The Formula For Success

The Formula For Success

It’s No Secret

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You have to get the word out. You have to let everyone know about this formula for success.

Because I think I’ve found it. I’ve always known it; but for some reason, I never put it all together. Now that I have, this is my Eureka moment. I’ve found the secret to success.

It is a simple formula that has been spelt out to us in the Quran and Sunnah. Before I divulge the secret, let me tell you how I happened upon it.

Early this morning, I was sitting in my car outside the local Muslim Cemetery. There was going to be a funeral in my town and I was at the cemetery to make sure all of the arrangements were in order. The deceased was not related to me; this is just part of my job.

I was supposed to meet the man who digs the graves but I had arrived early and he was running late. Therefore, I had ample time to sit and ponder on things.

This is something I highly encourage you to do from time to time; really as often as possible. Try to take some quiet time for yourself and just meditate or reflect on how things are going in your life. Here are some things you should think about:

  • Are things going good in your life? If so, what did you do right to get to this situation? If not, what did you do wrong to contribute to this situation?
  • Are there things about your character that you would like to improve? If so (and there definitely should be) what can you do to about it?
  • Are there things about your community that could be better? If so (once again, there definitely should be) what can you do to help the situation?

If you have any doubts about this suggestion, keep in mind that the Messenger of Allah used to go into the mountains around Mecca and meditate before the revelation came to him. In fact, it was during one of these instances that the Angel Jibril (peace be upon him) came to him with the first revelation.

The reason I was pondering was because so many things were not going the way I wanted them to go in my life. There were too many loose ends. Too many hiccups. Too many unresolved issues.

I tried to find out what had I done wrong to get myself into this situation. We all go through our trials at times, but it’s rare for everything in life to seem so…fragile.

As I thought about each issue in turn, something began to dawn on me. Each problem was CAUSED, or EXACERBATED, because I did not follow the FORMULA FOR SUCCESS.

Had I adhered to this simple formula, it is CERTAIN to have brought me SUCCESS.

Alhamdulillah, my mistake can be your OPPORTUNITY. Please, read this article, take it to heart, and apply it at ALL TIMES.

Remember this equation whenever you run into trouble or doubt or trials, and Inshallah, you will be SUCCESSFUL.


Are you thinking to yourself: “This is nothing new. I already knew this.”

Yeah, well I knew it too, in a subliminal, subconscious sort of way. But I wasn’t following it.

And if you’ve ever watched the movie “The Matrix” then you know there is a big difference between knowing the path and WALKING THE PATH.

Patience: The First Part of the Equation

How many times has Allah instructed us to be patient in His book? There are websites where you can do a search for the word “patient” and “patience” in the Quran, but I’m not going to go through all of that. I’ll just list a few instances I can remember off the top of my head.

And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient,

Chapter 2, verse 155.

And if there should be a group among you who has believed in that with which I have been sent and a group that has not believed, then be patient until Allah judges between us. And He is the best of judges.

Chapter 7, Verse 87

And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good.

Chapter 11, verse 115

And my favorite verse…

O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient.

Chapter 2, verse 153

We can go on and on, but I think the message is clear. Allah wants us to be patient with the trials we encounter. In fact, patience (Sabr in Arabic) is a primary component of TAQWA (piety).

Without patience, you can never be truly pious. You can never attain the blessings and rewards that comes with being God-conscious. You can never be a true MUTTAQI (One Who Is Pious).

  • Without patience, you will make hasty and foolish decisions.
  • Without patience, you will lose your temper and fall prey to the whispers of Shaytan
  • Without patience, you will blame your family, yourself, and perhaps even Allah, thereby committing the ultimate sin of SHIRK.

How important is patience? Patience is so important that without it, we are almost certainly doomed. Allah tells us in Surah Al-Asr:

By the Time. Verily, Mankind is Lost. Except those who believe and do righteous acts and encourage each other to be just and be patient.

In this Surah Allah explains that ALL of mankind is LOST.

Except those who:

  • Believe.
  • And do righteous deeds.
  • And encourage others to be just.
  • And encourage others to be PATIENT.

So when your troubles and trials come to you, be patient.

Don’t blame others. Don’t ask “Why me?” Don’t say “If only I had done this or that..”

Remember that Allah is with the Patient.

Remember that all who are not patient are lost.

Remember that patience is an essential element of PIETY.

And then, move on to the next part of the equation…

Tawakkul: Reliance (Trust) in Allah

In God We Trust.

This statement is printed on every coin and bill minted by the United States.

Unfortunately, for most people, this statement is worth little more than the paper it’s printed on.

Patience is an important factor to the FORMULA FOR SUCCESS, but it is just the external element. Having patience means that we control what we say and what we do.

These are things that people can see and witness.

Patience is EXTERNAL. Tawakkul is INTERNAL.

Even though you need patience to be a good Muslim, you don’t have to be Muslim to be patient. Even non-Muslims can exhibit patience when necessary.

Oftentimes, non-Muslims find themselves facing great hardships also. And they know that getting mad or going bezerk is not going to change anything. And so, they deal with it the best way they can, resign themselves to their fortunes, and resolve to be patient.

From a linguistic point of view, the word “Patience” is an almost exact translation for the Arabic word “Sabr.”

But there is NO single English word that perfectly translates to “Tawakkul.” Instead, we have to string several words together like “Trust in Allah,” or “Rely upon Allah.”

RELIANCE UPON ALLAH (TAWAKKUL) can only be achieved by the Muslim. Only the Muslim can truly rely upon Allah.

TAWAKKUL is proof of your dependence, submission, and subservience to Allah. And Allah loves those who rely upon Him as He says in His book:

…And when you have decided, then rely upon Allah . Indeed, Allah loves those who rely [upon Him].

Chapter 3, verse 159.

TAWAKKUL is so important that we implicitly affirm it 17 times a day in our prayers. For whenever you recite Surah Fatihah, you say:

You alone we worship, and You alone we seek help from.

When you turn to Allah for help, you are putting your trust in Him. Rather than give in to despair when a calamity befalls you, TURN TO ALLAH and PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM.

Ask Him for help and know that relying upon Him pleases Him, brings you closer to Him, and strengthens your faith.

Your faith is dependent on your level of TRUST IN ALLAH. The more TAWAKKUL you have, the stronger and higher your faith. Look at all the verses in the Quran where Allah has tied BELIEF with TAWAKKUL:

When two parties among you were about to lose courage, but Allah was their ally; and UPON ALLAH THE BELIEVERS SHOULD RELY.

Chapter 3, verse 122.

If Allah should aid you, no one can overcome you; but if He should forsake you, who is there that can aid you after Him? And UPON ALLAH LET THE BELIEVERS RELY.

Chapter 3, verse 160.

The BELIEVERS are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, their hearts become fearful, and when His verses are recited to them, it increases them in faith; and UPON THEIR LORD THEY RELY.

Chapter 8, verse 2.

Allah – there is no deity except Him. And UPON ALLAH LET THE BELIEVERS RELY.
Chapter 64, verse 13.

You must have TAWAKKUL on Allah. You MUST put your trust in Allah. You MUST rely upon Allah.

I’m going to spend more time on TAWAKKUL than PATIENCE because Reliance upon Allah is more important and more difficult to achieve.

You may have patience without TAWAKKUL. As we’ve seen above, even non-Muslims can be patient during difficulty.

But you cannot have TAWAKKUL without PATIENCE.

The Messengers of Allah often had to remind their people to rely upon Allah also. Here are some examples:

Prophet Musa (pbuh)

And Moses said, “O my people, if you have believed in Allah , then RELY UPON HIM, if you should be Muslims.”

Chapter 10, verse 84.

Prophet Ibrahim (pbuh)

…except for the saying of Ibrahim to his father, “I will surely ask forgiveness for you, but I have no [power to do] for you anything against Allah . Our Lord, UPON YOU WE HAVE RELIED, and to You we have returned, and to You is the destination.”

Chapter 60, verse 4.

Prophets Noah, Hud, and Salih (pbut)

Their messengers said to them, “We are only men like you, but Allah confers favor upon whom He wills of His servants. It has never been for us to bring you evidence except by permission of Allah . And UPON ALLAH LET THE BELIEVERS RELY.

Chapter 14, verse 11.

Prophet MUhammad (pbuh)

One day Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it and he asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel?” The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” The Prophet then said, “Tie your camel first, then PUT YOUR TRUST IN ALLAH.”

Jami Tirmidhi.

Having TAWAKKUL on Allah does not mean you give yourself up to random chance. This does not mean that you do not make use of the blessings that Allah has provided for you.

If you are sick, it is foolish to think “I will not take medicine because that is putting my trust in the medicine and not in Allah.”

Instead, take the medicine, and then RELY UPON ALLAH that the medicine will work. The medicine is a blessing from Allah and it will only work with HIS PERMISSION.

How To Use The Formula

So now that you’ve got the formula for success, what’s your next step?

Are you going to say “Nice article, Mashallah” and then go back to doing things the same way? If so, then you’ve just wasted a lot of time.

What purpose is reading something beneficial if you’re not going to use it? Remember: There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

Just like me, you may know that you should have PATIENCE and TAWAKKUL.

And just like me, you are probably not praticing PATIENCE and TAWAKKUL.

Now’s your chance to get it right. Remember the formula:

Patience + Trust in Allah = Success

Have patience. And rely upon Allah.

To have patience, means you control your outward, physical actions. You don’t get upset. You don’t whine and pout. You don’t blame others (or yourself). You don’t get angry.

And most importantly, YOU DO NOT COMPLAIN.

Patience may require you to suffer in silence, but only to a certain extent. That is because the next element will alleviate the suffering.

To rely on Allah means you turn your affairs over to Him. You let Him handle things. You don’t have to suffer in silence because you trust in Allah to take care of everything, and you know that no one can take care of things the way Allah takes care of things.

He is the best disposer of affairs. You may even recite a dua to help keep this in mind. I would suggest you memorize and recite the dua made by the Companions of the Cave when they had to flee their disbelieving people:

Our Lord, grant us from Yourself mercy and prepare for us from our affair right guidance.

Chapter 18, verse 10.

You now have the formula for success. Put it into practice and, Inshallah, you will be successful.

Spread the word

16 Responses to The Formula For Success

  1. Brother, Could you please help me understand how non-muslims are successful even though they don’t have tawakkul in Allah?

    Please, this is a genuine question? Jazakalah Khair

    • As-Salaamu Alaikum X,

      Yes, I agree this is a genuine question and I understand your feelings. We see bad people do bad things and they get what looks like good in return.

      And we see good people do good things and they get what looks like bad in return.

      The short answer is that Allah is in control of everything and everything He does is ultimately for the best, even if we don’t understand it.

      The long answer is that Allah is the Most Gracious. He provides sustenance and answers the prayers of all people, even those that do not worship Him. So those people who are not Muslim and are worshiping the sun and the prophets and they pray to these created things, Allah is so Merciful that He still answers their prayers.

      While they may think they’re doing something good, in fact they are only being tested and will ultimately be punished for the “good” they receive in this life. Unless, of course, they repent and accept Allah and His Messenger (pbuh).

      So for those people who put their trust in other than Allah, they may see their prayers answered and believe that they are on the right path. This is just a test for them and it is a test for us as well. We have to have confidence that Allah is most Wise and the Most Just. This life is temporary and we will all have to answer for the wealth and possessions entrusted to us.

      And Allah knows best.

      • Hello, I suppose you read the Quir’an, you visited a mosque atleast once and you certainly think that you are on the right path, if it’s a yes to each one of those questions then you feel motivated to keep reading (and also ask answer yourself these questions along the way)

        You think of yourself as a smart, succesful and meditative person, amongst many things you think that’s due to your prayers, readings in the Qui’ran and following Sunna on opportunity, that’s ok if you want…

        Note From Abu Ibrahim: This persons comment is full of hatred against Islam and is full of evil and atheistic thought. Rather than find an atheist blog where he can spout his drivel, he/she chooses to come to a Muslim blog and seek to misguide Muslims from the truth. This is a website designed to help Muslims and non-Muslims understand more about Islam. I refuse to let this garbage post on this site.

        • Abu Ibrahim have you learned nothing of patience? “Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”- Martin Luther King Jr.

          • You want me to have patience with someone who says evil things about Allah and His Messenger and His Book and His Believers? No way. That’s not love; that’s foolishness.

            I respect Dr. Martin Luther King as much as the next man, but he wasn’t the prophet so I don’t have to accept everything he says. Nor do I have to accept your interpretation of what MLK said.

            That comment was a nasty comment and didn’t even deserve the little attention I gave it.

            Some of you Muslims need to wake up and stop drinking the hippie Kool-Aid. There are people out there that hate us and what we believe in for no other reason except that it’s the truth. And no amount of love and flowers and fancy quotes is gonna change that.

  2. Jazakallah khair… I sat down at the right time to read this. It is what, like you, knew but wasn’t doing a good job at practicing patience. Alhamdulillah!

  3. Dear Brother,

    I have been reading your articles relating to supplications and patience and Tawakkal. No doubt there is everything right in what you wrote to guide us all muslim brothers and sisters. I just want to ask you that if even passing one day without pain and insult and hurt is becoming impossible these days for me, how do i cope with it? I am being hurt by the very people i love the most and they have left me out in grief and i have no job no sustenance and the most hurtful thing is that i am still dependent on those who have thrown me out of their life. My heart is full of pain and hurt and the feeling of being cheated and ditched at the time i needed their help most. I pray five times a day and beg Allah to give me a halal job at least to let me live my own life.I am living abroad and have not found a job even after graduation for over a year. My Fiancé who was fromally and ceremoniously engaged to me for 4 years left me exactly when he got his job and suddenly his mother changed his mind and broke the enagagment. I have never for a minute in these past 4 years and 6 motnhs of my engagement ,thought about any other man in my life. I always prayed for both of us and even now when he has left me all alone and i sometimes have to beg him for help when i do not have anyone to help me as i have no job, i cannot tell you the amount of hurt and pain and worthlessness surrounds me. I pray five times a day, do all the zikr recite supplications of Prophets and durood and Astaghfar. I try my level best to put everything in Allah’s hands but when each day i have to face more insult and my self respect , a human respect is shattered i feel very sad and i am compelled to think that Allah Almighty loves us more than 70 mothers ,then why does he let his people hurt me and treat me like this?I am compelled to think that to please one mother is it permissible to hurt and insult a whole family? My ex Fiancés mother does not have any objection when her sons have relationships wihtout asking for Nikah but when the girl’s parents ask for Nikah she states that in Islam mother is given the highest respect so her sons should not follow Sunnah and do the Nikah but follow their mother or she would not forgive them. The elder brother of my ex also was in a relationship with a girl for 8 years and then he ditched her and said “My mother does not like you so i cannot marry you”.
    Please tell me is it not a sin to ruin other people’s life? Just because that woman’s own daughters are married she thinks other girls are not someone’s daughters? Is my mother not hurt when she is crying and being sick all the time thinking of my pain. I don’t even have a job to sustain myself and make myself independent. When i have to ask for help to people, then i become sad and cry and have in my heart that Allah does not put more pain than one can bear ,then what is happening here? I loved and cared and worshipped my ex for 4 years and he left me in an instant just because his mother changed her mind. She was always delaying the Nikah for one reason or the other and my ex kept saying that he will solve the matter. One thing i want to mention is that right from childhood whatever i asked Allah he never granted me that, be it my desired career, peace of mind or whatever but i never complained and moved on with bravery. But this situation is just out of my hands and beyond my bearing since my parents are sick and we have a lot of loan and debts. The one guy who promised me to be with me all my life and support me all through this has become a stranger and my friends have turned their backs on me. I pray a lot to Allah but it goes on and on and on. I sleep after submitting my heartiest requests for help to Allah and wake up with a strong hope to get my life positive but each day passes and only Allah knows how much i am grieved at the time of maghrib when i see another sun setting and nothing changing. All my life has been like this but this particular time is so so hard i cannot tell you. I always help people in whatveer way i can, i love children.respect elders and even my ex who left me i still am there if he needs me. i repent everyday for whatever i might have done wrong, then what? I never drink never eat haram so whats the matter now?
    My dear brother how should i lead my life when even Allah is delaying His ultimate Help towards me? What should i do? I try to feel optimistic and do whatever i can to get a job and put rely and submit to Allah but nothing comes up, where should i get the patience from? I do not even have a place to live these days and i got to a mosque to eat for iftar. What more can i bear ?
    Please pray for me and let me know whatelse i can do to get my duas granted.


  4. One more thing which i forgot to mention is that when i am so wronged by the man i was engaged to and whom i had been trusting to get a Halal relationship and who prmised me with his family in front of all my family and friends that he would marry me, has left me just because his mother who has stated to be a very bad woman, who fights with everyone and speaks very bad, in this case can’t i ask Allah for my justice? I ask Allah that i have submitted my case in your court and cry a lot and ask for justice. Is it not my right to do so?

    • What is wrong with you? Did you even pay attention to what you read in the article? Your comments suggest you didnt. You need to have sabr AND tawakkul on Allah. Stop ‘begging’ ppl for help and ask the one and only for his help. The very thing you’re asking Allah for (your ex) seems so bad for you. You say his mother is a bad woman; the elder brother left his partner of 8 years to please his mother. Ask yourself, is this the household you want to end up in? Perhaps this broken engagement IS the mercy of Allah but you’re too emotional to see that.

      When things go wrong, do not make the mistake of thinking that Allah has turned against you. Allah swt is always testing us. And he tests those he loves more. Look unto the examples of the prophets. Do you think they had it easy? Read prophet Yusuf as’s story, the years he spent imprisoned, the mistake he made of asking an inmate to help him get out. Allah swt punished Yusuf for not relying on him by decreeing an even longer imprisonment. There are other examples such as of prophet yunus as. Allah swt is ever testing all of us.

      Rely on Allah swt please to help you resolve your issues. Ask for what’s best for you. May Allah swt guide us all, insha’AllH.

  5. please sir wherevr you writing insha’allh it is wrong and give some other meaning. so write In-sha-allah.all your replies are mashaallah.

    • Thank you for the advice. I’ve heard that also and many of these articles were before I’ve heard that.

      Also, we’re writing it in English, and the transliteration into Arabic is not perfect.

  6. Brother, Assalmualaikum. Hope you are doing well. Though I am a Muslim I still do have some conflict in my mind. I am not sure whether it would be right to ask such kind of question or not.

    I also want to ask you the same question why always me? I do prayer regularly. I am pious yes it’s true that I can’t do prayer five times a day every time. But my believe upon Allah sometimes got shaky, when I see some body are more successful than me despite doing less prayer than me? what kind of judgement is that from allah?

    My friends, my roommates are getting more success than me though they do not say any prayer within a day. If I am saying prayer and my friends are not so I must get the success not them?

    Why Christians, Jewish and or other religion’s people are more successful than Muslims? Even they don’t believe in Allah. Why this is happening?

    If you answer my question I will get relief from this mental pain.

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