Feb 18, 2013

Chase The Hereafter

By Umm Amal


Throughout the different stages of life, we hear of definitions of ‘success’ (and the formulas to arrive at them). Getting the highest marks at school, getting into a good university, building a prestigious career, having a certain brand of clothes and car, living in a certain neighbourhood, having that dream marriage with that ideal and lovely children… that so-called ‘dream life’.

While there are temporary enjoyments in this life that we may enjoy, Islam teaches not to get too absorbed and obsessed with them. The Qur’an and Hadiths teach us that the real, grand, enormous, supreme success is earning Allah’s Mercy and Pleasure, and thus being admitted to Jannah in the Hereafter. A good result in the Hereafter (eternal life) is the supreme success.

So when we feel like we are drowning in thoughts and conversations and worries about dunya, remember that our biggest concern should be to try to earn a higher rank in Jannah to be closer to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala. In the Hereafter, we will not regret not having a more lovely husband, luxurious life, prestigious degree/career, etc. We will regret the time we did not spend in worship, we will want to have spent another dollar in charity, said another ‘Subhan Allah wa bihamdihi’, fasted voluntarily another day, acted kinder, prayed longer – done more, and been better.

There is no real life except the life of the Hereafter

These are the limits [set by] Allah , and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger will be admitted by Him to gardens [in Paradise] under which rivers flow, abiding eternally therein; and that is the great attainment. (Surah An Nisa 4:13)

We learn that the one who obeys Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala and His Messenger sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam are the true winners, earning Jannah is the real success. This is important to note because sometimes in dunya, it may appear that someone following Islam has lost something – a relationship, money, status, career, etc. – but that is incorrect for in fact they have gained a purer heart, a closer relationship to Allah Ta’ala, and higher rank in Jannah insha’Allah. It is reported that Al- Ghazali explained the Name of Allah, Ash-Shakur (The Most Appreciative) as Allah being the One Who rewards trivial pious deeds with many grades, and the one who gives unlimited happiness in the life to come for activity during a limited period (in this life). SubhanAllah!

Allah will say, "This is the Day when the truthful (saadiqeen) will benefit from their truthfulness (sidq)." For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment. 
(Al-Ma'idah 5:119) 

While we will have such a better, content life in this world by following Islam, it is truly on the Day of Judgment when the saadiqeen will see their unimaginable reward; it is then that they will see their beautiful struggle and sacrifices for His Sake really pay off.

Success is not in being known as the prettiest girl – it is in obeying Allah and covering your beauty in front of non-mahram with hijab. Success is not even measured by success in the halal realm, such as being the best cook or having the highest salary – it is in piety.

I think this example drives the point home of adjusting our perception of dunya vs. akhirah success: what is better – a sister who has many degrees from prestigious universities but has absolutely no interest to learn how to even recite the Qur’an (let alone understand or apply it), or a sister who may not have any degrees, status, or wealth, but loves the Qur’an, and learns it, recites it, and strives to understand and apply it.

But my Dunya…
The truth of the matter is that when you focus on the Hereafter, you do not necessarily become a loser in this dunya. In fact, your dunya affairs are taken care of!

The Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said what means: “Whoever is mainly concerned about the Hereafter, Allaah will make him feel independent of others and will make him focused and content, and his worldly affairs will fall into place. But whoever is mainly concerned with this world, Allaah will make him feel in constant need of others and will make him distracted and unfocused, and he will get nothing of this world except what is decreed for him.” [1]

We are taught:

Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children - like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion. 
(Surah Al Hadid 57:20) 

So now that we know, the next ayah tells us, what we should do with that knowledge:

Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty. (Surah Al Hadid 57:21) 

This dunya is not perfect, so that perfect life we want is in the Hereafter, perfect peace, happiness, and non-stop enjoyment. So then the question is what are we doing to attain the supreme success?
(1) We need to be learning what Islam sets as the formula for Success,
(2) We need to be applying ,
(3) Improving, and
(4) Repenting insha’Allah.

Let’s run towards the Pleasure of Allah, Al-Tawwaab (The Acceptor of Repentence), Al-Raheem (The Merciful), Ash-Shakur (The Most Appreciative), Al-Hayy (Ever-Living), Al-Qayyum (The Sustainer of all that exists), Thaal Jalaali wal-Ikram (Possessor of Majesty and Honour).

[1] Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 2389; classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’, 6510.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below! :)


Al-Hamdullilah! I REALLY appreciate this article! May Allah (SWT) Bring bring out ummah to this understanding, InshaAllah.

MashaAllah shukran i love this I want to read thus everyday because this is a beneficial reminder especially for children, shukran, may Allah Al baqi, the everlasting and AL muhsi, the reckoner,reward you in this life and the next InshaAllah Ameen.

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