Commentary on the Holy Quran
Attaining True Success
Mufti Muhammad Qasim Attari
Allah Almighty states:
وَ الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ لِلزَّكٰوةِ فٰعِلُوْنَۙ(۴) وَ الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ لِفُرُوْجِهِمْ حٰفِظُوْنَۙ(۵) اِلَّا عَلٰۤى اَزْوَاجِهِمْ اَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ اَیْمَانُهُمْ فَاِنَّهُمْ غَیْرُ مَلُوْمِیْنَۚ(۶) فَمَنِ ابْتَغٰى وَرَآءَ ذٰلِكَ فَاُولٰٓىٕكَ هُمُ الْعٰدُوْنَۚ(۷)
“And those that work to pay Zakat (consistently). And those who protect their private parts. Except from their wives or the lawful handmaids whom they possess, that there is no blame upon them. So, whoever desires anything more than these two; they are the transgressors.”
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 18, Surah Al-Mu`minoon, Verses 4-7)
The third quality of successful people
He Almighty mentioned the following quality from the qualities of successful people:
وَ الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ لِلزَّكٰوةِ فٰعِلُوْنَۙ(۴)
‘And those that work to pay zakat (consistently).’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 18, Surah Al-Mu`minoon, Verse 4)
This refers to people who pay zakat on time with steadfastness, a willing heart, considering it an act of worship, and fully submitting to the divine command. Through zakat, you attain multiple types of success:
1. Paying zakat removes materialism from the heart—and materialism is the root of all evil.
2. A strong desire to help the less fortunate grows in the heart of the one who pays zakat.
3. Zakat is a practical measure to end poverty.
4. Extreme disparity between the poor and rich often leads to enmity between them; the French and Russian revolutions were driven by this and saw peasants join forces to mass-murder the aristocracy. However, giving zakat to the poor creates gratitude and mutual understanding.
5. Evil is removed from the one who pays zakat, hence, the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘Whosoever paid the zakat [due] on his wealth, indeed, Allah Almighty has removed evil from him,’ (Al-Mu’jam Al-Awsat, vol. 1, p. 431).
6. Paying zakat prompts divine mercy to descend, whereas, not paying zakat prevents the descent of divine mercy. Hence, it is stated in a hadith, ‘When people stop paying zakat, Allah Almighty halts the rain, and if there was no creature on the Earth, not even a single drop of water would fall from the skies,’ (Ibn Majah, vol. 4, p. 368).
Some exegetes interpreted the word ‘Zakat’ in the aforementioned verse as self-purification (Tazkiyah), implying that the successful believer is someone who purges his inner of materialism, arrogance, ostentation, malice, envy, and other negative qualities. Allah Almighty says regarding this self-purification:
قَدْ اَفْلَحَ مَنْ تَزَكّٰىۙ(۱۴)
“Indeed, successful is the one who became pure.”
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 30, Surah Al-A’la, Verse 14)
قَدْ اَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكّٰىهَاﭪ(۹) وَ قَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسّٰىهَاؕ(۱۰)
“Indeed, successful is the one who made it (his soul) pure. And unsuccessful is the one who covered it in sins.”
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 30, Surah Al-Shams, Verses 9, 10)
The one who purifies his heart and soul will attain the ultimate success: salvation in the Hereafter and a place in Paradise. These rewards are reserved for people with pure, sound hearts (Qalb-e-Saleem).
Being less attached to material luxuries affords worldly success too. Although acquiring wealth through lawful means is commendable, being overly attached to material possessions and wealth makes a person miserly, selfish, and disliked by those around him. Materialism feeds envy and arrogance, leading to ruin and spiritual bankruptcy. Such people’s ‘exponential want for more,’ despite having much already, destroys their peace of mind and causes them to be spiteful towards the success of others.
Likewise, the arrogant person develops a reputation for being foolish, conceited, boastful, and despotic; having such dishonour and notoriety is not success but failure.
The fourth quality of successful people
The following has been mentioned as the fourth quality of the successful people:
وَ الَّذِیْنَ هُمْ لِفُرُوْجِهِمْ حٰفِظُوْنَۙ(۵)
‘And those who protect their private parts.’
[Kanz-ul-Iman (translation of Quran)] (Part 18, Surah Al-Mu`minoon, Verse 5)
This quality is linked to modesty and chastity, both of which are core values of Islam. The connection between modesty and success in the Hereafter is patently clear, for the Beloved Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said, ‘The one who guarantees for me [he will not utilise] that which is between his jaws and his legs, i.e. his tongue and private parts, [in an impermissible manner], I guarantee Paradise for him,’ (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 240, Hadith 6474).
What is the worldly benefit of avoiding immodesty?
History is witness to this universal truth: the consequences of illicit physical relations are catastrophic, leading to the destruction of the family unit and the very fabric of society. Adultery is fatal to marriages and precious family relationships and eliminates regard for the sanctity of people.
1. Those who engage in immodest behaviour are harassed with blackmailing on many occasions, and money is wasted in this way too.
2. A person will face embarrassment in the presence of his family.
3. If an immodest person happens to be a Muslim, then there is no chance of him feeling any sweetness in worship.
4. Inappropriate thoughts constantly race through the mind of an immodest person, ruining his sleep, peace, and time.
5. Such people waste hours on immodest conversations.
6. Engaging in immodest acts results in serious STDs, such as AIDS, and STIs.
Solution for immodesty: Upon reaching a certain age, people naturally develop physical needs. Allah Almighty, out of His mercy, has provided humans with an honourable way to address these needs: nikah. Not only is nikah a means of fulfilling lawful desires via lawful means, it is also a means of attaining peace of mind and reaping other religious and worldly benefits.
If one was to adopt these qualities mentioned in the blessed verses of Surah Al-Mu’minun, then with the mercy and grace of Allah Almighty, the doors of success will open. Refer to the commentary of these verses in Tafseer Sirat-ul-Jinan for more insight.