By Shaheen Nawaz
To many of us the word “success” means something so huge and out of reach that we lose hope even before trying to achieve it! But our Prophet (saws) gave us the good news that success lies in doing things, even small things, consistently.
In other words, it isn’t the quantity or size of our deeds but rather their quality that determines whether we’re successful or not. And quality requires consistency; when we keep on doing something over and over again, we become more and more efficient at it.
What Stops Us From Being Consistent?
The main obstacles are:
1. Lack of faith, or having doubts about the goodness of an action.
This can be cured by acquiring knowledge and by seeking the company of positive people.
2. Lack of focus as a result of being overcome by desires and other distractions.
This can be cured by identifying “slipping points” and taking protective measures, e.g. eating sensibly and on time to avoid the urge for constant nibbling, getting enough sleep to avoid the fatigue trap, and exercising to prevent laziness.
3. Negative thinking, i.e. low self esteem, thinking of yourself as being undeserving of success, fearing failure, being anxious about the future, or regretting about the past.
The most effective medicine to heal the heart from all such pessimistic thoughts is to have a strong and everlasting relationship with Allah (swt):
Indeed, those who have said, “Our Lord is Allah,” and then remained on a right course— there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve. [Quran, 46:13]
The same advice is found in an authentic Hadith:
Sufiyan bin Abdullah said: “I asked the Messenger of Allah to tell me one thing about Islam about which I will not need to ask anyone after you. So The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Say I believe in Allah and then be steadfast on it.’” [Sahih Muslim: 38]
How to Persevere
Aim for the most true, most strong, most pure faith in Allah (swt) by pondering His names and attributes, seeking his help, reading His words with understanding, and pondering His signs in His creation.
Seek closeness to Allah (swt) through acts which He loves. Feel the pleasure of faith as it enters your heart and makes it stronger with every act of goodness which you do for His pleasure. Give up the things that displease him.
Don’t give up! Yes we have to be steadfast in all the things that benefit us. This is not a single dose treatment which you can take once a month or once a week— it’s for life.
“Having Faith” is not simply the uttering of a few words; rather it should be reflected in your acts of worship and also in your attitude and behaviour towards people. A person who has faith in Allah can’t harm others, nor can he make fun of them, nor backbite them, nor cheat them, nor look down on them, nor even have bad thoughts about them!
So keep a constant check on that small but dangerous weapon called “the tongue.” Because if used wisely, it can lead us to Jannah but if we let it go out of control it can destroy all our chances of success.
Therefore success depends on the best use of our speech because this will lead to a good and pure heart. And the purification of heart will lead towards the strong and pure faith in Allah (swt) which will enable us to remain consistent in our actions.
May Allah guide us to watch our words, purify our hearts, and give us true and everlasting faith. Ameen
P.S. My name is Shaheen Nawaz and I write occasionally on my blog— www.theseekerspath.wordpress.com. I am a housewife and mother of three. Alhamdulillah I have studied Quran through the Taleem-ul-Quran course taught by Dr Farhat Hashmi. Since then it has been my passion to spread the message of Allah to as many people as I can. So with the help and tawfeeq of Allah, I was able to write surah reviews of the entire Quran. These can be found on my blog and have also been published by the Islam channel on helium.com where I write by the name of Umme Adil.