Indeed the heart of a believer experiences joy in this world and the hereafter, however this heart-felt happiness and complete delight is not realized except through love and knowledge of Allah the Exalted; coming closer to Him through the actions that He loves and are pleasing to Him and refraining from everything that angers Him and invokes His wrath.
The Heart of a Believer between Fear, Hope and Love
Indeed the heart is in need of becoming attached to its Creator, in order or to guarantee its progression on the path that is designed for it. What is more important in propelling a slave and advancing his course towards Allah, and urging him towards obedience and commitment is the actions of the heart.
The greatest of these actions is to love Allah, to have hope in Him and to fear Him.
Thus, the believing slave does not have in his heart but love of Allah and His Messenger, love for what Allah and His Messenger love- and it is love for acts of obedience and worship- and love for the monotheistic slaves of Allah, as we find in a Prophetic tradition that states:
“Three things whoever has them will find the sweetness of belief: that Allah and His Messenger are more beloved to him than anything else, that he loves a person solely for the sake of Allah, and that he hates to revert to disbelief, as he hates being thrown in to hellfire.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
The believer should possess fear of Allah the Exalted in his heart; that fear which makes the heart tremble from falling into the anger of Allah, His vengeance, and His severe punishment when it commits what Allah has prohibited or neglects what He has obligated. Thus, the heart can be a preventative force for the believer from following his desires, drifting behind his whims, and instead urges him to be someone who is committed to obeying Him and His commands.
The heart of the believing slave also has hope of obtaining the mercy, satisfaction, love, reward and bounties of Allah in this world and the Hereafter.
Hope encourages the believer to persevere in obedience to Allah and to race towards good deeds because his heart is attached to the bounties that Allah has promised the fearful, obedient ones of His slaves. Allah the Exalted has said:
Verily, those who have believed, and those who have emigrated (for Allah’s religion) and have striven hard In the Way of Allah, All These hope for Allah’s Mercy. and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful. (Al-Baqarah 2:218)
Maintain a Balance
The heart of a Muslim in their journey to Allah should always maintain a balance between these three things. If one of them should overpower another then the believer will be diverted in his worship and lose course from the Straight Path.
Ibn Al-Qayyim (may Allah have mercy upon him) stated: “The heart in its journey to Allah is similar to a bird. Love is its head and hope and fear are its wings”.
Therefore, imagine dear reader if this bird was to lose one of its wings or its head there is no doubt that it would become easy bait for every predator or scavenger.
The Muslim who performs what Allah has commanded of acts of obedience ought to accept their performance with love and a desire to draw closer to his Lord, hoping that He accepts them, and desiring His reward, bounty, and paradise. They must aspire to perform what Allah has commanded just as He commanded, fearful that He may reject them and not accept them, and fearful of His punishment and anger upon neglecting it.
Know, may Allah have mercy on you, that balancing between these three stations is the way of the Prophets (peace be upon them) as Allah has informed us in the Qur’an:
Verily, they used to hasten on to do good deeds, and they used to call on us with hope and fear, and used to humble themselves before us. (Al-Anbiyaa’ 21:90)
The article is excerpted from the book “A Beneficial Summary of Rulings for New Muslim”, published by The Ministry of Endowments & Islamic Affairs, Kuwait- 2nd Edition 1436/2015.