Success Habits
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The Blessings of Islam

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After surveying the evils and disadvantages of Kufr, let us now cast a glance over the blessings of Islam. You find in the world around you and in the small kingdom of your own self innumerable manifestations of God’s divine power. This grand universe, which ceaselessly works with matchless order and in accordance with an unalterable law, is in itself a witness to the fact that its Designer, Creator, and Governor is an Omnipotent, All-powerful Being with infinite, all-embracing, and limit-less power, knowledge, and resources, Whose wisdom is the most perfect, and Whom nothing in the universe dare disobey. It is in the very nature of man, as it is with every other thing in this universe, to obey Him. As a matter of fact, he is unconsciously obeying His Law day in and day out, because the moment he goes against this Law, he is exposed to death and destruction. This is the law of nature, our everyday observance.

Besides endowing man with the capacity to acquire knowledge, the faculty to think and ponder, and the sense of distinguishing right from wrong, God has granted him with a certain amount of freedom of will and action. In this freedom lies man’s real trial; his knowledge, his wisdom, his power of discrimination, and his freedom of will and action are all being tried and tested. In this trial and test man has not been obliged to adopt any particular course, for by compulsion the very object of the trial would have been defeated. Evidently if in an examination you are compelled to write a certain answer to a question, the examination will be of no use. Your merit can be properly judged only if you are allowed to answer the questions freely, according to your own knowledge and understanding. If your answer is correct you will succeed, and will get access to future progress; and if your answer is wrong, you will fail, and your failure will bar the way to further progress. Similar is the situation that man faces in the world. God has given him freedom of will and action so that he may remain free to choose whatever attitude in life he likes and considers proper for himself-Islam or Kufr.

Now, on the one hand, there is a man who understands neither his own nature nor that of the universe. He errs in recognizing his real Master and in knowing His attributes and misuses his freedom by pursuing the path of disobedience and revolt. such a man has failed in the trial of his knowledge, intelligence, and duty-consciousness. He has failed to come up to the standard and does not deserve a better destiny than the one discussed above.

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On the other hand, there is another man who emerges successful from this trial. By the correct use of his knowledge and intellect, he recognizes his creator, reposes belief in Him, and, in spite of being under no compulsion to do so, chooses the path of obedience to Him. He does not err in distinguishing right from wrong and chooses to follow the right despite the fact that he had the power to lean toward evil. He understands his own nature, realizes the law and realities of nature and, despite the power and freedom of adopting any course, adopts the way of obedience and loyalty to God the creator. He is successful in his trial because he has used his intellect and all other faculties properly. He uses his eyes to see Reality, his ears to listen to the Truth, and his mind to form the right opinions and puts all his heart and soul in following the right way he has so chosen. He chooses Truth, sees the reality, and willingly and joyfully submits to his Lord and Master. He is intelligent, truthful, and dutiful, for he has chosen light over darkness, and after seeing the light of reality has responded to its call willingly and enthusiastically.

Thus he has proved by his conduct that he is not only a seeker of Truth but is its knower and worshipper as well. Verily, he is on the Right path, and such a man is destined to succeed in this world and in the life to come.

Such a man will always choose the Right path in every field of knowledge and action. The man who knows God with all His attributes knows the beginning as well as the ultimate end of Reality. He can never be led astray, for his first step is on the right path, and he is sure of the direction and destination of his journey in life. In philosophy he will ponder over the secrets of the universe, and will try to fathom the mysteries of nature, but, unlike an unbelieving philosopher, he will not lose his way in the maze of doubt and scepticism. His path being illumined with Divine Vision, his every step would fall in right direction. In science, he will endeavour to know the laws of nature, uncover the hidden treasures of earth and direct all the hitherto unknown forces of mind and matter-all for the betterment of humanity.

He will try his level best to explore all avenues of knowledge and power and to harness all that exists in earth and heavens in the interests of mankind. At every stage of his inquiry, his God-consciousness will save him from making evil and destructive uses of science and the scientific method. He will never conceive himself claiming to be a master of all these objects, boasting to be the conqueror of nature, arrogating to himself the godly and sovereign powers and nourishing the ambition of subverting the world, subduing the human race and establishing his supremacy over all and sundry by means fair and foul.

Such an attitude of revolt and defiance can never be entertained by a Muslim scientist-only a Kafir scientist can fall a prey to such illusions and by submitting to them expose the entire human race to dangers of total destruction and annihilation2. A Muslim scientist, on the other hand, will behave in an altogether different way. The deeper his insight into the world of science, the stronger will be his faith in God. His head will bow down before Him in gratitude.

His feelings will be that as his Master has blessed him with greater power and knowledge so he must exert himself for his own good and for the good of humanity. Instead of arrogance, there will be humility. Instead of power-drunkenness, there will be a strong realization to serve humanity. His freedom will not be unbridled. He will be guided by the tenets of morality and Divine Revelation. Thus science would in his hands, instead of becoming an instrument of destruction, become an agency for human welfare and moral regeneration. And this is the way in which he will express his gratitude to his Master for the gifts and blessings He has bestowed upon man.

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Similarly, in history, economics, politics, law, and other branches of arts and science, a Muslim will no-where lag behind a Kafir in the fields of inquiry and struggle, but their angles of view and consequently their modus operandi will be widely different. A Muslim will study every branch of knowledge in its right perspective, will strive for the right objective, and will arrive at the right conclusion. In history, he will draw correct lessons from the past experiences of man and will find out the true causes of the rise and fall of civilization. He will try to benefit from all that was good and right in the past and will scrupulously avoid all that had led to the decline and fall of nations.

In politics, his sole objective will be to strive for the establishment of a polity wherein peace, justice, fraternity, and goodness reign, where man is a brother of man and respects his humanity, where no form of exploitation or slavery is rampant, where rights of the individual are respectfully upheld, and where the powers of the state are considered as a sacred trust from God and are used for the common welfare of all. In the field of law, the endeavor of a Muslim will be to make it the true embodiment of justice and the real protector of the rights of all-particularly of the weak. He will see that everybody gets his due share and no injustice or oppression is inflicted upon anyone. He will respect the law, make others respect it, and will see that it is administered justly, fairly, and equitably.

The moral life of a Muslim will always be filled with godliness, piety, righteousness and truthfulness. He will live in the world with the belief that God alone is the master of all that whatever he and other men possess has been given by God, that the powers he wields are only trust from God, that the freedom he has been endowed with is not to be used indiscriminately, and that it is in his own interest to use it in accordance with God’s Will. He will constantly keep in view that one day he will have to return to the Lord and submit an account of his entire life. The sense of accountability will always remain firmly implanted in his mind and he will never behave in a carefree and irresponsible way.

Think of the moral excellence of the man who lives with this mental attitude-his will be a life of purity and piety and love and altruism. He will be a blessing unto mankind. His thinking would not be polluted with evil thoughts and perverted ambitions. He will abstain from seeing evil, hearing evil, and doing evil. He will guard his tongue and will never utter a word of life. He will earn his living through just and fair means and will prefer hunger to food acquired unfairly through exploitation or injustice. He will never be a party to oppression or violation of human life and honour, whatever be their form or colour. He will never yield to evil, however high the defiance may cost him. He will be an embodiment of goodness and nobility and will uphold right and truth even at the cost of his life. He will abhor all shades of injustice and will stand firm for truth, undaunted by the tempests of adversity. Such a man will be a power to be reckoned with. He is bound to succeed. Nothing on earth can deter him or impede his way.

He will be the most honoured and the most respected one. No one can excel him in this respect. How can humiliation ever visit a person who is not prepared to bow his head or even spread his hand for any favour before anyone except God the Almighty, the Sovereign of the universe?

He will be most powerful and effective. No one can be more powerful than he-for he fears none but God and seeks blessings from none but Him. What power can make him deviate from the Right Path? What wealth can buy his faith? What force can mould his conscience? What power can coerce his behaviour?

He will be the most wealthy and rich. No one in the world can be richer or more independent than he-for he will live a life of austerity, satiety, and contentment. He will be neither sensualist, nor indulgent, nor greedy. He will be contented with whatever he earns fairly and honestly and even if heaps of ill-gotten wealth are put before him he will not even like to look at them, to say the least of availing them. He will have peace and contentment of heart-and what can be greater wealth than this?

He will be the most revered, popular, and the loved one. No one can be more lovable than he-for he lives a life of charity and benevolence. He will do justice to all and sundry, discharge his duties honestly, and work for the good of others sincerely. People’s hearts would be naturally drawn towards him and they would like him, love him, and revere him.

He will be the most trusted and honoured one. No one can be more trustworthy than he-for he will not betray his trust, nor will he go astray from righteousness: he will be true to his word, and straightforward and honest in his dealings. He will be fair and just in all his affairs, for he is sure that God is ever-present, ever vigilant. Words fail to describe the credit and goodwill, that such a man commands. Can there be anyone who will not trust him?-such is the life and character of a Muslim.

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If you understand the true character of a Muslim, you will be convinced that he cannot live in humiliation, abasement, or subjugation. He is bound to prevail and no power on earth can overwhelm him or subdue him. For Islam inoculates in him the qualities which cannot be overshadowed by any charm or illusion.

And after living a respectable and honourable life on this earth, he will return to his Creator Who will shower upon him the choicest of His blessings-for he discharged his duty ably, fulfilled his mission successfully, and emerged from the trial triumphantly. He is successful in life in this world and in the hereafter will live in eternal peace, joy, and bliss.

This is Islam, the natural religion of man, the religion, which is not associated with any person, people, period, or place. It is the way of nature, the religion of man. In every age, in every country, and among every people, all God-knowing and truth-loving men have believed and lived this very religion. They were all Muslim, irrespective of the fact whether they were called that way Islam or anything else. Whatever its name was, it signified Islam and nothing but Islam.

Culled from the Book titled Towards Understanding Islam by Syed Abul A’la Mawdudi

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