Chapter 34: “Did they feel secure against the plan of Allah? None feels secure from the plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.” Kitāb Al-Tawheed of Imām Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhāb

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In the name of Allāh, Most Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy.

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    All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of all creation; may Allah extol the mention of our noble Prophet Muhammad in the highest company of Angels, bless him and give him peace and security―and his family, his Companions and all those who follow him correctly until the establishment of the Hour.

    The saying of Allah (the Most High), “Did they feel secure against the plan of Allah? None feels secure from the plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.”

    أَفَأَمِنُوا مَكْرَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَلَا يَأْمَنُ مَكْرَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

    “Did they then feel secure against the plan of Allah? None feels secure from the plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.” (Surah al-A’rāf 7:99).

    Shaykh al-Islām Muhammad ibn ʿAbdul-Wahhāb (rahimahullāh) said:

    Allah, the Most High, said: 

    قَالَ وَمَن يَقْنَطُ مِن رَّحْمَةِ رَبِّهِ إِلَّا الضَّالُّونَ

    “And who despairs of the mercy of his Lord except those who are astray.” (Surah al-Hijr 15:56).

    It is narrated from ibn ‘Abbās (radiAllahu ‘anhumā) that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) was asked about the major sins so he said: “It is shirk with Allah, despairing of the mercy of Allah and to feel secure from the plot/plan of Allah.” [i]

    On the authority of ibn Mas’oud Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “The greatest of the major sins is to associate partners with Allah, to feel secure from the plan of Allah, to lose hope in the mercy of Allah and to despair in the mercy of Allah.[ii]

    [i]  Reported by al-Bayhaqi in Shuʿab al-Īmān in mawqoof form i.e., the narration stops at the Companion. Imām as-Suyuti mentioned that al-Bazzār reported it, as did Ibn Abi Hātim, and at-Tabarāni in al-Awsat and Ibn Abī Hātim with a chain of narration that is hasan. Sheikh Al-Albāni declared it to be Hasan in as-Silsilatus-Saheehah, see Saheeh al-Jāmi’ (no. 4603).

    [ii] Reported by ʿAbdur Razzāq in his Musannaf and al-Bayhaqi in Shu’ab al-Īmān. Ibn Katheer said in his Tafseer that it is authentic to Ibn Masʿood (radiyallāhu ʿanhu).


    أَفَأَمِنُوا مَكْرَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَلَا يَأْمَنُ مَكْرَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

    “Did they then feel secure against the plan of Allah? None feels secure from the plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.” (Surah al-A’rāf 7:99).

    The people of knowledge have said that a servant should remain in state between fear of Allah and hope (in His mercy)―and that he does not allow himself to be overcome by feeling secure from the plan of Allah. Likewise, he does not despair of the mercy of Allah―so the servant should always be in between fear and hope. To exaggerate in either fear or hope leads to destruction, whereas Istiqāmah (steadfastness) is to be in between the two.

    The Believer is Between Fear and Hope

    The scholars stated that it is incumbent upon a person that his hope and fear are like the two wings of a bird, so if one of the two is lost, then the bird is unable to fly. A bird can only fly when it has both wings. They stated that it is obligatory upon a person that when he is in good health, and in a state of ease, comfort and security, then his fear should be greater. When he is in a state of illness such that he is close to leaving this world, then his hope should be greater.

    The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) entered upon a youth who was on the verge of death and asked him, ‘How do you find yourself (i.e., in what state are you)?’ So the youth replied, ‘By Allah! Indeed, I hope in Allah and I fear for my sins.’ Then, Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said to him, ‘Indeed, these two affairs do not come together in the heart of a servant, at a time like this, except that Allah gives him what he hopes for, and keeps him safe from that which he fears.’ [1]

    Either feeling safe from Allah’s plan or despairing from His mercy occurs when one overcomes the other, at the expense of the other. So, whoever is overcome by hope, and that hope increases until the person leaves what is balanced―then in that state, he will feel safe from Allah’s plan. This is proof of the absence or weakness of the fear of Allah in that person’s heart―and it is such a person who Allah has judged as being lost when He said:

    أَفَأَمِنُوا مَكْرَ اللَّهِ ۚ فَلَا يَأْمَنُ مَكْرَ اللَّهِ إِلَّا الْقَوْمُ الْخَاسِرُونَ

    “Did they then feel secure against the plan of Allah? None feels secure from the plan of Allah except the people who are the losers.” We seek refuge in Allah from feeling secure from His plan.

    From the other aspect, if fear exceeds the balanced limit such that a person reaches despair and feels a loss of hope, then this is also a calamity that will throw him into destruction. So, a person should be balanced between fear and hope―his fear of Allah should not be so great that he ends up in despair of Allah’s mercy. On the other hand, he should not feel so secure that he becomes one of the losers―i.e., that he feels so secure that he does not fear Allah anymore. If one of these occurs or some of it occurs, then there is a great danger, and Allah’s refuge is sought from that.

    For this reason, there occurs in the Hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallahu ‘anhumā) that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) was asked about the major sins, so he said: “Shirk (associating partners) with Allah, despairing in the mercy of Allah and feeling secure from the plan of Allah.”

    Shirk is the greatest of sins that Allah is disobeyed with, and whoever commits shirk with Allah, with major shirk, then entry into paradise is forbidden for him―and it is incumbent upon him that he enters the Hellfire. Allah (the Most High) said:

    فَلَا تَدْعُ مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَٰهًا آخَرَ فَتَكُونَ مِنَ الْمُعَذَّبِينَ

    “So, do not call on other gods besides Allah lest you should be among those who receive punishment.” (Surah ash-Shu’ara 26:213).

    Allah the Most High also said to the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam):

    وَلَقَدْ أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ وَإِلَى الَّذِينَ مِن قَبْلِكَ لَئِنْ أَشْرَكْتَ لَيَحْبَطَنَّ عَمَلُكَ وَلَتَكُونَنَّ مِنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ

    “And indeed, it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad) as it was to those before you: ‘If you join others in worship with Allah, then surely all your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.” (Surah az-Zumar 39:65).

    Therefore, whoever commits [major] Shirk with Allah, then he is deserving of this threat―that his deeds will be nullified, and he will be among the losers and punished ones.

    Giving up hope in the mercy of Allah leads a person to have bad suspicion of his Lord. Also, severe and extreme fear and constant fretting, such that he fears that his sins will not be forgiven, leads a person to fall into that which is worse than the original sins he has committed.

    Feeling secure and safe from the plan of Allah such that the person becomes lax and easygoing with regards to the rights of his Lord, then this obligates the anger of Allah upon him. 

    Ahlus Sunnah are in opposition to the deviated sects such as the Khawārij who exaggerate in fear, and the Murji’ah who are at the opposite extreme and exaggerate in hope (disregarding the importance of actions).

    Ahlus-Sunnah are in between hope and fear―fear that discourages from disobedience, and hope that Allah will forgive the servant for his shortcomings, just as Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “When Allah wrote the Pre-decree of all of creation, and He sealed it in His book (the Lawh al-Mahfoodh). He then ascended over His ‘Arsh (throne) with it and sealed it with the words: “Indeed My mercy has overcome my wrath.” When a person reads these words, he will know that if he repents to Allah, He will forgive him. If a person falls short in obedience and in fulfilling the commandments of Allah, then He, out of His mercy, has opened the door of istighfār (forgiveness) for His servants.

    This was the case of the hadeeth of the man who killed 99 men―when he asked if there was any repentance for him, he was directed to an ignorant worshipper who falsely said that there was no repentance for his crime―so he killed him as well, making the death-toll one hundred. Then he was directed to a scholar who said, ‘Who can come between you and repentance to Allah?’ So, even after killing one hundred people, Allah still accepted the repentance of this man.

    Intercession on the Day of Resurrection and the Removal from the Fire of the Sinners Amongst the Muslims

    Therefore, we repeat our earlier saying that if a person sees that he is too secure in himself then he must read the verses containing the threats of Allah’s punishment, and if he sees that he is despairing, then he should read the verses of the Qur’ān promising salvation. There are plenty of hadeeths regarding ash-Shafā’ah (Intercession) whereby Allah (the Most High) commands the removal of people from the Fire according to their decreasing levels of good. The Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said that Allah (the Most High) said in a hadeeth Qudsi: “Look into the one in whose heart there is the weight of a dinār of Imān and take them out of the Fire.” [2]

    There is a narration where Allah sends the angels back again and says to them, ‘Go back, and whoever you find with the weight of half a dinār of goodness, take him out of the Fire,’ and due to this, they will take out of Hell a vast number of people.[3]

    In another hadeeth reported by Anas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “There will be taken out of the Fire whoever said, ‘Lā ilāha ill Allah,’ and has in his heart even less than the weight of a grain of barley of Imān.” It is also reported that Allah will command the angels and say: “Remove from the Hellfire whoever has in his heart even the weight of a mustard seed of Imān.” [4]

    In another narration, Allah will command the angels: “’Go, and whoever you find who has in his heart even an atom’s weight of Imān, take him out of the Fire.’ So, they will remove from the Fire those who they recognize [for having Imān]” [5]

    Alongside this, from His bounty and His kindness, Allah will create people for Jannah who did no good deeds whatsoever, but they are Monotheists―and He will place them in Paradise. Al-Bazzār mentioned in his Musnad from Abu Hurairah that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “As for Paradise, then Allah will make for it creatures and He will place them in it.”

    There is also another narration regarding a person on the Day of Judgement which instils hope in the hearts of the Muslims. Abu Hurairah said in a narration reported by Abu Dāwud and graded hasan by Sheikh al-Albāni, that the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) said: “There was a man who never did any good deed except that he removed a thorny branch from the road―So he removed it and Allah accepted this good deed from him and brought him into Paradise.”

    These ahādeeth contain more promise of salvation than threats. So, if a person is severely overcome with fear such that he reaches the point of despair and loses hope, then he should read these ahādeeth. Similarly, a person reads the ahādeeth regarding threats if he senses in himself a feeling of being overly secure and indifferent.

    When there is in the soul of a person a balance and an equal measure of fear and hope, then in this condition he is the closest to that which is correct. We ask Allah to make us firm and steadfast in His Religion. O Allah, do not make us feel unduly safe from Your plan, and do not cause our hearts to be negligent of your remembrance, and do not leave us in other than Your care.

    وبالله التوفيق

    From Shaikh Ahmad Ibn Yahyā An-Najmi’s (rahimahullāh) explanation with added notes from Abu Khadeejah.

    الحمد لله رب العالمين وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم

    [1] (Reported by Imām at-Tirmidhi from Anas bin Mālik radiAllahu ‘anhu and declared Hasan by Sheikh al-Albāni in Silsilatus-Saheehah number 1051).

    [2] (Reported in the Musnad of Imām Ahmad, from the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri, and Sheikh al-Albāni said in Dhilāl al-Jannah that its isnād is good).

    [3] (Reported by Bukhāri and Muslim from the hadeeth of Ibn Abbās).

    [4] (Reported by Bukhāri from the hadeeth of Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (radiyallahu ‘anhu)).

    [5] (Reported by Bukhāri from Abu Sa’eed (radiyallahu ‘anhu)).

    وصلى الله على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم


    Some of this article was transcribed by Umm Maryam (may Allah reward her) from the classes of Abu Khadeejah ( Please share it with others.

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