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On Eemaan, Ibaadah and Tawheed : Their Link and Interrelation.
  Lesson 3: Love, Hope and Fear
Author: Abu Iyaad as-Salafi
Article ID : SCL010003  

All praise is due to Allaah, Lord of the Worlds and prayers and peace upon His Messenger, Muhammad.

In this lesson we shall try to develop an understanding of some of the characterstics of worship (ibaadah) - which begins in the heart. Thus, this lesson is really dealing with the ‘actions of the heart’ - you should remember what this is from the first lesson.

Ibn Taymiyyah (rh) gave the definition of worship as follows:

"Worship is everything that Allaah loves and is pleased with from the inward and outward sayings and actions."

In other words this is very similar to the complete and comprehensive definition of eemaan that we dealt with in Lesson 1. This lesson will deal with the ‘inward actions of the heart’ which really form the basis of a Muslim’s servitude to Allaah.

As usual we shall summarise the lesson with a quotation. Today’s quotation should be easy for everyone. It is the first few verses of Surah Faatihah!

So what has this to do with our lecture? Lets take the verses one by one.

1. All Praise is due to Allaah, Lord of all the Worlds.

In this verse we praise Allaah, who is the Rabb. ‘Lord’ is a poor translation for the word ‘rabb’. Rabb means the one who creates everything, sustains everything, owns everything -the one who guides, misguides, gives life, takes life, shapes, fashions, sends down the rain etc… It means that Allaah has complete power over everything. When we understand this, we come to know, that it is Allaah who created us as individuals, gave us life, provided us with shelter in our mother’s wombs and outside of them. Granted us parents who looked after us and provided us with whatever we needed, whether that was food, drink or even emotions. That Allaah bestowed upon us many favours and gave us wealth, clothes etc…That Allaah is continuously bestowing each of us many favours and that His favours cannot even be enumerated. Every single breath that one of us takes, is a favour from him etc… On top of that in times of distress, He gives us ease, in times of poverty He gives us wealth, in times of sickness He grants us health, in times of hunger, He gives us to eat etc… So all of this, when a Muslim reflects over this and thinks about it carefully, should bring about a state of the heart, which we describe as ‘Love’. Our hearts develop ‘love’ for Allaah due to all these things, that He is our Creator, Fashioner, Provider, Sustainer, Protector, Guider, Healer etc…

From another point of view, we see that in this verse we begin with declaring that all praise is rightfully due to Allaah. The scholars of the Salaf (Ibn al-Qayyim, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Uthaimeen and others etc.) explain that Allaah is praised on account of his Most Beatiful Names and His Attributes. In other words when we know that Allaah is ar-Razzaaq (the Provider), ash-Shaafi’ (the Healer) al-Khaaliq (the Creator), al-Haadee (the Guider) etc. then our hearts develop ‘love’ for Him. Likewise when we know Allaah’s Attributes we come to know more about Him and therefore our hearts develop a greater love of Him. So the fact that the verse contains praise of Allaah, this should in turn remind us that He is praised on account of His Names and Attributes, because they indicate his perfection and freedom from any defects. And this in turn causes love in the hearts to develop.

From yet another point of view, the Name of Allaah, which is ‘Allaah’ has been mentioned in the verse. And this in itself gives indicates all the other names of Allaah. So we say, ar-Rahmaan is a name of Allaah, and ar-Razzaaq is a name of Allaah and al-Quddoos is a name of Allaah. So when we say Allaah, it is inclusive of all the other names of Allaah. But this is not the case if we say ar-Rahmaan. This does not include all the other names, likewise as-Salaam or al-Muhaimin, or ar-Raheem. These are individual names and they in themselves, don’t represent the other names. For example, the name ‘Allaah’ is inclusive of the meanings of all those other names, but the meaning of al-Aleem is not the same as the meaning of as-Samee’ or al-Baseer etc. [Refer to Ibn Uthaimeen in al-Qawaa’id ul-Muthlaa]. Therefore the fact that Allaah is mentioned in this verse, it reminds us of all His Names, those which He revealed and those which He did not. And again, when we think of this, our hearts develop ‘love’ of Him.

Some verses mentioning the love aspect of worship:

And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allâh as rivals (to Allâh). They love them as they love Allâh. But those who believe, love Allâh more (than anything else). If only, those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allâh and that Allâh is Severe in punishment. [Baqarah 2:125]

O you who believe! Whoever from among you turns back from his religion (Islâm), Allâh will bring a people whom He will love and they will love Him… [Maa’idah 5:54]

And the well known hadeeth:

"There are three qualities, whoever possesses them will taste the sweetness of eemaan… … that he loves Allaah and the Messenger over everything else…"

2. The Vast in Mercy (ar-Rahmaan), Ever-Merciful (to His Believing Servants)

The word ‘ar-Rahmaan’ is such in the arabic language that it denotes an overflowing quality. In other words it shows that Allaah is vast and overflowing in His Mercy, or that He is the Most-Merciful and that His mercy comprehends and envelopes everything. As the Angels say:

O our Lord, You have encompassed everything with Your knowledge and mercy… [Ghaafir 40:7]

The word ‘ar-Raheem’ means one who constantly bestows mercy, is always being merciful in His actions.

The first of the two names ‘ar-Rahmaan’ is general for the whole of creation. In other words Allaah gives blessings and shows mercy to the disbelievers and the hypocrites etc. since He gives them food, drink, saves them from harm and other such things. So this is general for the whole of creation. The second of the two refers only to the Believers, those whom Allaah favours with knowledge, guidance, forgiveness, eemaan etc.

This verse contains the element of hope in the sense that we hope in Allaah, either for our worldly needs and more importantly for the needs with respect to the religion and the hereafter. So when we come to know of these two names of Allaah it produces the feelings of hope in our hearts. That is we hope that Allaah grants us mercy, forgives us, turns to us, guides us, increases in knowledge and faith. And also we hope that He provides for us, sustains us, protects us, etc.

3. Master/King of the Day of Judgement

It is clear why this verse is linked to and produces fear in the hearts. This reminds us of the terrors of the day of Judgement, the various events that will take place such as being held to account, standing in front of Allaah with Hellfire to the right and left, being presented with the scrolls, either in the right hand, the left hand or behind our backs, when we will be tested to see if we can prostrate when Allaah reveals His Shin, the crossing over the bridge, the settling of the accounts and disputes that occurred amongst the believers - those who manage to get over the other side of the bridge, the fact that everything we have done will be laid out in front of us to see - and all the other things which are too numerous to mention.

So this no doubt, will inculcate fear in our hearts, fear of Allaah’s anger, His punishment, His rejection of our actions and our worship etc.

Now we are aware of the foundations of worship, or the characteristic features of worship - love, hope and fear. We shall now make some additional points to give us a better understanding of this topic.


POINT 1 : Combining Hope and Fear

We have been requested to combine both hope and fear, in our worship and prayers and all other actions. Allaah said:

And call upon Him out of fear and hope [A’raaf 7:56]

Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope [Sajdah 32:16]

So we have been requested to combine both these qualities. In other words - for example -when we make supplication, we hope that Allaah answers our prayers and we fear that it might be rejected. Doing this protects from two things - despairing of Allaah’s Mercy, and not being too confident or arrogant that somehow Allaah will and must respond.

In fact the above two verses and others like them can be understood and linked to verses such as the following:

Declare (O Muhammad SAW) unto My slaves, that truly, I am the Oft-Forgiving, the Most-Merciful. And that My Torment is indeed the most painful torment. [Hijr 15:49-50]

The Forgiver of sin, the Acceptor of repentance, the Severe in punishment, Extensive (in His Favour, Grasp, Power) [Ghaafir 40:3]

See how Allaah mentioned His mercy along with His punishment? He did not mention mercy alone - but He coupled it with His punishment and likewise He did not mention punishment alone but coupled it with His mercy. This shows that we should worship Allaah with both of these states.

Anas reported that the Prophet, (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) entered upon a young boy who was dying. The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) asked: "How are you?" The boy replied: "O Messenger of Allah, I am in-between hoping in Allah and fearing for my sins." The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: "The like of these two qualities do not unite in the heart of a servant except that Allah gives him what he hopes for and protects him from what he feared." [Hasan - Collected by at-Tirmidhee & Ibn Maajah. Authenticated by al-Albaanee in Ahkaamul-Janaa'iz (no. 2).]

POINT 2 : Deviating in Love, Hope and Fear

Concerning the statement of the Salaf:

"He who worships Allah with hope only is a Murji’ee.

He who worships Him in fear only is a Harooree [Khaarijee].

And he who worships Allah in love only is a Zindeeq [e.g. Soofees, Christians].

But he who worships Allah in fear, love and hope is a Muwahhid Mu'min [a believer upon Tawheed."

We shall take each section in turn and discuss it.

Worshipping Allaah out of Love alone is something the Christians are guilty of. This leads them not to be concerned with the correction of their actions and that they might not be accepted. Similar to them are the astray Soofees and their likes, such as the Barailawees - to whom the religion revolves around exessive and exaggerated praise of the Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) . Their is nothing wrong with loving the Messenger, rather this is an obligation. But it has to be shown and manifested in a certain way and that is by complying with his orders and limiting oneself to his sunnah, NOT by something that Allaah and His Messenger have not revealed.

The Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said: Do not excessively praise me like the Christians excessively praised Eesa the son of Maryam. Indeed I am a servant so call me 'Servant of Allaah and His Messenger' [Reported by Bukhaaree] (excessively praise - from the verb atraa, meaning to lavishly praise).

So you see many of them acting upon so many innovated practices that its hard to tell the difference between them and the Christians, in what they do to show their so called love of Allaah and His Messenger. You will often find that such people are also very neglectful of their rights to Allaah. So the effect of excessive love on its own is to lead the person into innovations, in belief in action and consequently into heresy. This is why the Salaf accused the one who worshipped Allaah out of love alone as being a heretic. Without fear a person will not be cautious of his actions - are they acceptable to Allaah or not?

Worshipping Allaah out of Hope alone is something that we have touched upon before in a slightly different way. When we discussed the meaning of eemaan in the first lesson - we discussed a group/sect called the Murji’ah. Someone who worships Allaah with only hope is what we call a Murjee. If you can remember back to the first lesson we mentioned how the Murji’ah claimed that actions are not a part of eemaan. That as soon as a person declares his testification of faith, his eemaan is complete and perfect and whatever he does after that will not harm him. This is wrong, because it leads people to worship due to hope only. So when you say to someone who is a Muslim by name and who does not complete his faith by acting upon the pillars and the other obligations he will respond by saying: "But Allaah is ar-Rahmaan, ar-Raheem, al-Ghafoor, at-Tawwaab" he will mention only what He knows of Allaah’s mercy thinking he will be forgiven. But along with this Allaah is severe in punishment as we have mentioned in the verses earlier. The correct understanding of hope - as Ibn al-Qayyim explains in al-Jawaab ul-Kaafee - is that hope is action itself. In other words it is the actions themselves which signify and represent hope. If you are not doing what Allaah has requested from you then you are not hoping in Allaah. This is false type of hope. Ibn al-Qayyim also explains the difference between true hope and a deceptive hope. He explains that the feeling of ‘hope’ has three components to it:

  • that you love what you hope for

  • that you fear not having it or getting it

  • that you strive to attain it as much as you are possible.

We will give here an example to illustrate the point (it is a silly one, but it should help us to remember, the correct meaning of hope).

Imagine when you were a little kid and how from within your home you heard the ice-cream van come. The first thing that you start doing is jumping up and down in excitation and frenzy and shouting with the words "Ice Creeeaaaaaam!!!". This is because you love ice-cream, especially if it has a flake in it. So the picture of it comes to your mind (and you perceive the taste and feeling of enjoyment) and your heart becomes agitated. You hope that you can have one. But at the same time, you know that the ice-cream van will not stay there for long and will quickly move on and so at the same time you fear that you will not get one, that you will miss this chance. So fear too (of losing a pleasure), develops in your heart. So far you have love in your heart of the ice-cream. You have a great hope in your heart of getting one. You also fear that the ice-cream van will go away. But on top of this - as soon as you manage to get the change off your parents (or your generous brother or uncle) you zoom out of the house faster than Ben Johnson and even if the ice-cream van drove off you would still have enough energy to chase it all the way to the next block, puffing and panting. In other words you had detemination and you would never give up till you got what you wanted.

This then is an analysis of how these three components come together in the heart of a person - and how it is all genuine. When one of these three components are not there, then it is not a real and genuine ‘hope’ it is in fact a deception and merely a vain desire or a mere wish.

We should apply this analysis to every one of our actions, to see if all of these three components are there. This will allow us to see whether we have a genuine hope or whether we are merely deceived. So the extent to which one complies with the Sunnah in ones worship, behaviour, belief, methodology etc… then to that extent is a person’s ‘hope’ genuine and real. And if any one of these three components are missing then we are not really hoping in Allaah, we are merely deceiving ourselves.

A Benefit: Before we move onto the next aspect - it is worthwile mentioning another point. From the ice-cream example - can you see how children get conditioned by the environment around them. In other words the qualities of love fear and hope are instilled in children from an early age. You can see this by the way children react to certain things - such as ice-cream for example. Also to vain things such as cartoon characters, film stars, even toys etc… It’s important for those who are or will be parents to instill the love fear and hope into children for the right types of things. For example instead of reacting with hope, love and adoration to He-man or the Tele-tubbies wouldn’t it be better if they reacted in the same way to Imaam Bukhaaree? Or Ibn Abbaas, the explainer of the Qur’aan? Or Mu’aadh bin Jabal, the most-knowledgeable of the halaal and haraam? Or Ubayy bin Ka’ab the most skilled reciter of the Qur’aan? Or Imaam Ahmad, the Defender of the Sunnah and Destroyer of Innovation?

In other words children get attached to things by means of these three conditions of the heart: love, fear and hope. They love something, they fear not having it and they hope to have it. So in this is an additional lesson for parents, to be concerned about their children.

Now back to the main discussion:

Worshipping Allaah out of Fear alone is something that a sect called the Khawaarij fell into. They are at the other extreme of the Murjiah. In other words they claim that any action can nullify a person’s Islaam such that he becomes a disbeliever. In other words they had excessive fear without any hope. One way you will see this in people is that they will say: "I am already sinful, I have no good deeds, I am doomed anyway, what is the point? I am doomed to Hell so I might as well forget it.!" Such a person only knows Allaah through fear and thus, he has despaired of Allaah’s mercy, whereas Allaah’s mercy encompasses everything and His Messenger has told us that if the Son of Aadam was to come to Him with sins that fill the earth, He would still be merciful and forgiving. So you will often see this amongst many Muslims.

A Benefit: What the above discussion also teaches us is that when we give da’wah and call people to Allaah and His Messenge, we have to sometimes us a bit of love, a bit of fear and a bit of hope. Or sometimes only hope - for someone who despairs, sometimes only fear - for someone who only hopes. In other words, understanding that different people’s hearts have different levels of love, fear and hope, helps us to to understand what types of approaches to take when we advise people, or enjoin the good or forbid the evil etc. So sometimes we warn of the Hellfire alone and other times we give hope to People of Paradise etc.

POINT 3 : The Basis of the Call to Allaah

A Final Note to make is that now you have understood the importance of love, fear and hope, you should now be able to realise why the calls and methodologies of many individuals/groups/parties will not work and that they are in fact in opposition to the call and methodology of the Prophets. This is because love, fear and hope (and what inculcates them - which is the correct knowledge and understanding of Tawheed etc.) is not their main concern. They have made the priority something else. Ikhwaan ul-Muslimoon for example, their sole concern is politics and getting Jerusalem back and toppling the rulers and establishing the state etc.. So you will see amongst them Soofees and Heretics (such as in Syria and Sudan) and the Khawaarij, (such as those in Egypt and Algeria) and all sorts of other strayers. It is likewise for HT, whose sole concern is to establish the khilaafah, but they do not know the way or the means and are not concerned with that. And likewise too, the Jamaat ut-Tableegh, (which is really a covering, or a veil for the Soofees), whose aim is to gain the largest numbers, promote the madhhab of Abu Haneefah (rh) and to get people to come to their world centre in India where they will take part in ridiculous rituals such as climbing up a rope which they suspend from the air, claiming that a person would actually be holding onto the rope of Allaah - and also so that they will perform tawaaf around the graves and tombs of some of their founders etc. like Muhammad Ilyaas. This is a reality, but most people will be unaware of it, since they cannot see the global orientation and connection of this group. The overall aim of JT is bring you eventually to their centre in India. In addition to that they destroy the family and cause ruin to the lives of wives and children  [Seer ‘al-Qawl-Mubeen’ of at-Tuwaijuree for an excellent documentation of all these things with proofs and evidences as clear as daylight.] . So all of this is far removed from the call of the Prophets and the Messengers, the call of love, fear and hope. But these calls are not concerned with love, fear or hope. Or they maybe concerned with only one at the expense of others. The important point that is being made here is that we should look at everything around us, and the Muslims and their affairs etc. and understand them in light of the foundations of worship, love fear and hope and see how their is neglect in or exaggeration in these three qualities.


  1. Give the definition of worship as described by Ibn Taymiyyah

  2. Quote a section from the Qur’an which summarises the inner aspects of worship.

  3. Show how each of these verses relates to the quality or feeling that it produces in the heart

  4. Quote a verse to show that Allaah combines His Mercy with His Punishment

  5. Quote a verse to show how Allaah has requested us to worship Him. (i.e. with what qualities)

  6. Explain what would happen if :

    • someone worshipped out of love only

    • someone worshipped out of hope only

    • someone worshipped out of fear only

  7. Name the three components of a genuine hope in something. In other words, for someone’s hope to be genuine, mention the three things that have to be present.

  8. In small groups, discuss how this topic of love, fear and hope, can help us to see and understand why the Muslims are in the state that they are and how the calls and methodologies of many groups are incorrect and upon error.

  9. In small groups, try to discuss how this topic is connected to the topics of the previous two lessons i.e. the meaning of eemaan, and how to believe in the Attributes of Allaah.

25th November 1997

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