Islamic Conditions for Success & Achievement
By: Dr. Amir Parviz Parsa

It is the purpose of this brief article to discuss the notion of Falaah (Acheivement &/or Success)
in a Muslim’s life, and also to glance at conditions necessary to gain it. Heavy reliance shall be placed
Upon the verses of the Holy Quran.

I. What is happiness?

No one has yet given a satisfactory & objective definition for happiness.
It is a state of Mind and Internal Feeling about a certain phenomenon such as life, standard of Living, and /or the circumstances of one’s life, job, or living conditions.
A great majority of Economists have come to the conclusion that although money and availability of “Adequate Amount” of it can help one in his/her feeling of happiness, but it does NOT really guarantee it.
There are many people who have millions of dollars; yet they don’t feel happy; and there are those who barely possess minimum subsistence level, yet they feel happy. Thus for the sake of our discussion here we can safely assume that money and having plenty of it, does not necessarily warranty one’s happiness. It is said that you cannot buy happiness with money, although you might be able to temporarily “ rent” it!

II. Dimensions of Happiness:

Not only happiness means different things to different people, but also it is a notion which has more than just a “material” content. The faithful practicing Muslims are concerned with happiness not only in this “Worldly Life”, but also in the life to come in the “Hereafter” as well.
And there are lots of Muslims who would be too happy to even sacrifice the leisure and happiness of this life to secure contentment with their status in the life at the hereafter (Aakhirah) or even after the Resurrection Day. For the purpose of this article, we assume that a Muslim is or should be concerned with both of the dimensions of feeling happy not only in this life but in the hereafter as well.

III. Some Quranic Verses about Falaah:

Verse 1 of Surah 23 says:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
“Verily the Believers have achieved Success”.

Allah Taala Swears in verses 1 through 4 of Surah 103 says:


إِنَّ الْإِنسَانَ لَفِي خُسْرٍ
إِلَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالْحَقِّ وَتَوَاصَوْا بِالصَّبْرِ

“By the token of TIME (through ages), verily MAN is in loss except those who have faith and do Righteous deeds and recommend the truth and the Patience.”

Verses 10-11 of Surah 61 tell us:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آَمَنُوا هَلْ أَدُلُّكُمْ عَلَى تِجَارَةٍ تُنجِيكُم مِّنْ عَذَابٍ أَلِيمٍ
تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ وَتُجَاهِدُونَ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ بِأَمْوَالِكُمْ وَأَنفُسِكُمْ ذَلِكُمْ خَيْرٌ لَّكُمْ إِن كُنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ
“ O ye who believe! Shall I lead you to a bargain that will save you
from a grievous Penalty? That you believe in God, and His Apostle, and that you strive (your utmost)
in the cause of God, with your property, that will be best for you, if you but knew.”

Verse 12 of Surah 47 tells us:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدْخِلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَتَمَتَّعُونَ وَيَأْكُلُونَ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ الْأَنْعَامُ وَالنَّارُ مَثْوًى لَّهُمْ
“Verily God will admit those who believe and do righteous deeds, to
Gardens beneath which rivers flow, While those who reject God will enjoy (this world) and eat as cattle eat; and the Fire will be their abode.”

It can easily be seen and understood from the quoted verse that simply doing good and righteous deeds
is NOT sufficient; there must be the element of faith coupled with it to count for full rewards.
One might still be rewarded by God Almighty for the good deeds he/she does, but the good deeds which are done on the basis of “Faith” are something else, counting for greater rewards. Please note also that the word Faith is often accompanied by Good or Righteous Deeds in the Holy Quran repeatedly; hence, the good deeds based on faith count for more rewards. Indeed, Allah Taala takes the time to explain many of the blessings one might face in paradise such as : rivers of incorruptible waters, milk, wine, and honey as referred to, in ayah 15 of this same Surah, plus whatever food or drink or company he/she wishes to have.

The Concept of “Falaah فلآح” in Arabic has a very broad connotation and it refers to not only gain, success, prosperity, and accomplishment, but also it has a feeling of contentment, attainment, and success implicit in it, plus a feeling of achieving a distinguishable goal which is interpreted to mean gaining “God’s Pleasure”.

It is indeed in this context that Verse 50 of Surah 22 tells us about God’s forgiveness for our sins, plus Great Bounties [“Rizqun karim”]. Thus one can safely arrive at the verdict that to become truly successful, one must not only purify himself from all of the sins (Verse 14 of Surah 87) but that when he does so, he becomes potentially worthy of being forgiven through his repentance, or otherwise, such as really & truly feeling sorry for the sins committed in his earlier life.

Those who purchase and barter Guidance for error, have a gainless transaction and they have truly lost their direction in life. See Verse 16 of Surah 2 of the Holy Quran:

أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرُوُاْ الضَّلاَلَةَ بِالْهُدَى فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ
These are they who have bartered Guidance for error: But their traffic is profitless, and they have lost true direction,

See also the following verses in the context of our discussion from the Holy Quran, which are self-explanatory:

Verse 12 of Surah 47:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدْخِلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَالَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا يَتَمَتَّعُونَ وَيَأْكُلُونَ كَمَا تَأْكُلُ الْأَنْعَامُ وَالنَّارُ مَثْوًى لَّهُمْ
Verily Allah will admit those who believe and do righteous deeds, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow; while those who reject Allah will enjoy (this world) and eat as cattle eat; and the Fire will be their abode.

Verse 17 of Surah 87:

وَالْآخِرَةُ خَيْرٌ وَأَبْقَى
But the Hereafter is better and more enduring

Verse 5 of Surah 48.

لِيُدْخِلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا وَيُكَفِّرَ عَنْهُمْ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ وَكَانَ ذَلِكَ عِندَ اللَّهِ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا
That He (Allah) may admit the men and women who believe, to Gardens beneath which rivers flow, to dwell therein for aye, and remove their ills from them;- and that is, in the sight of Allah, the highest achievement (for man),

Verse 12 of Surah 61.

يَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَيُدْخِلْكُمْ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ وَمَسَاكِنَ طَيِّبَةً فِي جَنَّاتِ عَدْنٍ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْعَظِيمُ
He will forgive you your sins, and admit you to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, and to beautiful mansions in Gardens of Eternity: that is indeed the Supreme Achievement.

Verse 11 of Surah 65.

رَّسُولًا يَتْلُو عَلَيْكُمْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ مُبَيِّنَاتٍ لِّيُخْرِجَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنَ الظُّلُمَاتِ إِلَى النُّورِ وَمَن يُؤْمِن بِاللَّهِ وَيَعْمَلْ صَالِحًا يُدْخِلْهُ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا أَبَدً

ا قَدْ أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ لَهُ رِزْقًا

A Messenger, who rehearses to you the Signs of Allah containing clear explanations, that he may lead forth those who believe and do righteous deeds from the depths of Darkness into Light. And those who believe in Allah and work righteousness, He will admit to Gardens beneath which Rivers flow, to dwell therein for ever: Allah has indeed granted for them a most excellent Provision.

Verse 11 of Surah 85.

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُمْ جَنَّاتٌ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ ذَلِكَ الْفَوْزُ الْكَبِيرُ
For those who believe and do righteous deeds, will be Gardens; beneath which rivers flow: That is the great Salvation, (the fulfilment of all desires),

Verse 14 of Surah 22.

إِنَّ اللَّهَ يُدْخِلُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ جَنَّاتٍ تَجْرِي مِن تَحْتِهَا الْأَنْهَارُ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَفْعَلُ مَا يُرِيدُ
Verily Allah will admit those who believe and work righteous deeds, to Gardens, beneath which rivers flow: for Allah carries out all that He plans.

Verse 96 of Surah 19

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ سَيَجْعَلُ لَهُمُ الرَّحْمَنُ وُدًّا
On those who believe and work deeds of righteousness, will (Allah) Most Gracious bestow love.

Verses 50 of Surah 22., among many other verses of the Quran.

فَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَهُم مَّغْفِرَةٌ وَرِزْقٌ كَرِيمٌ
“Those who believe and work righteousness, for them is forgiveness and a sustenance most generous

IV. Prerequisites of Success:

One can easily draw the following conditions as prerequisites for achieving true success before Allah Taala:

  1. Having faith in God, His messengers, His Angles, The Books He has sent, the Day of Judgment and in the life in the hereafter, plus belief in the Unseen.
  2. Good and Righteous deeds, and actions in addition to faith.
  3. Purification of his soul and achievement of internal enlightenment, plus contentment.
  4. Repentance from previous committed sins most sincerely before the angel of death knocks on him.
  5. Avoidance of mischief and misdeeds.
  6. Seeking of God’s bounties upon his soul and his life.
  7. Being patient in adversities.
  8. Never losing faith and his optimism in Allah Taala and His Bounties.
  9. Thanks giving for all the blessings he gets in either life.
  10. Remembrance of Allah’s Favor upon himself, his parents, and his family/tribe.
  11. Struggle in the path of Allah and for the Good He has recommended with all his assets , bounties, properties, soul, and spirit.
  12. Remembrance of the watchful eyes of Allah Taala and His Angles on everything he does, thinks, or commits, good and bad.
  13. Cooperation with other faithful people for goodness and righteousness and not in aggression or mischief (Oppression).
  14. Constant observance of God’s “Do”s and “Don’t”s as specified in the Holy Books.

V. Summary and Conclusions:

One might easily deduct that achievement of success is indeed possible. It is NOT an easy path for anyone or everyone. But it can be achievable. All it needs is pure faith, good deeds, constant rememberance of Allah Taala, enduring the hardships with Trust in God, being Patient in adversities with confidence in our Creator/Shaper/ and Cherisher. The two elements of faith and Good Deeds are constantly emphasized throughout the Holy Quran in this effort/endeavor.

May God place us, with His blessings, among the true achievers and May he make us worthy of that rank
before we pass away. Amen.