Success and the Qur’ān
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

I am a born Muslim but am not able to answer convincingly the following query: Why are many Muslims, who pray regularly, not very successful in this world. Also, if one pursues one’s career, one often gets involved in worldly matters and looses much reward. So what should one do? After all we cannot just sit at home.


You see we must turn to the Qur’ān for the definition of the word success. One’s own conception of success is of course no yardstick in religion.

The Qur’ān is firm that real success is the success in the Hereafter:

He who is saved from Hell and admitted into Heaven indeed attained success. (3:185)

This world is just a transient prelude to the real life to come. The Qur’ān says that this world in reality has not been made for rewarding a person for every good deed or punishing him in this world for a bad deed in his span of life. It is only in the Hereafter that results will truly be in conformity with the deeds done. A person who is a sincere seeker of the truth, whether he is a Muslim or a non-Muslim, will attain success in the world to come.

The other thing that needs to be understood is that Islam wants its adherents to live a profound life in this world by doing whatever they can for its betterment. However, they must always give priority to the requisites of the Hereafter. If they have to choose between good and evil, they must always strive to choose good. Other than this, they must strive to contribute to make this world a better place by producing good scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers and the like to become leaders of the world in technology. All this is inherent in the urge found in human nature. Islam does not curtail it; it only directs man to live with the priority of the Hereafter while contributing to this world through his skills and abilities. In short, one must strike a balance between one’s struggles and efforts to achieve material success, which must not override the requisites of the life to come.


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