This is the Sunnah of Allaah – The One free of all imperfections and Most High. That He delivers His believing servants from the plots of the oppressors. So He places the penalty of the plot upon the plotters themselves.
The believer spends his life being balanced between fear and hope. He does not fear in such a way that he despairs from the mercy of Allaah. Nor does he hope in such a way that he feels safe from the plot of Allaah* The Majestic and Most High.
((Do they feel safe against the plot of Allaah? None feels secure from the plot of Allaah except a people that are losers)) [Soorah Al-A’raaf: 99]
So he does not feel safe from the plot of Allaah, and there occurs in the Hadeeth:
((…Indeed one of you acts with the actions of the people of Paradise – such that there isn’t between himself and it but an arms length. But that which has been written overtakes him and so he acts with the actions of the people of the Fire and so enters it))**
For what reason did he enter the fire? He entered it due to his doing the actions of the people of the Fire. So the reward is in accordance to and in level with the actions. So due to his death having occurred in a state whereupon he commits an action of the people of the Fire – he thus enters the Fire; likewise the opposite.
((And indeed one of you acts with the actions of the people of the Fire – such that there isn’t between himself and it but an arms length. But that which has been written overtakes him and so he acts with the actions of the people of Paradise and so enters it))***
For what reason did he enter it? He entered it due to his doing the actions of the people of Paradise, and he died upon that.
So the Fire is not entered into except due to actions. Likewise the Paradise is not entered into except due to actions.
Actions are based upon the conclusion/end. So a person should not be beguiled due to his righteousness and uprightness and in doing so feel safeguarded from straying.
How many from the believers and from the Muslims and from the Scholars strayed? Allaah The Majestic and Most High caused them to stray when there appeared from them that which made itself manifest by way of violations. So one should not feel safe and nor should one give himself distinction and say: ‘there is nothing upon me’ and: ‘I am a believer’ or ‘I am a Scholar’ or ‘I am such and such’ then feeling safe from straying and so mixes with the evil doers and listens to the evil doers and gives his attention to trials and problems and claims that ‘he knows’ and so on and so forth and that he is a believer and does not deceive. He should not feel safe for himself.
((The hearts of the servants are between two fingers from the fingers of Ar-Rahmaan))****
He should not feel safe for himself.
Al-Khaleel (Ibraaheem) (‘alaihis salaam) said:
((…Keep me and my sons away from worshipping idols. O my Lord! Indeed they led many amongst mankind astray…)) [Soorah Ibraaheem: 35-36]
So a person should not feel safety for himself from trial and tribulation and from fear and a bad ending/death. Even if he is from the most righteous of people. Nor should he feel safe that he will have a good ending whether he is from the most righteous of people. Nor should he despair from the mercy of Allaah – even if he is the most disbelieving of people. Since Allaah may bestow upon him the ability to make repentance and so he dies upon Islaam and so enters Paradise. Since whilst he is alive, then he is subject to this or that. So actions are based upon the conclusion/end.
*Regarding Allaah The Most High describing Himself as plotting then Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullaah) says:
'As for the plotting that He (Allaah) has described Himself with; then it is His rewarding those that plot over His believers and His Messengers. So he defies their wicked plotting by way of His good plot. Thus their plotting is the most ugliest of things, whilst from Him it is the best thing – because He (Allaah) is Just and One that rewards. As is the case of guile from Him – it is as a reward for the guile upon His Messengers and His allies. So there can be no better than that guile and plot.' (See: Fawaa’id Al-Fawaa’id page 68) [Translators note]
** Reported by Al-Bukhaaree no. 3208 and Muslim no. 2643 and Aboo Dawood no. 4708 and Ibn Maajah no. 76 and Ahmad in his Musnad as no. 3624 and others.
**** Reported by At-Tirmidhee no. 2140 and Ibn Maajah no. 3834 and Ahmad in his Musnad no. 12107 and Ibn Abee Shaibah in his Musannaf vol 10 p. 209 and Aboo Ya’laa in his Musnad vol 4 p. 207 no. 554 and At-Tabaree in his Tafseer no. 6653 & 6654. It was declared as Hasan (sound) by Shaikh Al-Albaani in his Saheeh Sunan At-Tirmidhee vol 2 p. 443 no. 2140. The wording of the Hadeeth is: ((Indeed the hearts are between two fingers from the fingers of Allaah)) and in some narrations: ((between two fingers from the fingers of Ar-Rahmaan; He fluctuates them however He wishes))