You know what you want and are constantly trying to pursue it, but somehow you never really seem to get anywhere. Why not?
Many of us have a mindset that’s totally working against us! If we want success we need to understand our ideals of success.
This week we look at how your productivity is defined by your mindset and why it’s so important to aim high!
Allah ‘azza wajal tells us about aspirations in this week’s central ayah: But of mankind there are some who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us (Your bounties) in this world!’ and for such there will be no portion in the Hereafter. And of them there are some who say: ‘Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!’ [Quran, 2:200-201]
Ask yourself this question today: What are my aspirations?
Aiming High (What is Al Himmah?)
In Arabic ‘Uluww al himmah means “high aspirations.” Al himmah is the end goal of all your actions, in other words, your aspirations. Having high aspirations was one of the key factors that helped the ummah develop through history. We’re living in challenging times and it’s even more important now for us to have high aspirations. SubhanAllah, we’re Muslims today by the grace of Allah working through those before us— those who had ‘uluww al himmah!
Your strength as a Muslim comes about from two things: ‘Ilm (Islamic knowledge) and himmah (aspirations) or iraadah (desire). Some people may have high aspirations, but due to their lack of knowledge of the religion, they can’t distinguish truth from the falsehood. Or a person has knowledge of the religion, but their weakness causes them to fall short when it comes to performing good deeds or calling others to the truth.
This is the state of al-mu’minad-dha’eef (the weak believer), and the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam told us that al-mu’min al-qawiyy (the strong believer) is better than al-mu’min ad-dha’eef.
Therefore you and I need to strive to have both: to seek knowledge and to have high aspirations!
So . . . Exactly What Should We Aspire to?
Obviously aspirations can be both good (‘uluww or high) and bad (sufool, low), so ‘uluww al-himmah means having lofty goals, and the loftiest goal, our ultimate goal as believers, is to seek the pleasure of our Lord.
‘Uluww al-himmah means to keep your focus and to think little of everything other than this most important goal.
Everything you have in this life— your health, your body, your mind, your money, and your time— can be used as an investment, but they’re not your objectives!
Remember that the end of all your life’s pursuits lies in the hereafter, but the road to it lies in this world. The achievements in the time of the Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam were the result of a full participation in this world, not of a withdrawal from it.
Define Your Success
How can you work towards a goal you haven’t set? And how many people work passionately for all the wrong goals? People will work 70 hours a week to be able to buy a massive house or a big car; they have high aspirations, but for the wrong things! They’re the ones saying: “Our Lord! Give us good of this world!” yet have no portion of the hereafter. And there are those who say “Our Lord! Give us good of this world and of the hereafter.” So first take a critical look at your life and define where success and true happiness really lie.
The Benefits of High Aspirations
The himmah (aspiration) of believers is more far-reaching than their actions.
The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, Whoever intends a good deed, but does not do it, Allah will record a full good deed for them. He also said, Whoever asks Allah for martyrdom sincerely, Allah will cause him to reach the level of the martyrs even if he were to die in his bed. Allah ‘azza wajal has made some people better than others due to their differing himmah!
Look at these amazing benefits:
The one who holds aspirations for the hereafter, Allah will gather his affairs together and pour richness into his heart and the dunya will come to him willingly. The one who holds material aspirations, Allah will scatter his affairs and put poverty in front of his eyes. And the world will not come to him except if Allah has written it for him. [Ibn Majah]
7 Simple Steps to Building a Successful Mindset
- Define your success.
If you don’t define it, you won’t be able to work towards it effectively. And remember, we only have limited time in this world. This is your time and your only chance! Set aside your ego and think about what your real goals in life should be.
- Set goals based on your definition.
Now you are at the stage in which you know what success means to you, but you don’t have a plan or a strategy to live out that success. So start by setting goals in the three basic areas of your life: worship, relationships, and work. For example set goals that you pray your prayers on time and evaluate how you did each week. Set goals that you convey what you read or learn to your spouse, parents, or children, even if it’s one ayah or hadith. Set goals that you remember Allah while at work, add a dhikr slot to your working day, so you can complete certain tasks while doing dhikr.
- Find inspiration and motivation.
Setting goals isn’t enough. The next step helps you to find a way to convince your brain to stick to that goal and get inspired about how to move ahead. The best way to find motivation is through seeking knowledge. For example: The Qur’an is an intercessor, something given permission to intercede, and it is rightfully believed in. Whoever puts it in front of him, it will lead him to Paradise; whoever puts it behind him, it will steer him to the Hellfire. [At-Tabaraanee, on the authority of ‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood] Doesn’t this inspire you to set goals to get closer to the Quran?
- Create habits surrounding your goals.
Goal-setting works best when you have habits surrounding your goal. If your goal is to understand the Quran then make it a habit to read the Quran with translation every day. Create spiritual habits, like daily praying the duha-prayer, daily reciting the Quran, even if it’s just a few ayaat.
- Stop procrastinating.
There will be times when inspiration will stop flowing, life will seem heavy, and your time will get wasted. Here, the best advice would be to go back to step three, because this is the time when you need motivation and inspiration the most.
- Seek the companionship of others who have high aspirations.
Umar ibn Al Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) said: A person is not given anything better (after Islam) than a righteous brother.
- Stop looking at success like a distant achievement.
I’ve heard people saying: “Jannah seems so far away!” We don’t know when the angel of death will come for us, and that’s the time when you won’t be able to do any good deeds to invest in your hereafter. Your hereafter can start anytime! Stop considering success as something distinct from you as an individual, merely something you hope to attain one day. Search for success in your day-to-day life; find success with the smallest bits of work that help you reach your goal, then stay committed to those habits and strive to live them daily!
Remember the central ayah of this week? Revive the sunnah and make this dua’ at the end of your prayer and whenever you can:
رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةًۭ وَفِى ٱلْءَاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةًۭ وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ
Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire.
I pray you will benefit,
Khawlah bint Yahya ~ United Kingdom
THE AYAH JOURNAL, Qur’an & Productivity is a global project with the exciting goal to inspire every Muslim worldwide to open the Qur’an every day, pick one ayah, and apply it to your own life by making acting on the ayah your mission for the day. Let’s bring back the message of the Qur’an to our daily life! Check www.ayahjournal.com and follow us on www.facebook.com/ayahjournal for vibrant Qur’an & Productivity tips.