Success – A Treatise by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra)

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The humanitarian crisis caused by Covid-19 has prompted many people to re-evaluate their lives. More than half (54%) of 4,343 people who took part in the YouGov poll hope they will make some changes in their own lives and for the country as a whole to learn from the crisis.[1] Some scholars suggest that a new human being will emerge in the post-Covid-19 world, whose daily behaviour and thinking will differ from what it was before the Covid-19 outbreak.[2] Perhaps, this new thinking would involve the renewed definition of success and progressive idea about rebuilding the lives of traumatised communities. Does Islam offer any guidelines regarding how to define and pursue success? In his brief treatise, Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra), the Second Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has profoundly explained the true concept of success. We present the translation of his article for the benefit of our readers. 


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

Translated by Dr. Amatul Razzaq Carmichael Sahiba for The Review of Religions Translation Team.

The people of our nation have not fully grasped the true meaning of success and this is the reason why we fail to succeed. In our country, success is usually associated with wealth, fine clothing, lavish foods, and wielding power and authority over others. However, the truth of the matter is that there cannot be a more flawed definition of success. Material desires, if sought as the main objective of life, act as a hindrance to true success. The aforementioned [material pursuits] cannot be defined as success in themselves, but are acquired, at times, as a result of attaining success.

Because of this poorly understood definition of success, sometimes people ask, why was Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra) unsuccessful and how was it possible that Yazid succeeded? However, if one were to deeply ponder over this, it would become evident that despite his wealth, power and authority, Yazid failed, and even though Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra) was martyred, he ultimately triumphed. This is because the objective of Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra) was not to assume authority for himself, rather it was to safeguard the rights of humanity. Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra) defended the principle that electing the new Khalifa is a right of the people and a father cannot bequeath Khilafat as an inheritance to his son. This principle is still as sacred as it was thirteen hundred years ago. In fact, the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra) has strengthened this principle even more. Thus, the ultimate triumph belongs to Hazrat Imam Hussain (ra) and not Yazid.

The Holy Qur’an has explained the key to success in a concise manner and I draw your attention to these words. Allah Almighty states:

وَ السّٰبِقُوۡنَ الۡاَوَّلُوۡنَ مِنَ الۡمُھٰجِرِیۡنَ وَ الۡاَنۡصَارِ وَ الَّذِیۡنَ اتَّبَعُوۡھُمۡ بِاِحۡسَانٍ  رَّضِیَ اللّٰہُ عَنۡھُمۡ وَ رَضُوۡا عَنۡہُ وَ اَعَدَّ لَھُمۡ جَنّٰتٍ تَجۡرِیۡ تَحۡتَھَا الۡاَنۡھٰرُ خٰلِدِیۡنَ فِیۡھَاۤ اَبَدًا  ذٰلِکَ الۡفَوۡزُ الۡعَظِیۡمُ

‘And as for the foremost among the believers, the first of the Emigrants and the Helpers, and those who followed them in the best possible manner, Allah is well pleased with them and they are well pleased with Him; and He has prepared for them Gardens beneath which flow rivers. They will abide therein forever. That is the supreme triumph.’ [3]

In this verse, it has been stated that true success is to attain the pleasure of Allah Almighty. Acquiring the provisions of comfort and ease are not the objective in itself, but are a result of attaining true success. This verse also explains that the key to success is that nations should strive to exceed and excel other nations in attaining those high objectives which demand sacrifice,  and which are beneficial for the whole nation over individual achievements. This is the key principle that our nation has ignored; without following this principle, success is not possible.

Our nation has wealthy and resourceful people, but despite this, we have failed to attain success. This is because of the efforts of our nation and our people are limited to serve their personal desires and attaining personal comforts. Whereas the key to success is that the whole nation ought to become either like a Muhajir [4], who selflessly works for the greater good of the nation. Or become like an Ansar [5]who tirelessly helps and supports the Muhajir. They ought to carry out these endeavours until every country of the world find themselves surrounded by such provisions, without which they could not have survived and would have been impossible to attain without immense sacrifices made by the entire nation. Such nations succeed and their legacy never fades.

I hope that my fellow countrymen will understand the reality of this principle and strive for success. We cannot succeed by simply imitating other nations. Unless we do not excel others in certain sciences and disciplines to the extent whereby other nations become inspired to emulate us, we will remain in a cycle of perpetual failure. Has the time not come that our previous failures should instil a sense of realisation within us? Are we yet to fall in even deeper indignation? Despite having progressed from childhood to youth and then old age, will we remain at the stage of immaturity [as a nation]? May God Almighty safeguard us from this and may He enable our nation to awaken; may our nation develop the spirit of the Muhajir and Ansar and excel in this world. May our sacrifices not be transient, but instil a lasting spirit of continuously offering sacrifices. May we achieve such landmarks of success that will last forever. Ameen.



[3] The Holy Qur’an Chapter 9: Verse 100

[4] Muhajir: refers to those Muslims who were native to Makkah, but later migrated to settle in Madinah

[5] Ansar: refers to the Muslims that were native to Madinah

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