Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rivalry in achieving false success

In our so called modern civilization, almost in all societies, success and happiness is measured with how secure someone is financially. Even school and education are directed towards being “financially secure”, where the end product is to be able to gain a good job with a high paid salary. This of course ruins the true purpose of why one should receive education in the first place. When someone has a large paycheck and trillions of currency in their bank, people will unanimously say that he/she is successful.

The quest to achieve this kind of success has become a rivalry among people. People compete with each other to be most “successful” disregarding all the consequences. People compete with each other to get the highest pleasure/joy this world has to offer by buying all the luxurious things that they can buy. Beautiful clothes, big houses, exotic cars, antique glassware, Rolex watches, the highest/most expensive education, and everything else that can make them look the most “successful”.

The traps seducing us to drag ourselves to adopt the same attitude (to reach for this kind of success) is empowered by almost everything around us. Everywhere we look, there are always temptations. We’re seduced by the soap operas on the TV, the ads and articles about these “successful people” in magazines, the billboards using these “successful people” as if they are heroes, etc. For Muslims, this is something we need to beware of, as it’s one of satan’s trick to misguide the majority of humanity.

Devine words from Allah in the Quran has stated the danger of getting carried away in the rivalry to gain this kind of false success, including the piling up of riches, in Suraah (chapter) At Takaathur.

This has approximate meaning (according to Yusuf Ali’s translation) as the following:
1. The mutual rivalry for piling up (the good things of this world) diverts you (from the more serious things/obedience to Allah),
2. Until you visit the graves.
3. But nay, you soon shall know (the reality).
4. Again, you soon shall know!
5. Nay, were you to know with certainty of mind, (you would beware!)
6. You shall certainly see Hell-Fire!
7. Again, you shall see it with certainty of sight!
8. Then, shall you be questioned that Day about the joy (you indulged in!).

For Muslims, the surah is a serious warning about being indulged in the competition and rivalry to enjoy the joys of this world. In this surah, Allah repeatedly reminds us (emphasizing) on the danger of striving to achieve the “false successes” that this world has to offer. This warning is not on things that are forbidden (haram), but rather on the halal things, which have the potency to make us forget about our real purpose (which is to worship Allah and do righteous deeds). If the basis of all that we work for is only to achieve this kind of false success, we will indeed be the losers in the end. Everyone, even the ones who have doubt will be certain about this matter at the time their dead bodies are taken to the graves, the moment where their short lives end.

True success cannot be achieved through collecting riches. It can never be achieved, as it is in human's nature to never be satisfied and always want better things than what he owns. True success can only be achieved when a human being bases his actions on what he/she is supposed to do, which is to do righteous deeds and prevent evil. This world is full of traps and tricks that attempt to corrupt our true nature (as noble beings), and that is why we all need to equip ourselves to protect our nobility.

May Allah protect us all from all the evil that this world has to offer.

Keywords: At takaathur, human nature, Satan, life, rich, poor, islam, happiness, success

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