certain truth. It is the certain truth that helps one wake up from the illusion of being in control of his/her life, to stop hoping for a glamorous life, which certainly leads to ruin, the certain truth that confers the greatest of the gifts, a hope that is certain. “... And who is truer to his covenant than Allah? Then rejoice in the bargain which you have concluded. That is the supreme success”(9:111). Shu’aib’s (pbuh) reply was: "'And ask forgiveness of your Lord and turn unto Him in repentance. Verily, my Lord is Most Merciful, Most Loving'” (11:90). Reflect on the last part of the Ayah: “Most Merciful, Most Loving.” Indeed, Iman (faith) does not only confer the certainty of achieving the ultimate of all dreams, but tells you that the One who has the absolute power to guide you to its attainment is also Affectionate, Loving-Full of Kindness, Merciful and Oft forgiving. “Allah has promised to the believers -men and women- gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of 'Adn (Eden Paradise). But, the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme success” (9:72).
The hope founded on Iman does not only drive one to find bliss after death, but it also provides a blissful life in this world. Not by becoming a billionaire and/or famous and powerful, no, it is the blissful life resulted from knowing that your Rabb (God) cares about you, cherishes you, listens to your supplication and knows your situation. “Is He [not best] who responds to the desperate one when he calls upon Him and removes evil and makes you inheritors of the earth? Is there a deity with Allah? Little do you remember” (27:62).
It certainly is a true hope when you read how Allah (swt) intervened to solve an issue in a household of a poor family, “Certainly has Allah heard the speech of the one who argues [i.e., pleads] with you, [O Muhammad], concerning her husband and directs her complaint to Allah. And Allah hears your dialogue; indeed, Allah is Hearing and Seeing” (58:1).
It is a true hope when you read how Allah (swt) reproached His beloved Messenger (pbuh), regarding a poor, blind man: “… But as for he who came to you striving [for knowledge] and with fear (in his heart), of him you are neglectful and divert your attention to another ...” (80:8-10).
It is a true hope when you read this: “O, you who believe! Remember Allah with much remembrance. And glorify Him morning and evening. It is He who confers blessing upon you, and His angels [ask Him to do so], that He may bring you out from darknesses into the light. And ever is He, to the believers, Merciful. Their greeting the Day they meet Him will be, 'Peace.' And He has prepared for them a noble reward” (33:41-44).
Redirecting hope to serve one’s certain journey to beyond death, to be in an Assembly of Truth, near the Omnipotent King, Allah, the All-Blessed, the Most High, the Owner of Majesty and Honor, is a necessity for one wishing to have the smile dwelling within his/her heart, peace within the mind and pleasure within the soul. “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, while he (/she) is a believer, We will surely cause them to live a good life. And We will surely give them their reward [in the Hereafter] according to the best of what they used to do” (16:97).