High hopes for the dunya

Praise be to Allah and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). I bear witness that there is no god but Allah alone with no partner with Him. I also bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.

Allah dispraised some people who had high hopes that busied them from doing good deeds for the Hereafter, then they were attacked by death while they were heedless. They wished to have long lives to achieve what they could not achieve, but how far was what they wished.

Allah (Exalted be He) says: “How much would those who disbelieved wish that they had been Muslims [those who have submitted themselves to Allâh’s Will in Islâm i.e. Islâmic Monotheism ? This will be on the Day of Resurrection when they will see the disbelievers going to Hell and the Muslims going to Paradise]. * Leave them to eat and enjoy, and let them be preoccupied with (false) hope. They will come to know!” [Surat Al Hijr: 2-3].

The meaning of High hopes is: to heed to the world, seek its pleasures, and turn away from the Hereafter.[1]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) told the Companions that many people have high hopes until those hopes exceeded the period of their lifetime. Buraydah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Prophet (peace be upon him) drew a few lines and said, “This is (man’s) hope, and this is the instant of his death, and while he is in this state (of hope), the nearer line comes to Him. “[2] He means death.

It is very strange that when the a person draws nearer to his death, his hopes increase and his desire and keenness to the world became much bigger; none will be safe of this but a few.

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I heard Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) saying, “The heart of an old man remains young in two respects, i.e., his love for the world (its wealth, amusements and luxuries) and his incessant hope.”[3]

Most people do not give up hopes and except for hopes, none will be able to live in this world. The poet said:

I cure myself with hopes and watch it; how tight is living without hopes.
Ibn Hajar said: Hopes have a nice secret because except for hopes none will be able to live or do any action in this world. The only reprehensible matter is to engage yourself in high hopes and do not get ready for the Hereafter. So, anyone gets ready for the Hereafter may have high hopes.[4]

The reasonable person is the one who is not tempted by high hopes and did not forget the bliss that Allah prepared for His Servants in the Hereafter.

Allah (Exalted be He) says: “Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only the enjoyment of deception (a deceiving thing).” [Surat  Al `Imran: 185].

`Abdullah bin `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) took hold of my shoulder and said, “Be in this world as if you were a stranger or a traveler.”

Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “When you wake up in the morning, do not wait for the evening and when you are in the evening, do not wait for the morning. Take from your health to your sickness, and from your life to your death.”[5]

At-Tirmidhy added: “Count yourself one of the residents of the graves because you do not know whether your name was written with them or not.”[6]

Ibn Rajab said: “This Hadith is a great principle in cutting high hopes because it is not permissible for a person to take this world as a home and abode, but he must be like a traveler who is ready to leave anytime. “[7]

A man entered upon Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) and started to look here and there, then asked him: “O Abu Dharr, where is your furniture?” He said: “We have houses for which we shall leave.” He said: “You must have furniture as long you are here.” He said: “The owner of the house will not stay here forever.”[8]

Al Hasan said: When Salman Al Farisy (may Allah be pleased with him) approached death, he wept and said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) entrusted us something but we did not maintain; a person should have provision from this world as the provision of a traveler.” He said: “Then we looked at the provision he left and we found that he left several and twenty or several and thirty dirhams.”[9]

A wise person should benefit from his life because he does not know whether he has enough time or not.

Ibn Al Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on his soul) said: “The time that passed from the world was only a dream, the time left is embodied in hopes, and lifetime is wasted in between.”[10]

High hopes result in laziness of obedience, delaying of repentance, desiring for the world and forgetting about the Hereafter,  and harshness of the heart because the softness of the heart is achieved by remembering death, the grave, reward, punishment, and the scourges of the Day of the Recompense. Allah says: “And the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened?” [Surat Al Hadid: 16].

Imam `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The fearful thing I hate you to do is: following of desires and high hopes. As for following of desires, it prevents the people from  following the truth. As for high hopes, they make the people forget about their Hereafter. The world has gone and the Hereafter is coming, so be of the people who seek the Hereafter and do not be the world’s seekers. Today is actions without reckoning but tomorrow is reckoning without actions.”[11]

Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. May Allah send His peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and his Companions.

[1] The encyclopedia of Nadrat An-Na`im fi Makarim Ar-Rasul Al Karim (peace be upon him) (11/4857).

[2] Sahih Al Bukhari (4 / 176) No. (6418).

[3] Sahih Al Bukhari (4 / 176) No. (6420).

[4] Fath Al Bary (11/237).

[5] Sahih Al Bukhari (4 / 176) No. (6416).

[6] Sunan At-Tirmidhy (4 / 568) No. (2333).

[7] Jami` Al `Ulum wa Al Hikam (p.377)

[8] Jami` Al `Ulum wa Al Hikam (p.377)

[9] Musnad Al Imam Ahmad (5 / 438), and Ibn Hibban regarded it as Sahih (authentic) (2480).

[10] Adopted from Nadrat An-Na`im Book (4865\10).

[11] Sahih Al Bukhari from his saying: The world has gone (4 / 176) No. (6416).