Success is not about making a living, but it’s about making a life. Even if you are making a wonderful living, with all luxurious items at your disposal, and all your efforts are to fulfill these physical desires you are failing unless you are working hard for the invisible part the much it deserves, and for the visible part only the much it deserves.
Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم sent a group of reciters towards a particular tribe on their demand. The tribe cheated and killed those reciters. The maternal Uncle of Anas bin Malik رضى الله عنه Haraam bin Milhaan رضى الله عنه was also amongst them. A man attacked Haraam رضى الله عنه from behind and smote him with a spear and Haram رضى الله عنه said: Allah is the Greatest. By the lord of K’abah, I have succeeded. This incident is quoted in Sahih Al- Bukhari and is known as the battle of B’ir mauna in the books of Seerah. The spear tore Haraam رضى الله عنه into pieces and killed him, but the amazing words of Haraam رضى الله عنه live to date, and they help us define what success is. Your enemy has ‘successfully’ killed you but you think you are the one who is successful? This strange comment led the enemy to enquire what made the dying person express such a joy, he was told the Islamic definition of success and he was so amazed by it that he had no other option but to accept Islam.
The Ultimate Result is The Criterion
Not alike are the inmates of the fire and the dwellers of the garden (jannah): the dwellers of the garden (jannah) are they that are the achievers.
(Surah Al Hadeed 59:20)
So, success and failure is based on the ‘ultimate’ result. If we are a millionaire or a king in this finite world but end up in hell-fire in the infinite life, then we are a looser. Also, the finite success here as compared to the infinite failure in the next world is negligible. This is similar to division by infinity in mathematics.
Requirements of Success
Every soul shall taste of death, and you shall only be paid fully your reward on the resurrection day; then whoever is removed far away from the fire and is made to enter the garden he indeed has attained the object; and the life of this world is nothing but a provision of vanities.
(Surah Ale Imran 3:185)
This Ayah also repeats a similar message, but there’s a hidden wisdom in the order of the Ayah. Saving yourself from hell-fire is mentioned first and attaining the reward is mentioned after it. Why? Because by default, everyone who is mature, and the message has reached him is in loss until he possesses four characteristics.
I swear by the time, Most surely man is in loss, Except those who believe and do good, and enjoin on each other truth, and enjoin on each other patience.
(Surah Al Asr 103:1-3)
So, the most comprehensive understanding of success is possible if we understand it in contrast to failure. All of us are failing unless we fulfill these four requirements:
2- Righteous Deeds
3- Exhortation to Truth
4- Exhortation to Patience.
Detailed explanation of these four requirements can be found here.
You Win if Your Soul Wins
There is another way of understanding success considering the human composition. Human (Insaan) is a composition of many thing other than the physical existence.
1- We have a Physical Existence, Body which is referred to as Jasad جسد or sometimes it is called the Animalistic Self.
2- We have a Spiritual Part, it is the enlightened part of ours which has direct connection with Allah SWT, and it has been there even before our physical self was created. It is known as the soul or spirit, and in Qur’anic terms it is the روح or the نور. In philosophy it is sometimes referred to as the conscience, true self or continuous self.
3- We also have a personal evil jinn (shaitaan) attached with all of us, who tries to make us astray. In Qur’anic term it is known as the qareen قرين.
4- We also have two angels with us, but they are like silent spectators recording our acts. They don’t influence our actions etc.
There is a constant battle of these good and bad elements in us. We win if we feed our true self or ruh the way we should and make it stronger than our other self(s).
And be not like those who forsook Allah, so He made them forsake their own souls: these it is that are the transgressors.
(Surah Al Hashr 59:19)
Forgetting Allah is like forgetting ‘your’ part which is connected to Allah. And if that connection is lost because you busy satisfying the other self(s) then you are a looser. And if you feed your true self in the instructed manner, you will feel its light even in your physical existence, and an inner peace would be there with you.
He will indeed be successful who purifies it, and he will indeed fail who corrupts it.
(Surah Ash Shams 91:9-10)
So, success is not about making a living, but it’s about making a life. Even if you are making a wonderful living, with all luxurious items at your disposal, and all your efforts are to fulfill these physical desires you are failing unless you are working hard for the invisible part the much it deserves, and for the visible part only the much it deserves.
If you are failing to cross even the minimum level in any of your mandatory roles (e.g. Muslim, father etc), then you are still failing. So, make a list of your mandatory roles, and rectify your preferences. Remember, the first things first rule.
“The most important thing is to keep the most important thing, the most important thing”
اللهم اجعلنا من الفائزين
Oh Allah Make us the winners!
This article is a part of the Project Redefinition. See details here
Author: Mohammad Awais Tahir
The author may or may not have the same views on the topic and would not like to be quoted on what has been said above. The author, however, deems nothing wrong with changing opinions, hence, he does not wish to amend/remove posts that do not resonate with his current thinking.
“Those who never retract their opinions love themselves more than they love truth.”
Please see : http://exploringpsyche.com/one-grand-retraction/
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