What is success?

October 1, 2007

On the  night of the 19th of Ramadan, the accursed Abdur-Rahman ibn Muljim struck Imam ‘Ali with a poison-tipped sword.  The Imam, who had already endured severe hardship at the hands of his enemies, cried out, “By the Lord of the Ka’ba, I have been successful.”

In modern secular societies, success often means wealth, so the judgment of someone’s success is based on the amount of money they’ve earned, the investments they’ve made, and even the fame that they’ve achieved as a result of their wealth.  It is only then, that we say of someone, “He is a successful man” or “She is a successful woman.”

For Imam Ali and all of those who walk the path of righteousness, success is something more profound.  To be successful is to know God, and once a person truly knows God, he serves Him in his life.  Therefore, success comes from service to God.  The successful ones, the victorious ones, are those who strive in the way of God with their minds, their words, their wealth, and their lives.

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