The Loser

The term loser is used to describe someone who has no worth in society, someone who has failed in every field, lost his investment, failed in life, ended up in a big mess and has nothing to stand on his own to make an honourable and safe living. This definition is taken so seriously by people that no one wants to be a loser. People struggle, strive hard and do everything they can to avoid becoming a loser. They plan, adjust, adapt, learn, acquire skills, gain experience, invest in secure financial schemes and achieve their goals with enough savings to see them through comfortably in old age. Sometimes they spend a whole lifetime chasing their dreams but they don’t want to be called a loser.

Islam does not prevent its adherents from striving hard to be successful. On the contrary Islam discourages dependence on others and encourages perseverance in the face of adversity to live in dignity and honour. But it also provides its adherents a broader definition of loser. In the holy Quran [Chapter Al-Kahf] Allah says to Prophet Muhammad: (say to the unbelievers) “shall we (believers) inform you of the greatest losers as to (their) actions. (They are) those whose efforts are lost in worldly life, while they think that they are doing good deeds.” Those are the ones who disbelieve in the verses of their Lord and (disbelieve in) meeting Him, so their deeds have become worthless. Allah will not give any importance to them on the day of resurrection. Their recompense is Hell, for (this is) what they denied and took Allah’s signs and His messengers in ridicule [18:101-106].

The state of someone being a loser is not permanent. A person who has taken a big hit in business or suffered a slump in his fortune can get back at recovering his losses and come out of the red. But in the afterlife a loser cannot recover his losses because it is a permanent state of being for which there is nothing but perpetual regret. Often, the people who will be in that condition (may Allah save us all from being losers in the hereafter) are the ones who are very successful in this life because it is often wealth and higher social status that takes one away from the remembrance of Allah and breeds contempt for the poor and dispossessed as if they are lesser human beings. A rich and famous person thinks that what really matters in life is wealth and status whether it is obtained through exploitation of others or through illegal means for the ruthless pursuit of greed and self-gratification. Such a person may or may not give charity but he has no time for Allah or His commandments. This person measures his success in terms of his bank balance and the people who follow him. He (thinks) says to others: “I am greater than you in wealth and mightier in followers (numbers of men).” [18:34]. “And I do not think the final hour will ever happen and even if (it occurs or if) I am brought back to my Lord, I will surely find a better (place) than what I have in this world as compensation.” [18:36]. When this person is reminded of the divine message and urged to believe and follow the path of Prophets and the faithful who have preceded our generation, he dismisses the invitation and says: “Should we believe as the foolish have believed? Unquestionably, it is they who are the foolish… [2:13]. Surely, if he knew the real meaning of loser he will avoid being one with as long a bargepole as his hands could handle.

May Allah give us the understanding to know who is the real loser and make us avoid being a loser (in the eternal life) just as we strive to do so hard in this world.

Syed Sharfuddin