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Hope is the expectation of a dear thing the arrangements of which are already done, such as hope for the yield of land after it was seeded, watered, and superintended. In the case when arrangements are not done, hope for it will be foolhardiness, just like hope for the yield of a derelict land that was not superintended properly.
Hope, furthermore, is the second wing with which, along with fear, the believers fly in the horizons of the obedience of God. Although fear and hope support each other in disciplining the believers, hope is sweeter and fresher than fear, because its source is trust in God and the assurance of the extent of His mercy. To obey out of hope is better than obeying out of fear. In view of that, good tidings of hope are carried through numerous texts from the Quran and authentic traditions:
Tidings for and Warnings against Hopelessness
Almighty Allah has given good tidings in the holy Quran as said:
“Say [that Allah declares]”O My servants who have committed excesses against their own souls, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Indeed Allah will forgive all sins. Indeed He is the All-forgiving, the All-merciful” (39:53).
“…and do not despair of Allah’s mercy. Indeed no one despairs of Allah’s mercy except the faithless lot” (12:87).
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will gather the despondent of His mercy with their faces blackened. They will be given the name of the despondent of Allah’s mercy”.
Imam Ali (PBUH) said to the man who was prevailed by the despair of God’s mercy out of his many sins:
“You, to despair of the mercy of Allah is the greatest sin that you have ever committed”. (Mizan-ol-Hikmah, Vol.3, P.462).
Vastness of Gods Mercy and Pardon
Almighty Allah in order to make his servants hopeful for his forgiveness and prevent them from getting disappointed has expressed in the holy Quran:
“Indeed your Lord is forgiving to mankind despite their wrongdoing” (13:6).
“Indeed Allah does not forgive that any partner should be ascribed to Him, but He forgives anything besides that to whomever He wishes…” (4:48).
“When those who have faith in Our signs come to you, say,” Peace to you! Your Lord has made mercy incumbent upon Himself: whoever of you commits an evil[ deed ]out of ignorance and then repents after that and reforms, then He is indeed all-forgiving, all-merciful” (6:54).
Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (PBUH) said:
“On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will extend His mercy so vastly that even Satan will expect himself to be included with that mercy” (Bihar-al-Anwar, Vol.7, P. 287).
Solomon Bin-Khalid (one of Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq’s companions) said:
“I recited the verse “excepting those who repent, attain faith, and act righteously. For such, Allah will replace their misdeeds with good deeds, and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful”(25:70) and Imam Al-Sadiq (PBUH) said: “the verse revealed about you (followers). On the Day of Resurrection, the guilty believers will be stopped before Allah Who will personally interrogate them. He will display before him his sins in detail, and the believer will confess them all. The Lord will then say: In the worldly life, I covered these sins and, now, I will cover them for you. He then will order to change them into virtues. As the record of that believer will be shown to people, they will say, how admirable this man is! He did not commit a single sin! This is the meaning of Allah’s saying: “… excepting those who repent, attain faith, and act righteously. For such, Allah will replace their misdeeds with good deeds, and Allah is all-forgiving, all-merciful” (25:70). (Bihar-al-Anwar, Vol.7, P. 288).
Favourable Judgment about God
Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (PBUH) said:
“The last servant who will be sent to Hell will turn his face towards Allah. The Lord then will order the angels to bring him back. Why did you turn your face, servant? The Lord will ask. Lord, the servant will say: I had another idea about You. What did you think of Me, servant? The Lord will ask. The servant will answer, I thought You would forgive me and allow me to live in Your Paradise. The Lord then will say, My angels, I swear by My power, majesty, favours, tests, and exaltation, this servant had never thought good about Me for a single hour of his lifetime. Had he done so, I would not have sent him to Hell. Nevertheless, I will regard the lie that he has just told as true and allow him to be in Paradise. Allah will live up to the servant who thinks well of Him: “This was how you considered your Lord, but He knows you better than you know yourselves. Thus, you are now lost”(41:23). (Bihar-al-Anwar, Vol.7, P. 287).
Intercession of the Prophet and the Imams for their Adherents
The holy Prophet (PBUHH) said:
“On the Day of Resurrection, we will be responsible for interrogating our adherents. Regarding the wrongdoings that are committed against Allah, we will issue a judgment about them and Allah will accept it for us. Regarding the wrongdoings that are committed against people, we will interfere so that the wronged party will forgive for our sake. Regarding the wrongdoings that are committed against us, we are the worthiest of forgiveness.
“He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will be treated as Martyred. He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will be forgiven. He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will be (regarded as) repentant. He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will be perfectly faithful believer. He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will be given the good tidings of being in Paradise by the angel of death, first, and Munkar and Nakeer, second. He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will be carried in procession to Paradise like brides. He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will have two doors taken to Paradise opened from his grave. As for him who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny, Allah will make the angels of mercy visit his grave regularly. He who dies on the love for Mohammad’s progeny will be regarded as a follower of the Sunna and the community of Muslims. But for him who dies on the hatred for Mohammad’s progeny, he will attend on the Day of Resurrection with the script, “written on his forehead– This one is excluded from the mercy of Allah…” (Bisharat-al-Mustafa li- Shiatil-Murtaza, P. 197).
The Prophet (PBUHH) said: “…When the Day of Resurrection will come and the angels will call at all the creatures, they will give each of those who have a love for The Ahl ul-Bayt one of these muniments that will be documents of acquittance from Hell. Hence, my brother and my daughter will set many men and women of my umma (Muslim nation) free from Hell.”
When God’s saying “The righteously striving believers are the best of all creatures” (98:7) was revealed, the holy Prophet (PBUHH) said to Imam Ali (PBUH): This is you and your Shia. On the Day of Resurrection, you will be content and pleased, while your enemies will be angry and depressed (Al-Burhan fi tafsir-al-Quran, Vol.5, P. 720)
Calamities and Diseases Cancel the Believers’ Sins
The Prophet (PBUHH) said:
“Almighty Allah says: By My power and majesty I swear, I will not make the servant upon whom I want to have mercy depart this world before I punish him for every sin that he committed. I will punish him by means of an ailment that inflicts him, poverty that befalls him, or a state of fear that controls him. If this is not enough, I will make him suffer the agonies of death.” (Al-Kafi, Vol.2, P. 444).
Depression and grief will not depart the believer before they eradicate all of his sins. Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (PBUH) said to Mufaddal (one of his Companions):
“O Mufaddal, beware of committing sins and warn our adherents against so. By God I swear, you are the most targeted by sins. You may suffer the persecution of the ruling authorities. This is because of your commitment of sins, you may be ailed. This is because of your commitment of sins, your sustenance may be stopped. This is because of your commitment of sins. You may suffer the agonies of death so severely. This is also because of your commitment of sins.
As the Imam noticed that al-Mufaddal was highly touched by these words, he (a) commented:
You suffer all the previous in order that you will not be interrogated about your sins on the Day of Resurrection since the punishment for such sins befalls you in this world. The believer may suffer trouble in sleep as a punishment for his commitment of sins. He also may suffer a physical defect as a punishment for his commitment of sins”.
Reality of Hope
Hope is meaningless unless reasons of its success are available. It is hence foolish to leave the courses of obedience and take in the courses of deviation and depend totally on hope. Such hope is surely void. It is noticeable that the great personalities, such as prophets, their successors, and the saints, spared no efforts in the fields of obedience to God and devoted themselves to the acts of worship while they were the most favourable to God.
As the Prophet was told that some people were engrossed in the acts of disobedience to God while they claim that they hope for the mercy of Him. Imam Al-Sadiq (PBUH) said:
“They are liars. They are not our Shia (real followers). Those are the people whom are deceived by false hopes. He who hopes for something should work for it, and he who fears something should escape it”.
Purpose of Hope and Fear
Some people can be mended only by means of hope while others can be rectified by means of fear. The disobedient who have felt regret for their excessive sins but they have despaired of His pardon should be treated by means of hope for God’s immense mercy. Those who destroyed themselves because of excessive performance of acts of worship should also be treated by means of hope for God. On the other side, the sinful tyrants who are plunging into acts of disobedience to God and are deceived by false hope should be treated by means of fear of God as well as severe reproach and painful punishment. Two angels of Allah who are responsible to get and draw the soul from all things in the time of death.