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Last Updated: 2009/06/22
Summary of question
in brief: Is there any hope of protection from the punishment of the Day of Judgment?
question
Is there any hope of protection from the punishment of the grave and the Day of Judgment?
Concise answer
What is concluded by studying all the religious teachings is that the hope for Allah’s mercy and the fear of punishment on the Day of Judgment are two complementary qualities which a believer should posses equally and in the same degree. It means that if the believer does his obligatory acts and avoids doing unlawful acts he can be hopeful of Allah’s mercy and having a happy ending. He should be afraid of divine punishment too because lack of  fear of divine punishment gives man courage to commit sins and too much fear also disappoints him.
In fact the verses and narrations have put the hope for Allah’s mercy alongside fear of His punishment and introduce them as two lights in man’s heart and two wings for reaching perfection because fear of the Day of Judgment and hope for Allah’s mercy encourage man to obey and worship Allah and consequently it leads to his salvation.
Detailed Answer
Relying on religious teachings scholars of mysticism and ethics such as  Imam Khomeini (R.H.) consider hope and fear as two complementary qualities and believe that the preferable hope is that man uses all of the tools in his possession to reach felicity and prosperity. Such a person can then be hopeful that Allah, the Exalted,  may provide  him with the tools which are not in his possession,  by His favor and removes the obstacles to lead him to achieve  eternal prosperity. It means that if someone purges his heart from the thorns of evil deeds and plants it with the seeds of obedience and worshipping and waters them with pure belief and then be hopeful ofAllah’s mercy and of having a happy ending, his hope and fear is preferable[1], as the holy Quran says : “Surely those who believed and those who fled (their home) and strove hard in the way of Allah, these hope for the mercy of Allah and Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”[2]
Allah, the Exalted, puts the hope for His mercy next to belief, the Holy War and striving in His way and this order shows that the believer should do his best to perform obligatory acts and avoid doing unlawful acts and  be hopeful about Allah’s mercy.
 
The preferable fear is that man considers himself as a mere indigent who does not posses anything before Allah. All of the possible beings need a Being who is absolutely Gracious. Therefore man should ask Him for something Who is All-power and the end of all beings is in His hands and He is the source of all good things.[3] The Holy Quran says: “…Say: All is from Allah…” [4]
The believer should equally posses both of the qualities of fear and hope. It means that the believer should not be so afraid of Allah and punishment of grave and the Day of Judgment that makes him disappointed with Allah’s mercy. On the other hand he should not be so hopeful about Allah’s mercy so that it may not cause him him to commit sins. The Infallible Imams’ traditions  also endorse this:
1. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: “Be afraid of the Glorious Allah to some extent that if you posses the good deeds of Jinn and man beings it does not make you hopeful of being saved from His punishment and be hopeful about Allah’s mercy to the extent that if you posses the bad deeds of Jinn and human beings it does not make you disappointed with His mercy.”[5]
2. Imam Ali (a.s.) says: “The best of acts is creating balance between fear and hope i,e. you should create a  balance between your fear of Allah’s punishment and hope for His mercy, be afraid of Allah to a balanced degree and be hopeful of His mercy and forgiveness to a balanced degree not that you be so afraid of Him that it makes you disappointed with His mercy and be so hopeful of  His mercy that it makes you haughty and ignorant.” [6]
3. Imam Sadiq (a.s.) says: “Fear (of Allah’s punishment) is the guardian and protector of the heart (not to be ignorant and commit sins) and hope (for Allah’s mercy) is man’s intercessor (not to be disappointed with Allah and and no to run away from Him); whoever knows Allah is afraid of Him and rests his hope in   Him too. These two ones (fear and hope) are two wings of belief by which a realistic believer flies to divine pleasure and with which hesees divine promises and threats for punishment. Fear is the clear sign of Allah’s justice preventing His punishment from occurring; hope is the loud voice of Allah’s grace and mercy. Hope (for Allah’s limitless mercy) freshen up the heart and fear (of Allah’s punishment) causes the carnal soul (and carnal desires) to die.” [7]
It is concluded from the foregoing details that  hope of redemption and deliverance from the punishment of the Day of Judgment depends on doing obligatory acts and avoiding unlawful acts and it is one of the two wings of belief for reaching pure perfection and man should posses this quality (hope for divine mercy) as much as he possesses fear of divine punishment. It means that man should be hopeful about divine mercy to such extent that it doesn’t lead him to commit sins and the light of fear in him should  also be to such an extent that it does not make him disappointed with Allah’s mercy.
 
  
 
 
 

[1].  Imam Khumaini, Forty Traditions, p.229, the sixteenth edition, theInstitute of Gathering and Publication of Imam’s Works, Tehran 1376 A.H.
[2]. Surah Baqarah: 218
[3]. Imam Khumaini, Forty Traditions, p.222
[4]. Surah Nisa: 78
[5]. Kulaini, Usul Kafi, translated by Mustafawi, vol.3, p.109, the first edition, `Ilmiyyah Islamiyyah bookstore, Tehran
[6]. Ghurar al-Hikam, translated by Ansari Qumi, vol 1, p.395, the eighth edition, Tehran
[7]. Misbah al-Shari`ah, translated by Mustafawi. p.398, the first edition, Islamic Association of Wisdom and Philosophy of Iran, Tehran, 1360 A.H.  
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