Friday 25 August 2023

Man laments: I'm a failure - Allah replies: The believers have indeed attained true success

One wanders around aimlessly if one is not sure of what one is pursuing in life. An aimless life thus becomes meaningless and one thinks as if one has hit the wall and has no clue where to go. These distressful conditions induce a depressive thought in such people who then think that they are failures in their life and will not be able to find their true destination. 

The same is true when it comes to one's faith. True faith as defined by our Lord is in fact the final destination one should be seeking for. But family traditions, the faith adopted by the forefathers restrict our decision making and keeps us wandering and black outing our thinking process. But those who have been introduced to Islam suddenly realize that this has been the truth they should have been seeking for much earlier. This realization dawns on people who find success in their life. This is the truth which is a turning point from failures to ultimate success. 

This is the theme of the very first verse of Surah 23. Al-Muminun, The Believers, being shared today and its explanation:
قَدۡ اَفۡلَحَ الۡمُؤۡمِنُوۡنَۙ‏ 
(23:1) The believers have indeed attained true success:
That is “Believers”, who have attained true success, are those who have accepted the message of Muhammad (peace be upon him), and have acknowledged him as their guide and followed the way of life taught by him.

This assertion cannot be fully appreciated unless one keeps in view the background in which it was made. On the one hand, there were the well-to-do and prosperous chiefs of Makkah, the opponents of Islam, whose business was thriving and who were enjoying every good thing of life, and on the other hand, there were the followers of Islam, majority of whom were either poor from the beginning, or had been reduced to poverty by ruthless antagonism to Islam. Therefore, the assertion: Most certainly the believers have attained true success, with which the discourse begins, was meant to tell the disbelievers that the criterion of success and failure that they had in mind was based on misconceptions besides being transitory and limited in nature: it led to failure and not true success. On the contrary, the followers of Muhammad (peace be upon him), whom they regarded as failures, were truly successful, because by accepting the invitation to the right guidance given by the Messenger of Allah, they had struck a bargain which would lead them to true success and everlasting bliss in this world as well as in the Hereafter, whereas by rejecting the message the opponents had incurred loss and would meet with the evil consequences both in this world and in the next.

Tafsir Ibn-Kathir
(Successful indeed are the believers) means they have attained victory and are blessed, for they have succeeded. These are the believers' characteristics are given in the succeeding Ayats:

Yusuf Ali Explanation
Aflaha اَفۡلَحَ: win through, prosper, succeed, achieve their aims or obtain salvation from sorrow and all evil. This verse connects with verses 10 and 11 below. Success or victory may come in this world, but it is certain and lasting in the world to come.

Javed Ahmad Ghamidi Explanation:
That is, it has been decided for them that they shall necessarily be successful. This style expresses the certainty of an event that is to take place in the future. It is also found in other languages. When will these glad tidings materialize? This question is answered at the end of the paragraph that they will live in Paradise forever.

Tafsir Qur'an Wiki:
It is a true promise; nay, it is a firm decision ensuring success for the believers. If we take it as a promise, we know God never fails to honour His promises; and if we say that it is His decision, then no one can ever foil a decision by God. What is promised is success in the life of this world and in the life to come; success for the individual believer and for the community of believers. A believer will feel this success in his heart and will see it coming true in his day-to-day life. The success God promises includes all that human beings associate with success and what God keeps in store for His faithful servants.

Today, by the many blessings of Allah, more and more non-Muslims, especially Christians who had been clinging to a false concept of Trinity, are now entering fold of Islam. And most of them acknowledge that they were at a loss all their life and did not know what the truth was, and what differentiated between the truth and a misleading concept. Despite lot of information available on social media, there are still many a believer who feel at loss for they have not strived to know what Islam expects of them. While there are countless believers who have memorized the Qur'an, they do not know what have they memorized and what Allah expects from us. Let us not be the one who despite being Muslims are far away from understanding and practicing Islam. Let our prayers, charities and Hajj/Umrah take us near to Allah, instill the fear based on love for Allah so that we do not deviate from the path so Divinely defined for us. And then let us hope to be among the successful as expected of us in the verse shared today. Ameen
May Allāh (سبحانه و تعالى‎) help us understand Qur'ān and follow the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, which is embodiment of commandments of Allah contained in the Qur'ān. May Allah help us to be like the ones He loves and let our lives be lived helping others and not making others' lives miserable or unlivable. May all our wrong doings, whether intentional or unintentional, be forgiven before the angel of death knocks on our door. 
وَمَا عَلَيۡنَاۤ اِلَّا الۡبَلٰغُ الۡمُبِيۡنُ‏ 
(36:17) and our duty is no more than to clearly convey the Message.”
That is Our duty is only to convey to you the message that Allah has entrusted us with. Then it is for you to accept it or reject it. We have not been made responsible for making you accept it forcibly, and if you do not accept it, we shall not be seized in consequence of your disbelief, you will yourselves be answerable for your actions on Day of Resurrection.

Reading the Qur'ān should be a daily obligation of a Muslim - Reading it with translation will make it meaningful. But reading its Exegesis / Tafsir will make you understand it fully. It will also help the Muslims to have grasp over social issues and their answers discussed in the Qur'an and other matter related to inter faith so that they are able to discuss issues with non-Muslims with authority based on refences from Qur'an.

May Allah forgive me if my posts ever imply a piety far greater than I possess. I am most in need of guidance.

Note: When we mention God in our posts, we mean One True God, we call Allah in Islam, with no associates. Allah is the Sole Creator of all things, and that Allah is all-powerful and all-knowing. Allah has no offspring, no race, no gender, no body, and is unaffected by the characteristics of human life.

You may read this post in our series of posts related to: Al Qur'an guides and helps those who sincerely seek Divine guidance and help

For more Selected Verses, please refer to our reference page: Selected Verses from the Qur'anYou may also refer to our Reference Pages  and Understanding Al Qur'an for knowing more about Islam and Qur'ān.
Photo | Tafsir References | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 |
An effort has been made to gather explanation / exegesis of the surahs of the Qur'ān from authentic sources and then present a least possible condensed explanation of the surah. In that the exegesis of the chapters of the Quran is mainly based on the "Tafhim al-Qur'an - The Meaning of the Qur'an" by one of the most enlightened scholars of the Muslim World Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi.  
In order to augment and add more explanation as already provided, additional input has been interjected from the following sources: 
  • Tafsir Ibn Khatir
  • Muhammad Asad Translation
  • Yusuf Ali Translation
  • Translation Javed Ahmad Ghamidi / Al Mawrid
  • Qur'an Wiki
  • Verse by Verse Qur'an Study Circle
  • Towards Understanding the Quran
In addition, references of other sources which have been explored have also been given above. Those desirous of detailed explanations and tafsir (exegesis), may refer to these sites.

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