In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi [may Allaah preserve him] said:
It is obligated on us to possess some understanding, awareness and high aspiration that will enable us to realise the status of knowledge and its possessors, because “Whoever Allaah wishes good for, He gives him understanding in the religion”. [Ref 1]
When you actually embark on the path towards seeking knowledge- seeking understanding of it and acting upon it, this is indeed one of the signs that Allaah wishes good for you. Therefore, receive glad tidings, have good thoughts about Allaah and be sincere to Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] in your statements, deeds and knowledge. Neither be deceived – we seek Allaah’s Refuge from self-deception – nor feel safe from Allaah’s plan. [Allaah said]: [فَلَا يَأۡمَنُ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ – None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers]. [ Surah Al-A’raaf’ Aayah 99]
A believer always fears that his situation will change. It has been reported from Aa’isha and Anas [radiyallaahu-anhumaa] that the Messenger [sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam] often used to (supplicate): “O turner of the hearts [i.e. Allaah]! Keep my heart firm upon your religion”. I [i.e. Aa’isha or Anas] asked, “O Messenger of Allaah! We believe in you and what has been revealed to you, so do you fear for us?” He said, “Yes, indeed the hearts are between two fingers among the fingers of Allaah and He turns them how He pleases”. [Ref 2]
By Allaah! This is (true) understanding – that a person does not feel safe about himself, because indeed “Satan flows through the human being like blood”. [Ref 3] Therefore, a person should guard his heart, intellect and deeds ardently – more than he guards his wealth and honour. Whoever is given authority to look after his own affairs, it is obligated on him to guard his heart before everything else.
[رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ – Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower]. [ Surah Aal Imraan’ Aayah 8] [Ref 4]
The Shaikh [hafidhahullaah] also said:
I warn my brothers against the Fitan and that they turn to Allaah to keep them steadfast upon the Religion. They should supplicate a lot (just as Allaah taught the believers that they say), “Our Lord! Let not our hearts deviate (from the truth) after You have guided us, and grant us mercy from You. Truly, You are the Bestower”. [Surah Aal Imraan’ Aayah 8]
They should make this tremendous supplication often [i.e. Aayah 8 Surah Aal Imraan], and the supplication which Allaah’s Messenger used to make often. Anas [radiyallaahu-anhu] said, “Allaah’s Messenger [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] used to say a lot, ‘O Turner of the hearts! Keep my heart firm upon your religion’. So the companions said, ‘O Allaah’s Messenger! Do you fear for us?’ He said, ‘Yes. Indeed the hearts are between two fingers from the fingers of Allaah and He turns them however He wills’”.
Therefore, the believer does not feel secure from Allaah’s plan [i.e. he is careful of persisting upon wrong, turning away from truth and becoming complacent lest he becomes misguided]. [Allaah said]: [فَلَا يَأۡمَنُ مَڪۡرَ ٱللَّهِ إِلَّا ٱلۡقَوۡمُ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرُونَ – None feels secure from the Plan of Allah except the people who are the losers]. [ Surah Al-A’raaf’ Aayah 99]
The believer always fears Allaah. He fears that Allaah might not accept his deeds and he is not deceived by hope [i.e. hoping whilst not striving sincerely]. The spending carried out in the path of Allaah and the strenuous effort made through acts of obedience to Allaah is nothing in the eyes of the truthful believer, for they are not equal to the smallest blessing amongst the (uncountable) blessings of Allaah. [Allaah’s Messenger (sallal laahu alayhi wasallam said)]: “Glorified be You [O Allaah] and free are You from all imperfections! I cannot fully praise you, for you are as you have praised yourself. [Saheeh Muslim 486]
This was Muhammad [sallal laahu alayhi wasallam] – the one whose past and future sins were forgiven, but he feared Allaah the most. He said: “I swear by Allaah that I am the most fearful of Allaah and the most conscious of Him [based on knowledge regarding His Greatness etc] than you.”
He used to stand for so long that his feet became swollen. Aishah [radiyallaahi-anhaa] said, “O Allaah’s Messenger! Why are you doing this when Allaah has forgiven your past and future sins? He said, ‘Should I not be a thankful slave?’” [Ref 5]
Ref 1: Saheeh al-Bukhaari’ Number 71 & Saheeh Muslim’ Number 1037
Ref 2: Tirmidhee 2140. Declared authentic by Imaam Albaani in Al-Mishkaat 102.
Ref3: Al-Bukhaari 2039
Ref4: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 75-76. slightly paraphrased
Ref5: An Excerpt from Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm. Pages 204-205. Slightly paraphrased]