What Defines Real Success in Our Lives?

What Defines Real Success in Our Lives?

When we are asked how do we define success, we often measure it through the amount of money we earn, the status we maintain in society, the job title we own, and so on. These are some of the common metrics of success.

It is important to measure success in the right manner because it shows how we spend our time and efforts. If we don’t measure success in terms of what’s truly important to us, we can’t work towards getting there.

However, it is hard to define success. In life, everything we get or receive or achieve should add more value to our inner contentment and peace rather than just furnishing up our house or having the best clothes. In other words, success should help us have a better state of mind and health.

So, what is the correct definition of success? Well, it sounds very easy and pleasing, yet very difficult to achieve. So here are a few things that add up to the definition of “real” success.


Happiness and high spiritedness come with enlightenment, because through knowledge, one may fulfill their goals and discover what was previously hidden from them. The human mind, by its very nature, longs for the acquisition of new knowledge to stimulate itself. Ignorance, or Jahiliyyah, is grievous for the mind because the ignorant person leads a life that never offers anything new or thought-provoking.

If you desire happiness, then seek out knowledge and enlightenment; you will find anxiety, depression, and grief will leave you in no time. As Allah says: [1]

Is he who was dead and We have raised him unto life, and set for him a light wherein he walketh among men, as him whose similitude is in utter darkness whence he cannot emerge? Thus is their conduct made fairseeming for the disbelievers.


When we talk about being successful, happiness is often our last concern. We tend to believe that money can buy us happiness because of the glorified idea of wealth. But we will only end up using our money to buy sleeping pills if we do not possess a healthy, stable, calm, and happy heart. For in happiness the mind is clear, enabling one to be a productive person. It has been said that happiness is an art that needs to be learned — but how does one learn it?

A basic principle of achieving happiness is having the ability to endure or cope with any situation. Therefore, we should not be swayed nor governed by different circumstances nor should we be annoyed by insignificant trifles. When we train ourselves to be patient and forbearing, then hardships and calamities will be easy for us to bear. As Allah tells us: [2]

So, surely with hardship comes ease.

The key to the art of happiness is to bridge our thoughts and to restrain them, not allowing them to wander astray, escape, or go wild. For if we were to leave our Nafs uncontrolled, it will run wild and control us.

Keeping to Oneself

One of the most common weaknesses of the human heart is the constant urge to reveal the details of our personal affairs to others. This sickness is an old one in the annals of history. The human nature loves spreading secrets and disseminating stories.

In order to be truly successful, we must rely upon none but Allah, and share our secrets and journey with none but Allah.


Whoever fills their heart with satisfaction regarding the Divine Decree, Allah fills their heart with richness, safety, and comfort. Contentment offers safety in that the contended heart is healthy and free from deceit, corruption, and rancor. And it is only a sound and healthy heart that will be saved from Allah’s punishment; whoever becomes dissatisfied, their hearts will be filled with the opposite, and such hearts will be preoccupied with matters that clash with happiness and success.

Therefore, contentment empties the heart of all superfluous carriage thus leaving it entirely for Allah. Discontentment, on the other hand, removes from the heart all thoughts of Allah, leaving nothing but disillusion and confusion. A person that is ever-upset with Allah’s Decree can never find peace of mind or success in this life and the Hereafter. At the end of the day, a mind without peace will only end up with no reward or joy in their efforts, as is mentioned in The Quran: [3]

This is because they follow whatever displeases Allah and hate whatever pleases Him, so He has rendered their deeds void.


Our welfare in the Hereafter hinges upon how we conduct ourselves in this life. it is imperative for every person to bear in mind that there is a link between this life and the next.

Yet, despite being aware that our time in this life is ever-fleeting, some of us wrongly keep running after the world — they spend their time gathering things and becoming attached to this life, which is nothing but a temporary joy. Eventually, they die with their wishes and aspirations in their chests, unfulfilled and forgotten. How peculiar is it that we create long-term hopes in this world, planning for decades and decades, when our next moment itself is not guaranteed! [4]

No soul knows what it will earn for tomorrow, and no soul knows in what land it will die. Surely Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.

Since Allah is the All-Knowing, we need to repose our faith in Him, and constantly remind ourselves that the Will of Allah is the only driving force in our lives.

To Sum it Up…

There are two requirements for a meaningful life: faith in Allah, and performing good deeds. As is mentioned in The Quran: [5]

Indeed, those who have believed and done righteous deeds – the Most Merciful will appoint for them affection.

As such, those who believe in Allah and perform good deeds, receive not one but two rewards:

  • A good and prosperous life in this world and the hereafter.
  • A tremendous reward from Allah, the Exalted.

This is what constitutes real success. As Allah tells us: [6]

Those who believe and keep their duty (to Allah). For them is good news in this worldly life and the Hereafter. There is no change in the Promise of Allah. That is ‘truly’ the ultimate triumph (success).


  1. The Quran 06:122 (Surah al-An’am)
  2. The Quran 94:5 (Surah ash-Sharh)
  3. The Quran 47:28 (Surah Muhammad)
  4. The Quran 31:34 (Surah Luqman)
  5. The Quran 19:96 (Surah Maryam)
  6. The Quran 10:63-64 (Surah Yunus)

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