Principles of Success—
In the light of Seerah
By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
It is a well-known fact that the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) was the supremely successful man in the entire human history. But he was not just a hero, as Thomas Carlyle has called him. According to the Qur’an, he was a good example for all mankind. He has shown us the way of achieving supreme success in this world.
By studying the life of the Prophet we can derive those important principles which were followed by the Prophet. In short, the Prophet of Islam was a positive thinker in the full sense of the word. All his activities were result-oriented. He completely refrained from all such steps as may prove counter-productive.
First Principle: To begin from the possible
This principle is well explained in a saying of Aishah. She said: "Whenever the Prophet had to choose between two options, he always opted for the easier choice." (Al-Bukhari)To choose the easiest option means to begin from the possible, and one who begins from the possible will surely reach his goal.
"Fear Allah in your treatment of animals." [Abu Dawood]A companion came to him with the young ones of a bird in his sheet and said that the mother bird had hovered over them all along. He was directed to replace her offspring in the same bush (Mishkat, Abu Dawood)
During a journey, somebody picked up some birds eggs. The bird's painful note and fluttering attracted the attention of the Prophet (pbuh), who asked the man to replace the eggs. [Sahih Bukhari]
As his army marched towards Makkah to conquer it, they passed a female dog with puppies. The Prophet (pbuh) not only gave orders that they should not be disturbed, but posted a man to see that this was done.
He stated, "Verily, there is heavenly reward for every act of kindness done to a living animal."Read more...
THE EXTREME LOVE OF ALLAH'S MESSENGER (MAY PEACE BE UPON HIM) FOR HIS UMMA, AND HIS EXTREME ANXIETY TO WARN THEM AGAINST THAT WHICH IS A SOURCE OF TROUBLE TO THEM
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The similitude of mine and that of my Umma is that of a person who lit fire and there began to fall into it insects and moths. And I am there to hold you back, but you plunge into it. (Muslim, Ch 6, Book 030, Number 5670)
Abu Musa reported Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: The similitude of mine and of that with which Allah sent me is that of a person who came to us and said: O people, I have seen an army with my eyes and I am a plain warner (and issue you warning) that you should immediately manage to find an escape. A group of people from amongst them paying heed (to his warning) fled to a place of protection and a group amongst them belied him and the morning overtook them in their houses and the army attacked them and killed them and they were routed. And that is the similitude of the one who obeyed me, followed with which I had been sent and the similitude of the other is of one who disobeyed and belied me and the Truth with which I have been sent. (Muslim, Ch 6, Book 030, Number 5669)
Allah T'ala sent the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.) as شَاهِدً
Allah T'ala says in the Holy Quran:
يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا
O Prophet, We have sent you as a witness, a bearer of good news and a warner. (33:45)Read more...
Advice of Hadhrat Sheikh
The Forty-fourth Discourse (From Jala' al-Khawatir
[The Removal of Cares])
Hadhrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA)
A certain righteous man is reported as having said: "The hypocrite [munafiq] remains in one and the same spiritual condition for forty years at a stretch, while the champion of truth [siddiq] experiences transformation forty times every single day."
The hypocrite is totally involved with his lower self [nafs], his passions [hawa], his natural inclinations [tab'], his devil [shaitan] and his interest in the things of this world [dunya]. He is committed to their service, from which he never takes a break. He is never known to disagree with their point of view, and he will never say a word to contradict them. His only interests are food and drink, clothes, sexual intercourse and the accumulation of wordly goods, and he does not care how he comes by them. He cultivates his physical body and his worldly affairs, but he lets his heart and his religion [din] go to waste. He tries to please his fellow creatures [khalq], but he gives offense to the Creator [Khaliq]. The longer his hypocrisy [nifaq] continues, the harder and darker his heart becomes, so he is quite unmoved and unaffected by any spiritual counsel [maw'iza], takes no notice of any admonition ['iza], and pays no attention to any reminder. Thus it is undoubtedly a fact that he remains in one and the same spiritual condition for forty years at a stretch.
The champion of truth [siddiq] cannot possibly remain in such a static condition, because he is entirely at the disposal of the Transformer of hearts [Muqallib al-qulub], immersed in the ocean of His power, so that one wave raises him up and another sends him down. He is moved this way and that by the operations [tasarif] and transformations [taqalib] of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He), like a feather in a windswept desert, like a fresh stalk [khama] in the farmer's field, like the corpse in the hands of the ritual washer of the dead [ghasil], like the baby in the hands of the wet nurse [zi'r] or the midwife, like the ball on the receiving end of the polo player's mallet. He has surrendered both his outer [zahir] and his inner being [batin] to Him, and he is completely satisfied with His management. Far from taking any interest in his eating, his sleeping and his carnal appetites, he is interested only in the service of his Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and in earning His good pleasure. This is why a certain righteous man once said: "As for the people [of the Lord], their approach to eating is that of the sick, their form of sleep is the sleep of the drowned, and if they speak it is only out of sheer necessity." How could they not be like this? In their hearts there is something that is quite invisible to others. They have ceased to be aware of anything apart from their Lord. They have absented themselves from this world, the hereafter, and everything else apart from Him. They have settled humbly at His door. They have rested their heads on the threshold of His doorway, in readiness to comply with His orders. They have become accustomed to being contented, to needing nothing. Fate and destiny [al-qada' wa 'l-qadar] are now their servants, and these two approach them in visible form and then carry them on their heads.
If you are not one of the people [of the Lord], they are the people you must serve. You must befriend them, sit in their company and draw close to them. Put your material goods at their disposal. Follow them by emulating their actions, not by repeating their words and saying how excellent and wonderful they are. Carry your righteousness [salah] in your heart; do not wear it as part of your outer clothing. Dress as ordinary people dress, but do not behave as they behave. We Muslims do not recognize monasticism where food, clothing and marriage are concerned. As Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) has said: But monasticism they invented; We did not prescribe it for them. (57:27)
In the words of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam): There is no such thing as monasticism in Islam.
Those who are sincere in their devotion [mukhlisun] have their hermitages [sawami'] inside their hearts, while their harsh austerity is imposed on their lower selves [anfus], their passionate desires [ahwiya] and their natural inclinations [taba'i']. When they are alone in their private quarters, they experience the intimate friendship [uns] of their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) in confidential converse [munajat] with Him.
Since the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He) is using my tongue to inform you about the spiritual state of the righteous [salihun], one of you may be used as a channel to convey such information to another. You must pay attention and take notice. It is He who is calling you through that person's mouth, so you must respond to the one who is transmitting His invitation. He is inviting you to pure serenity [safa']. He is urging you to abstain from His creation and to be satisfied with Him. He is urging you to be among those who remember Him, so that you may come to be among those who are remembered in His presence. In the quest for his Master [Mawla], the honest servant must remember Him constantly, both outwardly [zahiran] and inwardly [batinan], both privately and publicly, by night and by day, in hardship and in ease, in bliss and in agony, until he comes to be one who is remembered by Him. That servant must remember Him audibly, by pronouncing His name aloud, and silently within his heart.
You are too sound asleep to realize that you are letting the bliss of the people [of the Lord] slip by you. O you who are so heedless of that bliss, will you not come to your senses? You are out of touch with that which should really concern you. You are very clever at dealing with the affairs of this world, but when it comes to the affairs of the hereafter you are sheer ignoramuses. You are bogged down in mud, so that with every move you make you sink deeper and deeper. Stretch out your hands toward Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) with an honest plea for salvation, offering repentance and an apology, so that He may deliver you from the mess you are in.
Here I am, calling upon you to resist the demands of your lower selves [nufus], your passionate desires [ahwiya], your natural inclinations [taba'i'] and your carnal appetites [shahawat], and to bear with patience the disappointments you suffer. Respond to my call, for you will see the benefit of doing so, sooner or later.
Here I am, summoning you to violent death [al-mawt al-ahmar] in the Name of Allah. Who will dare to respond? Who will step forward to meet the challenge? Who will show that he has the courage for it? Who will be prepared to take the risk? This means death, but then life everlasting. Do not run away! Endure with patience, and then with still more patience. Courage [shaja'a] is an hour's patience. You must be patient in your compliance with your Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He). If there is one among you who can bear the burden of readiness to accept the divine decree [qada'], Allah (Almighty and Glorious is He) will relieve him of it, and He will inscribe him in the register of the brave [diwan ash-shuj'an]. When someone is ready to sacrifice himself, he acquires a sense of certainty [yaqin]. When someone knows what he is looking for, he attaches little importance to what he must spend in order to attain his goal.
Be sure of where you stand, and then make haste. Come here on the footing of sincerity [sidq], so that you may knock at the door of the Lord of Truth (Almighty and Glorious is He). You must stay there as long as it takes, until the door is opened for you and the angelic escorts [mawakib] come forth to welcome you. You may as well be importunate in asking Him for the things you need, since this will do you more good than your importunity [tawaquh] toward your kings and potentates and wealthy patrons.
Follow the example set by your predecessors in their quest for their Lord (Almighty and Glorious is He) and their total absorption [fana'] in Him.
O Allah, You are our Lord [Rabb] and their Lord, our Creator [Khaliq] and their Creator, our Provider [Raziq] and their Provider, so deal with us as You dealt with them! Bring us out of us, away from us, toward You! Cause us to forget the kings and their slaves, the sultans and their subjects, the rich and the poor, the elite and the masses, the rise and fall of market prices, affluence and scarcity. Remind us to remember You. Treat us gently in Your workings. Bring us close to Your nearness, and let our hearts enjoy Your intimate friendship [uns]. Keep us safe from the evil of Your cities and Your servants, and from the evil of every crawling creature that You grasp by the forelock and seize by the tail. Keep us safe from the evil of the evildoers [sharr al-ashrar], and from the cunning deceptions of the morally corrupt [kaid al-fujjar]. Let us be members of Your party [hizb], guiding others to You while abasing ourselves before You, summoning others to You while humbling ourselves before You, but standing tall against those who behave with arrogance toward You and toward the true believers among Your creatures. Amin.