Islam is all about achieving success. Success in this life by triumphing over our base desires, and attaining a tranquil soul, and body. And success in the hereafter by earning the pleasure of Allah and thus His rewards, and protection from the hellfire.
Success is being productive. Being productive with your resources and abilities. Not being extravagant or attaining the goals of others, no. Rather to adjust yourself to what you have, and what you can do, and working with that to yield the best results. The most successful human being to ever walk the earth, was none other than our beloved Prophet peace be upon Him. He was the epitome to success in this life and the next. He had little resources but, he attained success. He transformed the face of a nation, and forged a lasting mass of successors, that can be found in every corner of the globe until today. That is success at an astounding level.
On a more personal level, how can we as individuals attain success, what habits are crucial for success? How can we begin to build a personality for ourselves that will leave behind a legacy?
Apart from fulfilling all the obligatory deeds and pushing yourself to complete the voluntary ones, there are some habits that have been a common denominator between all successful people the world over (judging by worldly standards). These factors have also been identified by psychologists in various studies. Though they have only recently been identified, they were mastered by our Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him over 14 centuries ago, and he inculcated them in his followers who embodied his legacy.
- Waking up early: The earlier one begins the day, the more time there is in the day, the more you can get done and accomplished. Each day brings new challenges and a long list of tasks to be completed. Hence, waking up early, not only puts you in the frame of mind to It helps to increase productivity.
As muslims our day usually begins at Fajr, at the early hours of the morning.
- Gratitude: gratitude is known as the most contributing emotion to success.
As muslims we should begin our day with the duaa for waking up, not just reading it but also understanding it. Thereby we are thank Allah for granting us life, and this is the first stage of our gratitude.
Imagine what this does to the human psyche! It recharges our batteries, makes us grateful for the little things and uplifts ones spirits and energy.
- Reading motivational literature/meditation: this provides inspiration for the day ahead. At early hours of the morning, when nothing bogs your mind, reading such literature will bury itself in your soul, available to your mind to pull up as and when it needs it.
As muslims we begin our day with Quran recitation. And what could be more motivational than the words of Allah?! Fajr prayers are the best time to recite and ponder upon the Quran. It is no wonder the fajr prayer is the prayer with the longest recitation. Take the time, to reflect upon what is recited.
Moreover, the more knowledge you have (which you gain from reading) the better equipped you are to face challenges of the day. Hence reading, is a primary habit that helps breed success.
- Healthy habits: exercise, and healthy eating. These are known to improve one’s improves over all well-being. Hence one should begin their day with a healthy breakfast (you may need to cross nutella off your menu!), and maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the day. The Prophet was never known to overeat. Eating excessively only encourages laziness and is sign of gluttony! He (peace be upon him) was known to be a fit man, whose walking pace was slightly faster than others, and who possessed enormous strength.
- Don’t compare yourself to others: while some competition may be healthy, it can breed jealousy and envy. Thus, one should focus on their personal goals. Everyone is unique. Allah made each of us an individual with different strengths and weaknesses, so much so that our fingerprints are different. Measure your success against your own ability. You know yourself better than anyone else, and can tell when you have ‘done your best.’ Our prophet advised us with this when he said, “Do not hate one another and do not envy one another. Let the slaves of Allah be brothers.” (Graded Saheeh by Sh Al-Albaani)
Success means different things to different people. To some it may be money, to others it may be property, yet to others it may be family, and to others it may be health. But to all of us, it is the pleasure of Allah. And so, every habit we incorporate into our life should have a higher purpose, that of pleasing Allah.
Success comes with hard work. It’s never an easy task. No one earns success overnight. We need to put the effort in, by entwining habits that will help us attain the success we seek.