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Qur’anic View of Success in Human Life

By Qazi Wadud Nawaz, New Age Islam

24 August 2015                

According to the Holy Qur’an the Eternal life-cycle of mankind has three different phases:  Life here before (before the process of integration in mother’s womb starts), life Here on Earth (during and after completion of the process of integration), life Here -After; life in the grave during the process of disintegration and life after integration or Resurrection, on and after the ‘Final Day of Judgment.’ 

All the three phases of human life are interconnected spiritually in cause and effect relationship. Life Here-before occurred  in  metaphysical time and space in  the  domain of spirituality, when human souls made divine covenant in recognition of Allah’s Sovereign Authority as the Lord of the Universe  and  shouldered the responsibility of the Holy Quran  as supreme guidance  in worldly life. As regards prestigious status of the holy Quran, Allah (SWT) proclaims: “Had We sent down this Quran on a Mountain verily you would have seen it humble itself and cleave asunder for fear of Allah. Such are the similitude which We propound to men that may reflect” [Verse: 59:21]

For Mankind this worldly life is an opportunity and testing ground for fulfilling this divine covenant through real action and justifying his worth as Allah’s vicegerent on earth. This brief span of man’s life on earth occurs in a mixed domain of spiritual and physical realities.

The life ‘Here-after’ will start in spiritual domain after death in the grave and on and after the Final Day of Judgment, when he will be either rewarded or punished on the basis of his performance on earth .

The Visible world  forms the foundation of Clear and comprehensible  Domain   of  the Holy Quran (Ayat-i- Muhkamat)  that  finds  its  extension in incomprehensible and non-visible reality ( Al-Gayeb) reflected by the Allegorical domain of the Holy Quran ( Ayat-i- Mutashabihat).   [Verse: 3:7 ]

The Universe with all its interconnected physical phenomena manifests divine attributes extending towards domains of spirituality and collectively leads towards a singular eternal entity, the ultimate cause of all creations.

Materialistic concept of Development holds a process of transformation from Matter to Energy and Energy to Matter in eternal cycle with no specific goal or purpose.  Whereas on the contrary, the Quranic Cycle of development moves from the domain of spirituality (Here-Before) to mixed domain on earth (Integrated form of physical and spiritual realities) and then back to spirituality (Here-after). Quranic cycle of development upholds infinite possibility of evolution. This Cycle, the cycle of ‘Creative Emergence’, as Allama Iqbal  calls  it in his Book “Reconstruction of religious thoughts in Islam”, has immense  potential of evolution from lower to higher  in conformity with ‘Divine Will and Purpose’. Ever-since his creation, Mankind has been struggling against the Satan, the symbol of Evils, to retain his superiority as Allah’s “Caliph” on earth. This struggle against the Satan and his disciples on earth purifies his soul and justifies his superiority   through spiritual ascension.[Refer Verses 87:14-17,Tafseer by Abdulla Yusuf Ali]

On the ‘Final Day of Judgment’, Allah (SWT) will judge Success or Failure of human life on the basis of man’s sincerity and dedication towards fulfilment of Divine Purpose of creation and materialization of his covenant for total acceptance of the Holy Quran in Worldly life.    Human endeavours towards fulfilment of Divine Covenant on earth build up the foundation of success of man’s life. According to the Holy Quran Success belongs to the believers and failures are destined for rejecters of Truth.”

The fact will be clearer if we go for analysis of the following verses of the Holy Qur’an as under:

Verses:  [77: 15, 19, 24, 28, 34, 37, 45, 47, 49], [102: 1-3], [103:1-3],

  [23:71], [2:85],  and [30:41],

In Sura Mursalat Allah repeated the warning to unbelievers and rejecters of the Truth nine times with  dire consequences proclaiming guaranteed success for the Believers and failures for the Unbelievers : “Ah woe that Day to the rejecters of Truth.”  Warns the Holy Quran.

In Sura Thakasur Ayat 1-03, Allah says:

 “The Mutual Rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you. Until you visit the graves. But nay you soon shall know (the reality)”[ Verses:102:1-3],

The Verses have clearly declared that the success of human life does not lie in abundance of worldly resources, powers and privileges.  Running after wealth and amenities in violation of moral bindings will prove futile when he comes face to face with the Reality in after-life  and  be held responsible for moral transgression on the Final Day of judgment.

In Sura Al- A’sr Ayat 1-3, a Divine Warning has been served for mankind through presentation of a realistic picture of man’s life on earth.

 “By the time, Verily Man is in loss, Except such as have Faith, and do righteous deeds, and (join together) in mutual enjoining of Truth, and of patience and constancy.”[Verses 103:1-3].

Losses that man incurs in worldly life are weathering of beauty, physical strength and mental fitness etc. due to natural decay and degeneration. Too much involvement in worldly affairs - running madly after resources and amenities of life forgetful of the Hereafter, puts him in a severe moral turpitude, resulting in spiritual degeneration, loss of time and opportunity for getting prepared for the Final Day of Judgment, and finally deprivation from divine recompense for the loss in after-life.  The verses have clearly proclaimed ultimate success for the people with Faith that perform righteous deeds and sincerely engage in mutual enjoining of the Truth with patience and constancy. To be more specific only the believers that make proper utilization of the precious time in worldly life will achieve success. 

Islam considers human life as a test and man’s life span as a spiritual asset for conducting a divine deal. Sustaining Material loss is considered to be a loss in worldly life. As for Islam the real loser is one who spends all his life in delusion and led by his lusts and whims away from the straight path. [Refer Verse: 61:10-11.]

Qur’anic concept of Success is a Holistic Concept that encompasses both material and spiritual aspects of individual and collective life of mankind. The success of a Muslim as an individual is inseparably connected with the success of the whole community. But what is the present state of Muslim community? Is there any hope for success in their individual and collective lives from Islamic point of view?

 Disbelief, mistrust, disunity, fear and moral weakness are the major diseases inflicting the Muslim Umma of the present era. The present trend of moral degeneration, state of humiliation and failure on the part of Muslim Ummah, results mainly from partial and half-hearted adoption of the Truth. The modern era in which all out efforts are being made throughout the world to make truth subservient to serve Man’s desire the Satanic trend of distortion and fabrication of Truth on global-scale is getting momentum on one hand, and a suicidal trend of opportunism is growing amongst Muslim Community on the other.  [Ref: the Verse 23: 71- Tafseer by Abdullah Yusuf Ali]

 The holy Quran has clearly warned against such opportunistic trend amongst Muslim in the Verse [2:85]:  “Then is it a only part of the Book that you believe in, and do you reject rest? But what is the reward for those amongst you who behave like this but disgrace in this life?-------And on the Day of Judgment they shall be consigned to the most grievous chastisement for Allah is not Unmindful of what you do,.”  

Islam Demands total acceptance of the Truth and does not allow any partial acceptance.  An opportunistic Trend of Partial Acceptance creates a fertile ground for mushrooming hypocrisy which is more harmful than total rejection of the Truth. There is no scope for hypocrisy in Islam, but partial acceptance encourages hypocrisy and adds to their number within the ranks of the Muslim Community. Total Acceptance and allegiance to the Quranic Truth is an essential criterion of Faith of a Muslim and translating this Faith into Action to serve the cause of Allah in this world, is the essence and most fundamental strategy of Islamic Code of Life.

 “ Mischief  has appeared  on land and sea because of (the mead ) that the hands of men has earned, that  Allah may give them and taste some of their deeds : in order that they may turn back (from evils)”- this is the real picture of the modern era ,that the Holy Quran  has drawn in the Verse 30:41

The verse in itself is a stern warning against the evil-doers of the modern age, but at the same time echoes a divine promise of mercy and forgiveness for the repentant. 

 The most essential capital to be invested for success in the life of Mankind is Faith, patience, perseverance, truthfulness, steadfastness, sincerity and his life as a whole. Each small step of Believers on the straight path in worldly life, magnified by Allah’s Strategy of Mercy and Forgiveness, will surely mark a giant step forward towards success in the Hereafter. Greatest Success of Mankind lies in getting the Record Book in his right hand.

List of Verses under Reference:

“He it is Who has sent down to thee the Book: In it are verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning); they are the foundation of the Book: others are allegorical. But those in whose hearts is perversity follow the part thereof that is allegorical, seeking discord, and searching for its hidden meanings, but no one knows its hidden meanings except Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in the Book; the whole of it is from our Lord:” and none will grasp the Message except men of understanding.” [Verse 3:7 Ref: Tafseer by Abdullah Yusuf Ali]

If the Truth had been in accord with their desires, truly the heavens and the earth, and all beings therein, will be in ruin. Nay, we have sent them their admonition, but they turn away from admonition” [Surah Al Mu’minun: 23: Ayat 71] ref: Tafseer by Abdullah Yusuf Ali]

“Successful indeed, is the one who redeems his soul. [Verse; 87:14].

“O you who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you from a grievous punishment? That you believe in Allah and His Messenger, and that you strive 9your utmost) in the cause of Allah, with your wealth and your lives, that will be best for you, if you but knew.” [Verses; 61:10-11].

“ Successful indeed are the Believers, Those who humble themselves in their prayers, who avoid vain talk, who are active in giving Zakat, who guard their modesty, except will those joined to them in the marriage bond , or (the captives) whom their right hands possess, for (in their case) they are free from blame. But those whose desires exceed those limits are transgressors, those who faithfully observe their trusts and their covenants, And who strictly guard their prayers, These will be heirs.” [ Verses: 23:1-10 ]

Engineer by profession Kazi Wadud Nawaz is a Development Consultant in Khulna, Bangladesh.