In his well-known book, Al-Hikam (Words of Wisdom), sheikh Ahmad Ibn `Ataa’illah As-Sakandari says:

If you want the doors of hope in Him opened, recall what He offers you, and if you want the doors of awe of Him opened, recall what you offer Him.

Sometimes our sins, forgetfulness, and lusts block our ways to Allah, and we find ourselves not feeling an overwhelming longing to Him. The Sheikh here guides us to two doors which can be opened by reason. Reason is a tool that Allah granted us and we can use anytime. The two doors are that of hope and awe.

The questions that the Sheikh is answering here are: How can the door of hope be opened while I do not feel this hope in my heart? How can the door of awe be opened for me while I do not feel this awe in my heart?
The answer is: Try to calculate the bounties that Allah bestowed on you, and calculate the acts of worship and the good deeds that you offered for Allah Almighty.

As for Allah ‘s bounties, they cannot be counted in any case. Allah says:

{For, should you try to count Allah ‘s blessings, you could never compute them!}. (An-Nahl  16: 18)

When you remember one of Allah’s bounties, you will realize how Generous, Merciful, and most Forbearing He Almighty is.

When you are preoccupied by these meanings, the door of hope in Allah’s generosity, forbearance, and mercy will be opened for you.

And when you remember your shortcomings, then the door of awe will be opened in your heart.
A believer’s condition should vary between hope and awe so that he will become, as Ibn al-Qayyim describes, like a bird with two wings; one wing for hope and the other for awe.
Striking a balance between opposites is one of the invariable universal laws of Allah. Here we should strike a balance between hope and awe so that the bird can fly because it cannot fly with one wing.


ٍSource: www.onislam.net — Ibn Ataa’s Pearls of Wisdom — Jasser Auda