Fundamental Principles of Success: An Islamic Perspective

Fundamental Principles of Success: An Islamic Perspective
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Imran Ashraf

Every person living on this planet wants to be successful. Failures and complete setbacks can be a wish of the warped only. To whatever field of life, a person is associated with, he or she wants to reach the pinnacle of that very field. But to reach that pinnacle, every field sets its own kind of demands to be fulfilled. We have to follow certain principles to reach the top of that game. There are some basic principles, which are necessary for a successful life. Some of these principles are:
Change Thoughts: The first and foremost thing we need to remember is that none is born great. Allah( SWT) gives everybody a limited period of time to live; now it is up to us that how and where we utilize our time. There is a famous proverb, “Sow a thought, you will reap an action; sow an action and reap a habit; sow a habit and you will reap a character”. You are what your thought is; and you will be what your thought will be. As James Allen writes, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. So change your thoughts and views likewise your situation and life will change.
Set Aim(s): One of the fundamental differences between humans and animals is that humans live a purposeful life, while animals do not. One of the reasons of our bankruptcy/ downfall is that most of our youth live an aimless life. They do not know that where from they came and where they have to go? What is the purpose of creation? What should be their mission and priorities of life? So we should set a clear mission for ourselves. Experts say that better is to write our mission statements on personal diary, paper, and so on. and keep it at a visible place.
3. Planning: Before commencement of any task/work, we should do proper planning. According to a research, the tasks performed by most successful people of the world are pre-planned. Once Companions of Prophet (PBUH), at the time of a battle observed the Prophet (PBUH) making a sketch on ground with his finger. According to Major Akbar Khan, author of ‘Hadith-e-Difah’, this was planning by Prophet (PBUH) for that very battle. This event in the light of Seerah depicts that how important future planning is. Someone has rightly said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”.
4. Reading: The first revelation that was revealed upon the Prophet (PBUH) is about ‘reading’. In the commentary of these verses, Dr. ‘A’id al-Qarni writes: “Reading is not to be a hobby, a diversion or a pastime, on the contrary it should be a way of life”. Seeking of knowledge is obligatory in Islam (IbnMajah: 224). Seeking of knowledge has an utmost importance in Islam. Imam Muhammad ibnSereen, on this point, said: “Inna haazal ‘ilmadeen” (Indeed this knowledge is Deen{Islam}).
One of the reasons why our predecessors were eminently successful, politically as well as intellectually, is that they had an urge and thirst of reading and acquiring knowledge. For example, Imam IbnJawzi, in his ‘Sayyd al Khatir’, writes: “I have read more than 20 thousand books and an ignorant person can’t do this”. To surpass the challenges, the Muslim Ummah is facing today, the need is to have deep and profound knowledge. “We should know something about everything and everything about something”.
Becoming a bookworm is not indispensable, but , in the least , we should spend some minutes daily on reading. For instance, if we read for 20 minutes only on a daily basis, then see what can one do in next 5 years? If we will read Qur’an every morning for 10 minutes only, at least we can complete 3 verses along with their meaning and commentary also. This way we can read 1095 verses in 1 year and 5475 verses in 5 years (i.e., more than 80% of the Qur’an). Then before going to bed, if we will read any book for 10 minutes, we can accomplish one book per month; that is, a dozen of books in one year and 60 books in next 5 years. This will probably be enough to know about basic concepts associated with human life, world, purpose of creation, our duties as Muslims, who we are?
It will also help us to cultivate reading habits, and will enrich our vocabulary, language skills, and so on.
5. Intimacy with the Creator: Remembering Allah is kind of a spiritual food for believers. It is Allah (SWT) who bestows us with His Mercy and Blessings throughout our lives. As it is said, ‘Success comes from Allah’. In addition to obligatory prayers, we can be close enough to Allah through the means like optional fasting and prayers, reciting the Qur’an, and so on. In the commentary of Surah Sharh (Q. 94), ‘In the Shade of Quran’it is mentioned that “A traveller must have his food with him and this (intimacy with Allah) is the real food for your journey; and a fighter for a cause needs to have his equipment and this is the equipment necessary for you”.
6. Work for Your Cause: After acquiring knowledge, we need to act upon that. Many of us are facing the problem of knowledge-action gap. We should try to eliminate this gap. Knowledge without action is futile. Only the men of action can be productive and only they can contribute towards humanity in general.
7. Work with Patience and Consistency: We should try to inculcate the habit of working with patience and consistency for achieving our goals. Men who want to do something extraordinary/great should try to develop this habit in them. Caliph Umar (RA) is reported to have said: “Rahatur ri jalugaflah” (For men of action, rest is the synonym of cognate sleep).
So, instead of setting lofty goals, we should set realistic minimums and work accordingly. Quantity doesn’t matter; quality and consistency does. This is what our Lord wants from us. If we will follow these principles, then it is the turn of believers and men of understanding to be the leaders of future. In sum, success lies in following the above-mentioned principles (and the like).

—The author is a 4th Semester Student at GDC , Pulwama.