Definition of success from an Islamic point of view (Part 2)

In a previous post, we talked about the meaning of the word “Falah” in Arabic and how it is different from the word “Najah” which is the most used translation for the english word “success”. In this post, we continue talking about the differences between those two concepts and I will share with you guys my thoughts about them.

The orientation of success

Through my readings about this subject, I came across some other comparisons between the two concepts of “Najah” and “Falah” that I found to be very true and thought it would be interesting to share it with you guys.

It said that “Najah” is result-oriented, or is directly related to the outcome and doesn’t care about the journey that you have to go through to get to that outcome, which can cause a great amount of stress and anxiety and can even make you go beyond your beliefs and principles to get to that outcome because it’s all that matters. Whereas “Al Falah” is more about the journey and the actions that we have to take to get to the outcome. It is about enjoying the journey not just the destination.

Ok, I gotta say that at first, I was like yeaaah, but that’s not so good, because like you, I have been told that results matter and that if you don’t focus on the outcome then you are not going to get there. But then, what was interesting is that I came across some studies later that have shown that one of the most important techniques to address procrastination is to focus on the process rather than the product because it allows you to back away from judging yourself (Am I getting closer to finishing?) and allows you to relax into the flow of the work. And of course, we all know that procrastination is one of the biggest problems we face when we want to achieve something.

Outcome VS journey

Ok, so let’s get back to that outcome VS journey thingy, or product VS process or whatever you call it! It’s actually very interesting because we are most likely to be productive and attain our goal if we are enjoying the journey. And that’s why you see people who are passionate about what they do go much further than somebody who is doing his job to pay the bills, right? They can both hit that same goal, but it’s most likely that the passionate one will hit it easier, faster while also enjoying it and being happy about it. So, it’s not that bad after all, right? And so if “Al Falah” means that then it just confirms the fact that that is what you want to be after (At least I know I do).

But wait a minute, isn’t it what Islam is all about? Yes, we have a clear destination when it comes to spirituality in Islam which is Jannah, or heaven or paradise or whatever you call it! But, aren’t we also asked to enjoy our journey which is the life we are living right now? Of course, we are! And I think this is where a lot of misconceptions about the goal and about the responsibilities we hold become very overwhelming and sometimes misleading!

Islam teaches us to take action and makes us responsible for these actions but also tells us that the outcome is not in our hands, nobody will ever go to heaven thanks to what they have done, right? And so if we were going to be judged on the outcome then we should be responsible and able to get to that outcome, don’t we? Well, guess what? It’s only Allah who decides that, and it’s only Him who will decide if we go to heaven or to hell, right?

But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have any say in this, Allah had given us all the necessary tools, he had described what the outcomes are with very detailed descriptions of heaven and hell as the only two possible destinations. He had also shown us the path and given us the necessary guidelines to follow if we want to hit that “heaven” destination and had warned us of the things to do in order not to be on the “hell” pathway. He had opened the door of repentance (Attawbah) all the time so we can change our way whenever we like and whenever we are ready. He didn’t give us any limits when it comes to the number of times we derive from the path (by commiting sins) and then get back to it again.

He had asked us to look around, to meditate, to be kind to each other, to smile to enjoy ourselves, and had given us halal ways to do it. He had given us all the answers that we need to know about our ancestors, about how humans were created (story of Sayiduna Adam peace be upon him), he had told us about who we are and about how we should live our lives. And He had told us that He is the most merciful and the most forgiving, that He is happy when we get close to Him and that He doesn’t do wrong to us ( wama rabboka bi Dhallamin lil Abid). I mean what else do we need? Seriously? We have all the tools and all we’re asked is to believe in Allah and his prophet, to try to follow the right path while enjoying our journey, and then Allah will reward us with more than we can imagine!

to be continued

Until next time, stay blessed!

Salaam 😀

2 thoughts on “Definition of success from an Islamic point of view (Part 2)

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