Why seek success? These days with so many distractions around us — laziness, heedlessness and wasting of time are traps that we as humans beings are easily guilty of falling into. These elements of unproductivity should be dealt with seriousness given the deep consequences they can provoke in the long term. Our lives have not been created to be wasted. Every moment counts. As Muslims, we need to devote our lives to seek real success while avoiding sins and the traps of unproductivity as much as possible. The life of our Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon) was filled with initiatives and we should strive to do the same. Not only is seeking success critical at an individual level, but important for the Ummah to grow and flourish. One day we will be standing before our Lord, held accountable for our deeds and how we spent our lives. The present world is a fertile soil for us and a means to cultivate fruits of success. We need to understand how to take care of this fertile soil before it is too late.
What is Success?
To be able to understand real success , it is imperative for us to understand the purpose of our existence. It is clear that mankind has been created with the purpose of worshipping Allah alone.
“And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone)”
We are asked to believe in Allah, to submit to Him, to love Him and to obey His Commands. The Straight Path defined by our Lord is the only path that will nurture the fruits of success in both this world and in the Hereafter.
“Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)”
“But those who believe, love Allaah more (than anything else)”
‘Success’ does not lie alone in the path towards material resources nor does it lie alone in commonly pursued desires such as honor and prestige. Allah swt tells us that true and eternal success can be obtained by loving Allah more than anything else and by following His Straight Path through righteous deeds which He has prescribed for us clearly in the Quran and the Sunnah. Righteous deeds are those acts of obedience that have been enjoined on us and should be done purely for the sake of Allah swt. They are either obligations or commendable actions outlined in the Quran and the Sunnah.
Hence our ultimate goal should be to believe in Allah and His Oneness, to love Him more than anything else and to worship Him alone with humility whereas our daily actions should originate from this belief. Our faith should not be something that is detached from our realities or something that vanishes once we finish our salah or leave the masjid. Rather it should be incorporated fully into our lives. We need to develop the understanding and knowledge that will enable us to see how each action in our lives can bring us closer to Allah. Through such alignment, we will begin to perceive the value of each deed based on how it draws us closer to Allah. Such an alignment can give us the ability to realize our full potential and to be productive no matter what the circumstances. Building our identity around the love for Allah can give rise to motivation and actions that are righteous and pleasing to Allah — hence setting the grounds for true success.
To elaborate on this, let’s look at a brief example. Suppose someone goes to work every morning but experiences tiredness and laziness with little motivation. Instead of maintaining such an approach, that person should immediately think of how that very action can bring him/her closer to Allah. There are many ways to look at this particular situation. Perhaps that person should try to be more patient for Allah’s sake even when things get difficult and stressful. He/she could also develop an intention to spend their salary on their family and others who are in need as an act of charity. Furthermore, as an employee, that individual is entrusted with the employer to do their job right and to get things done. Given the mutual agreement, that person should fear Allah and maintain the trust with the employer. They should be honest and committed in their work and remember the following hadith – Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah loves, when one of you does a thing, that he should do it well.”
Thus we should try our best to seek the reward from Allah swt through our daily activities as much as possible. Endeavouring to adapt such a mindset can open doors to real accomplishments, productivity and eternal success. Choosing our actions according to what pleases Allah can give us the ability to grasp the essence of life and discover inner peace. It can allow us to taste the sweetness of faith and worship while adhering to the remembrance of Our Creator.
Allah says (intepretation of the meaning):
Say: “Truly, my prayer and my service of sacrifice, my life and my death are (all) for Allah, the Cherisher of the Worlds
[Al- Anaam 6:162]
May Allah make us amongst those who are successful in this world and in the Hereafter.
Lecture Series ‘Faith Based Intelligence’ by Sheikh Moutasem Al-Hameedy
“Enjoining Right & Forbidding Wrong” by Ibn Taymiyya