Success can be something that you define for yourself. In this sense, being successful is subjective. We may have different views of what success means to us.
Success can also be a whole series of small achievements we make – or celebrating small victories. Pursuing success is like shooting a series of moving targets. Each time you hit a target, another one pops out.
When we talk about success, generally, it is often related to wealth or fame. Indeed, it is more than that. A sense of accomplishment, a career progression or even as simple as being able to do things that we love could also mean success to us.
To put things into perspective, success is an accomplishment in everyone’s journey in life. The complexity of success is about embarking yourself from one state to another; it is a change which hopefully results in happiness and serenity.
In Islam, true success is often affiliated with true happiness. Allah s.w.t. described the status of some people in the Hereafter:
يَوْمَ يَأْتِ لَا تَكَلَّمُ نَفْسٌ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِهِۦ ۚ فَمِنْهُمْ شَقِىٌّ وَسَعِيدٌ
"When that Day arrives, no one will dare speak except with His permission. Some of them will be miserable, others happy."
(Surah Hud, 11:105)
This verse tells us that there will be people who are truly happy in the Hereafter while others are in misery. True success is when a person experiences happiness in the Hereafter. A person may even live a life of struggle and perseverance. If he or she ends up amongst those who are happy in the Hereafter, it testifies that the challenging life he or she went through in this world was all worth it. In other words, the end of the journey is where it matters most. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said in a hadith:
وَإِنَّمَا الأَعْمَالُ بِالْخَوَاتِيمِ
"The deeds (of a person) depend on its end."
That being said, it is not impossible to be both happy in this world and the next. In fact, if a person is fulfilling a life that will lead him or her to everlasting happiness in the Hereafter, he or she is then truly happy, even in the face of setbacks and challenges.
What we should strive to pray for is happiness both in this world and the next. Let us adopt the guidance of the Quranic Dua:
رَبَّنَآ ءَاتِنَا فِى ٱلدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِى ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ ٱلنَّارِ
Our Lord! Grant us the good of this world and the Hereafter, and protect us from the torment of the Fire."
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:201)
There are two main attributes that we must have to become successful: good character and patience.
Everything starts with you. The secret to attaining success is to purify the soul and have good character before anything else.
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ مُنْكَرَاتِ الأَخْلاَق، وَالأَعْمَال، وَالأَهْوَاء
Allahumma inni a’uzu-bika min munkaratil-akhlaq, wal-a’mal, wal-ahwa’
“O Allah! I seek refuge in You from undesirable manners, deeds, and aspirations.”
The Prophet s.a.w. tells us the importance of good character in the hadith: “There is nothing which will be put on the believer’s scale (on the Day of Resurrection) that is heavier than good morals.” (Sunan At-Tirmizi)
This is particularly mentioned in the Quran:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا وَ قَدْ خَابَ مَنْ دَسَّٮهَا
“Successful indeed is the one who purifies their soul, and the one who corrupts it fails.”
(Surah Ash-Shams, 91:9-10)
One can become the most successful person in this world, or have abundant wealth and yet does not achieve the bigger success in life. It all boils down to your attitude towards yourself, your goals and the people around you.
رَبَّنَا أَفْرِغْ عَلَيْناَ صَبْراً وَتَوَفَّنَا مُسْلِمِينَ
Rabbana afrigh 'alaina sabran wa tawaffana Muslimin
“Our Lord! Pour out on us patience, and allow us to die as Muslims.”
(Surah Al-A'raf , 7:126)
This is not just a Dua to ask for patience but to also seek a good ending from Allah s.w.t. It is a Dua to ask for patience that translates into having perseverance, consistency in progress and the ability to commit towards the ultimate success that you are after.
Allah s.w.t. mentions the importance of having patience in order to achieve success in the Quran,
يٰۤـاَيُّهَا الَّذِيۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اصۡبِرُوۡا وَصَابِرُوۡا وَرَابِطُوۡا وَاتَّقُوا اللّٰهَ لَعَلَّكُمۡ تُفۡلِحُوۡنَ
“O believers! Patiently endure, persevere, stand on guard, and be mindful of Allah, so you may be successful.”
(Surah Ali-‘Imran, 3:200)
The journey towards success has peaks and valleys. Therefore, we need to keep ourselves rooted in patience. Thus, this highlights the importance of having patience in life as great things are worth the wait.
رَبِّ أَعِنِّي وَلَا تُعِنْ عَلَيَّ، وَانْصُرْنِي وَلَا تَنْصُرْ عَلَيَّ، وَامْكُرْ لِي وَلَا تَمْكُرْ عَلَيَّ، وَاهْدِنِي وَيَسِّرِ الهُدَى إِلَيَّ، وَانْصُرْنِي عَلَى مَنْ بَغَى عَلَيَّ
Rabbi a’inni wa-la tu’in ‘alayya, wa-nsurni wa-la tansur ‘alayya, wa-mkur-li wa-la tamkur alayya, wa-hdini wa-yassir-il-huda ilayya, wa-nsurni ‘ala man bagha ‘alayya
“My Lord, aid me and do not aid against me, and grant me victory and do not grant victory over me, plan for me and do not plan against me, guide me and facilitate guidance for me, grant me victory over those who transgress against me.”
Pregnancy is by far the most beautiful experience mothers go through. It’s rather extraordinary and a blessing for a woman to give birth to another life. Nevertheless, it also has its tough moments. The Prophet s.a.w. taught his beloved daughter Sayyidah Fatimah Az-Zahra r.a. a supplication to recite during extreme pain or trouble.
يَا حَيُّ يَا قَيُّومُ، بِرَحْمَتِكَ أَسْتَغِيثُ، أَصْلِحلِي شَأْنِ كُلَّهُ، وَ لَا تَكِلْنِي إِلَى نَفْسِي طَرْفَةَ عَيْن
Ya Hayyu Ya Qayyum, birahmatika astaghitsu, aslih li sha'ni kullahu, wa la takilni ila nafsi tarfata ‘aini
“O The Ever-Living, O The Self-Subsisting, I seek help through Your Mercy. Set right
all my affairs and do not leave me to myself even for the blinking
of an eye (i.e. a moment).”
رَبِّي اِشْرَحْلِي صَدْرِي وَ يَسِّرْلِي أَمْرِي وَاحْلُلْ عُقْدَةً مِّن لِّسَانِي يَفْقَهُوا قَوْلِي
Rabbi-isyrahli sadri, wa yassir li amri, wahlul ‘uqdatam-min lisaani yafqahu qawli
“My Lord! Uplift my heart for me, and ease for me my task. And remove the impediment from my tongue, so that they may understand my speech.”
(Surah Ta Ha, 20:25-28)
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا وَرِزْقًا طَيِّبًا وَعَمَلاً مُتَقَبَّلاً
Allahumma inni as-aluka ‘ilman naafi’an, wa rizqan tayyiban, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan
“O Allah, I ask You for beneficial knowledge, good provision and acceptable deeds.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah)
Most of us wish to have a good family that can be our pillar of support and source of happiness.
رَبَّنَا هَبْ لَنَا مِنْ أَزْواجِنَا وَذُرِّيَّاتِنَا قُرَّةً أَعْيُنِنَا وَجَعَلْنَا للْمُتَّقِينَ إمَامَا
Rabbana hablana min azwajina wa zurriyatina qurrota ‘ayunina waj'alna lil muttaqina imama.
“Our Lord! Bless us with spouses and offspring who will be the joy of our hearts, and make us models for the righteous”
(Surah Al Furqan, 25:74)
Success comes from Allah. What better dua to make than to ask Allah s. to make us and our descendants devoted to Him.
رَبَّنَا وَاجْعَلْنَا مُسْلِمَيْنِ لَكَ وَمِنْ ذُرِّيَتِنَا أُمَّةً مُّسْلِمَةَ لَّكَ وَأَرِنَا مَنَاسِكَنَا وَتُبْ عَلَيْنَا، إِنَّكَ أَنْتَ التَّوَّابُ الرَّحِيْم
Rabbana waj'alna muslimaini laka wa min dzurriyyatinaa ummatan-muslimatal-laka, wa arina manasikana wa tub ‘alaina, innaka anta-tawwabu-rrahim
“Our Lord, make us devoted to You; make our descendants into a community devoted to You. Show us how to worship and accept our repentance, for You are the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:128)
Read more about marriage and family in Islam.
رَبِّي هَبْ لِي مِنَ الصَّالِحِنَ
Rabbi habli minas-solihin
“My Lord, grant me a child from among the righteous”
(Surah As-Saffat, 37:100)
رَبّي هَبْ لِي مِن لَّدُنْكَ ذُرِّيَّةً طَيِّبَة إِنَّكَ سَمِيعُ الدُّعَاء
Rabbi habli milladunka zurriyatan toyyibatan innaka sami ud-dua’
“My Lord, grant me from Yourself a good offspring. Indeed, You are the Hearer of supplication”
(Surah Ali-Imran, 3:38)
These are supplications made by Prophet Ibrahim a.s. and Prophet Zakariyya a.s. to attain pious children. A man leaves three things in this world upon passing on, as stated in the hadith of the Beloved s.a.w;
إذا مات ابن آدم انقطع عمله إلا من ثلاث: صدقة جارية ،أو علم ينتفع به، أو ولد صالح يدعو له
Rasulullah s.a.w. said, "When a man dies, his deeds come to an end except for three things: Sadaqah Jariyah (ceaseless charity); a knowledge which is beneficial, or a virtuous descendant who prays for him (for the deceased)."
May Allah s.w.t. bless us with pious and successful offsprings, indeed they are the greatest blessings from Allah s.w.t.
Read about Prophet Muhammad's love for children.
اللّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْتَودِعُكَ مَا قَرَأتُ وَمَا حَفِظْتُ وَمَا تَعَلَّمْتُ فَرْدُدْه لِي إِلَيَّ عِنْدَ حَاجَتِي إِلَيْهِ ، إِنَّكَ عَلَى كُلِّ شَيْءٍ قَدِير وَحَسْبُنَا اللهُ وَنِعْمَ الوَكِيل
Allahumma inni astaudi’uka ma qara’tu wa ma hafiztu wa ma ta’allamtu, fardudhu li ilayya ‘inda haajati, innaka ‘ala kulli syai-in qadir, wa hasbunallahu wa ni’mal wakil.
“O Allah! I entrust You with what I have read and what I have memorised and I have studied. Bring it back to me when I am in need of it. Truly you have power over all things. Sufficient for us is Allah, and (He is) the best Disposer of affairs.”
رَبِّي هَبْ لِي حُكْماً و أَلحِقْني بِالصَّالِحِينَ، وَاجْعَل لِِّي لِسَانَ صِدْقٍ فِي الآخِرِينَ، وَ اجْعَلْنِي مِنْ وَرَثَةِ جَنَّةِ النَّعِيم
Rabbi habli hukman wa al-hiqni bis salihin, waj-’al li lisana sidqin fil-aakhirin, waj-’alni min waratha-ti jannatin-naa’im.
My Lord! bestow wisdom on me and make me among the righteous. Bless me with honourable mention among later generations and make me one of the inheritors of the Garden of Bliss.
(Surah Ash-Shu’ara, 26:83-85)
This is a dua made specifically by Prophet Ibrahim a.s. The beauty of this prayer is that he started off by using the word (hab) - originated from the word (hibah) in Arabic, which means ‘gift’. In other words, he is emphasising the fact that wisdom is a gift from Allah s.w.t which, we, as humans, have no right over without His blessing.
As seekers of knowledge, we ought to constantly seek His pleasure in hopes that he grants us the best and beautiful ending in the pursuit of knowledge. Prophet Ibrahim a.s. showed us through this Dua that knowledge which is beneficial will eventually lead us to success in the final abode. Truly, knowledge is an important component to achieve success both in the world and the hereafter.
اللهُمَّ لاَ سَهْلَ إِلَا مَا جَعَلْتَهَ سَهْلاً، وَأَنْتَ تَجْعَلُ الْحَزْنَ إِذَا شِئْتَ سَهْلاً
Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja’altahu sahla, wa anta taj’alul-hazna iza syi’ta sahla.
“O Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy and You make the difficulty if You wish, easy.”
(Sahih Ibn Hibban)
اللهُمَّ اجْعَلْنَا مُفْلِحِينَ
“O Allah make us among the successful people”
اللهُمَّ اجْعَل خَيْرَ عُمُرِي آخِرُهُ وَ خَيْرَ عَمَلِي خَوَاتِمَهُ وَ اجْعَلْ خَيْرَ أيَّامِي يَوْمَ أَلْقَاكَ
Allahumma-ja’alna khaira 'umri akhirahu wa khaira ‘amali khawatimahu waj-’al ayyami yawma alqaka
“O Allah, make the best part of my life, the last part, the best deed, my last deed and the best day, is the day I meet You”
اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ مُوجِباتِ رحْمتِكَ، وَعزَائمَ مغفِرتِكَ، والسَّلامَةَ مِن كُلِّ إِثمٍ، والغَنِيمَةَ مِن كُلِّ بِرٍ، وَالفَوْزَ بالجَنَّةِ، وَالنَّجاةَ مِنَ النَّارِ
Allahumma inni as-aluka mujbati rahmatik, wa-’aza-ima maghfiratik, wassalamata min kulli ithm, wal-ghanimata min kulli birr, wal-fauza bil-jannati, wan-najati minannar
“O Allah. I beg You for that which incites Your Mercy and the means of Your forgiveness, safety from every sin, the benefit from every good deed, success in attaining Jannah and deliverance from Fire.”
رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَ فِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَ قِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ
Rabbana atina fiddunia hasanatan wa fil aakhirati hasanatan wa qina ‘azabannar
“Our Lord, give us in this world [that which is] good and in the Hereafter [that which is] good and protect us from the punishment of the Fire.”
(Surah Al-Baqarah: 201)
If the route to success is a breeze we won’t savour the sweetness of it. As humans, we will never be free from tests or hardships. Life itself is a test for the hereafter.
The Prophet s.a.w. mentioned:
عِظَمُ الْجَزَاءِ مَعَ عِظَمِ الْبَلاَءِ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ إِذَا أَحَبَّ قَوْمًا ابْتَلاَهُمْ فَمَنْ رَضِيَ فَلَهُ الرِّضَا وَمَنْ سَخِطَ فَلَهُ السُّخْطُ
“The greatest reward comes with the greatest trial. When Allah loves a people He tests them. Whoever accepts that wins His pleasure but whoever is discontent with that earns His wrath.”
(Sunan Ibn Majah)
A trial is a blessing from Allah s.w.t; it can be a diversion along your journey to divert you from a possible calamity or misfortune. When tested, Allah s.w.t refines us and sometimes exposes our own faults and weaknesses. Through this realisation, we will be able to rectify those aspects of life.
As Muslims, it is indeed our utmost responsibility to be aware of how nothing happens except by the will of Allah s.w.t. The capacity to put in hard work, the blessings and even the achievements in our life are from Him s.w.t.
Hence, the element of Tawakkal (reliance on Allah) must be present in our hearts when striving for success in life. To seek His guidance before seeking your own success is essential.
فَاِذَا عَزَمۡتَ فَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى اللّٰهِؕ اِنَّ اللّٰهَ يُحِبُّ الۡمُتَوَكِّلِيۡنَ
“And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah. Indeed, Allah loves those who rely (upon Him).”
(Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:159)
Ultimately, being a successful Muslim is when you’ve attained Allah s.w.t’s pleasure in this world and the hereafter. Success is more than just a title, it is a feeling of contentment and peace. May Allah bless us with the goodness of both worlds.
And Allah knows best.
Check out Muslim.Sg's dua collection.