Much of Islam is about balance and moderation, that ever-so-famous middle road. To know Islam endorses this is a very comforting thought. It’s especially important to keep this aspect of the religion in mind when coming upon verses about fearing and keeping hope in Allah.
One particular scene of the Hereafter that always gets to me in the Quran describes the Day of Judgment. Allah mentions, “On the Day a man will flee from his brother, and his mother and his father, and his wife and his children. For every man that Day will be a matter adequate for him.” (Q. 80:34-37)
Now this—this is scary. When Allah mentions brother, I think of my brother. When He mentions mother and father, I think of my mother and father. When He mentions wife and children, I think of my sisters and their kids. That is a paralyzing scene to play in your mind. Imagining my loved ones fleeing from each other out of desperation, total fear, and selfishness is an overwhelming prospect that brings tears to my eyes. What kind of state will we be in, what horrible fear will we feel to run away from our own mothers and children? It’s the fear of finally being taken account by our Lord, the One who knows exactly how you spent your life and where you’ll end up at the conclusion of the very long Day of Judgment.
Of course, this thought is supposed to put fear into our hearts. It’s a reality check. Know that this meeting is indeed scheduled and we will have to take responsibility for every single one of our actions. The reality of this is so heavy that on that Day it’ll have us fleeing from those we love most. So what do we do? Should we allow ourselves to become so paralyzed that we cannot get out of our beds in the morning in fear of disobeying the command of Allah?
Obviously not. In fact, Allah tells us the righteous do the exact opposite, “Their sides forsake their beds, to invoke their Lord in fear and hope, and they spend (charity in Allah’s Cause) out of what We have bestowed on them.” (Q. 32:16)
We must do everything and anything we can right now to put ourselves in a good state. Make the effort to do good deeds, right your wrongs with others, and fulfill your responsibilities to Allah.
Remember that beauty of Islam I mentioned before? It’s the habit of Allah to mention the good with the bad, both the hopeful verses and the fearful verses in His Quran. In this way, Allah emphasizes the importance of having fear in Him, but also never losing hope in His mercy.
He says in the Quran, “Some faces that day will be bright, laughing rejoicing at good news. And other faces, that Day, will have upon them dust. Those are the disbelievers, the wicked ones.” (Q. 80:38-39)
We’ve learned the people who have good awaiting them on the Day of Judgment are those who kept hope and fear in balance. Fear Allah, i.e., know there are consequences for your wrong actions, so make sure you do good. Have hope in Allah, i.e., don’t totally fret when you do make a mistake to the point that you become immobile and desperate. When we keep these two elements of hope and fear balanced in our lives, we can set proper expectations of ourselves as well as keep our faith in God.
May Allah make us among those who spend their lives working to please Him, and may He make us among those with bright faces, rejoicing in good news on that Day.