Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim

In The Name of God, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful

May His blessings be upon His last and final prophet and messenger, Muhammad.

It is in the darkness of the night that the heart speaks the loudest. She demands attention. And by God's grace, her voice is heard.

There are many things that have been on my mind recently, and while the pieces are still fragmented, there are some moments of partial clarity that are indeed blessings.

Tonight, by God's generosity, I cradle such a moment.

As a distressed babe finally finds comfort and escapes from this world into a peaceful slumber, so too can our thoughts. For a time. A brief time.

Success. It's about the only word that fits in all our pockets as it is carried by us all. None, with a relatively sound mind, truly care to live life without achieving some perception of success. Yes, we want to be successful. Our human intelligence demands that much. The only question then is "What is success?"

I used to think that some portion or sign of success was in one's feeling of peace or completeness. Perhaps, I thought, success was in one's ability to wade in the water leaving behind beautiful ripples with little disturbance to the life structures below. But now I'm not sure that I have the words to describe my current understanding of it. But like most things that I embrace, it comes after many notions which I've turned away and it is from this angle that I will try to clarify my thoughts, bi ithnillah.


Success is not in sacrifice by itself. Sacrifice is perhaps part of the journey, but it isn't the epitome of the trip nor is it a noteworthy segment of the path. Success is not in ease. Success is not in beauty of any form. Success is not in wealth. Success is not in knowledge though depending on the nature of the knowledge it could be a precursory gift.

Success is not in the driver's seat of such vehicles as a Lexus. Nor is it in its opposite. Success is not in a diamond ring. Nor is it in the absence of such extravagance. Success is not in a spouse. Not even a righteous spouse. Success is not in a charming smile and crisp clothes. Nor is it in its opposite. Success is not in radiant hair and skin. Nor is it in its opposite. Success is not in acceptance from those whom we admire. Success is not in a fulfilling occupation. Success is not in taking care of one's family.

Then what is success?

All I know about success is that it is with Allah. It is by His decree, just as everything else in the universe. We cannot be confident that even in the beautiful things that we achieve in this world we will be among those whom Allah chooses to favour with His grace and eternal peace.

Then why do I even bother mentioning success? If it is not in our hands, why do we need to even flesh it out? Decree is with God alone, in all respects and in its entirety, but we are responsible for our actions. And simply, our success is in our submission to Him, entirely.

No, do not grieve that you are not earning as much as you would like. Do not let your heart, for even a moment, drop at the thought of the struggles that you face. SubhanAllah.

The Quran is filled with His promises, His Truth. And yet we do not take it, let alone hold firm to it. This is our failure.

We struggle and struggle to develop our professional lives, to earn "reasonable" incomes and yet our rizq (sustenance) is promised by Him. He will take care of it, and yet we worry about it. This is our failure.

We learn all that we can so we can interact in this world with ease, perhaps with praiseworthy intentions, but do we know what He wants of us? If not, this is our failure.

We have a little or a lot. We have filled bellies, loving families, and we complain. We only choose certain moments to express our gratitude to our Lord for things which we consider particularly great. But if we forget Him with even a sip of water, we have tasted failure.

As I look at the world around me, I know I cannot afford to live without challenging the values that we commonly place on certain things. I cannot afford to occupy my heart with other than Him. Not even for a moment.

And yet I do. As I write this, I see my failure. And if the trench wasn't as deep as it is, I would perhaps have confidence in getting out of it myself. Fortunately, I do not have this confidence and thus I risk not another failure because regardless of the depths of the trench, it is only by His grace that we will walk upon this earth with the sweetness of truth and reality in our hearts.

May Allah give us success with Him. May He guide us to return to Him in complete submission. May He bless us with knowledge and understanding, and guide us to rectify the conditions of our hearts. May He guide us. Ya Rab, guide us to You. Let us not be among the heedless. Let us live for Your sake alone. Let us strive for only You. May You be the absolute ruler of our hearts. May our actions and every breath bring us closer to You. Allahumma ighfir lana.. Allahumma ighfir lana.. Allahumma ighfir lana.. O Allah, forgive us!

Written on Feb. 6, 2010


A lesson wherein Habib Umar bin Hafiz (Allah yahfazuhu, ameen) puts things in perspective.

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4


Mustafa said...

MashAllah...awesome post...actually, Sister Farzeen, this helps keep me sane!

Anonymous said...

Subhanallah Sister Farzeen. So true, so thought-provoking, so beautifully written. Keep up the reminders, lest we be amongst the failures. Baarakallhu feeki.

Farzeen said...


JazakumAllahu khayran. Your du'as please.. I need the reminders all the time...

"Do you think that you will enter the Paradise without such (trials) as came to those who passed away before you? They encountered suffering and adversity and were so shaken in spirit that even the Apostle and those of faith who were with him cried: 'When (will come) the help of God?' Ah! Verily the help of God is (always) near!" [2:214]



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"Be mindful of God, and God will protect you. Be mindful of God, and you will find Him in front of you. If you ask, ask of God. If you seek help, seek help of God. Know that if the whole world were to gather together to benefit you with anything, it would benefit you only with something that God had already prescribed for you. And if the whole world were to gather together to harm you, it would harm you only with something that God has already prescribed for you. The pens have been lifted and the ink has dried."
--Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him]