Does being a good Muslim increase the chances of (worldly) success in this life (however such success may be defined by an individual). Can someone be invited to the fold of Islam with promises of worldly success (as is being done in some quarters these days)?
I anticipate that your answer will be “no”; that Islam provides a code of life that assists us in purifying ourselves spiritually and within this purification process itself is success. However, one can argue that if a person is really a pious Muslim, who is near to Allah, then his supplications for success have a correspondingly higher chances of being answered, and so his chances of succeeding in his endeavors is also correspondingly higher.
It does make sense that if a pious man begs Allah for something like a good job (or something similar) than Allah will be more inclined to answer his servant’s call.
Your anticipation about my answer is absolutely right.
According to the teachings of Islam, piety and adherence to divine guidance does not guarantee worldly success and ease. Nevertheless, true faith does provide us with the strength to face the failures, disappointments and hard times during the life of this world.
Firstly, during the life of this world, God has generally preferred to maintain a cause and effect relationship in the happenings with and around us. Thus, success would generally follow when a person has generally made due provisions for the factors which are necessary for that success. Thus, success is generally not related to the piety of the successful or the impiety of the unsuccessful individual.
Secondly, success and failure, if seen in the perspective of the life of this world, are in fact two aspects of man’s test. Each person that continues to breathe on the face of this earth continues to take the test that can ultimately take him to the everlasting bliss of God’s paradise or render him deserving of God’s wrath in the burning fires of Hell. Even the supplications and prayers of pious individuals cannot call off the tests that God has decided for an individual to face.
Thirdly, the outcome which a pious individual may perceive to be as his own or his loved one’s success may, according to the absolute knowledge and wisdom of the Almighty, be harmful for him and his loved ones. Under such circumstances, God saves the pious individual, even in the face of his prayers to the contrary, from the ill effects of his perceived success.
In the ultimate analysis, it is important to remember that strong belief in God does not provide us with a panacea for worldly failures and disappointments; on the contrary it provides us with the strength to live through all failures and disappointment and never to despair in God’s all encompassing mercy and love.
I hope this helps.
December 8, 2002