Spiritual dynamics of work and success

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Ahmet Husrev Acar

Having a purpose brings people to effort. When we look around us carefully, we see that the beings are in a wonderful functioning and perfect activity. Everything, from the smallest beings to the most majestic ones, is in tremendous and meaningful activity. Our Lord has equipped our environment with beings that work non-stop and produce continuously. The existent beings, which Allah Almighty created with many wisdoms and equipped with endless purposes, fulfil these duties with endless effort and unlimited enthusiasm. It is possible to say that they take a spiritual delight while performing their duties, and that they perform their work with pleasure and enthusiasm.[1] Yes, there is a pleasure in activity, in work, in movement. Laziness, stagnation, and monotony are fruitless, doomed to nothingness and nonexistence.

A person with a purpose has effort and indeed should have. Man, too, should think about the wisdom of being sent to the world, remember his purpose, work, and fulfil his duty.

Hope Gives Life, Despair Kills!

The most important issue that increases the effort of people and reinforces the determination to work is hope. Because hopelessness prevents development, growth, and progress.

The hopeless cannot walk, whereas we need to run.

Those without hope cannot survive, but we must have the effort to raise the ummah.

Despair kills the believer’s good morals like a murderer. It extinguishes the joy of living and keeping alive. With the verse “Do not despair of Allah’s mercy”[2] the believer should renew his effort to work and cast hopelessness away from all areas of his life.

Enthusiasm Lets You Fly Without Wings!

Enthusiasm should be at the centre of our lives in all our (good) deeds! An enthusiastic faith, an unshakable consciousness and a constant passion are required to be able to withstand difficulties and troubles, all kinds of hardship and calamities, and sins that provoke the lower self. It is said that if love is to fly until your wings are broken, enthusiasm is to keep flying even after your wings are broken. Just like Ja’far al Tayyar (may Allah be pleased with him), who continued to fight despite his arms being cut off in the Battle of Mutah, and to whom Allah has given two wings to fly in Paradise.

Enthusiasm makes a person successful in jobs beyond his capacity.

Enthusiasm is contagious. Therefore, one should be at places that will keep his enthusiasm up. He should meet with people who will strengthen his enthusiasm.

The Adornment of Success: Humility

The blessings and beauties on us are not the result of our virtues. Just as the deliciousness of the lovely bunches of grapes is not given to the dry branches of the vine, we also should not seek the beauties on ourselves in our own skill and virtue. We should think, “These blessings have been bestowed upon us because we are the neediest,” and we should be thankful.

Yes, in the cause of faith and the Qur’an, on the path of Islam, success is achieved with humility. The only way to get rid of the heavy burden of self-importance and its cold face is humility. Our sign is modesty, and our principle is to consider [even] our youngest brother superior to our selves.

We Shouldn’t Take Anything as A Goal Other Than Divine Consent!

For a Muslim, the greatest goal in life should be to gain Allah’s approval. According to Bediuzzaman Said Nursi “the Divine consent and the favour of the Merciful and the acceptance of the Lord is such a position that people’s favour and approval are like a grain compared to it.” Likewise, the following statement of Ahmet Husrev Efendi (rahmatullahi alayh) in this regard is quite significant in terms of the importance of the issue: “Our hearts have been filled with the truths of faith. There is no room in our conscience to deal with other things. We do not take anything as a goal other than Divine consent.”

Paying Attention to the Causes and Acting with Deliberateness

Allah Almighty does everything He does with wisdom. He has placed an order/sequence in everything He has created, like the steps of a ladder. A believer should pay attention to these steps and the causes set by Allah. Sticking to the laws that Allah has set in the universe and not acting against the nature of things lead you to success. A person who acts hastily out of greed does act without paying attention to the laws of Allah. To reach the right goal, it is necessary to be on the right path and to start from the right place. A straight line does not come up from a ruler that is not straight. It is not possible to shoot accurately with a broken sniper rifle. Haste is a big obstacle to success. The remedy for this is to act with deliberateness.

An Endeavor Embracing Humanity and to Reject all Delusions

Working only for one’s own self does not suit people having a strong personality. Our effort must be for the Ummah, for humanity! Indifference is a major disease of this time. Living at somebody’s expense is a plague of this time. Our beloved Prophet (asw) said: “The best of people is the one who is beneficial to people.”[3] This principle cures these two diseases.

Also, anyone who is aware that he has a big cause doesn’t care about the little things. If Allah has opened the door to a servant to serve in His way, it is not a right behaviour for a person to fall into delusions and refer his jobs to someone else, and to prefer laziness to endeavour. Finding the opportunity to serve in the way of Allah is a blessing in itself. This grace and blessing require gratitude. The gratitude for this blessing is to consider that service as a blessing and to try to fulfil one’s duty properly.

Sometimes people confuse humility with the desires and lusts of the lower-self. Sometimes the lower-self shows its desire to avoid duty in the form of humility. However, he doesn’t want to take on that job because he doesn’t want to discomfort himself and roll out of his bed of laziness. Therefore, it is a trick of the lower-self that a qualified person refrains from serving when there is a duty.

We will work! We will work! We will work!

Humans are naturally inclined to work. People’s comfort and the taste of life are in working. Laziness is against human nature. Laziness never brings peace. Because Allah has put mercy into the hard work. Self-indulgence and inclination to comfort make hardworking people restless. In other words, the comfort of hardworking people can only be found in working. There is also the fact that no one who has achieved success has led a comfortable life as their lower-self desires.

Besides, if you pay close attention, the main reason for incomplete tasks is generally lack of seriousness. If we do not see our duty as above everything else, many things that are not our duty will come before us and keep us busy. That’s why we should focus on our duty and not be busy with fruitless things!

As a result; our work should be for no one but Allah alone! Hope is our armour, modesty is our adornment, paying attention to the causes is our important principle, acting deliberate is our principle. Our duty in the way of Allah is holy and lofty. So, we will not work for ourselves, but for our generations! We will work for all humanity! Such a great goal, of course, requires a serious and sincere effort!

Let’s not forget that effort is from us, success is from Allah…

[1] For the thoughts of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi on this subject, see Lem’alar, p. 127-132 (Turkish copy)

[2] Surah Zumar, 53

[3] Kanzu’l Ummal, v. 15, pp. 777 (Turkish copy)