Attaining true success
Mufti Muhammad Qasim ‘Attari
Allah Almighty states:
قَدْ اَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُوْنَۙ(۱) الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ فِیْ صَلَاتِهِمْ خٰشِعُوْنَۙ(۲) وَ الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُوْنَۙ(۳) وَ الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ لِلزَّكٰوةِ فٰعِلُوْنَۙ(۴) وَ الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ لِفُرُوْجِهِمْ حٰفِظُوْنَۙ(۵)
‘Undoubtedly, the believers reached their goals. Those who totally humble themselves in their Salah. And who do not incline towards vain talk. And those that work to pay Zakah (consistently). And those who protect their private parts,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 18, Surah Al-Mu’minoon, Verses 1-5).
These verses give several glad tidings to the believers; they have successfully reached their aims, by the grace of Allah, they will enter Paradise forever, and they will have salvation from the disliked thing, (Tafseer-e- Kabeer, vol. 11, p. 161; Ruh-ul-Bayan, vol. 8, p. 457, selected).
Sayyiduna ‘Umar رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ states regarding the first 10 verses of Surah Al-Mu’minoon: When revelation descended upon the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, a sound like the buzzing of flies could be heard near his blessed face. One day, the revelation came, and we remained there. When it concluded, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم faced the Qiblah in supplication. He then said, ‘Ten verses have been revealed to me. Whoever adopts the advice mentioned in them will enter Paradise.’ He صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم then recited the first ten verses of Surah Al-Mu’minoon, (Tirmizi, vol. 3, p. 452, Raqm 3097).
When Sayyidah ‘Aaishah Al-Siddiqah رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا was asked about the character of the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم, she announced, ‘The character of the Messenger of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was the Qur’an.’ She رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا instructed one of her students to recite the first ten verses of Surah Al-Mu’minoon. She رَضِیَ الـلّٰـهُ عَنْهَا then remarked, ‘The character of the Holy Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم was like this,’ (Mustadrak, vol. 2, p. 426, Hadith 3481).
Two types of success
Such is either relative or absolute. The former is success in one or two aspects of life. For example, when an author’s book is published, sold, and liked by readers, this is a success for him, relative to his career. The same is true for an entrepreneur whose business flourishes or an employee who enjoys a good salary and privileges.
However, there is a profound, complete, all-encompassing, and absolute type of success which should be our ultimate aim. This success is described by Allah Almighty, the All-Knowing Creator who knows better than we know ourselves:
اَلَا یَعْلَمُ مَنْ خَلَقَؕ-وَ هُوَ اللَّطِیْفُ الْخَبِیْرُ۠(۱۴)
‘Does He Who has created not know? Only He is the One Who knows of every complexity, Aware (of everything),’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 29, Surah Al-Mulk, Verse 14)
If wealth was a sufficient measure of success, then no wealthy person would be unhappy in this world. Yet, we find many affluent people afflicted with hardships because of disobedient children, a problematic spouse, bad health, or mental health issues. Even if someone does not face any of these challenges, they cannot boast of true success because possessing the entire world while incurring Allah’s anger and wrath is nothing but failure.
Islam teaches us that true success is to gain Allah’s pleasure, salvation in the Hereafter, and entry into Paradise. When the pleasure of Allah Almighty is at the heart of our activities, we will attain triumph, acceptance among people and family, and righteous children. It is only when we make Islamic teachings the sole guide of our engagements that our minds can truly be at peace, knowing sustenance and provisions will come to us by Allah’s grace.
The Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم has a beautiful saying regarding this: ‘Whoever made all of his worries, the worry of the Hereafter, then Allah Almighty will suffice for his worldly worries. And whoever remains occupied in worldly worries and matters, then Allah Almighty has no concern about which valley he dies in,’ (Ibn-e-Majah, vol. 4, p. 425, Hadith 4106).
Allah Almighty states regarding successful people:
وَ مَنْ یُّطِعِ اللّٰهَ وَ رَسُوْلَهٗ وَ یَخْشَ اللّٰهَ وَ یَتَّقْهِ فَاُولٰٓىٕكَ هُمُ الْفَآىٕزُوْنَ(۵۲)
‘And whosoever obeys the command of Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah, and observes piety; so, it is these (people) who are successful,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 18, Surah Al-Noor, Verse 52)
فَمَنْ زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَ اُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَؕ-
‘So, the one who is saved from the Fire and is admitted into Paradise, he is successful,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 04, Surah Aal-e-Imraan, Verse 185)
The Qur’an tells us that people are of two types, viz. those who desire success in this world alone and those who desire the success in this world and the Hereafter. Allah عَزَّوَجَلَّ stated regarding those who seek the world only:
فَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ یَّقُوْلُ رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِی الدُّنْیَا وَ مَا لَهٗ فِی الْاٰخِرَةِ مِنْ خَلَاقٍ(۲۰۰)
‘O our Lord! Give us (something) in this world,’ and he does not have a share in the Hereafter,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 02, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 200)
And He stated regarding those who seek the Hereafter:
وَ مِنْهُمْ مَّنْ یَّقُوْلُ رَبَّنَاۤ اٰتِنَا فِی الدُّنْیَا حَسَنَةً وَّ فِی الْاٰخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَّ قِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ(۲۰۱) اُولٰٓىٕكَ لَهُمْ نَصِیْبٌ مِّمَّا كَسَبُوْاؕ-وَ اللّٰهُ سَرِیْعُ الْحِسَابِ(۲۰۲)
‘And some say this; that ‘O our Lord, give us good in the world and (also) good in the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of Hell.’ For such people, there is a share from what they have earned, and Allah is Swift in taking account,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 02, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verses 201-202)
He also states:
مَنْ كَانَ یُرِیْدُ الْعَاجِلَةَ عَجَّلْنَا لَهٗ فِیْهَا مَا نَشَآءُ لِمَنْ نُّرِیْدُ ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَا لَهٗ جَهَنَّمَۚ-یَصْلٰىهَا مَذْمُوْمًا مَّدْحُوْرًا(۱۸) وَ مَنْ اَرَادَ الْاٰخِرَةَ وَ سَعٰى لَهَا سَعْیَهَا وَ هُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَاُولٰٓىٕكَ كَانَ سَعْیُهُمْ مَّشْكُوْرًا(۱۹) كُلًّا نُّمِدُّ هٰۤؤُلَآءِ وَ هٰۤؤُلَآءِ مِنْ عَطَآءِ رَبِّكَؕ-وَ مَا كَانَ عَطَآءُ رَبِّكَ مَحْظُوْرًا(۲۰)
‘Whoever desires this quick-passing (enjoyment of this world), We may give him quickly whatever We will, to whomever We will, then assign Hell for him; that therein he enters condemned, pushed around. And whosoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it as it should be striven for, and is a believer; so, only their effort is appreciated. We provide help to all; to these (seekers of this world) and to those (seekers of the Hereafter), by the Bestowal of your Lord; and there is no stoppage on the Bestowal of your Lord,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 15, Surah Bani Israel, Verses 18-20)
According to the Qur’an, the believers and well-mannered people are the successful ones:
اُولٰٓىٕكَ عَلٰى هُدًى مِّنْ رَّبِّهِمْۗ-وَ اُولٰٓىٕكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُوْنَ(۵)
‘Only those people are upon guidance from their Lord and only they are to attain success,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 01, Surah Al-Baqarah, Verse 5)
Material success, having forgotten the Hereafter, is not true success according to the Quran:
یٰۤاَیُّهَا الَّذِیْنَ اٰمَنُوْا لَا تُلْهِكُمْ اَمْوَالُكُمْ وَ لَاۤ اَوْلَادُكُمْ عَنْ ذِكْرِ اللّٰهِۚ-وَ مَنْ یَّفْعَلْ ذٰلِكَ فَاُولٰٓىٕكَ هُمُ الْخٰسِرُوْنَ(۹)
‘O believers! Let not your wealth or your children (or) anything cause you to neglect the remembrance of Allah. And whoever does this; so it is they who are in loss,’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 28, Surah Al-Munafiqoon, Verse 9)
We will continue exploring this topic in the next issue اِنْ شَــآءَالـلّٰـه.