One often hears the statement, sometimes cited as a Hadith or saying of the Salaf:
‘Iman is between fear and hope’ or different wordings.
What is the source for this statement? And regardless of the source, is the principle correct?
We are unable to locate these words as a Hadith, however this principle is correct and is substantiated by many Hadiths and verses of the Holy Quran.
Among them are the following:
1. Allah Ta’ala mentions ‘Verily your Rabb is quick in meting out punishment and he is also most forgiving most merciful’.
(Surah Al A’raf: 167)
2. Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “If a believer knew the severity of Allah Ta’ala’s punishment, none will have hope in attaining Jannah and if a disbeliever knew how merciful Allah Ta’ala is none will lose hope of attaining Jannah.”
(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 2755)
The above proves that a believer should have equal amounts of fear and hope; more fear of Allah’s wrath during times of good health, and extra hope in His mercy during illness and before death.
Imams Bukhari and Nawawi (rahimahumallah) have also quoted this statement as a sub heading in their Hadith compilations.
(See Bukhari and Fathul Bari, Hadith: 6469 and Riyadus Salihin 443)
And Allah Ta’ala knows best
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar