Success & Failure

Sall-Allahu wa sallim 'alayka Ya Rasul Allah wa a'la ahli baytih, al-ma'sumin, al-muntajabina. Ya laytanaa kunna ma'akum, saadati, fanafuza ma'ana fawzan adhima. 'A'udhu bi Illahi min al-shaytaan al-la'in al-rajim, Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim. "Yawma ya'ti la takallamu nafsun illa bi idhnihi fa minhum shaqiyun wa sa'eed. (11:105). Amanna bi Illahi, sadaqa Allahu al-Aliyyu al-Adhim. Salawat [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]. For the love of Aba Abdillah al-Husayn with the loudest of our voices Sallu 'ala Muhammad wa 'aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].For the love of Imam Sahibu al-'Asri wa az-Zaman arwahunaa lahu al-fidaa [may our souls be sacrificed for him] Sallu 'ala Muhammadin wa 'aali Muhammad [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad].

Assalamu alaykum jami'an wa rahmat Ullahi ta'ala, wa barakatuh. First of all, we thank the Almighty Allah Subhanah wa Ta'ala for granting us and gracing us with these great and wonderful moments, wonderful opportunity tonight, a very important night to begin with our discussion on our journey towards discovering ourselves, on our spiritual journey of trying to understand ourselves in order to be able to get closer to Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, especially in this holy month of Ramadan.

The verse I have just quoted from the Glorious Qur'an, is from Surah number 11, verse 105. That is Surat Hud. And this particular verse of Glorious Qur'an divided people into two, Shaqiun and Sa'eed. Those who are successful and those who are not successful in the eye of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. And departing from this particular verse of Glorious Qur'an, our subject for tonight's discourse will be success and failure in the eye of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Meaning when one regards himself as successful, what does Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala say about that success. And if a person is a failure in his life, what does Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala talks about failure in the life of each and every one of us.

And our discussion will be of three stages. The first stage: we look at the definition of success and failure within the teachings of Islam. And secondly, we will look at the types and kinds of success from the teachings of the Glorious Qur'an. And lastly, we will conclude by responding to this particular question that is a success and failure a permanent attribute or condition in our lives or not? In other words, if I am a failure now, or I am a successful person now, will that condition change or that condition will not change?

The verse I have got that is a very, very important verse from Glorious Qur'an, where Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala says: "Yawma ya'ti la takallamu nafsun illa bi idhnihi fa minhum shaqiyun wa sa'eed. (11:105)., Yawma ya'ti la takalamo nafsun illa bi idhnihi fa minhum shaqiyun wa sa'eed. Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala in this particular verse of Glorious Qur'an is talking about the groups of people on the Day of Qiyamah. Allah says on the Day of Qiyamah there will be two groups: the first group will be the group of successful ones, meaning those who are successful in the eyes of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. And the second group will be the group of failures, those who are not successful in the eyes of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

Now the first stage, what is success within the teachings of Islam and within the religion of Islam? Because you find out that so many times we will tell that somebody is successful, whereas in the eye of Allah that person is not successful. And sometimes in our lives we may refer to a person as a failure, whereas in the eye of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, that person is not a failure. So therefore, let us find out from the religion of Islam who is successful and what is success.

To define success within the religion of Islam, our scholars came forward and said every single individual, one way or the other, sometimes in your life you get affected by two types of condition or situation. The first one, they call it the real condition, and the second one they call it psychological condition. I want you to pay attention. What is the real condition and what is a psychological condition? Real condition is a type of condition where you do not need to pay attention to know that you are affected by that condition. Example, health and sickness. When you are healthy, you do not need to pay attention to know whether you are healthy or you are not healthy. When one is sick, you do not need to pay attention to know whether you are sick or you are not sick. So these what they call a real condition or a real situation within our lives.

The second one, the second one they call as Sifat un-Nafsia. That is a psychological condition or psychological situation in our life. What is psychological condition? It is a type of condition or situation where when you find yourself an x, you need to pay attention to know that you are affected with it or not. If one does not pay attention to it, you may not be able to know whether you are affected with that condition or you are not affected with that condition. Example, happiness. Happiness within the religion of Islam, is a psychological condition. Happiness is not a real condition, why? Happiness is not a real condition because it is a type of situation where you need to pay attention to what makes you happy and what does not make you happy. The same thing applies to sadness. Sadness within the religion of Islam, it is not a real condition, it is a psychological condition. Why psychological condition? You need to pay attention to what is making you sad for you to understand whether you are sad, or you are happy.

Now, question: what is success in the eye of Allah? Is success a psychological condition or is success a real condition? Here, our scholars came forward and said success within the religion of Islam is a psychological condition. It is not a real condition. Why success is a psychological condition? Because it is a type of condition where you need to pay attention to what is making you successful. Sometimes you may find yourself blaming yourself that I am not successful, whereas in the eye of Allah you are truly successful. Sometimes you may think that I am a failure, whereas in the eye of Allah you are not a failure. So therefore, Islam says success and failure, it is a psychological condition.

Therefore, they define success as Ladhdhatun Aqliya. They say success, it is an intellectual test or an intellectual happiness. What is intellectual happiness? It is opposite to sensory happiness. Sensory happiness is a type of happiness whereby sometimes you find yourself very thirsty and you need very cold water to quench your thirst. A person comes to you and offers you a cup of cold water. When you drink, you feel happy. But this they call it a sensory happiness. Why sensory happiness? Because it does not last, it takes a few hours and we will forget about the cold water.

But now sometimes you are looking for some Mas'ala in Islam, or there is something you hear from a lecturer and you have not understood it properly. So you start reading a lot on books and asking a lot of scholars about that particular issue. The moment you discover the truth about it, you feel so much happiness. This is what they call success in the religion of Islam. It is an intellectual happiness.

The same thing applies to failure. Failure within the religion of Islam is an intellectual failure. It is not like when I taste something which is very bitter, I feel the bitterness of it, then after an hour it is gone. That is not a problem. But sometimes you are looking for some mas'ala or you prepare yourself for your examination. You try not to sleep at night to prepare for your exams, but when the results come, you failed. You know this is what you call intellectual sadness. So Islam regards success as a psychological condition whereby one has to pay attention to what is making you successful or what is making you a failure.

Now, the second explanation is the most interesting part, whereby the religion of Islam divided success into two. They said, we have Sa'ada Haqiqiyah and we have what is called Sa'ada Wahmiyyah. We have a real success and we have a fake success and for us to be able to understand this, I take you a little bit to social science or sociology. You know, in social science there is a discussion on what they call "nadhriyat imtidad ul-wujood", a theory of love for life expansion. What does it mean? There is not a single human being who does not love life. They said when Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala created us, the strongest instinct that He placed in us is the instinct of love for life. We are sitting here, there is no one who wants to die. There is nobody who would be ready to die, so therefore every one of us has got that instinct of love for life.

And now and then we express our love for life. But Qur'an comes and tells us, we express our love for life depending on our ages, meaning each and every age group have a unique way of expressing their love for life. Meaning children, teenagers, adults, old age, we do not express our love for life the same. We have different ways of expressing our love for life.

This is where Qur'an Surat ul-Hadid verse 20, Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala explained to us how each and every age group expressed their love for life. What does Allah say in the Ayat? He said: "Innama al-hayat ud-dunya la'ibon, wa lahwun wa zinatun, wa tafakharun baynakum, wa takathuron fil-amwali wa al-awlad" (57:2). Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala in this particular verse of Glorious Qur'an explains how we can express our love for life.

The first one, what does Allah say? Allah says, Indeed the life of this Dunya is a play. But now, play is not for all age groups. Not every one of us expressed his love for life to play. So therefore our scholars came forward and said there is an age group who express their love for life through play, and these are children from a young age up until seven. Children up until seven years of age, their love for life is expressed through play. When a child plays and moves from one point to another, he feels happy. He feels content. So this is how the children express their love for life according to the teachings of Qur'an.

And then the second one, Allah said "wa lahwun", what is lahw? Lahw means amusement whereby one considers what is secondary primary and what is primary secondary. This is not for the children up until seven years of age. These are for children who are after seven up until the age of 14, they express their love for life by thinking that what is primary is secondary and what is secondary is primary.

And the third one, Allah Tabarak wa Ta'ala says "wa zeenah", beauty. Beauty, there are some of us looking at our ages, we express our love for life by just wanting beauty. I want a beautiful house. I want a beautiful wife. I want a beautiful car. My father must have a beautiful car. These are the ages up until twenty and above twenty. Those people of that age and above twenty, they express their love for life through beauty, whatever beauty they see, to them that is life completely.

And then Allah after "Zeena", He said "wa tafakhurun baynakum", and also mutual boasting where people compete with one another. Here the Holy Qur'an, when it talks about people expressing their love for life through mutual boasting, it is not talking about the children of seven years, it is not talking about the teenagers, it is not talking about those of twenty, twenty one years. Allah is talking about those who are up until the age of 40, next to 40, they express their love for life by competition. They compete with one another. My car is better than your car, my clothes are better than your clothes. I am wearing branded clothes, you do not wear it. This is how we express our love for life.

But you see Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala, when He reaches the next stage, He said when a person reaches 40, he starts to sense danger in his or her life. The moment, a person reaches 40, you know the danger a person senses in his life? Now he is thinking that I may not be able to spend another 40 years to become 80. If I will survive in this world, it may be less than 40. It may be 60 or 70 but to get to 80 it may not be easy. So when a person starts sensing that the danger after 40 years of age, he starts expressing more love for life.

And you know how people after 40 express their love for life? They amass and accumulate a lot of wealth. And when they accumulate what do they do? They transfer them into the names of their children. And you know why they are doing that? They are doing that because they are thinking that if I do that and my children stay, then my name will continue. This is what they said "nadhariyat imtidad al-wujood." Everybody loves to expand this life. So those of the 40 or our fathers, they express their love by accumulating a lot of wealth, a lot of houses. And they know they are not going to spend more time in this world. What do they do? They translate it into the names of their children, thinking that if they die and their children continue to look after it, their name would expand.

So therefore, insaan, when Allah mentions "wa takathurun fil amwali wa al-awlad". After 40, it is just a accumulation of wealth. And people think that when I have the wealth of this Dunya and I have the best of everything of this Dunya, that it is a real success.

Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala comes forward and said that this is a fake success. Allah in Qur'an said, "Zuyyina lil-nasi hubb ul-shahawati min an-nisaa wa al-banin, wa al-qanateer, al-muqantarati, min adh-dhahabi wa al-fidhdha wa al-khayli al-musawwamati wa al-an'ami wa al-harith. (3:14)Allah said, We beautify for people of this world with women, treasures of this world, gold and diamond. Allah says, dhalika mataa'u al-hayati idh-dunya (3:14). These are all the enjoyment of this world, but the end belongs to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

So therefore, whatever we may think to have in this world, Qur'an regards it as a fake success. Qur'an does not regard it as a real success. In other words, Qur'an regards whatever we have in this world as a means to achieve real success in the eyes of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. Therefore Allah talks to us in Qur'an: "La yaghurranaka taqallub alladheena kafaru fi il-bilad (3:196). "Mata'on qaleelun thumma ma'wahum jahannam (3:197). Do not see people having a lot of wealth and doing as they please on the face of the universe for you to be astonished of what they have. This is a small happiness of this world and the ending belongs to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

Now, if all that we have, Qur'an regards them or regards it as a fake success, what is the real success in the eye of Allah? This is my point and then we close for tonight. What is a real success in the eye of Allah? Because as Muslims, as believers, praying, fasting, recitation of Qur'an, our aim is to achieve real successes in our lives. If we do not achieve those real successes in our lives, then our lives are of no use in the eye of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

Now the question is, what is the real success in the eye of Allah? Real success is what Allah discusses in one of the verses of Qur'an, where Allah said: "Fala nuhyyiyannahu hayatan tayyibatan" (16:97). Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala says, 'We will indeed and surely provide with the best of life'. What is Hayatun tayyiba? Is hayatan tayyiba accumulating wealth? Is Hayatan tayyiba having all these material things? No. Hayatan tayyiba is Ammnan wa al-Istiqrar.

Hayatan tayyiba is in tranquility and happiness or inner peace. Once you have inner peace within your hearts, when adhan is being recited and you feel happy in your heart, when the Du'a Iftitah is being recited, you feel that happiness in your heart. When you stand to perform Salah, and that happiness that come in your heart, then that is regarded as a real success in the eye of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

Therefore Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala says: "Fala nuhyyiyannahu hayatan tayyibatan" (16:97). If really you strive for the real success, Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala, will ensure that you have sukun and inner peace and you have tranquility. Therefore Allah in Qur'an admonishes us: Waman a'radha 'an Dhikree fa inna lahu ma'ishatan dhanka (20:124). Whoever ignores My remembrance, no worship of Allah, no Qur'anic recitation, no a'mal, no ibadat, fa inna lahu ma'eeshatan dhanka, that person would have a very difficult life.

Difficult life in this particular place of Qur'an, it is not referring to not having money. It is not referring to not having the best of houses. It is not referring to not having the best of cars. It is referring to inner peace. Everybody needs to have sukun in his heart. You need peace in your heart. How many times you find people, they own a lot of properties in their life, but they cannot sleep at night? And how many times we find people they have nothing, they have only one house, a very small house and they are able to sleep peacefully and are able to wake up for their Salah.

So therefore, success in the eye of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala has nothing to do with the amount of what I have in this Dunya. It has to do with the happiness I gain within my heart and the inner peace that I get through my ibada and through my Salah. Therefore, Allah Tabarakah Wa Ta'ala says: "Alladheena amanoo wa tatma'innu quloobuhum bi Dhikri Allah, 'ala Dhikri Allah tatma'innu al-quloob(13:28). Allah describes believers in this particular verse of Qur'an, that believers, they find peace in their heart through their remembrance of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. When they remember Allah, they become so much happy and content. And if there is no remembrance of Allah, they feel this happiness on their heart.

And therefore, night like tonight and tomorrow night, this night of ahya in the Layali Al-Qadr, these are the nights to feed our souls with the food it requires. Our souls need Allah, and our souls need the remembrance of Allah. Our souls need their recitation of Qur'an. Therefore, Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala says: "Inna awliyaa Allahi la khawfun 'alayhim wala hum yahzanoon"(10:62). Once you have that love of Allah through the remembrance of Allah, then there will be no sadness in your life.

Today how many of us are very sad and many times we are very sad in our life? A person stresses himself, the best way to overcome these brothers and sisters, is through the 'Ibada and the remembrance of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

Therefore, Qur'an addresses us by saying: "Ya ayyatuhal nafsu al-mutma'inna" (89:27). "Irji'ee ila Rabbiki radhiyatan mardiyya" (89:28). Once you obtain that tranquil soul through the ibada and through the remembrance of Allah, when your time is up to depart from this world, Allah will address that soul as a tranquil soul.

And in conclusion is success a permanent condition in our lives or not? In other words, if I am successful now in the eye of Allah, will this success remain with me until I die or it may change? Or if a person is a failure, may God forbid na'udhubillah, failure in the sense that he does not pay attention to his Salah, he does not pay attention to his Ibida, she does not bother about Islamic teachings. Will that stay permanently or it may change within the life of a person or not?

Here, for us to understand that, there are three attributes I want to show very briefly. The first one scholars say "sifatu asasiya", every single person has this principal attribute in your life. What is the principal attribute? It is your intellect and your choice. You have choice in your life and you have your intellect in your life. That intellect is what scholars regard it as a principle attribute that Allah has given to each and every one of us. You can choose what you want. You can ignore what you want to ignore.

Therefore, we have a Riwaya from Rasul Allah, salla Allahu alayhi wa alihi wa sallam, where he discusses about Imam Amir ul-Mu'mimeen, salawat Allahi wa as-salamu alayh [Allahumma Salli 'ala Muhammad wa aali Muhammad]. It is a riwaya which we all know, That O' Ali, "la yuhibbuka illa mu'minaan", No one will love you except a believer, and no one will hate you Ali except a hypocrite. This is as a result of the way we exercise our choices. Therefore he said, if you will take out a sword and place this sword on the neck of a Munafiq and ask him to love Amir al-Mu'minin, he will not love Imam Amir al-Mu'minin. And the same thing, you put the sword on the neck of a believer and ask him to hate ImamAmir al-Mu'minin, he will not hate Imam Amir al-Mu'minin. This is as a result of how we exercised the choices given to us by Allah. So this is what they call the principle attribute.

The second one is what they call the Siffatul Iqtida'iya. That is accidental attribute. What is accidental attribute? Allah explains it beautifully in Qur'an: "Qul kullun ya'malu 'ala shakilatih" (17:84). Each and every person works according to his own style. What is the style? You go to a family, you find the parents have their children, one boy is hyperactive, the other one is very cool. You find this one is emotional and the other one is not emotional. Where are all these type attributes and Sifaat coming from? It is what they call the Siffatu Iqtidaiya. It is the accidental attribute whereby children before they arrive in this world, they inherit many behaviors either from their fathers or from their mothers or from their grandfathers or from the grandmothers. This is accidental attribute. So every one of us, when you come into this world, you come with those type of attribute.

The third one is what they call Siffatu Iktisabiya. That is obtainable attributes whereby through your Akhlaq, through your behavior, through the friends that you go around with, you are able to obtain a certain attribute and certain behavior in your life. So therefore the question is, our success and our failure, which one of these three does it belong to? It belongs to the third one. It is Siffatul Iktisabiya, whereby the Iktisabi, you have to work for it. If you are a failure in the eye of Allah, it is as a result of your own deeds and action. If you are a successful person in the eye of Allah, it is as a result of your own deeds and actions.

And therefore Allah Tabarak Wa Ta'ala says, (53:39) Wa an laysa lil insaani illa ma sa'a, (53:40) Wa anna sa'yahu sawfa yura. Insaan is nothing but your effort and determination. The more effort you make, the more you become successful in the eyes of Allah and the less effort you made, the more you become a failure in the eyes of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

Therefore, in conclusion, our destinies are in our hand. We shall strive as much as we can. Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala says: "Wa alladheena jahadu fina la nahdiyanahum subulana wa inna Allaha la ma'a al-muhsineen"(29:69). Those who strive in Our way, We will guide them towards our way. If we strive in the way of Allah and if we strive in the way of Ahlul Bayt, Allah will make it easy for you in His way and you will achieve that success in the eye of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

But if you do not make a lot of effort and you relax thinking that I have everything of this Dunya and that is regarded as a success, Qur'an is telling l and you, Ramadhan is the best platform, it is the best of all opportunities to change your destination, as Allah will not change our conditions until and unless we change what is within our heart and what is within our soul.

Therefore when you go back to the life of Ahlul Bayt, alayhum as-salat wa as-salam, you find these type of situations in the life of Ahlul Bayt. For example, Umar Ibn Sa'ad. We all know the relationship of Umr ibn Sa'ad to Aliun Al-Akbar. Very close to Ahlul Bayt, alayhum as-salat wa as-salam, but he ended up being a failure in the eyes of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. You have somebody like Hurr Ibn Yazid ar-Ri'ahi. Hurr was not close to Ahlul Bayt, alayhum as-salat wa as-salam, but he made a lot of effort and as a result of his effort, he became successful in the eye of Almighty Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

So therefore let us all strive InshaAllah, brothers and sisters in this night, which is a very important night. It is the night of Munajaat. It is the night of A'mal. It is the night in which we strive as much as we can to change our destination in the eye of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. It is not a night to relax. It is the night to open our hearts and talk to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and pour what is in our heart to Allah and wholeheartedly ask Allah Tabaraka wa Ta'ala what we want from Allah, and Allah will not deny us. He will grant us our legitimate wishes and desires inshaAllah.

Assalamu Alaika Ya Aba Abdillah, Assalamu Alaika Ya Ibna Rasuli Allah, Assalamu Alaika Ya Ibna Amir ul-Mu'minin wa Ibn Sayyidi al-Wasiyeen wa 'ala Sahibu al-'Asri wa az-Zaman, La andubannaka sabahan wa masa'a wa la abkiyanka badal al damu'i dama.

As we prepare ourselves for the night of Qadr, let us take ourselves back to the Holy Land of Karbala and remember the Masaib of Ahlul Baytil Isma Wa Tahara. As our beloved Imam, the 12th Imam, when he visited Karbala, he went and stood by a place known as Maqam al-Qa'im Ali Muhammad. When Imam taught that Ziyarat an-Naahiya, one particular place of that Ziyarah, Imam taught us how to mourn and not to forget Aba Abidillahi Al-Husayn, alayhi as-salat wa as-salam.

Imam said, Oh, my master Aba Abdillah, I will mourn for you day and night and I will cry for you with blood instead of tears. Now when we go to Karbala, on the tenth day of Muharram, each and every one of them, as narrations have taught us, would come to Aba Abdillah for permission. And Aba Abdillah would hesitate to grant the permission.

There was one man from Ahlul Bayt Aliun al-Akbar. He was the only one when he came to the father for permission. The father did not hesitate to grant permission to Aliun al-Akbar. Ali went to the battlefield. Narrations say, when they stabbed on the body and the chest of Ali, Ali fell down. When Ali fell down, he called out, Wa alayka as-salaam, Ya Aba Abdillah.

Narrations say Aba Abdillah rode his horse. Aba Abillah came out. When he came out he headed to a certain direction, narrations says Bibi Sakina says she saw the father taking the wrong direction. She said father, where are you going father? He said Oh Sakina, I am heading towards my beloved Aliun Al-Akbar. Then Sakina said, father you are taking the wrong direction! Ali is in that direction and you are heading towards a different direction. Aba Abdillah said, Ya Sakina it kills me to know Ali Al-Akbar is going.

Narrations say Aba Abdillah rushed to the body of Aliun Al-Akbar. When got to the body of Aliun Al-Akbar, Ali was passing the salaam to the father. He was saying Wa alayka as-salaam Ya Aba Abdillah. Narrations say Ali used to pass his salaam by hugging his father. But now when Aba Abdillah saw Ali in that situation, AIi was passing salaam with one hand, Aba Abdillah came closer to the body of Ali Akbar. He realised that Ali was covering the dagger with one hand. Narrations say Aba Abdillah stood and looked at the direction of Najaf Al-Ashraf, he said Wa alayka as-salaam Ya Amir al-Mu'minin, He said Amir al-Mu'minin you lifted the door of Khaybar with your hand. Come and see your son lift the dagger from chest of his son. Wa alayka as-salam.

As we prepare to mourn, we remember Kufa, we remember Shahid Al-Kufa, we remember the children of Shahid Al-Kufa, Aba Abdillah Al-Husayn. Narrations say that Aba Abdillah reached the body of Aliun Al-Akbar, All of a sudden Ali would smile and at the same Ali would cry. Ali would smile and the same time cry. Why is Ali crying and at the same time he is smiling? Narrations says Ali says: Wa Allah I cry because when I look at that direction I see Fatima az-Zahra slapping her cheeks, and when I look at the other direction, why do I smile? Ali said: I see Rasul Allah....

Inna Lil-Lahi, wa inna Ilahi Raja’un. Wa sa ya'lamu alladheena dhalamu ahli il-nubuwwa ayya munqalibin yanqaliboon wal 'aqibatu lil-muttaqeen.