To many of us the word “success” means something so huge and out of reach that we lose hope even before trying! But our Prophet (saw) gave us the good news that success lies in doing something consistently even though it might be very small.
In other words it is not the “quantity or size” of our deeds that matters but the “quality” which defines whether we are successful or not. And Quality comes with consistency. Because when we keep on doing something over and over again, we become more and more efficient in it.
So what stops us from being consistent?
Mainly it is due to 3 things:
1- Lack of faith… i.e. having doubts about the goodness of an action.
This can be cured by acquiring knowledge and by seeking the company of positive minded people.
2- Lack of focus… i.e. being overcome by desires and other distractions.
This can be cured by identifying the “slipping points” and taking protective measures… e.g. eating sensibly and on time to avoid the urge for constant nibbling. Take enough sleep to avoid the “getting-tired” trap. Exercise to get rid of “laziness”.
3- Negative thinking… e.g. low self esteem… thinking of yourself as being un-deserving of success… fear of failure… anxiety about the future or regrets about the past.
The most effective medicine to heal the heart from all such pessimistic thoughts is to have a strong and everlasting relationship with Allah (swt):
Verily those who say, “Our Lord is Allah,” and remain firm (on that Path), on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. [Quran, 46:13]
The same advice is found in an authentic Hadith:
“Sufiyan bin Abdullah said: ‘I asked the Messenger of Allah to tell me one thing about Islam about which I will not need to ask anyone after you. So The Prophet (SAW) said: ‘Say I believe in Allah and then be steadfast on it.’” (Sahih Muslim: 38)
In another narration we find the same Hadith with a little difference that after giving the same advice, the Prophet (SAW) pointed towards his tongue and said, “be-ware of it”
There are many lessons to be learnt from this Hadith and if we act on them it can change our whole attitude about life and make us truly productive and beneficial human beings.
Aim for the most true, most strong, most pure… faith in Allah (swt) by pondering on his names and attributes, seeking his help, reading his words with understanding; and pondering on his signs in his creation.
Seek closeness to Allah (swt) through acts which he loves and feel the pleasure of faith as it enters your heart and makes it stronger with every act of goodness which you do for His pleasure and by giving up the things which displease him.
Persevere and don’t give up! Yes we have to be steadfast in all the things which benefit us. This is not a single dose treatment which you can take once a month or once a week… it is for life time
“Having Faith” is not simply to utter a few words… rather it should reflect in your acts of worship and also in your attitude and behaviour towards people. A person who has faith in Allah cannot harm others, nor can he make fun of them, nor backbite them, nor cheat them, nor look down on them… not even have bad thoughts about anyone!
So keep a constant check on that small but dangerous weapon called “the tongue”… Because if it is used wisely, it can lead us to Jannah and if we let it out of control, then it can destroy all our chances of being successful.
To really grasp the importance of the tongue, I found the following Hadith very useful:
A person’s faith cannot be good until his heart is good
And his heart cannot be good until his tongue is good
Therefore the wise use of our speech will lead to a good and pure heart. And the purification of heart will lead towards the strong and pure faith in Allah (swt) which will enable us to remain consistent in our actions.
May Allah guide us to watch our words, purify our hearts and give us true and everlasting faith… ameen