By Sheikh Tariq b. Abd al-Rahman al-Hawwas
Jabir ibn `Abdullah Al-Ansari relates that he heard Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) say three days before his death:
“None of you should ever die except while assuming the best about Allah.” (Muslim)
It is wrong for any Muslim to think ill of God. A Muslim should always assume the best about his Lord. As long as the Muslim is striving to engage in good deeds, he should expect the best outcome: that God will accept his good deeds; that God from His grace will forgive him; and that He will bless him to live out his life, until its end, upon faith. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said the above mentioned hadith.
Ibn al-Qayyim says:
“There can be no doubt that assuming the best about God only comes as a result of righteous conduct. It is the righteous person who assumes the best about his Lord, since he knows that God will reward him for his good deeds and will never break His promise”.
On the other hand, the sinner who persists in wrongdoing, injustice, and disobedience is prevented by his evil deeds from assuming the best about his Lord. We can see a similar situation in how people relate to each other.
A runaway slave, for instance, is not going to assume the best of his master. Good assumptions never go hand in hand with the disturbed state of disobedience. A sinner is estranged from his Lord to the extent of his sinfulness. The person who has the best outlook on his Lord is invariably the one who is the most obedient to his Lord. Al-Hasan al-Basri said:
“The believer assumes the best about his Lord so he does the best deeds. The sinner assumes the worst about his Lord, so he does evil deeds.”
The Prophet (peace be upon him) related to us that God says:
“I am as My servant thinks of Me. I am with him when he remembers Me. If he mentions Me within himself, I mention him within Myself. If he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in a better assembly. If he comes near to Me a handspan, I come near to him the distance of a cubit. If he comes near to Me the distance of a cubit, I come near to him the distance of two outspread arms. If he comes to Me walking, I come to him running.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Think about these words. The first thing God calls us towards is to have a positive outlook about Him under all circumstances, since He will be as His servant thinks of Him.
God will relate to the person the way he expects Him to. When the servant assumes the best about his Lord and pins his hopes on his Lord’s providence, his Lord will not disappoint him. God will never let his good deeds go unrewarded. When the servant beseeches God, he believes that his prayer will be answered. When he sincerely repents for a sin, he trusts that God will forgive him. When he performs a virtuous deed, he assumes that God will accept it from him and reward him for it. All of this is part of assuming the best about God. This is why the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
“When you beseech Allah in supplication, be convinced that He will answer you.” (At-Tirmidhi)
Assuming the best about God is one aspect of our belief in Him, since it is based upon our belief in His mercy, power, generosity, and might. It is also a fundamental aspect of our reliance upon God, which is essential to our monotheistic belief.
God rebuked a group of people who thought ill of Him. He shows their bad expectations about Him to be one of the clearest signs of their hypocrisy. He says about the hypocrites who abandoned the Prophet Muhammad and his companions during the Battle of Uhud:
Another party was stirred to anxiety by their own feelings, moved by wrong suspicions of Allah – suspicions due to ignorance. (Al `Imran 3:154)
Elsewhere, God says about the hypocrites:
…the hypocritical men and the hypocritical women, and the idolatrous men and the idolatrous women, who think an evil thought concerning Allah. (Al-Fath 48:6)
Our assuming the best about God really means pinning our hopes and expectations on Him. We know that God can be severe in punishment as well as most merciful, but we must hope for His mercy and be confident that if we sincerely repent for our sins and strive to do good, we will attain God’s mercy.
We must never despair. We must never see our sins to be too great for God’s forgiveness. That despair itself is a great sin. God says, conveying to us the words of Prophet Jacob (peace be upon him):
Never despair of Allah’s mercy. No one despairs of Allah’s mercy except the unbelieving people. (Yusuf 12:87)
Source: Islam Today – http://en.islamtoday.net