Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
I'm in the middle of mopping the kitchen floor, but I had this thought and had to share. I have always been told that Islam is a balance between fear and hope. I was thinking about my prayers and how I have never intentionally missed a prayer in my almost 23 years of being Muslim, mashaa'Allah. This is because there is no option for me - the prayers are fard (obligatory). For everything that Allah has said is fard upon His servants, I understand that there are no ifs or buts, I MUST do them. Here is where it all starts to make sense. I have fear of Allah's displeasure and punishment leading to me not getting to Jennah for the things that are fard upon me. My fear, more than anything, prevents me from not fulfilling those obligations.
However, for my Sunnah and nawafil prayers and actions, I do them out of love and hope. I think, with every extra dhikr, prayer, smile, gift given, or thing baked that this might be the one thing that tips my scales to the right-hand side. This might be the one thing that elicits Allah's Mercy to enter me into His Jennah. This might be the one thing that elevates my rank to something close to my perfect and beloved Rabb's countenance. That's what drives me to do that little extra, give that little more, go the extra mile,
Subhaan Allah, it took 23 years to get my own perspective on fear and hope! Okay, back to the mopping.