The Simple Formula for Success

By Rashad A. Muhaimin

Allah All-Mighty says in His Book;

The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah (His Words, the Qur'an) and His Messenger (SAW), to judge between them, is that they say: "We hear and we obey." And such are the prosperous ones (who will live forever in Paradise). [24:51]

Allah, Glorified and Exalted explains in many places in the Qur’an certain characteristics of those whom He describes as al-muflihoon (the successful). In this particular verse, we are given a very concise and simple description of these special ones whom Allah has honored. He, ‘Azza wa Jall, says that these people are successful because when the da’wah, the call to Allah and His Messenger(SAW) comes to judge between themselves, they simply respond, We hear and we obey.’ These honored ones do not dispute the command of Allah nor His Messenger (SAW). They make no excuses. They do not run away from the order of Allah and His Messenger (SAW). They do not say, as we do, - ‘…but that was 1400 years ago…these are different times…’ or ‘…but this is America…our situation is different…’ or the very popular – ‘…but in my country, we do it this way…’ - all of which are excuses for why we do not follow the command of Allah and His Messenger. We respond as if Islam is not for all peoples, in all times, for all places. But al-muflihoon simply say, ‘We hear and we obey’. And Allah, Most High describes these as the only words that they say. Allah says,’Inna maa kaana qawl… - the only words… - and that these are the successful, prosperous ones. And know that when Allah speaks about the prosperous ones, the successful ones, He is indeed speaking about success and prosperity in the hereafter, not this dunyaa. Because no matter how much wealth one has, if the last destination of a person’s existence is hellfire, then this person was not successful. This person is al-khaasir – a loser. May Allah protect us from loss in this life and the hereafter. So, indeed, the formula for success is quite simple: Obedience to Allah and His Messenger (SAW). However, we have made something simple into something difficult.

The good news is that the Prophet (SAW) has given us glad tidings. It is reported in Saheeh al-Bukhari that he (SAW) has said, ‘Every one from my Ummah will enter paradise…’ – wa’l-hamdulillah! This is good news for all of the Muslims. The Prophet (SAW) said every one from his Ummah. All the Muslims from 1400 years ago up until today and beyond to the Day of Judgment – He (SAW) is saying will go to paradise. If this does not light up the heart and put a smile on your face then nothing will. You, me, all us will go to paradise – or will we? The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Every one from my Ummah will go to paradise except the one who turns it down.’ Question: What idiot would turn down paradise? Who turns down no sickness, no death, no old age, dwelling forever and basking in all of its pleasures? It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed and Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (SAW) said;

‘When the dwellers of Paradise enter Paradise, an announcer will call: (You have a Promise from Allah that) you will live therein and you will never die; you will stay healthy therein and you will never fall ill; you will stay young and you will never grow old; you will be under constant bliss and you will never feel miserable.’ [Muslim]

‘What do you say…paradise? Nah, it’s just not for me…no thank you.’ Subhaanallah – what is the condition of the one who refuses this Jannah? So the companions asked the Prophet (SAW),‘Who refuses paradise, O Messenger of Allah?’ and He (SAW) answered, ’Whoever obeys me, enters paradise and whoever disobeys me, indeed, he is the one who turns it down.’

So, what we know from this hadeeth is that although it seems that it would be impossible for someone to refuse the pleasures of Jannah, it runs rampant throughout our Ummah. It is simple, whoever obeys the Prophet (SAW) enters paradise. Why? Because obedience to the Prophet (SAW) is the equivalent of obedience to Allah. Allah says;

He who obeys the Messenger (Muhammad {SAW}), has indeed obeyed Allah…[4:80]

This is because, as Allah as mentioned, the Prophet (SAW) speaks from direct revelation from Allah, Most High.

Nor does he speak of (his own) desire. It is only an Inspiration that is inspired. [53:3,4]

This is why the obedience to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) equals obedience to Allah, Glorified and Exalted and disobedience to the Messenger of Allah (SAW) equals the refusal of paradise. May Allah make us of those who do not refuse Paradise.