Allah: The Ultimate Judge of Defining Success
By: Dr. Ashraf Amin
There is a boom in motivational content and self-help books not to talk about the multitude of motivational speakers and life gurus and yet the despair, meaninglessness, doubt, uncertainty, insecurity, dissatisfaction pervade. One of the primary causes for this sad state of affairs is that we have directed our energies on success reflected in our dress, status, fame, property, assets and not on toning, honing and taming the traits of our soul. In short, we seldom hear of our heart and soul: our spiritual self. We have exhausted ourselves to create ways and means to achieve our short-term goals but hardly bother to develop ultimate purpose- the purpose that would never makes us worthless and insignificant. The purpose and destiny that Allah bestows us: to connect to His Mercy, Love, Benevolence; to seek happiness in helping others, to partake in the pain, and celebrate the joys of others; to master the art of contentment, to overcome jealousy, to realize the fading nature of the worldly gains.
In a word, we must hold fast to the teachings of Prophets, the scriptures revealed to them; in particular the life of Muhammad (peace be upon him) who taught us to live amid all the troubles of life without thinking least of life as a bundle of atoms. He showed us that life is full of purpose though sorrows, disappointments may at times try to knock us down. He displayed that one must never bargain the eternal life for the temporary pleasures of this worldly life.
Qur’an with him was the ultimate and unshaking source of comfort and inspiration for him. His Sahaba would never lose sight of the ultimate station of peace, the life hereafter. The revolution brought about by Rasul Allah and his Sahaba would have been a distant dream if they would have taken this world as the ultimate criterion of success. They had the greatest vision of meeting Allah and His vast Mercy in the life to come.
We and specially our youth are in a sharp grip of hopelessness and disappointment breeding despair. We require a potent remedy to build up greater purpose and defy the transitory, fleeting and impermanent nature of this worldly life. Death is not the end of life rather a new phase of life. New and flourishing opportunities of life are awaiting provided we realize to embrace life with an opportunity to create greater opportunities of unlimited and long-lasting opportunities. The Prophet (SAAS) used to pray to Allah, “Give us the best of this dunya and Akhrirah”. However, he would forsake a thing of dunya for the greater benifit of Akhirah. He taught us that success is defined by the status, station, and honor obtained in Akhirah not the mortal success of this world.
What is wrong with our life is that we have faulty thinking, a crude thought process. We have vulnerable ideas and thoughts that don’t deliver on the slightest slap of circumstances. Islam as preached by Muhammad, Rasul Allah (Peace be upon him) teaches us that one can never despair to the destruction of one’s life for the mere pleasures of this life. How can one embrace suicide, drug addiction, sensual love and resulting pain, corruption, jealousy, material competition when one envisions a greater life ahead devoid of vices, evils and malice. In short Islamic teachings are the ultimate motivational yet practical and working principles to lead a balanced, contented life. Besides looking for the cultivated and acquired values and listening to the life coaches and experts, why should we not listen to the Creator of men of intellect, Allah, the Magnificent and His Rasul’s Sunnah authenticated by Allah to embrace hope, reliance and peace. Why should the worldly men define success for us, why not Allah!