Which one does prevail: Hope or Fear?(1)
There are different opinions on this issue as follows:
-A person must give precedence to fear which leads him to obey Allah and refrain from committing sins.
- A person must give precedence to hope and be optimistic since the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) appreciated optimism.
-A person must give precedence to hope in case of obeying Allah which urges him to do good deeds. A person here believes that Allah will accept his deeds as long as he has granted him success in doing it. Some of the righteous predecessors [Salaf] stated: "If Allah grants you success in supplication [Du'aa], be sure that He responds to it as per His words: Call upon Me; I will respond to you [Ghafir:60]." As for committing sins, a person must give precedence to fear which is a deterrent from doing bad deeds as per the words of Allah Almighty: "Say, "Indeed I fear, if I should disobey my Lord, the punishment of a tremendous Day" [Al-'An'am:15]. This is almost near to the truth; however, this may be objected to through the words of Allah: "And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord." [Al-Mu'minun:60]
- A person must give precedence to fear in case of health and hope in case of illness.
- Fear and hope are like the two wings of a bird. A believer follows the path of Allah through these two wings (fear and hope). When the two sings are equal, a bird perfectly flies; otherwise, it will not. If the two wings are broken, the bird will die.
- Degrees of fear and hope differ from one person to another and from one condition to another. Allah knows best.
Fear between obligation and recommendation:
Obligatory fear: it is that which urges a Muslim to do good deeds and refrain from committing sins.
Recommended fear: it urges a Muslim to do recommended actions and abandon detested matters.
(1)See al-Adab al-Shar'ya by ibn Muflih (vol.2, pages 30-32), al-Qawl al-Mufid (vol.1, pages 51-52 and vol.2, pages164-165) and the thesis on love, fear and hope by the author of this article.