Presented to the Sisters at the Islamic Center, please scroll down to the end of the outline to get to the article. I apologize for the formatting errors in this article. JazaikAllah hu Khairan!
THE GATEWAY TO SUCCESS
- HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS
- HOW IS SUCCESS DEFINED BY ALLAH
- WHO ARE THE PLAYERS IN ACQUIRING SUCCESS?
- WHO ARE THE OPPONENTS
- HOW DO WE OVERCOME THE OBSTACLES TO SUCCESS?
- EMPOWERING OUR HEART
- WEAKENING OUR NAFS
- WEAKENING SHAITAAN
- PURIFYING OUR HEART
- OUR GOAL: QALB E SALEEM
- OUR OPTIONS:
- PURIFICATION OF OUR HEART TO HAVE A QALB E SALEEM IN THIS WORLD
- TO BE PURIFIED BY THE FIRE OF NAAR BEFORE ENTERING JANNAH
- HOW DO WE MAKE THE CHOICE?
A. HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS?
1. Success in this world
i. Personal ambitions: professional excellence, beauty, family, attractiveness, popularity, power, wealth, luxury cars, designer clothes (better that others i.e. exclusive) large opulent tastefully decorated houses, intelligent successful wealthy children, grandchildren, people under our control etc.
- Success in the Hereafter
ALLAH SUBHANAWATATAALA in the Quran mentions the four things that bring success in the Hereafter:
وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَخْشَ اللَّهَ وَيَتَّقْهِ فَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ
The is summarized as:
i. Knowledge of what is obedience of Allah and His Rasool pbuh
ii. Knowledge of what is disobedience of Allah and His Rasool (pbuh)
iii. By actively obeying Allah and His Rasool, pbuh
iv. By actively Avoiding Disobedience of Allah and His Rasool
B. HOW IS SUCCESS DEFINED BY ALLAH
Success is mentioned 83 times in 82 verses in the Quran
In Surah Baqarah: Allah Subhanawataala says:
أُولَـٰئِكَ عَلَىٰ هُدًى مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ ۖ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُو
|They are on (true) guidance from their Lord, and they are the successful.|
Verily, for the Muttaqun, there will be a success (Paradise);
إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ مَفَازًا
In Surah Kahf:
And in Surah Al Maeda Allah Subhanawataala says:
) O you who believe! Do your duty to Allah and fear Him. And seek the means of approach to Him, and strive hard in His Cause (as much as you can), so that you may be successful.
In this ayah is the key to Ultimate success:
Allah has promised the believers – men and women, – Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of ‘Adn (Eden Paradise). But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allah. That is the supreme success.
Here the bar is raised:
But the Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and those who believed with him (in Islamic Monotheism) strove hard and fought with their wealth and their lives (in Allah’s Cause). Such are they for whom are the good things, and it is they who will be successful.
C. WHO ARE THE PLAYERS IN ACQUIRING SUCCESS?
1. The Heart or Qalb
i. The Heart appears 211 times in 193 verses in Yusuf Ali’s translation of the Quran.
Signs of sincerity of the heart:
For, Believers are those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a tremor in their hearts, and when they hear His signs rehearsed, find their faith strengthened, and put (all) their trust in their Lord;
A Heart at seeking peace:
الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَتَطْمَئِنُّ قُلُوبُهُم بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ ۗ أَلَا بِذِكْرِ اللَّهِ تَطْمَئِنُّ الْقُلُوبُ
“Those who believe, and whose hearts find satisfaction in the remembrance of Allah. For without doubt in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find satisfaction. سورة الرعد , Ar-Rad, Chapter #13, Verse #28)
A blind Heart:
What is a blind heart? It is one that goes in all different directions and is distracted away from Allah:
Allah Subhanawataala describes such people who are blind to Allah in the Quran:
أَفَلَمْ يَسِيرُوا فِي الْأَرْضِ فَتَكُونَ لَهُمْ قُلُوبٌ يَعْقِلُونَ بِهَا أَوْ آذَانٌ يَسْمَعُونَ بِهَا ۖ فَإِنَّهَا لَا تَعْمَى الْأَبْصَارُ وَلَـٰكِن تَعْمَى الْقُلُوبُ الَّتِي فِي الصُّدُورِ
Do they not travel through the land, so that their hearts may thus learn wisdom and their ears may thus learn to hear? Truly it is not their eyes that are blind, but their hearts, which are in their breasts. سورة الحج , Al-Hajj, Chapter #22, Verse #46)
Whose hearts are not affected by Allah’s guidance and why?
That He may make the suggestions thrown in by Satan, but a trial for those in whose hearts is a disease and who are hardened of heart: verily the wrong-doers are in a schism far (from the Truth): سورة الحج , Al-Hajj, Chapter #22, Verse #53)
Our dua to keep our hearts from going astray is:
رَبَّنَا لَا تُزِغْ قُلُوبَنَا بَعْدَ إِذْ هَدَيْتَنَا وَهَبْ لَنَا مِن لَّدُنكَ رَحْمَةً ۚ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ الْوَهَّابُ
“Our Lord!” (They say), “Let not our hearts deviate now after Thou hast guided us, but grant us mercy from Thine own Presence; for Thou art the Grantor of bounties without measure. سورة آل عمران , Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #8)
2. The Brain, senses and Limbs, if guided by a pure heart
D. WHO ARE THE OPPONENTS?
1. The Nafs: There are several types of Nafs:
i. The Bahemi or cattle like Nafs (interested only in and completely satisfied with eating, drinking, sleeping and copulating, having sex and children)
Egs: Greed, sensual and sexual desires for forbidden things
ii. Predatory Nafs: this is like the wild animal predator who hunts and kills and wants what others have
iii. Shaitaani Nafs: egs One who hoards ill feelings, malice, anger, hasad, riya arrogance, and one who enjoys making two people fight and watches with glee
iv. Malaiki Nafs is the angelic Nafs everything good that comes from Allah.
The first three are the base Nafs mentioned in the Quran as Nafs e Ammarra bi suu and if they become inflated they sit on the Malaiki or angelic Nafs and stifle it.
An ignorant heart: A heart that does not believe in the Hereafter is arrogant. Arrogance is inflated by the Nafs and abhorred by Allah. It is also the sin of Iblis, which banished him from Jannah.
Allah Subhanawataala warns us in the Quran:
إِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُم مُّنكِرَةٌ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ
Your Allah is one Allah. As to those who believe not in the Hereafter, their hearts refuse to know, and they are arrogant.
2. The Shaitan or your personal attendants of Shaitaan want you to fail, they stand between you and ultimate success.
E. HOW DO WE OVERCOME THE OBSTACLES TO SUCCESS?
a. BY EMPOWERING OUR HEART
How do we empower it?
- 1. First by cutting out the Ghair Allah (other than Allah) stream of information, entertainment, sounds, voices, places, excessive food and sleep. Clear the doors to your Heart and then empty it of all the clutter and then only can you fill it with the Noor of Allah 24/7.
A heart already filled with “stuff” has not place for the light or love of Allah.
What do we usually say: I have no time, what you are saying is I have no place left in my heart because I have already filled it with MY desires, MY greed for things, people and places, MY needs as I perceive them THUS NO PLACE left THUS NO TIME LEFT in MY schedule for Allah. This translates into “other” things are more important to me than spending time with Allah.
2. Fill it with the words and sounds of Allah, visualize the beauty and power of his attributes, experience the power and majesty of Him in his attributes and how he changes the world with volcanoes erupting, tsunamis, flood and earthquakes etc. Recite, recite, and recite till the sounds become embedded in every part of your brain.
2. BY WEAKENING OUR BASE NAFS: Deny our self even halal desires till you can dictate when you want something and refrain from it when you can e.g. what you do during Ramadan, discipline your naves so that you can follow the pattern of self control in everyday life, where you can refrain from food that you desire successfully. This weakens the Bahemi Nafs. Sleep less and pray more this weakens it also
How do you know that your Nafs is dictating your behavior?
You are in a Halaqa where Allah’s name is being mentioned:
How do you respond to the following?
- The phone rings
- You want to go pee
- You are thirsty
- You need a breath of fresh air
- You don’t like the speaker
- You don’t like the woman sitting next to you, she smells
- You remembered you maybe did not turn your stove off
- Your child wants you and is pulling at you
- You remembered you have to buy groceries, cook food, etc. etc. etc.,
DO YOU GET UP AND ANSWER THESE DEMANDS
DO YOU TELL YOUR NAFS TO BE QUIET AND KEEP ON LISTENING TO THE DHIKR OF ALLAH?
3. WEAKENING SHAITAAN
O ye who believe! Follow not Satan’s footsteps: if any will follow the footsteps of Satan, he will (but) command what is shameful and wrong: and were it not for the grace and mercy of Allah on you, not one of you would ever have been pure: but Allah doth purify whom He pleases: and Allah is One Who hears and knows (all things). سورة النور , An-Noor, Chapter #24, Verse #21)
The best way to weaken the Shaitan is four fold:
- Always be in Wudoo
- Only allow what is obedient to Allah and His Rasool pbuh to enter your ears, mouth, and body. E.g. eat only halal and tayyab food, restrain your desire for other kinds of food, stay away from entertainment which may show disobedience of Allah, do not frequent places where disobedience of Allah is taking place (even if you are not going to participate) and keep company of people who will remind you of Allah and his rights on you.
- Do not be where Allah does not want you to be
- Be where Allah wants you to be
- Surround your self with honest, God fearing, pure people striving for the pleasure of Allah
- 4. BY PURIFYING OUR HEART (tazkiyah tun Nafs)
In the Quran Allah Subhanawataala says:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَن تَزَكَّىٰ
This a separate series of lectures that perhaps we will invite Dr. Haifa Younis from The Jannah Institute (islamic Studies for Women) who has been studying and practicing this to give us a retreat on this subject when she is on break from the Mecca Institute of Islamic Studies. Inshallah.
F. OUR GOAL: QALB E SALEEM
Allah Subhanawataala gives us the name and Quality of the Winner on the final Day.
The one who has not only reached but passed the finish line with Success and is allowed to enter The Realm of Allah forever in Peace, beauty, love, protection and happiness.
إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
“But only he (will prosper) that brings to Allah a sound heart;
A beautiful illustration of this is the story of Abraham and the idols; Allah describes other Prophets and then Ibrahim AS as such:
|83||Verily among those who followed his Way was Abraham.|
|Behold! He approached his Lord with a sound heart.|
We are a long way from a sound heart, but we must start at some point, it is a journey of a lifetime. We do not know how long our lifetime will be so the moment to start is now!
G. OUR OPTIONS:
1. PURIFICATION OF OUR HEART TO HAVE A QALB E SALEEM IN THIS WORLD.
2. TO BE PURIFIED BY THE FIRE OF NAAR BEFORE ENTERING JANNAH
WE HAVE TO MAKE THE CHOICE!
1. Success is defined by Allah for us in the QuraN.
2. Our Heart or Qalb must supercede our Nafs and Shaitaan to succeed in lighting the path for us to earn the pleasure of Allah
3. What can we do to gain Success for ever and ever? We must empower our heart by purifying it, and weaken if not rid the influence of Shaitaan on us.
4. The final success is some one who arrives to Allah Subhnaawtaala with a pure and sound heart or Qalb e Saleem
5. The methodology for attaining success is written in great detail, and step by step in the Quran both as direct commands (as in hijab and fasting etc) and as illustrative stories
6. The practicum is demonstrated how living breathing normal human beings can follow the Divine instructions to attain a Qalb e Saleem is in the imprint of the Sunnah step by step, word by word, action by action.
When do we begin?
What can you and I do for to attain Success and how can you and I help others to attain Success as Allah has defined it?
I close with a quote from a renowned Sheikh and respected Scholar named Ibn Ata illah:
Among the signs of success at the end……….. is the turning to Allah at the beginning.
——— Al The Hikam of Ibn Ibn ‘Ata’illah
SUPPLICATION: I pray for a new beginning for me and each one of you inshallah! Ameen!
If I have said anything good and beneficial it is from Allah and if I have said anything inaccurate or wrong it is from me and I seek refuge from Shaitaan and my Nafs and ask Allah to forgive me and guide me.