Success; something which everyone desires. There has not been a person who has walked the face of this Earth, or who will come to this dunya except that they spent their life striving for success. What is success, however? We all have our very own perception of success. If you ask people “what is success to you?”, you will receive varied responses. For some, success is doing well in education, whilst for others, it is about excelling in one’s career. For some, success is driving a nice car, having a beautiful spouse, lovely children, a spacious dwelling etc. People have various perceptions of success. As Muslims, we must know and acknowledge that our religion has provided clarification for everything that we need to know. There is no issue that we will come across within our life, from the time we came out of the wombs of our mothers till we reach that grave, except that the shari’ah has provided some sort of guidelines for it. So, do you think that the religion of Allahwill leave out this imperative issue that is at the forefront of every mind?
Without a doubt, the greatest form of success is earning the pleasure of Allahas Allah says in Surah Ali ‘Imran:
فَمَن زُحْزِحَ عَنِ النَّارِ وَأُدْخِلَ الْجَنَّةَ فَقَدْ فَازَ ۗ
“…so the one who is saved from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has truly succeeded…” 
Having relief from the anger of Allah, and achieving His mercy will be the only form of success in the akhirah. But that having been said, our religion is one which is comprehensive, and for that reason, Allah knows that we will still crave success and have various perceptions of it within this dunya. There is nothing wrong with aiming for a top position that will accelerate your career, or working hard to earn a six-figure income; rather we are encouraged to excel and seek success within this dunya, but on the condition that we do not sacrifice the akhirah. From the mercy of Allah is that he Has never left us abandoned. He has revealed the shari’ah in order for us to know how to achieve success in the akhirah, but is that it? If that is the perception you have of the Qur’an and Sunnah; that it is only a source of guidance for our religious affairs, then know that Islam is more than that. Allah has not only given us the guidelines for achieving success in the akhirah, but he has also provided us with principles of success pertaining to the dunya. The Book of Allah is filled with gems and treasurers; it only requires us to analyse His verses carefully in order to extract those principles. The Qur’an will not give you details of a specific issue, but rather the Qur’an will give guidelines and principles, thus making it miraculously pertinent to every single time and era. The Sunnah of our Prophet will then go into detail and provide commentary on those guidelines and principles.
Within this article, I aim to highlight a number of principles contained within Surah Al-Mu’minun (Chapter 23 of the Qur’an) that can aid a person in their striving for success. These golden principles are generic (as mentioned before regarding the principles and guidelines contained within the Qur’an); what I deem success to be will probably be different to what you portray success as, and so from the beauty of these principles is that they can be applied to whatever worldly pursuit you have.
Principle 1: The desire for success
For a person to achieve success, they need to passionately desire it. If you force your child to study something they do not like, they may not do well in it because there is no motivation there. However, when a person puts their mind to something and has that passion, the desire for success kicks in. Allahgives us a beautiful portrayal by describing paradise; but not just any level of paradise, but Al-Firdous: the highest level of paradise that will be inherited by a selected few. This mention of Al-Firdous is given here for us to have that desire to achieve the greatest form success within whatever mission we are open to, making sure it is a halal path. Yes, even though everyone will not enter Al-Firdous, we should still aim for it, as having it as a goal builds our level of optimism, and our aspirations become robust. The Prophet said:
“Paradise has one hundred grades, each of which is as big as the distance between heaven and earth. The highest of them is Al-Firdous and the best of them is Al-Firdous. The Throne is above Al-Firdous, and from it springs forth the rivers of paradise. If you ask of Allah, ask Him for Al-Firdous” [Sunan Ibn Majah No. 4331]
Principle 2: Realize how much time you have
Allah mentions the creation and the demise of the human being within a few verses to show how short this worldly life is:
وَلَقَدْ خَلَقْنَا الْإِنسَانَ مِن سُلَالَةٍ مِّن طِينٍ
“And certainly did We create man from an extract of clay.”
ثُمَّ جَعَلْنَاهُ نُطْفَةً فِي قَرَارٍ مَّكِينٍ
“Then We placed him as a sperm-drop in a firm lodging.”
ثُمَّ خَلَقْنَا النُّطْفَةَ عَلَقَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْعَلَقَةَ مُضْغَةً فَخَلَقْنَا الْمُضْغَةَ عِظَامًا فَكَسَوْنَا الْعِظَامَ لَحْمًا ثُمَّ أَنشَأْنَاهُ خَلْقًا آخَرَ ۚ فَتَبَارَكَ اللَّـهُ أَحْسَنُ الْخَالِقِينَ
“Then We made the sperm-drop into a clinging clot, and We made the clot into a lump [of flesh], and We made [from] the lump, bones, and We covered the bones with flesh; then We developed him into another creation. So blessed is Allah, the best of creators.”
ثُمَّ إِنَّكُم بَعْدَ ذَٰلِكَ لَمَيِّتُونَ
“Then indeed, after that you are to die.”
ثُمَّ إِنَّكُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ تُبْعَثُونَ
“Then indeed you, on the Day of Resurrection, will be resurrected.”
[Surah Al-Mu’minun; 12-16]
The objective here is to encourage us to be productive, efficient, and not lazy. By procrastinating, your motivation weakens, and as a result, your objective for success begins to die out. Allahmentions procrastination and laziness only twice in the Qur’an, and both references are pertaining to the hypocrites! The believer is the one who is always weary of their time and strives to make the most of it.
Principle 3: Remember Allahthrough the magnificence of his creation In the next passage of this Surah, Allah makes mention of some of His greatest creations and signs. When treading the path of success, ensure that you remember Allah