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Shall we end Hope?

Q:

As per my little knowledge of Islam, we should be always hopeful. Also, it is said that one should pray until he or she has a whisper of hope left as Allah Almighty hears.

My question is when you are stuck in a situation when you minds tell you nothing is gonna change you need to move on and your heart is stuck with the belief that something may happen so keep praying although you already know an expected output that is not in favour of what you have been planning or have been trying to achieve and praying for.

So my question is whether one should remain hopeful and keep praying or should stop praying and try to move ahead and pray for something else? It’s said that hopelessness is a sin in Islam. But my main concern is should we let go our hope in a case where a failure is visible or should we still keep on trying and keep on praying for the matter to Almighty. Isn’t hope, in this case, is abiding us to move ahead?

A:

Salam alaykum,

Thank you for your question.

It definitely is a good one. In response, I may say that the act of losing hope in God’s mercy that is a sin is the belief that one’s sin and wretchedness is so expansive that God’s mercy cannot encompass it. The reason why this is a sin is that it necessitates the brief in the limitation of God’s mercy, which in turn necessitates the limitation of God’s power and essence – as His essence and His attributes are identical. As you can see, this hopelessness is a feeling and belief, related to the mind and heart. At the same time, it is something general and can be manifested in different ways and through different actions. The same is true with the concept of mercy and benevolence. Keeping this in mind, I could answer your question in this way: We should never lose hope in God’s mercy. In other words, we should firmly believe that His mercy includes all things and that those who are worthy of it, may also receive His special mercy. Does this necessarily mean that I should also believe that God will answer my prayer? No. Why? Because it may not be an instance of that mercy. As limited beings, we do not really understand the particulars of what is good for us, even though in a general way, we understand that whatever God does is good – since He is essentially a good being. So, it may be that by not answering my prayer, He is being merciful to me. Hence, I may believe that my prayer will not be answered but at the same time, not lose hope in God. Why? Because I believe that by His not answering my prayer, He is being merciful to me. However, if I feel that God will show mercy on me by specifically answering the particular prayer that I have asked, then it seems that this could be an instance of another sin – not the sin of losing hope in God – and that is the sin of determining what is better for me and in my best interests. This is something that God only knows, unless He informs man of it. Thank you again for your question and I hope that it has helped you.

Shiraz Agha