In the previous blog we discussed who is a loser in the context of Islam. Here we will discuss the concept of winner in Islam. Simply defined, winning is a measure of success in a field of endeavour one chooses to follow. People line up to win sports competitions, lotteries, elections, love and affection and high-profiled well paid positions. But even after they achieve what they want, are they the real winners. Many rich and famous personalities who are movers and shakers in their prime die poor and neglected in their old age. Famous celebrities without whose presence, photograph or news no entertainment event is complete take to drugs when they have been pushed out of camera lights by younger and more popular celebrities. Year after year, Olympic champions are defeated by younger and more resilient players. The stock market keeps bringing fortunes of billionaires up and down. In the real world where popularity ratings change every month, where fortunes smile occasionally and only for a short period and where stock markets bring high yield businesses into bankruptcy administration with a small fluctuation in markets, it is difficult to say what is the real measure of success in life.
Is success the name of a temporary triumph in a finite space and time or is it a lifelong achievement which only few human beings are able to reach. And after death, is there any significance of success for the achievers other than a name as their legacy.
In defining success, Islam’s message touches two universal desires which have always fascinated man. These are the desire to excel and be triumphant and the desire to keep their status forever. In the Islamic definition a winner never loses his status after he has attained it. This is the real meaning of success which is described in the holy Quran using the Arabic words Faz, Faez an Faezoon. “For the God-fearing, there is indeed success (and fulfilment of all that man can ever desire).” إِنَّ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ مَفَازًا [Surah Al-Naba: 78:31]
In Islam a winner is someone whose success is non-transferable and non-diminishable. It is a permanent state of being attained only by those who have been able to escape hellfire on the day of judgement and are admitted into Paradise. Those who enter hellfire are losers, those who enter Paradise are winners. “Those who are destined for the fire and those who are destined for Paradise are not the same. It is the latter (alone) who shall be successful (on the day of judgment)”. لَا يَسْتَوِي أَصْحَابُ النَّارِ وَأَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ أَصْحَابُ الْجَنَّةِ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Al-Hashr 59:20]
Paradise is earned by obeying Allah, following the sayings (Ahadith) and lifestyle (Sunnah) of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), fearing Allah and being conscious of Him at all time. “And (those) who pay heed to Allah and His Apostle, stand in awe of Allah and are conscious of His presence, they shall be successful (in the end)”. وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَخْشَ اللَّهَ وَيَتَّقْهِ فَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Al-Noor 24;52]
In Surah Al-Imran, Allah mentions the certainty of death and what comes thereafter: “Every human is bound to taste death but only on the day of resurrection you will be requited in full (for whatever you have done) – So he who is saved from hellfire and is granted entry into Paradise will indeed be successful, for the life of this world is nothing but an enjoyment and self-delusion”.
كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَآئِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ وَإِنَّمَا تُوَفَّوْنَ أُجُورَكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ وَما الْحَيَاةُ الدُّنْيَا إِلاَّ مَتَاعُ الْغُرُورِ
[Surah Al-Imran 3:185]
Once man gets on to the path of Jannah, Allah provides him opportunities to do more good deeds. Allah makes his walk to Jannah easy and facilitates opportunities to attain even higher status. In Surah Al-Ahzab, Allah says: “He (Allah) will cause your deeds to be virtuous, and He will forgive your sins. And whoever pays heed to Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has already attained great success”.
يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَمَن يُطِعْ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا [Surah Al-Ahzab 33:71]
On top of this, if by mistake such good men and women make any mistakes, Allah promises to overlook them as long as they remain steadfast in their faith. In Surah Al-Fath, Allah says: “He (Allah) might admit the believing men and believing women into gardens (of Paradise) through which streams (of pure) waters flow; they (the believers) will live there forever. And He (Allah) might efface their bad deeds; this is indeed for Allah, a great success”.
لِيُدْخِلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَيُكَفِّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا [Surah Al-Fath 48:5]
“Those who believe and struggle in the way of Allah’s with their possessions and their lives (shall) have the highest rank in the sight of Allah and it is they who shall succeed (in the end)”.
الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ وَهَاجَرُواْ وَجَاهَدُواْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللّهِ بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ أَعْظَمُ دَرَجَةً عِندَ اللّهِ وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Tauba 9:20]
Success is further defined in the Holy Quran as the outcome of patience over trials and hardship: “On that day I have rewarded them (the believers) for their patience in adversity; verily, it is they who have achieved success”. إِنِّي جَزَيْتُهُمُ الْيَوْمَ بِمَا صَبَرُوا أَنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْفَائِزُونَ [Surah Al-Mominoon 23:111]
The key to success for the winner is to avoid hellfire. The rest automatically follows, paving the way for the believer to enter Paradise. Allah says except for the taste of death there will be no other punishment for the winners. And this is real success. “This indeed is a great success.” إِنَّ هَذَا لَهُوَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيم [Surah Al-Saffat 37:60]
May Allah save us from the hellfire and make us winners in the hereafter. Indeed, the attainment of Paradise is the real and everlasting success.