الحمد لله، الحمد لله الذي جعل بحسن الظن به النصرَ والرحمة، وجعل بحسن الظن بخلقه الألفة والمحبة، نحمده تعالى ونستعينه، ونشكره تعالى ونستغفره ونستغيثه، نعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا ومن سيئات أعمالنا، من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلن تجد له وليا مرشدا، ونشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له، له الملك و له الحمد، يحيي ويميت، بيده الخير، وهو على كل شيء قدير،  ونشهد أن سيدنا و مولانا محمداً عبده ورسوله، وحبيبه وصفيه، بلغ الرسالة وأدى الأمانة ونصح الأمة، النبي الأمي الذي أرسله الله بالهدى والدين الحق، بشيرا ونذيرا بين يدي الساعة، صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين. أما بعد! فيا عباد الله اتقوا الله حق تقاته ولا تموتن إلا وأنتم مسلمون. يأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله وقولوا قولا سديدا يصلح لكم أعمالكم ويغفر لكم ذنوبكم. ومن يطع الله ورسوله فقد فاز فوزا عظيما. اتقوا الله فيما أمر وانتهوا عما نها عنه وزجر.

 

Although we have stressed the importance of having fear of Allah in recent weeks, that does not mean that a person’s relationship with his Lord should be governed by fear and fear alone. For naked fear, always focussing on the worst that might happen, the possibility of punishment and rejection, inadequacy and failure, can lead to despair. And there are few things worse in the eyes of Allah than despair.

The counterbalance for fear, that which pulls the human being back from the precipice of despair, is hope, focussing on the best that can happen, the possibility of reward and acceptance, triumph and success. Hope is an essential characteristic of the mumin. But an excess of hope without fear is also dangerous for it leads to what is called in Arabic, amn, feeling safe and untouchable, taking your Lord for granted and losing your respect and awe of Him. Ibn Mas’ud said,

 

الكبائر أربع: الإشراك بالله، والقنوط من رحمة الله، واليأْس من رَوح الله، والأمن مِن مكر الله

 

“There are four major wrong actions: Associating partners with Allah, despairing of the mercy of Allah, losing hope in the solace of Allah and feeling safe from the plan of Allah.” So the believer equips himself with both qualities, hopeful of the mercy and aid of his Lord, but always aware that the aqiba is in His hands and He does as He will. Allah says, describing His Messengers,

 

إِنَّهُمْ كَانُواْ يُسَارِعُونَ فِى ٱلْخَيْرٰتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَباً وَرَهَباً وَكَانُواْ لَنَا خـٰشِعِينَ

 

the translation of which is, “They outdid each other in good actions, calling out to Us in hope and in fear, and humbling themselves to Us.” And He says,

 

وَيَرْجُونَ رَحْمَتَهُ وَيَخَـٰفُونَ عَذَابَهُ

 

the translation of which is, “Hoping for His mercy and fearing His punishment” Walking the tightrope between these two qualities is what keeps the human being safe and keeps his relationship with his Lord healthy. It is what enables him to get the best out of his life. But that does not mean that they are always equal and opposite forces – there are times in life when fear is more valuable, to break you out of your complacency, and times when hope is more valuable to break you free of your feelings of hopelessness and despair. The latter is far more common in this dar al-balaa, this world of trial and tribulations, and that is why Ibn Masud mentions it twice in his statement, while only mentioning feeling safe and untouchable once. The majority of people are governed by fear, a fact well known to the governments, advertisers and media of the present day, who use it to shape and control the attitudes and responses of the masses.

And that has also become true of the Muslims. Sometimes, when we look around the world, all we see is corruption and persecution, all we see is poverty and hardship, death and misery, ignorance and darkness, all we see is Islam being vilified and Muslims being blamed for all the world’s atrocities and problems, when our enemies come at us from every direction. Allah says,

 

إِذْ جَاءُوكُمْ مِنْ فَوْقِكُمْ وَمِنْ أَسْفَلَ مِنْكُمْ وَإِذْ زَاغَتِ الْأَبْصَارُ وَبَلَغَتِ الْقُلُوبُ الْحَنَاجِرَ وَتَظُنُّونَ بِاللَّهِ الظُّنُونَا هُنَالِكَ ابْتُلِيَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ وَزُلْزِلُوا زِلْزَالاً شَدِيداً

 

the translation of which is, “When they came at you from above you and below you, when your eyes rolled and your hearts rose to your throats, and you thought unworthy thoughts about Allah,at that point the believers were tested and severely shaken.” It is difficult to see any light at the end of the tunnel, especially when those who claim to represent us are as bad as those who hate and denounce us. And when a section of our ulama too, tell us that we are where we deserve to be, for we live in an age near the end of time when the Prophet prophesied that wrong action and corruption would be rife and true Muslims few and far between. That is our lot in life, so we must accept reality and make the best of the situation we have been placed in. But that is not the case. They are mistaken. This is a test to see which of us is best in action, which of us will emerge strengthened and not cowed from the crucible of this age. Despair and fatalism have no place in the heart of the believer. If he thinks the worst, then he is more lost than anyone. The Messenger of Allah said,

إذا قال الرجل هلك الناس، فهو أهلَكهم

 

“If a man says, ‘The people are ruined and destroyed, he is the most ruined of all of them.” The believer is eternally optimistic. He sees the best in everything. In the midst of all the dirt and rocks, he sees the diamond, even though it may be dirty and unpolished and look little different to all the other rocks. And he takes up the diamond and cuts and polishes it, until by means of it he is able to transform the rest of the landscape into something useful. We never despair of any situation no matter how bad. Allah says,

 

إِنَّهُ لَا يَيْئَسُ مِنْ رَوْحِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ

 

the translation of which is, “No one despairs of solace from Allah except for people who are unbelievers.” Musa did not despair when Pharaoh and his men were almost upon his people and the great sea blocked the way forward, and the Prophet did not despair when his message was rejected out of hand by the people of Thaqif. Instead, he preferred to see the potential, saying,

لعل الله يخرج من أصلابهم من يوحده

“It may well be that Allah brings forth from their loins a people who will affirm His Oneness.” He knew the way our Lord has fashioned this existence and the rules by which He governs it. The expectations and intentions of the slave have as much weight as their actions, indeed their actions are totally contingent upon them. So if our expectations are high and our intentions and aspirations lofty, then the outcomes will follow suit. Our Lord confirms this when He says in a hadith qudsi,

 

أنا عند ظن عبدي بي إن ظن خيرا فله وإن ظن شرا فله

 

“I am according to My slave’s opinion of Me. If he thinks good then he will have it, and if he thinks bad then he will have it.” Thinking well of Allah means believing that His plan for you is one which culminates in your success in this world and the Next. There is a wonderful example of this in the Seera of our noble Messenger. At the battle of the trench, the Muslims were surrounded and besieged by their enemies, and their food and supplies were cut off. This siege lasted for almost a month. And by the end of it, the Muslims were close to starvation. The Prophet himself had to tie a rock to his stomach to lessen the feeling of its emptiness, and yet never did he despair or think that the situation was getting away from him. Instead, he maintained a constant high opinion of his Lord. There was a particularly large and stubborn boulder that was hindering the building of the trench and none of the Muslims had been able to dislodge it. So the Messenger of Allah took hold of the pickaxe and struck at it, saying,

الله أكبر أوتيت مفاتيح فارس، أوتيت مفاتح الروم

 

“Allah is great. I have been given the keys to Persia and the keys to the Byzantine empire.” The hypocrites saw this and laughed among themselves and said to one another, “Hah! None of us are able to even go out to go to the toilet, and yet this man is telling us we will conquer the kingdoms of Chosroes and Caesar.” Their aspirations were limited to emptying their bowels and look where they ended up, whereas the aspirations of our Messenger went far beyond the situation at hand and right to the heart of the matter which was the promise of Allah. And that meant not just the destruction of that rock, not just victory in that battle, but victory over all the surrounding lands and empires. And that promise did indeed come to pass. When it comes to the deen of Allah and the success of His people, the Muslim with intellect never thinks small, He thinks big. The Prophet said,

 

إذا سألتم الله فاسألوه الفردوس

 

“When you ask Allah for something, ask Him for Firdaws.” In other words, always seek the best and highest possible outcome. Have high hopes of Allah and, without ever taking His generosity for granted, expect the best from Him. Therein lies your success.

 

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرَّحيم.

 

الحمد لله الحمد لله رب العالمين، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمداً عبده ورسوله، صلى الله وسلم وبارك عليه وعلى آله وصحبه، والتابعين وتابعي التابعين ومن تبعهم بإحسان إلى يوم الدين.  أما بعد! فيأيها الذين ءامنوا اتقوا الله ما استطعتم واسمعوا وأطيعوا وأنفقوا خيرا لأنفسكم. يا عباد الله أوصيكم وإياي بتقوى الله وطاعته وأحذركم وإياي عن معصيته ومخالفته.

 

Hope, like fear, comes in two types – a type which is praiseworthy and a type which is blameworthy, a type which activates and a type which brings stagnation and distraction from the task at hand in its wake. The flip side of fear of creation is hope from creation. This is typically referred to as amal or tul al-amal. Allah says in Surat al-Hijr,

 

ربما يود الذين كفروا لو كانوا مسلمين ذرهم يأكلوا ويتمتعوا ويلههم الأمل فسوف يعلمون

 

the translation of which is, “It may be that those who are unbelievers will wish that they had been Muslims. Leave them to eat and enjoy themselves. Let hope/amal divert them. They will soon know.” And the Prophet said, warning about its danger,

 

لا يزال قلب الكبير شاباً في اثنين لا يزال قلب الكبير شاباً في اثنين : في حب الدنيا ، وطول الأمل

 

“The heart of the old remains young in two things, the heart of the old remains young in two things: love of this world, and false hope.” Indeed, this type of hope gets stronger as you get older. The more time you spend here, the more attached you become. You will find older people much more careful about preserving their life and wealth than the young. Indeed, the old scholars who promote such things as suicide bombing would never dream of doing it themselves, such is their material hopes for their present and future. Once this type of hope gets its claws into you, it is difficult to shake it off. And this world becomes more and more real to you, and the Next world more and more fanciful and distant. Ali ibn abi Talib said,

 

إن أخوف ما أخاف عليكم اتباع الهوي وطول الأمل ، فأما اتباع الهوي فيصد عن الحق ، وأما طول الأمل فينسي الآخرة

 

“The thing I most fear for you is following your appetites and having false hope. Following your appetites blocks the path to the truth, while having false hope makes you forget the Next World.” Sometimes, it appears that this world gives a person things, and that his hopes in it are justified. But you should know that that is not the case – it merely appears that way. It is illusory and insubstantial and does not last. It is merely part of your Lord’s plan, a leading on of the unwise. Sometimes, it seems to last for years, sometimes even for generations, but in the end, the hopes of those people are dashed and the hopes of the people of Allah are realised. It is all part of His plan. Allah says,

 

وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُوا بِآَيَاتِنَا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُمْ مِنْ حَيْثُ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ وَأُمْلِي لَهُمْ إِنَّ كَيْدِي مَتِينٌ

 

the translation of which is, “As for those who reject our Signs, we will lead them on, bit by bit, from where they do not know, and give them more time. My strategy is sure.” They are not being led to success, but rather destruction. Their hopes lie in the insubstantial and so they end up with empty hands, with nothing. That is always the way with amal, with false hope.

As for the second type of hope, the hope that is praiseworthy and brings success, it is the flip side of fear of Allah, hope in Allah, usually referred to in Arabic as raja. Allah says,

 

إن الذين آمنوا والذين هاجروا وجاهدوا في سبيل الله أولئك يرجون رحمة الله

 

the translation of which is, “Those who believe and those who make hijra and do jihad in the Way of Allah, it is they who hope for the Mercy of Allah.” We place our hope in Allah for mercy in this world and in the Next, and for success. We call on Him with good opinion and in the expectation that He will grant what we ask. We hope for His help and forgiveness, His acceptance and favour, and He grants it to us, no matter how massive the thing we ask for. Allah says in a hadith qudsi,

 

يا ابن آدم إنك ما دعوتني ورجوتني غفرت لك ما كان منك ولا أبالي

 

“O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me and put your hope in Me, I will forgive you – whatever you have done does not concern Me…” And the Prophet said,

 

من لزم الاستغفار جعل الله له من كل هم فرجًا، ومن كل ضيق مخرجًا ورزقه من حيث لا يحتسب

 

“If you are constant in asking forgiveness of Allah, He will give you relief from every worry, a way out of every predicament and provision from where you least expect it.” So generous is He that He does not just give us according to the limits of our hope, but exceeds it, teaching us not to place limits on our hopes of Him. The more hope we place our hope in Him, and the more we trust in Him that He will bring about the best outcome, the more favourable that outcome will be.

We ask Allah to equip us with hope and keep despair far from our hearts. We ask that He forgive us all our wrong actions, and give us relief from all our worries and ease from all our difficulties. We ask for great openings, inwardly and outwardly, and for a clear and imminent victory. And we ask for the best of seals.

 

إِنَّ اللهَ وَمَلَائِكَتَهُ يُصَلُّونَ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ، يَا أَيُهَا الذِينَ آمَنُواْ صَلُّواْ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيماً.

اللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ وَسَلِّمْ وَبَارِكْ عَلَيْهِ وَعَلَى آلِهِ وَصَحْبِهِ  أَجْمَعِينَ. وَارْضَ اللَّهُمَّ عَنِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ أَبِي بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرَ وَعُثْمَانَ وَعَلِيٍّ، وعن أم المومنين عائشة التي أمرنا الله في سورة النور أن ندافع عنها، وَعَنْ سَائِرِ الصَّحَابَةِ أَجْمَعِينَ، خُصُوصاً اِلأَنْصَارَ مِنْهُمْ وَالمُهَاجِرِينَ، وَعَنِ التَّابِعِينَ وَتَابِعِي التَّابِعِينَ وَمَنْ تَبِعَهُمْ بِإِحْسَانٍ إِلَى يَوْمِ الدِّينِ.

اللَّهُمَّ اهْدِ وُلَاةَ أُمُورِ المُسْلِمِينَ لِمَا يُرْضِيكَ وَلِاتِّبَاعِ سُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَهُمْ عَلَى الصِّرَاطِ المُسْتَقِيمِ، وَأَصْلِحْهُمْ يَا رَبَّ الْعَالَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى شَيْخِنَا، وَعَلَى أَمِيرِنَا، وَعَلَى جَمِيعِ أُمَرَاءِ وَزُعَمَاءِ المُسْلِمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ عَلَى المُسْلِمِينَ فِي هَذِهِ المَدِينَةِ، وَوَفِّقْهُمْ لِمَا تُحِبُّهُ وَتَرْضَاهُ يَا أَكْرَمَ الأَكْرَمِينَ.

اللَّهُمَّ أَعِزَّ الإِسْلَامَ وَالمُسِْلمِينَ، وَاخْذُلِ الْكُفْرَ وَالْكَافِرِينَ، وَانْصُرِ المُجَاهِدِينَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللهِ. وَاجْعَلْ كَلِمََتَكَ هِيَ العُلْيَا وَكَلِمَةَ الْكُفْرِ هِيَ السُّفْلَى.

رَبَّنَا ءَاتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقَِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ.

إِنَّ اللهَ يَامُرُ بِالْعَدْلِ وَالإِحْسَانِ وَإِيتَاءِ ذِي الْقُرْبَى، وَيَنْهَى عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالمُنكَرِ وَالْبَغْيِ، يَعِظُكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَذَّكَّرُونَ، وَلَذِكْرُ اللهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ. وَقُومُواْ إِلَى صَلاتِكُمْ يَرْحَمُكُمُ اللهُ.