Sharh as-Sunnah : Lesson 51: Point 88
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]
Imaam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said:
And know, may Allaah have mercy upon you, that it is befitting that the servant should always have fear and concern for as long as he remains in this world because he does not know what condition he will die upon, what conclusion he will have, knowing what state he will meet Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic even if he performed every good deed.
And it is befitting that a man who has transgressed greatly to the detriment of his own soul should not give up hope in Allaah, the Most High, at the point of death. Rather, he should have good thoughts with respect to Allaah whilst fearing his sins. So, if Allaah has mercy upon him then it is from His favour and if He punishes him then it is because of his sins.
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This is a tremendous matter and it is that the believer (mu`min) should combine al-khawf war-rajaa· (fear and hope) such that in performing his deeds he precedes between fear and hope. So he does not have fear on its own and so therefore despair of the mercy of Allaah.
He, the Most High, said:
إِنَّهُ لَا يَيْأَسُ مِن رَّوْحِ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْكَافِرُونَ
Indeed no-one despairs of the mercy of Allaah except for the disbelieving people. (Soorah-Yoosuf (12), aayah 87)
And He, the Most High, said:
وَمَن يَقْنَطُ مِن رَّحْمَةِ رَبِّهِ إِلَّا الضَّالُّونَ
And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except for those people who are astray. (Sooratul-Hijr (15), aayah 56)
He, the Most High, said:
قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ
Say, “O my servants who have transgressed greatly against their own soulsǃ Do not despair of the mercy of Allaah.” (Sooratuz-Zumar (39), aayah 53)
So he should not fear with excessive fear, which causes him to despair of the mercy of Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, for this is blameworthy fear. And likewise, he should have hope in Allaah the Mighty and Majestic, however, the hope should not take him and cause him to feel secure of the makr (plot or plan) of Allaah. Rather, he should be fearful of Allaah’s plan.
And the plan of Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, is as befits Him and it is from His perfection. It is not like the makr (plotting) of the created beings, for makr (plotting) in the language is secretly striving for some harm to come upon someone else in a hidden manner such that he is not aware of it. This is what makr means in Arabic. So if that is done for a just cause then it is justice and this is the plotting or planning of Allaah, the Perfect and Most High, for He plots against the wrongdoers and the evildoers and causes his punishment to come upon them in a way that they do not perceive and this is justice from Him, He, the Perfect. So He is praised for it but as for if causing harm to come upon someone else is not for a just cause then it is dhulm (oppression) and it is not permissible. And this is the makr (plotting) of the created beings but as for the plotting of the Creator, the Majestic and Most High, then it is something praiseworthy because it is justice and fairness from Him, He, the Perfect and Most High. So this is the difference between the two matters; between the plotting of Allaah and the plotting of the created beings.
He, the Most High, said:
وَمَكَرُوا وَمَكَرَ اللَّهُ ۖ وَاللَّهُ خَيْرُ الْمَاكِرِينَ
And they plot and Allaah plots. And Allaah is the best of those who plot. (Soorah Aali `Imraan (3), aayah 54)
This is a case of recompense for them. So it is not oppression from Him, He, the Perfect and Most High. Rather it comes about as a result of their plotting. They plotted and Allaah plotted against them as a punishment for them. And this is justice from Him, He, the Perfect and Most High.
And there occurs in the hadeeth:
“One of you may act with the actions of the people of Paradise until there is not between him and it except a cubit; forearms distance and then what was written overtakes him and he acts with the actions of the people of the Fire and therefore he enters it.”
He enters the Fire on account of the fact that he has acted with the actions of the people of the Fire and the recompense comes as a result of the action. And since his conclusion was that he acted with the actions of the people of the Fire, he will enter the Fire and the opposite is the case:
“And one of you may act with the actions of the people of the Fire until there is not between him and it except a cubit; forearms distance so then what was written overtakes him and he acts with the actions of the people of the Paradise and therefore he enters it.”
He enters it because he performed the actions of the people of Paradise and died upon it. So the Fire will not be entered into except on account of deeds and Paradise will not be entered into except on account of having performed deeds; and deeds are in accordance with their conclusions.
So a person must not be deceived by his own righteousness or his uprightness and therefore feel secure from deviation. How many believers and how many Muslims and how many scholars Allaah has caused them to deviate when acts of disobedience occurred from them? So a person should not feel secure about himself nor praise his own self. So he should not feel secure from deviation and so on account of it mix with the evil people and listen to them and look into matters of trials and tribulations. He should not feel secure for himself.
“The hearts of the servants are between two fingers from the fingers of the Most Merciful One.”
He should not feel secure with regard to himself. And the khaleel (the especially beloved one); Ibraaheem `alayhissalaam made supplication (du`a) and said:
وَاجْنُبْنِي وَبَنِيَّ أَن نَّعْبُدَ الْأَصْنَامَ
رَبِّ إِنَّهُنَّ أَضْلَلْنَ كَثِيرًا مِّنَ النَّاسِ
… And keep me and my children away from worshipping the idols. O my Lord they have led many of the people astray. (Soorah Ibraaheem (14), aayah 35-36)
So a person should not feel secure for himself from being put to trial and from having an evil conclusion even if he is from the most righteous of the people. And he shouldn’t despair of the mercy of Allaah even if he is one of the worst of the disbelieving ones from the people, for Allaah may favour him with repentance so that he dies upon Islaam and therefore enters Paradise. Because as long as he is still alive then he is open to this or that. So the actions are in accordance with their conclusions.
His saying, “and he should have good thoughts with respect to Allaah and he should fear his sins.” He should think good with regard to Allaah and not despair of the mercy of Allaah.
“and he should fear his sins,” meaning he should not hope with a hope that has no fear with it. Rather, he should gather between fear and hope.
إِنَّهُمْ كَانُوا يُسَارِعُونَ فِي الْخَيْرَاتِ وَيَدْعُونَنَا رَغَبًا وَرَهَبًا
They used to hasten to perform good deeds and they worshipped Us and invoked Us upon hope and fear. (Sooratul-Anbiyaa· (21), aayah 90)
They were the Prophets and they used to hasten to do good deeds and worship and invoke Allaah, raghaban (with hope); meaning hoping for His reward and rahaban (meaning fearing His punishment). So the Prophets gathered between fear and hope; they did not take one aspect and leave the other aspect. They did not take the aspect of hope and leave off the aspect of fear and they did not take up the aspect of fear and leave off the aspect of hope.
And the servant should make his thoughts about Allaah good, particularly at the point of death. The scholars said, while the person is in a state of good health, he should cause the aspect of fear to predominate as a precaution and at the point of death, he should cause the aspect of hope to predominate. Because during life he is able to act and to repent and to seek forgiveness but at the point of death, he is not able to do anything so then he should give precedence to the aspect of hope. And therefore, there occurs in the hadeeth:
“One of you should not die except that he has good thoughts with respect to Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.”
His saying, “if Allaah has mercy upon him then it is from His favour and if He punishes him then it is on account of sin.” This is just as has preceded that Allaah, the Majestic and Most High, does not grant bliss to the people nor does He punish them except on account of their deeds.
He, the Most High, said:
وَلَا يَظْلِمُ رَبُّكَ أَحَدًا
And your Lord does not oppress anyone.
(Sooratul-Kahf (18), aayah 49)
 Reported by al-Bukhaariyy (3,208) and (6,594) and Muslim (2,643) from a hadeeth of `Abdullaah ibn Mas`ood radiyAllaahu `anhu.
 Reported by Muslim (2,654) from a hadeeth of `Abdullaah Ibn `Amr radiyAllaahu `anhumaa.
 Reported by Muslim (2,877) from a hadeeth of `Abdullaah ibn `Amr radiyAllaahu `anhumaa.
Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
(A Gift To The Reader In Annotation Of Sharh As-Sunnah)
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan hafizahullaah
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah
Transcribed by Saima Zaher.
Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah
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