23 Safar 1441

How to Be Successful In Life

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Dec 12th, 2014
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It was reported in Sahih Imam Muslim by Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al A’as {may Allah be pleased with him and his father} that the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, “He is successful, 1.Who has accepted Islam. 2. Who has been provided with sufficient provision for his want in life and 3.been made contented by Allah with what He has given him!” It is a great Hadith, which was reported’ in one of the most authentic books on earth after the Qur’an, Sahih Imam Muslim. Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam is directing us to the meaning of success because nowadays we tend to feel and believe that success can be only achieved by the villa you are living in, by the car you drive or by the 6 or 7 digit bank accounts, otherwise you feel you are a loser.

success concept

 

Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam was sent to redirect us, to put us on the straight path and to remove the vagueness and the cloudiness in front of our eyes therefore he told us that ‘he has become successful who embraces Islam.’ Therefore, this is the first characteristic of a successful person: ‘To be a Muslim!’ This means that a non-Muslim by any measure is not successful even if he is the richest on earth, the healthiest, the strongest, most knowledgeable, awarded the Nobel Prize or any other prizes! In the eyes of Allah azza wa Jall, in the sight of Islam, he is not successful. Therefore, without Islam, you are not successful.

Islam means that you submit, inside and out, your will, to Allah azza wa Jall. Therefore, you are like a feather in the wind; whatever Allah tells you, you comply, no questions asked. You submit your’ will, your life, your family, your wealth, your health and everything in accordance to what Allah wants, not in accordance to what you desire. Allah says, “Be straight, dutiful as you are instructed.” Not as you desire! This is the true practice of Islam, and everyone who is not a Muslim is a Kafir. You do not have something in between. You are either a Muslim, or a Kafir. The majority of Muslims are in great danger. So, do not feel relaxed just because your ID card says you are a Muslim. This does not mean anything, because you have to look into your practices. Allah azza wa Jall says in the Quran, “And most of them believe not in Allah, without associating partners with Him.” This is the reality of many Muslims, of grave-worshippers, of saint-worshippers, of Companion-worshippers, of worshippers of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. Those who depend on him salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, who go to graves, to Dargahs, to whatever; those who believe and deal with black magic and with so many things that corrupt your faith, or nullify it totally.

Then the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says, “Who has been provided with sufficient provisions for his wants, for his desires, for his needs, for his life.” Therefore, this is the second characteristic. If you look carefully at what the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam said, he says, “who is provided with ‘sufficient’ provision.” What is this word directing us to? When we work, we work hard to become the richest, to become the most influential, to become the highest in our jobs and positions, and this is not wrong by itself. However if this’ prerogative of yours, if this’ objective of yours, diverts you from the Straight Path, then you are in great danger. The majority of the Muslims are diverted from the Akhirah, from their final destination!’ When you ask an individual, ‘where is your final destination?’ he says, ‘the grave’, and this is wrong. Your final destination is either Paradise or Hell. Where do you want to be? All of us want to be in Paradise, with the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam. Are we working hard to do this? No. We have been’ diverted from our objective. Not only that, we have even been diverted with this world, from taking care of our house, from taking care of our children, from taking care of our families, from everything that is good for us, because we have been blinded by the light, by the glitter of this world. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, the best of Allah’s creation, what was his Du’aa? He used to say, “Oh Allah, make the provisions of Muhammad’s family ‘sufficient’ just to sustain life.” He did not ask for valleys of gold, which, had he done so, Allah would have granted him. He did not ask for a lot of wealth, and had he done so, Allah would surely have given it to him. However, he wanted what was sufficient to sustain life. That is why he used to take only food and grain of one year, which he would spend in less than a couple of weeks {spending the rest in the cause of Allah} and spend the rest of the year not having enough food to eat. To the extent that Ayesha {May Allah be pleased with her} says that a month, and another month would pass by the household of the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam, without fire being lit in it. Look at us today we have breakfast, lunch, dinner, and three meals in between with different kinds of food, fried, baked, deserts and the whole lot! Whereas their food was water and dates, for two months, this was our beloved Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam’s food! Therefore, now, if this is what he is asking for, and we know where he is now, so, what are we asking for today, and where would we be tomorrow?

The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam tells us, in authentic Hadith, “Every single day, when the sun goes up, two Angels by its side, say, {When the Angels supplicate, Allah answers.} ‘O people come to your Lord, for what is little and sufficient, is far better than what is a lot but would distract you.’” This is the reality. This is what they are calling you for!’ Come to Allah azza wa Jall, to what gets you closer, because ‘sufficient’ is enough, is better than a lot that would distract you. How many Thobes do I have in my wardrobe? 10? How many can I wear at a time? 1. How much food do I have in my fridge? A lot, maybe ten chickens!! How much can I eat at a time, maybe half. How many cars do I possess? A hundred, how many can I drive at a time. Only 1. So, little, sufficient and enough is much better than a lot that would distract you. But, the Prophet salla Allahu Alaihi wa sallam says, “And when the sun goes down, they [the two Angels] say, ‘O Allah, give him more who spends for your sake, and bring destruction to one who withholds [spending]’”. They make this Du’aa. When was the last time you gave for Allah’s sake? When was the last time you withheld? The happiest person on earth is a Muslim, but not every Muslim is happy. The happiest of Muslims are those who have enough provision in their houses that sustains the night. Whereas we have enough that would sustain maybe the next 5 or 6 years, in the house, not in the bank account, who has a house to live in, [and we all have houses, nobody lives on the streets, or in a tent] and who has a wife who is righteous and pleasing to him {and this is debatable!}.

We all know that the happiest among all are those who are debt free. Unfortunately, many of the Muslims live on debts. Therefore, the house is on mortgage, the car is on installments, the furniture has been’ taken or confiscated, my children’s school fees I pay every month is from borrowing from someone and many Muslims are living off debts. This means a lot of worries and depression, but the happiest is a Muslim who is free of all of that.

Unfortunately, we live in this life, not knowing our objective, not knowing of our destiny. We live as if we will never die. The Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam gave an example to this world with our food, and gave our food an example to this world. This is Hadith, an authentic Hadith. He says, “Allah gave an example to this life with the food of humans.” No matter how they decorate it, they put salt and spices on it and the end’ product looks very delicious; this is the world! However, when you eat it, look at what it becomes after a couple of hours, when you go to the toilet. This is the reality of the world that we are so impressed about’! You buy the latest model of 2015, and you drive it, 6 months later, somebody buys a newer model, and you feel like you are driving trash and you feel sad, you feel depressed, whatever you see, is better than what you have! ‘Why?’ Because you are in this Duniya!’ duniya is not condemned’ in Islam, it is not looked down upon’ because it is ‘Duniya’. It is looked down upon’ if it holds you back from progressing to Jannah. If it makes you do sins, if it makes you do Haraam, if you do not fulfill your duties and obligations to Allah azza wa Jall; in this case, we look down at Duniya, other than that, this Duniya is our step, that we put our foot on, to rise to Paradise.

The third characteristic, the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says, ‘the one who has been made contented by what Allah has given him.’ ‘Content’ with what Allah has decreed for you, is definitely one of the means of attaining happiness. Because, even if you have enough, even if you have whatever you need or more, and you are a Muslim, and if you are not content, you will never be happy, even if you were a multi-billionaire, even if you have your own jet, you will find people who have better jets, or more jets that you. If you are not content, you will never be happy. If you are the poorest person on earth, and content, you are the happiest person on earth with the grace of Allah azza wa Jall.

By nature, human beings are ungrateful, they are ignorant, as Allah azza wa Jall describes them at the end of Surat Al-Ahzab, ‘They are wrongdoers and they are ungrateful.’ They do not show their gratitude to Allah subhanaoo wa ta’ala. However, Islam came to fix this, to make us grateful to whatever Allah Azza wa Jall gives us, and that is why a Muslim is always content, no matter where he is, no matter what calamities fall upon his head, he is always happy and he knows that Allah chooses only the best for us. That is why, when it comes to provisions, when it comes to worldly matters, a real Muslim never looks up; he always looks below. If he has a car, if he is not content, he would say, ‘even if my car is the latest model, I know people who have two cars. My car is a sports car, I know someone who has a 4/4 car, or he has a big truck or he has a plane.’ However, if you are content with your car, even if it is a 1951 model you will be happy because others do not have a car, they have motorcycles. If you ride on a motorcycle, others have bicycles and if you have a bicycle, others have no means of transportation except their own feet, so I am better off than they are. Moreover, those who walk, they are grateful to Allah, because there are people on wheelchairs. Those who are on wheelchairs, they are grateful because somebody is totally paralyzed; they cannot move and even those who are totally paralyzed, they are grateful and thankful to Allah that He has given them the blessing of Islam, that they call Him and pray to Him day and night. Be content with whatever you have and find and you will live a good life. This is how Ali bin Abi Talib {May Allah be pleased with him}, interprets a good life. What is a good life? Allah says in the Quran, “Whoever works righteousness, whether male or female, while he or she is a true believer of Islam and Monotheism, verily, to him, we will give a good life.” What is a good life? Imam Ali says that it is being content. Once you are happy with whatever Allah gives you, you are the happiest and successful of all. That is why, the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam says, “Richness does not mean having a lot [of cash], rather, richness, is contentedness.” When you are happy, when you are satisfied with whatever little you have, you are the richest person on earth. Unfortunately, those who are not content, their worries would be a lot, they are always depressed, of things that they missed, of things that they cannot achieve, and they are always gloomy and grumpy. You will find this in their houses; it affects negatively all those who live around them.

As for the affairs of a Muslim, when it comes to the matters of Akhirah, of Paradise, they never look down. In matters of Duniya, we look down to appreciate Allah’s favor upon us, but, when it comes to matters of Akhirah, of Jannah, we always look up, so that you strive and try your level best to try and elevate more and more to get closer to Allah. We have the opposite. In Duniya, we look up, I want to become a CEO, if you become the CEO, I would like to become the owner, I would like to become this and that, and you are never content with this Duniya. When it comes to Akhirah, if you ask someone, “why don’t you pray in the Masjid?” They say, “I’m better than a lot of the people, I know this man who does not pray at all.” Moreover, if you ask one who does not pray, “why don’t you pray?” He says, “I’m better than other people, my neighbor drinks alcohol.” If you go to the brother saying, “Ya Akhi, don’t drink alcohol”, he says, “I know a friend who does drugs,” And if you go to the man who does drugs and say this is Haraam, he says, “at least I say La Ilaha Illa Allah, I know Christians and Jews and many kafirs!” It goes down and down and down until you reach the level of Satan. That is why, always in the affairs of Akhirah, look up, and you will strive to do better, and when you die, you will have the highest levels of Jannah.

May Allah azza wa jal grant you and me the highest level of Jannah and make us be with the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wa sallam in Jannah, Aameen!

The quotations from the Qur’an and Hadiths in this article are a rough translation of the meanings of the original text!

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