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Expecting the Best from Allah

A Moment with Our Prophet, Muhammad (S)

By Imam Zijad Delic

Day 192: Expecting the Best from Allah

Narrated by Abu Huraira (r) that the Messenger of Allah (S) said: “Verily, thinking well about Allah (expecting the best from Him) is a part of the excellent worship of Allah.”

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِنَّ حُسْنَ الظَّنِّ بِاللَّهِ مِنْ حُسْنِ عِبَادَةِ اللَّهِ

Source: Tirmizi

Transliteration: “Inna Husnaz Zanni Billahi Min Husni ‘Ibadatillahi.”

Often, for some of us, our mistakes, our wrongs and sins could crash heavily on us!

Yes, we recognize them, yet, instead of turning back to the Creator, we opt to turn away from Him.

We think that we are completely messed up and that we do not deserve Allah’s mercy anymore!

We even go to the extent that we persuade ourselves that Allah is punishing us in other life’s endeavors such as family, career, health, etc., due to these mistakes!

We question if Allah has abandoned us!

So, we start giving up on ourselves, our health, our marriage, our education and yes, some of us start giving up on Allah, the source of mercy and hope!

This pessimistic attitude utterly contradicts the proper understanding of our Din.

Allah is not waiting in the ambush for us to slip so that He punishes us!

And most of us have much more goodness in us` than the evil!

If this is not understood, then we do not understand:

  1. a) our own human nature that is not all angelic since “we all children of Adam and Eve make mistakes but the best of us are those who go back to Allah (make Tawbah)” and
  2. b) the nature of God and Him being Ar Rahman, Ar Rahim, Al Gafir, Al Gaffar, Al Gafur, etc.

Challenges in our lives do not mean that Allah does not love us, that Allah does not care about us and that Allah has abandoned us!

Let us for a moment think of the most beloved of makhluqat (God’s creation), Mustafa (S) and how he faced challenges in Makkah with his own people who did not accept his message and turned against him and the followers of Islam.

He did not despair but started looking for the alternatives!

During the Hajj season, he met and spoke to the leaders of 26 tribes and presented his case to them hoping that they will accept the message of Islam and offer the security to Muslims.

But all 26 tribes – all of them – bluntly rejected his call!

Can you imagine yourself being rejected 5 times?

Would you continue inviting after 10 people rejected you?

How low your moral would be?

When Muhammad (S) did not see the positive response after first rejections, he did not despair!

He continued his mission, never loosing hope in Allah’s support!

He had good opinion of Allah!

He though well of the Creator and this thinking well of the Creator further motivated him!

The reason: he knew that the Creator will not abandon him!

Soon after those 26 rejections, some young men of Madinah (Yathrib), accepted his message!

Abu Huraira (r) narrated that the Prophet (S) said that Allah says: “I am as My servant thinks of Me or expects Me to be.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi, Ibn Majah)

Muhammad (S) also confirmed, as narrated by Abu Huraira (r) that “thinking well about Allah (expecting the best from Him) is a part of the excellent worship of Allah.” (Sahih in Sunan Imam Ahmed)

Whatever we think of Allah, that is what we will get, as narrated from the Prophet (S) that Allah said: “If My servant thinks good of Me, he/she/she will have good and if he thinks evil, he/she will have it.” (Ahmed)

And in another Hadith Qudsi, it was narrated from the Prophet (S) that Allah said: “I am as My servant thinks of Me, so let him/her think about Me however he/she likes.” (Ahmed)

We often exclaim these beautiful statements and pride ourselves with them, but rarely do we ponder and reflect on them!

Hassan Al Basri (r) defined the reality of these statements when he said: “The true believer is one who thinks well of Allah and does good.”

It is not right to only think well of Allah and disregard good deeds and indulge in the sins!

Let us today, besides Al Basri’s (r) statement, bring some other explanations on the Hadith Qudsi in discussion, from diverse range of great Muslim scholars and our predecessors who have left us wealth of knowledge that needs to be rediscovered and pondered over.

This is what “Husnuz Zann Billahi” means according to the following Muslim scholars:

Ibn Hajar Al Asqalani (r) explains it to mean: “I am capable of behaving towards my servant in a manner he/she assumes I will behave with him/her.”

In another words, I am able to do for my servants what they think I can do for them and my servants should know that My promise is real as He stated in the Qur’an: “Indeed, Allah does not break His promise.” (3:9)

إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُخْلِفُ الْمِيعَادَ

Al Qadi Iyad (r) stated that it means: “He will forgive us, if we ask for forgiveness; He will accept our Tawbah, if we repent and He will answer our Du’as, if we call on Him.”

Of course, if we do not ask for forgiveness, do not repent and do not supplicate, He will not respond!

Allah, the Almighty, feels shy, when we call that He returns our hands empty as Salman al-Farsi reported from the Prophet (S) who said, “Verily, Allah is munificent and generous. He would be shy, when a person raises his/her hands to Him, to turn them away empty and disappointed.” (Tirmizi)

عَنْ سَلْمَانَ الْفَارِسِيِّ عَنْ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ إِنَّ اللَّهَ حَيِيٌّ كَرِيمٌ يَسْتَحْيِي إِذَا رَفَعَ الرَّجُلُ إِلَيْهِ يَدَيْهِ أَنْ يَرُدَّهُمَا صِفْرًا خَائِبَتَيْنِ

Imam Nawawi (r) asserts that “Husnuz Zann Billahi” means: “to expect that Allah will have mercy on us, pardon us and relieve us from any hardship.”

Ibn Qayyim (r) mentioned that “Husniz Zann Billahi” means “that we be optimistic and expect the best from Allah and that we put our trust in Him.”

This is reason why some Muslim scholars define Tawakkul to mean “having good expectations of Allah.”

Al Manawi (r) holds that “Husnuz Zann Billahi” means “I will treat My servant as he/she thinks of me and I will do with My servant as he/she expects from me, so, let him/her have more hope.”

What Al Manawi (r) suggests here is that servants of Allah should prioritize hope over fear in their lives.

Other scholars mention that believers, during times of well-being, health and prosperity should have a balance between hope and fear and as they age (or become sick), the hope should be stronger!

Not thinking well of Allah and not expecting the best from Him contradicts God’s perfection and the reality of His beautiful Sifat (characteristics or names).

In conclusion, let us be people of conviction and thinking well of Allah by adding our efforts into it so that the results (which are in the hands of Allah) be the best!

Ya Rabb! Guide us to be of those who will think the best of You, call on You, ask of You, beg the pardon from you and do our own share towards reaching Your Rida (pleasure), Ya Arhamar Rahimin!

Allahumma Amin!