What is the true meaning of success?
“How to be successful”, read the title of the book. A shiny paperback sitting on the display shelf of the local bookstore. Underneath the title is a picture of a handsome man leaning on an immaculate Rolls Royce car. In the background a beautiful woman smiles from the entrance-way of a huge mansion. Yes, a picture right out of “Lifestyles of the rich and famous”. The picture tells a lot about what we consider to be success. These kinds of books have been popping up everywhere these days, with no end in sight. Most of the books have the same theory: To be really successful, you must make more money, a lot more! The American dream? No, nowadays most everybody’s dream, regardless of nationality. However, as we all know, some dreams start good and then turn into nightmares.
“…But the Mercy of your Lord is better than the (wealth of this world) which they amass.” Qur’an 43:32
What is true success? Surely true success is not the material gains of this short life. When the man pictured next to the Rolls is dead and buried, all of his expensive cars, beautiful mansions and millions of dollars will instantly belong to someone else (not to mention the beautiful woman). His fame will soon be forgotten. He will only take two things with him into his grave: his faith and his deeds, be they good or bad. Everything else will be left behind in this world. This faith and these deeds will be the measure of his true success on the Day of Judgment.
“Allah will say: “This is a Day on which the truthful will profit from their truth: theirs are gardens under which rivers flow in (in Paradise), they shall abide therein forever. Allah is pleased with them and they with Him. That is the great success (Paradise).” Qur’an 5:119
True success in this life means utilizing this life to obtain the ultimate goal, the highest achievement, the attainment of salvation, success in the hereafter. The fulfillment of all desires.
“Allah has promised to the believers, men and women, Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eden (Paradise). But the greatest bliss is the good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme success.” Qur’an 9:72
Does this mean we should abandon all of our efforts and ambitions of gaining wealth in this life? No! God’s bounties are His to distribute as He pleases. He loves it when His creation asks only Him to supply their needs. The ownership and seeking of worldly wealth is not forbidden in Islam. But at the same time, we must never forget our final goal. Thus, we should use our wealth to help us obtain the true success, the success on the Day of Resurrection!
“Then, when the (Friday) prayer is finished, you may disperse through the land; and seek the Bounty of Allah: and remember Allah much, that you may successful” Qur’an 62:10
So, we should seek the bounties of Allah (God) the Most High. But all the while, remembering that it is Allah alone who provides all things. The believers are those that when they receive the bounties of God, they say “Alhamduli11ah” (All praise is due to God Alone). They realize that any wealth they have received is from God, not from their own cleverness, and when they don’t receive any wealth or face some difficulty, they are patient to the will of Allah. On the other hand, the disbelievers think that when they receive some wealth in this life, it is from their own brilliant ideas, ingenuity or hard work, and when they face some difficulties, they think that God is punishing them!
“Oh mankind! Remember the grace of Allah upon you! Is there any Creator other than Allah who provides for you from the sky and the earth? None has the right to be worshipped but He. How then are you turning away (from Him)?” Qur’an 35:3
We must not be deceived into thinking that the worldly pleasures of this present life are the true signs of success. They are temporary! True success is not temporary! Also we must not be deceived by Satan, our enemy:
“Oh mankind! Verily, the promise of Allah is true. So let not this present life deceive you, and let not the chief deceiver (Satan) deceive you about Allah.” Qur’an 35:5
It may be that the people who we think are the least successful in his life are actually the most successful. Why? Because they will succeed in the next life, which is forever! While this life is only temporary. So next time your browsing through your local store and you come across one of the various “How to be successful” books:
Think, is that really the success you are looking for?
Hey, why no stroll on over to the religious section and see if a good translation of the Qur’an is available. The true success manual!!
“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow, then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is both) a severe Torment (for the disbelievers, evil doers), and Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.” Qur’an 57:20
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