Everyone craves success. The common denominator in all our pursuits and endeavors is to attain the goal of success. Everyone’s idea of success is different, and so is everyone’s definition of it. Just as no two individuals are alike, no two perceptions of success will ever be identical. For some, success is shaped in the form of wealth, for some gaining a qualification, for others it is recognition or popularity and for yet others it is bringing up a family to reflect specific values or customs. Even pre-modern societies define success differently. In a tribe of Africa, a successful man is regarded as one who can bravely go up to a pride of feeding lions armed only with a long spear, and steal part of their hunt away from under their noses! In another tribe of the Amazon, a successful man is one who can climb up a tree hundred of meters high, defying gravity, and bring down a beehive full of honey to feed his family and tribe. These examples are just an illustration of the different ways in which success is measured.
Having said that, as Muslims, there is only one ultimate goal, one pinnacle of success we strive for all through our lives. And that pinnacle, is Jannah. There are no other alternative meanings of success, because everything we have done in our worldly lives, has been with the goal of jannah in mind. All other actions and worldly pursuits, do not sit independently of this goal, but feed into this goal directly or indirectly. For example, when we fulfill the five pillars of Islam, we know that the resultant rewards directly influence our afterlife. The indirect influencers are the things we do in our seemingly non-religious aspects of life, such as interacting positively with strangers, being kind to our neighbors, dealing fairly in business and speaking up against injustice. The fact is, there is no action or word that can either help us climb that ultimate pinnacle of success, or detract us from it. Getting to the pinnacle is of course not meant to be easy. It is not a stroll on flat land or a cruise on a scenic river. Climbing to the very peak asks for stamina, resilience, courage, persistence, determination, obstinacy, planning, integrity, strength.
The pinnacle of Jannah is worth it. The choice is yours.