The difference between Hope and Wishful Thinking

The difference between Hope and Wishful Thinking


Ibnul Qayyim, rahimahullah, said while explaining the distinction between true hope and mere wishful thinking (tamanni):

“The difference between it and mere wishful thinking is that mere wishful thinking involves laziness wherein the person neither exerts himself nor strives (to achieve what he wishes for).  Hope however, entails striving, exertion,and beautiful reliance.   The first is like the one who wishes that the earth would plant and sow its own seeds for him. The second is like the one who (actually) tills the soil, plants the seeds and then hopes that crops will grow.  This is why the gnostics (‘aarifoon) are agreed that hope is not correct, except if accompanied by action.

Shaah Al-Kirmaani said: ‘The sign of sound hope is good obedience.’

And hope is of three types; two are praiseworthy and one is blameworthy and mere delusion.  The first two are:  the hope of a person who does an act of obedience for Allah, upon a light from Allah, hoping in its reward.  And someone who commits a sin then repents from it, hoping for Allah’s forgiveness, pardon, kindness, magnanimity, clemency and generosity.  The third (type) is like a person who persists in sinning and transgressing the limits, yet hopes for Allah’s mercy without doing any action (to warrant it).  This is delusion, mere wishful thinking and false hope.”

[Taken from a footnote found on page 8 of abook by Shaykh ‘Abdur-Rahmaan As-Sa’di, “The Exquisite Pearl” published by Jawziyyah Press

Ahl-us-Sunnah testify and believe that the good and the evil, the benefit and the harm, the pleasant and the bitter, all happen by the Decree and Power of Allaah.  There is no return or escape and no one can desist from them from them both.Nothing except that which Allaah has written will befall that person. If the creation strived to benefit the person with something which Allaah has written for him, then they will not be able to do so.  If they strived to HARM him with something not Decreed by Allaah for him,they will not have the ability to do so. This is what is reported from ‘Abdullah ibn Abbaas, radiyallaahu anhuma.

Taken from: The Creed of The Pious Predecessors -The Poeple of Hadeeth ‘Uthamaan Ismaa’eel ibn ‘AbdurRahman As-Saaboonee