How to Lead a Successful Life

Six Things Which Lead to Success in The Wold and Hereafter

Nasser Makaram Shirazi


عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ قَالَ: خَطَبَنَا رَسُولَ اللٌّهِ يَوْمَ جُمْعَةِ، فَقَالَ: أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ، تُوبُوا إِلـى اللٌّهِِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَمُوتُوا وَ بَادِرُوا بِالأََعْمَالِ الصَّالِحَةِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَشْتَغِْلُوا وَ أَصْلِحُوا الَّذِي بَيْنَكُمْ وَ بَيْنَ رَبِّكُمْ تَسْعَدُوا وَ أَكْثِرُوا مِنَ الصَّدَقَةِ تُرْزَقُوا وَ أْمُرُوا بِالْمَعْرُوفِ تُحصَـنُوا وَ انْتَهُوا عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ تُنْصَرُوا.

The above Narration has been narrated from Abil Darda’ that: “The Messenger of Allah (S) spoke to us on Jumu’ah (Friday) and said, “O’ People! Turn back to Allah (in repentance) before you die; and before you get too busy (in your life) perform righteous deeds; correct the relationship between yourselves and your Lord so that you may gain felicity; and give a lot of charity (sadaqah) so that you are given (by Allah) sustenance; and enjoin goodness upon others so that you may be protected (from the hell fire) and forbid others from evil so that you may be assisted (by Allah).

Our Holy Prophet (PBUH) gave us six commandments to follow:

1) Tawbah – Turning Back towards Allah
Tawbah is one of the blessings from Allah, the Most High, to His servants. How beautifully has Imam ‘Ali b. al-Husain as-Sajjad (as) put it in his Munajat of the Taibin (Whispered Prayer of Those who Turn in Repentance to Allah) where he calls out:

إِلٌهي، أَنْتَ الَّذِي فَتَحْتَ لِعِبَادِكَ بَاباً إِلـى عَفْوِكَ سَمَّيْتَهُ التَّوْبَةَ، فَقُــلْتَ: تُوبُوا إِلـى اللٌّهِ تَوْبَةً نَصُوحاً فَمَا عُذْرُ مَنْ أَغْفَلَ دُخُولَ الْبَابِ بَعْدَ فَتْحِهِ؟

“O’ my Lord! You are the One who has opened up for Your servants the door towards Your forgiveness and You named it Tawbah when You said, { Turn back in repentance towards Allah – a sincere repentance } – so what then is the excuse for a person who is negligent in entering into the door after it has been opened?”

The meaning of the sentence of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in the tradition under discussion where he states, “Ask repentance before you die” is that immediately after we have committed a sin, we must turn back to Allah (SwT) – and this is because no one knows when death will come upon them.

It has been narrated that the Prophet of Islam (PBUH) – with all of the greatness and nobility that he possessed – would ask forgiveness seventy times every day! We claim to be followers of this great personality, so then how many times a day do we ask forgiveness and turn back to Allah (SwT)?

At night, before we go to sleep, how many acts do we bring to memory that we performed during the day? If a person was to sit, examine and meditate upon his actions everyday and ask for forgiveness (for his evil deeds), then the spiritual darkness would be lifted from one’s heart, and the soul would become illuminated with the Divine Light.

It is for this reason that the best of actions that one can do before the break of down is to ask for forgiveness.4 Thus, a person should wake up in the middle of the night and in the calm of the night, pray and ask for one’s needs from Allah (SwT) and pour out his heart to Him – and in the words of the Qur`an one sould be:

مُسْتَغْفِرِينَ بِالأََسْحَارِ

”Those who seek forgiveness in the early hours.”

Almost all of our major scholars who have written treatises on the spiritual travel towards Allah (SwT) have stated that the first stage in this journey is Tawbah – just as the Prophet of Allah (S) has said:

تُوبُوا إِلـى اللٌّهِِ قَبْلَ أَنْ تَمُوتُوا.


2) Performing Good Deeds
A person does not always think about his free time, ease and comfort and naturally feels that he will stay young for his entire life. One’s thoughts are not always free and thus many obstacles can often be placed in one’s path.

If you pay close attention to those around you, then you will notice that there are some people who have everything (materialistically). These people are not lacking anything in their material life however they say, “The yearning to learn and study has been taken away from me.” If one would like to increase knowledge, then one must develop Taqwa within oneself and must work towards self building and purification of the soul since whatever one has is through Taqwa (Allah consciousness). We must also perform good deeds before we get to a stage in our life where we are overcome by difficulties.

3) Reconciliation with Allah (SwT)
We see that, in relation to the events that happen around people, they are of three categories:
There is one group of people who only look at what others are saying; there is another group who look partially at what others are saying and also partially at what Allah (SwT) has commanded them to perform; and the third group are those who only pay attention to what Allah (SwT) has commanded them to do and ignore other people.

Keeping in mind this brief introduction, we see that when any event takes place, a person must see what it is that Allah (SwT) has ordered to be performed and do only that.

By this we mean that the first right that is upon us is that we must see what Allah (SwT) wants and then we should see what the people are saying. If a person is to first establish a firm relation with Allah (SwT), then in return, Allah (SwT) will correct that person’s relation with other people (and thus, whatever the people want will be what Allah wants). This fact can be seen in a hadith from the Commander of the Faithful,, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as) in which he said:

مَنْ أَصْلَحَ بَيْنَهُ وَ بَيْنَ اللٌّهِِ، أَصْلَحَ اللٌّهُ مَا بَيْنَهُ وَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ.

“A person who corrects his relationship between oneself and Allah, Allah will correct the affairs between himself and the people.”

Thus, the only way to reach the path of true happiness is that we establish a close relationship with Allah (SwT).

4) Giving Great Amounts of Sadaqah
Giving Sadaqah to others brings with it two important benefits:

  1. One’s sustenance will be increased;
  2. Maladies and difficulties will be removed from a person.

In relation to an increase in sustenance, we see that this goes against the apparent aspect of this world, meaning that if a person gives charity in the way of Allah (SwT) then according to his bank account and the apparent outcome of this charity, his pocket should be empty. However according to the Islamic narrations, this act will actually increase a person’s sustenance and wealth!

One should give Sadaqah in whatever amount possible such that the Prophet (S) has told us that we are even permitted to give away our old clothing as charity (if we don’t have anything else to give) and in addition, this act of Sadaqah increases a person’s life span.

When starting any journey, it is advisable to count the number of days that one will be away and actually put aside an amount of money to give in Sadaqah and this is something that all of us should act upon because this act of charity will serve as a barrier against anything that may come upon us.

5) & 6) Amr Bil Ma’ruf and Nahi ‘Anil Munkar, Forcefully Commanding to that which is Ethically Right and Vigorously Forbidding from that which is Evil
These two important things have great benefit in them and in relation to them, the Commander of the Faithful,, ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (as) has stated:

وَ مَا أَعْمَالُ الْبِرِّ كُلُّهَا وَ الْجِهَادُ فِي سَبِيلِ اللٌّهِ، عِنْدَ الأََمْرِ بِالْمَعرُوفِ وَ النَّهْيِ عَنِ الْمُنْكَرِ، إِلاَّ كَنَفْثَةِ فِي بَحْرِ لُجِّيٍّ .

“All of the righteous actions, including Jihad in the way of Allah – in relation to the act of Amr bil Ma’ruf and Nahi ‘Anil Munkar – can be comparable to the water in one’s mouth and the water that is in the deep oceans.

Not paying attention to an act that another person is doing and leaving him to do as he wishes, which we usually refer to as “minding your own business” or “what does it matter to me,” or due to some other reason such as not wanting to trouble our friends and acquaintances or so as not to be a nuisance, we refrain from this act. There is a famous saying which says, “What is the need to tie a handkerchief around the head when it does not hurt?” Acting in this way will slowly get us to the point that wicked acts will take rule over a society and the righteous doers will become less in number and good acts in general will be forgotten.
This is definitely an empty belief and a great mistake that people think that honour and dignity lie in the hands of other people and not in the hands of Allah (SwT), whereas it clearly says in the Qur`an that:

تُعِزُّ مَنْ تَشَآءُ وَ تُذِلُّ مَنْ تَشَآءُ

“He gives honor to whomsoever He pleases and He debases whomsoever He pleases.”
In another place in the Qur`an we read that:

مَنْ كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلٌّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعاً

“Whosoever desires honour, then with Allah alone is all the honour.”!

Translator:Salma Syeda

Keywords : Islam , Prophet Muhammad , Teachings of Prophet , successful life , Charity , Relation with God,Happy Life, Amar Bil Maroof , Nahi Anil Munkar, Tawbah