Allah SWT is the master of each and every one of us and He is ultimately in control of all that takes place in the universe. We are all living this life as if we are sitting a test paper and the conditions of this test are all within the control of Allah SWT to change as He wishes.
He has the ability to bless us with the success and He has the ability to test us in our lives through hardship and difficulty.
We must never forget the fact that we are in need of Allah SWT and it is we that are in need of praising the master of all that we see and understand. The imam reminded us of Sura Fatir, ayah 15 which is translated to say:
O mankind, you are those in need of Allah, while Allah is the Free of need, the Praiseworthy.
This reminder describes success but we live in a time and a place where success is measured very differently to the Muslim measure of success.
Unfortunately, success is measured through what the media and current culture tells us success ought to be measured by. We are told that success comes from fame and stuff such as expensive clothes or fast cars.
However, if we look further into those people who have this type of success, we hear stories of depression and other mental illnesses, substance abuse and other harmful activities.
So if this measure of success does not give happiness to the individual then what is the true measure of success? What is it that gives happiness and contentment to the heart? By knowing this, we find the true meaning of success.
The imam mentioned ayat 88 in Sura Hud which speaks of success. It is translated in part to say:
And my success is not but through Allah. Upon him I have relied, and to Him I return.
Dear brothers and sisters, we know that through devotion of ourselves to worship of Allah SWT, we find happiness and contentment in the heart. And it’s through this that our mindset shifts to that of being successful. And so we need to understand that unlike the culture we find ourselves in, our success does not lie in the specifics of this short time in this world, but success lies in the effort we do to please Allah SWT for our eternal living in the next life.
However, that isn’t to say we cannot request of Allah SWT for comfort in this life also. Provided we are content with the life we have and we are mindful that this life doesn’t become the focus of our living, we can still ask Allah SWT for things that are halal and that constitute a blessing in this world.
And so this reminder concludes with the manners and method by which we ought to follow in order to achieve this.
- We need to remind ourselves that our successes come from Allah SWT and are not a result of just our own personal achievements. This formula has two components. If we are to be successful, we ask Allah SWT for it through prayer and we recognize that He is the giver of all success for us. Alongside that, we work hard and strive to be the best at what we are trying to be successful at. For example, if we are studying for exams, it is not enough to be lazy in the year and then wonder why Allah SWT didn’t make us pass with great grades.
- We work hard on demonstrating our gratitude and our obedience towards Allah SWT. This can be done practically by stepping up our efforts in our worship of Him. The imam reminded of us a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:
“Verily Allah ta’ala has said: ‘Whosoever shows enmity to a wali (friend) of Mine, then I have declared war against him. And My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more loved to Me than the religious duties I have obligated upon him. And My servant continues to draw near to me with nafil (extra) deeds until I Love him. When I Love him, I am his hearing with which he hears, and his sight with which he sees, and his hand with which he strikes, and his foot with which he walks. Were he to ask [something] of Me, I would surely give it to him; and were he to seek refuge with Me, I would surely grant him refuge.’ ”
Dear brothers and sisters, we mentioned this hadith a few weeks back but it is such a beautiful lesson that it is worth repeating. In this, we are taught that Allah SWT has given us a formula for achieving what we desire from Him. And that formula is to perfect those duties that are a must, such as the daily prayers, zakat and staying away from sin, plus doing those deeds which really separate the creation in rank and that is the deeds which are not a must, things like optional prayers, acts of charity above and beyond the norm, sunnah acts which are blessings in themselves. This is the formula that will ensure we are successful in this life and the next.
- And we work hard in the things that are within our control. Things such as the company that we keep. For example, if we are looking to work hard and pass to get onto the best courses in education, it makes sense to hang around those people who also share that mindset. If we are wanting to dedicate more time to learning the deen, then we hang around the study circles in masjids such as this and the people that attend them. Alongside the company, we compete within ourselves, set ourselves daily goals, weekly goals and annual ones too. Each day, we ought to wake with thanks to Allah SWT that we have another opportunity to work towards the goals that we have set for success and we feel the gratitude of that opportunity by giving our best effort in achieving success, with the help of Allah SWT through dua.
Dear brothers and sisters, we have a great opportunity in that we are approaching a blessed month, the month of Hajj and Eid. This is the month that we should all make that concerted effort in achieving the best of ourselves and achieving success and happiness and doing so with the right mindset and that is of a blessed and obedient servant of Allah SWT.