“Not alike are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of Paradise that will be successful.” (Quran 59:20)
Allah tells us in the Quran that the people of the fire and the people of the garden are not alike. It is those who live in the garden that are the successful ones. A beautiful end that finishes in an eternal home of happiness is the reward for a successful life. Bearing this ayah in mind, how then do we understand what a successful life is? Do we achieve success by doing well in our exams and getting a high paid job? As mothers what understanding of success are, we giving our children? Just how does Islam define success?
Nowadays, we are persuaded to think of success as a spacious house, an overseas holiday or fame, and fortune. People work hard for these small successes and they are not to be belittled. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a 1st class degree or well-paid job however we need to teach our children that such successes are temporary. The only things you can take with you to the grave are your deeds.
Anas ibn Malik reported Prophet Muhammad said, “Three things follow the dead person to his grave, two of which return and one of which remains with him. His family, money, and deeds accompany him [to the grave], then his family and wealth return and his deeds stay with him.” Sahih al-Bukhari
“Everyone shall taste death. And only on the Day of Resurrection shall you be paid your wages in full. And whoever is removed away from the fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful. The life of this world is only a deceiving thing.” (Quran 3:185)
What is Success in Islam?
If we are judged successful Jannah becomes our eternal abode; health, wealth and happiness now become everlasting. Success in Islam is defined as achieving the ultimate result; Jannah. Whatever success we achieve along the way whether it is educational, financial, health-related or a satisfying lifestyle is finite. It will come to an end if we tell our children to focus on their education over their Islamic obligations, we are really doing them no favours.
For example, some parents don’t wake their kids up for Fajr because they think it will interfere with their sleep and then they won’t be able to concentrate at school. Other parents have told me if their teenagers have exams during Ramadan, they let them decide if they want to fast or not. However, the same parents will wake their kids up early to go to extra Maths classes and spend a fortune on private tutors.
How can we obtain success and prosperity in this world?
The Arabic word for success is falah, it is a word that Muslims of all ethnicities are familiar with. They hear it every day in the call to prayer. “…hayya ‘alal-falah!” Hurry to success. Come to prayer, come to success. This is what the words of the call are saying to the believers. You will find success in the prayer i.e. in maintaining your connection to God. IslamReligion.com
“He will indeed be successful who purifies his own self, and he will indeed fail who corrupts his own self.” (Quran 91:9-10)
“And my success cannot come from any source besides God. I have put my trust in Him.” (Quran 11:88)
How does Islam define success?
Allah tells us throughout the Quran when we are successful and how to be successful. He also tells us when we are failing, when we are in fact losing or in loss. In chapter 103 of the Quran, Allah swears by time that all of us are losers unless we do four things; believe, do good, teach each other the truth and encourage one another to be patient.
“By Al-Asr (the time). Verily, man is in loss. Except those who believe and do righteous good deeds and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience.” (Quran 103)
Islam guides to a straight path that can lead to success in this world and the hereafter. However, it is clear that the religion of Islam encourages the believers to strive for success in the hereafter because that is what our creator God calls the supreme or the ultimate success.
“And whoever is removed away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise, he indeed is successful”. (Quran 3:185)
As Muslim parents, we have to get our priorities right. Allah has defined the fard actions our kids should focus on and therefore we need to ensure we have taught and encouraged the practice of these actions. By the way, I’m a teacher so, in no way am I advocating that your kids should not do well at school. What I am saying is don’t let your kids neglect their Islam for the sake of their education. I strongly believe (inshallah) your teenage kids can do well at school and have a strong Islamic personality.