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Monday 19th of August 2019
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Cure for Hopelessness in Difficult Times

If a person is involved in worldly problems he should turn towards two realities. Firstly, this world is a place of test and trial for everyone. There is no one who could escape its clutches. Secondly, one must look at the conditions of people who are worse off than us. In this way one can get peace and solace by comparing ones condition with that of others. Even in the greatest calamities, we should continue to rely upon the Mercy of Allah. Many a people of the past had been afflicted with tribulations with no relief in sight. But the Merciful Allah gave them success. In the book "Faraj Baad as Shiddah" the respected author, Husain bin Saeed Dabistani has recorded more than 500 incidents where people, surrounded by troubles from all sides were given relief by Allah after all hopes were shattered. Further we ourselves witness many cases where the invocations and Sadaqah of the religious personalities help the people out of difficult situations. In the same book there is an incident where a resident of Madinah says, "I was rich and had all the good things in life. Eventually I became poor and destitute. So I went to Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and told him of my problems. He expressed pity upon my condition and recited the following couplets for my sake, "If you fall into difficult times do not be impatient. Because for a long time you have experienced comfort.

Then after every discomfort is comfort and consolation. And the saying of Allah is the most truthful. 'So do not despair, certainly despair is disbelief.' Allah may enrich you in a short while. After that do not forget your Lord. Certainly Allah fulfills His promise. If the intellect had the capacity to produce food the wealth of the world would be only with the intellectuals. Beware, do not lose hope when you face calamities. Behind the curtains are concealed astounding candles (of hope)."

The narrator says, "When I heard these lines my grief changed into happiness and hopelessness turned into optimism. Very soon the doors of Mercy opened upon me and my bad times changed for the good."

A Reminder

This book relates from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that to ward off calamities this Quranic verse should be recited.

"There is no God but Thou, glory be to Thee, surely I am of those who make themselves to suffer loss." (Surah Anbiya 21:87) "Allah is my Lord, and I do not associate him with anything."

We should remember that despair is the worst of the sins, because it implies that the connection between Allah and his creature has been severed. It signifies turning away from the Divine nature. Because even if an iota of belief remains in a person's heart, he could not severe relations with his Nourisher and Cherisher. It may be that sometimes a sort of hopelessness pervades his imagination but he soon recovers and repents of his sin.

Every Sin is Pardonable

According to the verse of the Holy Quran and Mutawatir (widely related) traditions all the sins which man commits are pardonable if he repents sincerely. It is wrong to say that such a sin can never be pardoned. The Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Quran,
"And He it is who accepts repentance from His servants and pardons the evil deeds and He knows what you do."
(Surah Shura 42:25)

Allah has mentioned His names as:

1) Tawwabun (one who accepts Tawbah)
2) Gaffarun (one who pardons)
3) Ghafoorun (one who forgives totally)
4) Ghaaferuz Zanbe (Pardoner of sins)
5) Qaabelut Tawbah (one who accepts repentance)

Allah has given a general invitation to all the people to turn towards Him and seek forgiveness for their sins. If we study the meaning of the 54th verse of Surah Zumar we find that sinners have no cause to lose hope. This Ayat is also known as Ayat-e-Rehmat (The verse of Mercy).

"Say: O my servants! who have acted extravagantly against their own souls, do not despair of the Mercy of Allah ; Surely Allah forgives the blunders altogether; surely He is the Forgiving, the Merciful."
(Surah Zumar 39:53).

Unlimited Grace

A few points must be noted from the above verse.
Firstly, Allah says, 'O my servant' and not 'O sinners!' Even though he is addressing the sinners he addresses them as 'my servants'. So that the hopelessness of the servants may be transformed into hope in His Mercy.

Secondly, he says, "Who have acted extravagantly." This denotes a soft approach. Allah does not say 'O you who have acted blatantly,' So that the sinners may not lose hope of obtaining pardon.

Hopelessness is Haraam

The third point to be noted is that the Almighty Allah has told the sinners, "Do not despair of the Divine Mercy." The use of a negative term signifies the prohibition of hopelessness. Also it means that to lose hope regarding salvation is Haraam.

The fourth point is that Allah did not stop at this, He further adds, "Surely Allah forgives the faults altogether," signifying that the statement covers all the sins.

Fifth Point: The addition of the word 'altogether' at the end signifies that the statement includes all sins without any exception.

Sixth Point: The last point is that at the end of the verse, Allah repeats, "Surely He is the forgiving, the merciful," to stress upon the fact that Allah desires and wishes to forgive those who repent.

Repentance of the Killer of a Prophet is also Acceptable

Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari (r.a.) relates that a woman came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and asked, "If a woman kills her child can she seek pardon?" The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied,
"By Allah in whose control is the life of Muhammad (s.a.w.s.) even if this woman has killed seventy Prophets and then feels remorse and repents and Allah is convinced of her sincerity and the truth of her statement, upon the condition that she does not repeat the sin, her repentance shall be accepted. And her sins would be pardoned. Surely Allah is oft forgiving and forgives, ever so beyond measure. Verily one who repents (sincerely) is; as if he has never committed that sin."
(Liyali Akhbaar)

Despair in the Acceptance of Prayers is Also Improper

If we pray to Allah for some worldly benefits or the Hereafter and our prayer is not answered it raises two noteworthy points. Firstly, we must know that Allah has promised to accept all prayers and Allah never goes back on His word.

As it is mentioned in the Holy book,
"And when My servants ask you concerning Me, then surely I am very near; I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he calls on Me."
(Surah Baqarah 2:186)

At another place Allah says,
"And your Lord says: Call upon Me, I will answer you."
(Surah Momin 40:60)

The second point is that due to His unlimited wisdom He may delay the acceptance of some prayer. So if we do not get immediate gratification we should not lose hope of having our prayers accepted.

Prayers May Not Be Accepted Due to Sins

Sometimes the sins of a person come in the way of the acceptance of his prayers. At other times Allah may delay the acceptance due to some hidden wisdom. This would compel the person to repeat his prayers and thus he would be entitled for additional sawaab. The opportunity to invocate is itself a blessing of Allah.

Another possibility is that Allah wishes to hear the entreaties of His creature many a times before He fulfills his wishes.

Delay in the Acceptance of Prayers Causes Nearness to Allah

Sometimes there is a delay in the acceptance of prayers because, to supplicate Allah continuously is the best of worship. It is the Mercy of Allah that he may want us to continue to pray to Him. It is a means of seeking nearness to Him. For whomsoever He wishes good, He gives him the Tawfeeq of supplicating Him by delaying the acceptance of his prayers.

Allama Majlisi (r.a.) writes in the book 'Hayatul Qulub' that Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says in a reliable tradition, "Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) used to visit the populated cities and the desolate forests so that he could derive lessons from the creatures of Allah. One day he saw a worshipper busy in prayers. His dress was made of fur and the surroundings filled with his intonation. Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was astonished at his appearance. He went towards him, sat down and waited for him to conclude his prayers. When he finished his prayers, Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) said, "I appreciate your way and want to befriend you. Tell me where do you stay so that I could come to meet you whenever I want." He said, "You will not be able to travel on my path."
"Why?"
"I walk on the surface of the water."
Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) said, "The Almighty Allah who has given you the capacity to walk on water, can also enable me to do so. Come, arise, today I shall spend the night with you at your residence.

When they reached the bank of the river the man uttered "Bismillah" and stepped in the river and was soon on the other side of it. Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) also recited Bismillah and crossed the river. This man was astounded. Then both of them entered his house.

Ibrahim (a.s.) asked him, "Which is the most difficult day?" He replied, "The day Allah will reward and punish all His creatures according to their deeds." Ibrahim (a.s.) said, "Let us together pray that Allah may protect us from the hardships of this day."

According to another report Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) said, "Let us pray together for the sinful believers." The worshipper said, "I will not participate in this prayer because I have been praying for something for the past thirty years and till date it has not been fulfilled, so there is no scope in praying for something else."

Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) said, "O worshipper! when Allah holds a creature dear He delays the acceptance of his prayers so that he may continue to plead and supplicate Him. On the other hand when He dislikes a person He answers his prayers immediately or creates hopelessness in his heart so that he would stop praying."

Then he asked the worshipper about his prayer which has not been accepted till then. He said, "One day I was busy in my prayers when I saw a handsome boy grazing a herd of sheep and goats. I asked him whose animals were those. He said they belonged to him. Then I asked him who he was. He said that he was the son of Khalilullah (Friend of Allah) Ibrahim (a.s.) and that his name was Ismail. At that moment I prayed to Allah to let me see my 'Khalil' Ibrahim (a.s.)." Ibrahim (a.s.) said, "Now your prayer has been answered. I am that Ibrahim (a.s.)." The worshipper became extremely overjoyed and embraced Ibrahim (a.s.). He kissed his head, eyes and hands and thanked the Almighty Allah with sincerity. After this both of them together prayed for the believing men and women. 

In the tradition from Imam Reza (a.s.) where he has listed the Greater Sins, despondence is mentioned after despair (Yaas). Qunut (despondence) is described as the condition where one's heart loses hope of Allah's Mercy and that person does not even dislike the hopelessness. According to the religious scholars the difference between Yaas and Qunut is that the term 'Yaas' is used in general cases and 'Qunut' in special cases. It means that 'Yaas' describes the internal condition of one's heart. When this internal hopelessness intensifies to a degree whereby its effect becomes manifest outwardly and seem obvious to the common people, it is called 'Qunut'.

In short whoever expresses hopelessness by his speech or actions is actually a victim of 'Qunut'.

Hopelessness in Dua is Yaas

Many scholars believe that to discontinue invocation is a sign of despair. The hopeless person believes that he will not reach his destination through dua.

'Qunut' means that one accuses Allah of not being merciful and for not accepting his repentance. He thinks that whatever difficulties he suffers, are the retribution of his sins. Thus Imam Sajjad (a.s.) says in the 39th Dua of Sahifa-e-Sajjadiyah, "I neither despair of Your Mercy nor am I in despondence regarding you. But I am aggrieved because my good deeds are less in number and bad deeds numerous. Otherwise Your position is so high that not a single creature turns away dejected from you."

There is no doubt that despondence with regard to Allah is a Greater Sin. It is one of the characteristics of the polytheists and hypocrites as mentioned by Allah in Surah Fath.

"And (that) He may punish the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women, and the polytheistic men and the polytheistic women, the entertainers of evil thoughts about Allah..."
(Surah Fath 48:6)

Skepticism Invites Punishment

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) announced from the pulpit

"By Allah who has no partner, He does not deprive any of the people from the blessings of this world and the hereafter. But he should not harbour doubts (about Him). He should have hope in Him and possess good morals. He should refrain from backbiting about the believers. I swear by Allah Who is the One and without partners, He does not punish a believer after he had repented and asked for forgiveness. Except those who are skeptical about Allah and lack in hope, have evil behaviour and indulge in backbiting about the believers. I swear by Allah except Whom no one is fit to be worshipped. When someone expresses reliance and trust in Allah; Allah who is extremely graceful, will not deem it fit to order anything contrary to the faith that the believer has reposed in him. Then you must have good thoughts regarding Allah and must always depend upon Him."
(Al Kafi)

Hope For Forgiveness and the Acceptance of Dua

Having good thoughts about Allah means that one should have the conviction that if he repents for a sin, Allah would forgive him. If he invocates, his prayer would be answered. If he does a good action, it is certain that Allah would accept it and reward him for the same. To hope in salvation is beneficial, and it is obligatory. However to hope for rewards without performing good actions is ignorance and conceit.

Hopelessness in the Affairs of This World and the Hereafter

Some scholars of religion explain that the detecting feature of 'Qunut' and 'Yaas' is that 'Qunut' denotes hopelessness with regard to the worldly blessings.

The Holy Quran says concerning this,
"And He it is who sends down rain after they have despaired, and He unfolds His Mercy; and He is the Guardian, the Praised One."
(Surah Shura 42:28)

Concerning 'Yaas' the scholars maintain that it is with regard to the affairs of the Hereafter, as mentioned in the verse:
"...indeed they despair of the Hereafter..."
(Surah Mumtahena 60:13)

Qunut is Worse Than Yaas

To be despondent of Allah's Mercy results in the person being deprived of eternal blessings, because 'Qunut' causes the severance of the relation between the creature and Allah. The cause for this despondence is the extinguishing of the original flame of creation that had been alive in his heart. Even if a miniature of the light had remained, he would not have lost hope completely. It is possible that he may be involved in vain pursuits. If that is so then he has receded into the age of ignorance from the Mercy of Allah. But 'Yaas' denotes that the connection between the creature and Allah still remains even though separated by the curtain of sins. But behind the curtain the light of the original nature endures. He still believes in some connection with Allah. In such a case the dividing curtain could be removed.

'Yaas' can be forgiven but 'Qunut' does not deserve forgiveness. Thus 'Qunut' is included in the title of Shirk and becomes the greatest danger for man. (Quoted from Tafsir Ruhul Bayan)

 


source : GREATER SINS\Shaheede Mehraab Ayatullah-ul-Uzma Al-Haaj Sayed Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi (r.a.)
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