Ibn Al-Qayyim said, “The heart on its journey towards Allah the Exalted is like that of a bird. Love is its head, and fear and hope are its two wings. When the head is healthy, then the two wings will fly well. When the head is cut off, the bird will die. When either of two wings is damaged, the bird becomes vulnerable to every hunter and predator.”
This is an amazing hadith as it shows us how important it is to have these three attributes within us, love, hope and fear. Love is the greatest attribute of Allah, it is from His love, His Mercy that we are saved from Hell. It is from His love for us that He will admit us into Paradise. With love for our Rabb comes fear, but this fear isn’t fear that’s driven into our hearts from a ruthless tyrant, rather it is fear of disappointing who we love most. This can be equated when a child lets down his father, he fears not the punishment, but his heart fills with fear of letting down the one he loves most. We see this in ourselves when we betray the trust of our spouses, our friends, our mothers and fathers. When we break promises, when we don’t live up to our responsibilities and duties to our loved ones.
This is where hope comes in. Allah (swt) is endless in His Forgiveness. Hope is what keeps us going when we sin. It’s what gets us back up when we fall. We have HOPE in Allah, that He will forgive us, that He will show us Mercy. If we didn’t have hope why would we continue to worship Allah when we keep stacking our sins higher than the mountains? Hope is the central theme of this hadith: The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Allah says: O son of Adam, as long as you call on Me, I shall forgive you of what you have done, and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if your sins were to reach up to the clouds in the sky, and then you were to ask for My forgiveness, I would forgive you and think nothing of it. O son of Adam, even if you were to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, and then you were to meet Me after death, not worshiping anything besides Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as the earth.”
This is hope. This is what we must instill within our hearts. No matter how much we have sinned, how much we have wronged, hope should drive us to repent, to keep on the pursuit of betterment. To continue on our path of righteousness no matter how many detours we might take, we should hope, hope that we end up back on the right path. Like anything hope alone isn’t enough, but when we have unequivocal love for Allah, fear of never disappointing Him, and hope that fills our hearts that He will continue to guide and forgive us we will fly through life with ease.
– Omar M