Extended Hopes

Sh. Muhammad Al Mawlud stated that the immediate acting poison of this tamaa, love of dunya, etc. is accustoming/assuming self that death is a long way off. This is intrinsic in our nature and there is wisdom in it. If people didn’t have extended hope, they wouldn’t even plant a tree, there will be no infrastructure for the next generation. There is a famous story of a Persian King that passed by an old man planting an olive tree. The King asked him “Will this tree benefit you? And you’ll die before it comes to fruition” (a good olive tree takes several decades to produce). The old man replied “They planted before us and we ate, we therefore plant so others can eat”. The king was impressed and said “This tree already benefited me!” He gave the old man a reward. This extended hope is a Rahma from Allah.

It is interesting that in this modern culture people are beginning to lose hope about the future. There is a morbid perspective of the world. The fast food culture and credit culture is producing a generation that for the first time looks at the future to be worse than the past. Too much hope is bad because it causes hard heartedness and indolence.

The world is divided into two types of people: a) Saeed-Felicitious and b) Shaqee-Wretched.

Aristotle who is the foundational to western philosophy wrote a book called “Ethics”. In it he proposes that the goal of life is leisure and happiness and that is reflected in the declaration of independence. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The original wording was being free of debt when you come into the world, but that was changed to pursuit of happiness. Happiness in the modern context is associated with things, material goods. Islam radically altered the understanding of happiness. Sa’ada is in the next world. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said “If you are not angry with me Ya Allah, then I don’t care what you do with me”. It is the understanding that akhirah is better than now. The opposite concept of Sa’ada is Shaqawa. A Shaqee is one that doesn’t have the akhirah. Al Fudhayl Ibn Ladh- both a scholar and a Zahid said there are 5 signs of wretchedness:

1. Hard Heartedness: “Have Mercy on those on the earth and the one in the sky will have Mercy on you.”

2. The eye that doesn’t weep.

3. Lacking Modesty: “If you have no shame then do whatever you want”

4. Desiring dunya: No one increases in the akhirah except that it harms his dunya, and no one increases his dunya except that it harms his akhirah. In Nurul Yaqeen, the Seerah by an Egyptian scholar, he said that the Sahaba had lost most of the dunya but that didn’t swerve them from the quest of akhirah. Quba was such a simple masjid that many of us in the modern context would not have recognised it. We are obsessed with ornamenting the outside now, while we are empty on the inside.

5. Extended hope: It leads to indolence, lack of energy to do things that are obligatory on us. There are some people who have incredible energy to do worldly things, but when it comes to deen they are simply “too tired”.

Hassan Al Basri said I saw 70 people of Badr and if you saw any of them you would have thought they were mad. If they saw the best of you they would say these people have no character. If they saw the worst of you they would say these people don’t believe in the Akhirah. There is a tradition that is often mistook for a hadith that states “Act for dunya as if you would live forever, and act for Akhirah as if you would die tomorrow”.  Sh. Uthmaan Bashir explained the above tradition. He said that most people don’t understand it, it is a saying used by dunya lovers to justify their actions….”We have to act as if we will live forever..” But if you look at the saying and your situation bifocally it means “I have forever to do my dunya obligations, but I only have one day to fulfil my akhirah obligations”. This puts it in perspective. We don’t have much time to work for akhirah and that should be our main goal.

“Don’t forget your portion of the dunya”.  Don’t forget what Allah has given you so expend for akhirah, or is that the dunya is there so don’t forget it. Essentially we are not anti world but are reminded not to forget the akhirah either.  If you are not thinking about akhirah the longer you stay on earth the more hard hearted you become.

Children cry easily because their hearts are very supple. They can go from extreme joy to extreme sadness in one day, but as a person gets older this purity becomes harder to achieve. One of the things that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was made to love was women, because their hearts were more brittle than men.

Regarding the person who benefits people with knowledge, it is not a bad thing to have hope for a long life. The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said “don’t desire to die”. If you did wrong you need the time to make Tawbah and rectify your actions, if you did right you need more time to do even more. “Extended hope is a mercy from Allah subhanahu wa t’ala, had it not been for it, you wouldn’t see a farmer planting trees, or a woman giving birth”.  The idea is not to get into a state of paralysis, but reflect. A good exercise is to reflect on the states of death and akhirah. ne of the things that athletes are trained to do is visualisation as a psychological preparation. We should prepare for the inevitable journey to akhirah. When we get into a hyper conscious state that makes this state look like a dream. We wake up when we die.

Some of the Ulemah said if people have shahawat/appetites reflection on death will give them sobriety. The difference between Ar Rajaa and extended hope. Rajaa is hope for Allah. There is a famous hadith that states” The one who love to meet Allah, Allah loves to meet him” Aisha (radhiallaahu anha) said “What about disliking death?” The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) replied “Everyone hates death, but every Mumin wants to meet Allah”. Khawf and Rajaa- We have to have the two sandals of hope and fear. Too much fear leads to despair of the Mercy of Allah subhanahu wa t’ala. It is a common religious illness. Some Christians focus too much on the apocalyptic nature of religion, hellfire, damnation etc. The pilgrims believed only 144,000 will make it to heaven (even Jehovah’s witnesses). There were more pilgrims than that, so the odds of making it, weren’t so high.

Excessive hope on the other side, leads to a complacency and makes us stop acting. There is an article about Baptism that talks about the fact that Baptists can pretty much do anything since they are saved. Salvation through Christ absolved all they wrong actions. There is no sense of khawf at all. That’s why priests can get away with a lot, then come back and preach and people will listen (eg. Jimmy Swagger). Muslims have a high expectation of their leaders. That is why an illegitimate child is Makruh to lead prayer. There is no ithm/bad associated with the child since it wasn’t his fault, but it is just a bad example for the community. Umniya- Is blameworthy. This is where the means is not taken but hope is there eg someone wants to lead a healthy life, but they don’t watch their diet, they don’t exercise, etc and still expect to be healthy. Rajaa is the means is taken and hope is there for the Mercy of Allah.

There is a story where a Pakistani was in a plane with two people. One said I want to go to Sweden there’s only 3% Muslims there, the other said I want to go somewhere else there’s only 2% Muslims there, the Pakistani turned around and said “why don’t you go to hell there are no Muslims there!” There is an assumption amongst Muslims that Muslims aren’t going to hell (big suprise when we get there). People have hope on the two Shahadatain (when you are born and when you die). Some people’s extent with Islam is when they get married and when they die and still expect to go to Jannah. Rajaa iwhen you do the things you need to do and have hope on Allah. Khawf should be the over riding factor until you die. At the moment of death a believer lets go of khawf and has hope that Allah will be forgiving and Merciful towards him.

Extended hope leads to headlessness about the reality of death which is not a sin in itself. Reflecting on death is like dhikr of Allah, its mandub not fardh (obligatory). The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) highly recommended reflection on death. Including visitation of the graves, for they are a good reminder of death. Trying to make money is Jaiz-mubah-allowed. Even on Hajj we are allowed to trade. Unless it was for Tafakhur, = takkabur, competition, hoarding wealth or putting off tawbah. Then it becomes a sin.

In this culture we have a concept of “sowing your wild oats” do Ma’asi/sins while you have the energy. That’s why Allah loves a young man who is obedient to Him. There are people who do a lot of ma’asi when they are young, then they get old, and repent but then go into this self righteous mode. All of a sudden they forget their past, and start pointing fingers at others.



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