I am as My Servant Thinks (expects) I am

The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’”

[Sahih Al-Bukhari]

Commentary:

The Scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) commented on the above Hadith Qudsi, where the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said that Allah said, “I am as my slave expects Me to be”:

Ibn Hajar (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “meaning, I am able to do whatever he expects I will do.” [Fath al-Bari]

Imam Nawawi (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “The scholars say that expecting the best of Allah is to expect that He will have Mercy on him and relieve him of hardship.” [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Imam Nawawi (may Allah have Mercy upon him) also said: “al-Qadi ‘Iyad said that this means He will forgive him if he seeks such, will accept his repentance if he repents, will answer him if he supplicates, and will suffice him if he asks for something. It is also said that it refers to having hope and longing for relief, and this is more correct.”  [Sharh Sahih Muslim]

Ahmad bin ‘Umar al-Qurtubi (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “It is said that His Saying “I am as my slave expects Me to be” means if one expects an answer when he supplicates, his repentance to be accepted, something repugnant to be repelled from him, his deeds to be accepted that are performed with their proper conditions…And this is supported by his saying: “Call upon Allah while you are certain that you will be answered.” Likewise, it is incumbent upon the one who repents, seeks Forgiveness, and does good deeds to exert himself in fulfilling his obligations while he is certain that Allah will accept his actions and Forgive his sins, as Allah has promised that He will accept any truthful repentance and righteous deeds. So, whoever performs such a deed and believes and expects that Allah will not accept it and that it will not benefit him, this is despair from the Mercy of Allah, and is from greatest of the major sins. Whoever dies upon this will be delivered to that which he expected.” [Al-Mufhim li ma Ushkil min Talkhis Kitab Muslim]

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “Most people – in fact, all of them except those protected by Allah – assume other than the truth, and assume the worst. Most people believe that they are deprived of their rights, have bad luck, deserve more than what Allah gave them, and it is as if they are saying: ‘My Lord has wronged me and deprived me of what I deserve,’ and his soul bears witness to this while his tongue denies it and refuses to openly state this. And whoever digs into his soul and comes to know its ins and outs will see this in it like fire in a triggered explosion…And if you dig into anyone’s soul, you will see that he blames fate and would rather have something else happen to him than what actually did, and that things should be this way or that…So, dig into your own self: are you protected from this? If you are safe from this, you have been protected from something great. Otherwise, I do not see that you have been saved.”  [Zad al-Ma’ad]

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allah have Mercy upon him) also said: “The more you have good expectations of your Lord and hope in Him, the more you will rely on and trust in Him. This is why some explained true reliance and trust to be having good expectations of Allah. In reality, having good expectations of Him leads to relying on and trusting in Him, as it is unthinkable that one can trust in someone that he has bad expectations of or no hope in, and Allah Knows best.” [Tahdhib Madarij as-Salikin]

He (may Allah have Mercy upon him) also said: “The one who hopes in Allah should always be optimistic, cautious, and hopeful in Allah’s bounty, expecting the best from Him.” [Tahdhib Madarij as-Salikin]

Sayyid Qutb (may Allah have Mercy upon him) said: “As for the believers whose hearts are connected to Allah, whose souls are close to Him, who experience His constant bounty – they do not despair of the Mercy of Allah even if they are surrounded on all sides by disaster and severe hardship. The believer is in the mercy of the shade of his faith, the pleasure of his connection to his Lord, and the tranquillity of his confidence in his Guardian even when he is in the throes of hardship and disaster.”

He (may Allah have Mercy upon him) also said: “The believing heart assumes the best of its Lord, and always expects the best from Him. It expects good from Him in times of ease and times of hardship, and it believes that Allah wants good for him in either situation. The secret of this is that his heart is connected to Allah, and the flow of good from Allah is never cut off. So, whenever the heart is connected to Him, it touches upon this fundamental reality and experiences it in a direct and sweet way.” [Fi Dhilal al-Qur’an]

Some of the Salaf (may Allah have mercy upon him) said: “Whenever a crisis comes your way, utilise your good expectations of Allah in order to repel it. This will bring you closer to relief.” [al-Faraj Ba’d ash-Shiddah]

Sa’id bin Jubayr (may Allah have Mercy upon him) would supplicate: “O Allah, I ask you to grant me true reliance on You and good expectations of You.” [Siyar A’lam an-Nubala]

‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud (radi Allahu anhu) said: “By the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, the believer is not given anything good better than his good expectations of Allah, and by the One besides Who none is worthy of worship, no servant of Allah expects good of Him except that Allah gives him what he expected, since all good is in His Hand.” [Husn adh-Dhann bi Allah]

Sufyan ath-Thawri (may Allah have Mercy upon him) would say:  “I do not want to be judged by my father, as my Lord is better to me than my father.” [Husn adh-Dhann bi Allah]

‘Ammar bin Yusuf (may Allah have Mercy on him) said:  “I saw Hasan bin Salih in a dream, and I said: “I was hoping to meet you! What can you inform us of?” He replied: “I give you the glad tidings that I see nothing better than to have good expectations of Allah.” [Husn adh-Dhann bi Allah]

And Allah knows best!

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