In the previous posts, we talked about the meaning of the word “Falah” in Arabic and how it is different from the word “Najah” which is the most used translation for the english word “success” (Part 1). We then talked about more differences between those two concepts and we introduced the difference between focusing on the outcome or on the journey and how understanding that can free us from a lot of mental blocks and help us go towards our goals easier and faster (Part 2). In this post, we continue talking about this versus in light of the Islamic teachings.
Outcome VS journey in Islam
All we are asked to do is to try to define the goal and move towards it and Allah will reward us on that. Each action we do with a good intention is going to be considered as a good deed if God accepts it, and it doesn’t matter if we get to the goal or not, we will still be rewarded on the actions we did on the journey.
It seems to me to be similar to those physics or mathematics tests where you can make a mistake while calculating something, but as long as the method is right you will be given at least half of the points, in most cases. But then some teachers were from “the all or nothing” school, which means they’ll see the result first, if it’s correct, then they’ll look at the method that should be correct, well explained, etc. But if the result is wrong, it doesn’t matter if you just made a mistake on your calculator even if the method is perfectly correct, it is not acceptable to them as long as you didn’t find the correct result.
I mean I can understand the fact that the results sometimes are crucial (I remember one of my teachers in engineering school telling us that an engineer who makes calculating mistakes in not an engineer because he/she can cause disasters due to those mistakes). But guess what? Life is not always an engineering project as much as I would like it to be, trust me, LOL! Life is a journey, it is full of ups and downs. Not everything is black or white, there is a lot of gray and plenty other colors. And we are humans, we make mistakes, we have to accept that and make peace with that. Because not accepting it is one of the BIGGEST mistakes we can make.
Mistakes will be made, either from us or from other people. Sometimes things happen and there is nothing we can do about it. We cannot control everything! But we can control ourselves, our thoughts, our beliefs, and our actions. And those are the only things that we will be held responsible for and we will be asked about during the day of judgment in Al Akhira. But, in the meantime, we are asked to do the best we can to stay on the right path, to focus on the process, not the product, to enjoy the journey not just the destination, and that is what true success is in my opinion.
Call for action
This is a clear call for action from the Creator of this universe we live in. He asks us to “do”, to take action and He reassures us that our actions will be seen and recognized first by Him, by His prophet and then by the believers.
This is a clear call for action from the Creator of this universe we live in. He asks us to “do”, to take action and He reassures us that our actions will be seen and recognized first by Him, by His prophet and then by the believers. This Aya means a lot to me, I remember when I was a kid and I was trying to write with “the Arab writing” I had written in on a piece of paper and hanged it on my desk at home. It just frees me from the need for “exterior validation” or that crave of being seen.
When you know that Allah who owns everything in the world will see your actions and reward you for them and that the prophet Mohamed (PBUH) who is the greatest man of all times is going to recognize your work, to me that’s more than enough! And what I find interesting is that Allah didn’t specify what type of world in this Aya, I mean it’s not just about your good deeds that are purely religious. No, it says “do”, it’s general. So, no matter what action you want to do and you’re afraid that you’re not going to be recognized for it and you feel that crave of validation (which is a human thing, by the way, nothing to be ashamed of), you just remember this verse and you’re like, OK! I will be seen and recognized and not by just anybody but by THE LORD of everything, the one who created me and as long as I am taking action, I am fine because I am only responsible for that and I’m not responsible for what’s after that!
You are only responsible for your actions not for the result behind them
There are quiete a number of other verses in the Quran that talk about the importance of understanding that our role is to “do”, not to “achieve”. Some of these verses that changed my perception of life when I meditated on them, read their tafsir, and so on are :
Some of the Tafassirs (explanations of the verses) said that prophet Mohammed (PBUH) was sad because some of his family members (his uncle Abou taleb for example) did not want to accept Islam even if he was telling them about it and doing his best in the “daawa” action. He was sad because he loved those people and wanted them to be guided. And so as a response to that, Allah revealed this verse to let the prophet (PBUH) know that he is not responsible for the outcome (in this case: the fact that these people are guided to join Islam).
And so, the message is clear, even the prophet PBUH who is the chosen one did not have a say in the outcome of daawa, he was asked to take the action, to focus on the process and not to feel responsible for “the product” or “the outcome”.
To be continued
Until next time, stay blessed!