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Learning from the Prophets I

by Muslim Pro

Striving for Success

Striving for success is a process. Would you call it a success if there were no struggles, obstacles, and a leap of faith involved?

The prophets of Allah have wandered this blessed planet to guide humankind.

Was their journey difficult? Yes.

Did they overcome those obstacles? Yes.

The prophets were chosen for a reason. However, they were human. They faltered, they asked for forgiveness, they were harassed and shamed. But they were of noble character.

Their tawakkul was like the mountains. Unshakable.

Allah guided them as He willed. Here are some of the qualities and traits of the prophets that we can incorporate into our daily lives and strive to walk towards the path of success, Inshallah.

1. Self-awareness of Prophet Yunus

The remarkable Prophet Yunus story teaches us how we should learn to take control of our emotions.

The people of Nineveh had turned away from Allah and drowned themselves in idol worship and acts of immorality. Allah chose Yunus Ibn Matta among those people and commanded him to spread the message of deen.

Discouraged by ignorance, continuous ridicule and disregard, he was overcome with rage. He stormed to the sea in search of a community that would listen to his message. Unfortunately, his actions went against the will of Allah.

An impulsive and unwelcome action even by a prophet was met with consequences. He was consumed by an enormous fish. Within the silence and darkness in the belly of the whale, he realized his wrongdoings. This level of self-awareness led him to repent and put all his faith and fear in the hands of Allah.

Belly of the fish, Prophet Yunus, the story of Nabi Yunus in the quran, stormy seas, illustration, Jonah and the whale,

Allah says:

وَذَا ٱلنُّونِ إِذ ذَّهَبَ مُغَـٰضِبًا فَظَنَّ أَن لَّن نَّقْدِرَ عَلَيْهِ فَنَادَىٰ فِى ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ أَن لَّآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبْحَـٰنَكَ إِنِّى كُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِ

And [mention] the man of the fish [i.e., Jonah], when he went off in anger and thought that We would not decree [anything] upon him. And he called out within the darknesses, “There is no deity except You; exalted are You. Indeed, I have been of the wrongdoers.” 

[Surah Al-Anbiya, 21:87]

And he was forgiven and saved. For Allah says:

فَٱسْتَجَبْنَا لَهُۥ وَنَجَّيْنَـٰهُ مِنَ ٱلْغَمِّ ۚ وَكَذَٰلِكَ نُـۨجِى ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ

So We responded to him and saved him from the distress. And thus do We save the believers.  

[Surah Al-Anbiya, 21:88]

Consumed by the guilt of his actions, his love and faith in Allah not only saved him but his community as well. After the community saw the wrath of Allah; they welcomed Yunus with love and expressed their submission to Allah.

Allah says:

فَلَوْلَا كَانَتْ قَرْيَةٌ ءَامَنَتْ فَنَفَعَهَآ إِيمَـٰنُهَآ إِلَّا قَوْمَ يُونُسَ لَمَّآ ءَامَنُوا۟ كَشَفْنَا عَنْهُمْ عَذَابَ ٱلْخِزْىِ فِى ٱلْحَيَوٰةِ ٱلدُّنْيَا وَمَتَّعْنَـٰهُمْ إِلَىٰ حِينٍ

Then has there not been a [single] city that believed so its faith benefited it except the people of Jonah? When they believed, We removed from them the punishment of disgrace in worldly life and gave them enjoyment [i.e., provision] for a time.

[Surah Yunus 10:98]

Self-awareness helps you practice self restrain and directs your actions. Impulsive decisions can cause more harm and unforeseen consequences like Nabi Yunus witnessed. Furthermore, keep faith in Allah and patiently work on any undertaking. Allah knows best.

2. Self-belief of Prophet Dawud

The extraordinary life of Prophet Dawud (or David) is one of courage, faith, wisdom and trust in Allah. He is one of the few prophets Allah bestowed upon with a holy book, Zabur.

Allah says:

وَرَبُّكَ أَعْلَمُ بِمَن فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۗ وَلَقَدْ فَضَّلْنَا بَعْضَ ٱلنَّبِيِّـۧنَ عَلَىٰ بَعْضٍ ۖ وَءَاتَيْنَا دَاوُۥدَ زَبُورًا

And your Lord is most knowing of whoever is in the heavens and the earth. And We have made some of the prophets exceed others [in various ways], and to David, We gave the book [of Psalms].

[Surah Al-Isra, 17:55]

The David and Goliath story is known for Prophet Dawud’s knowledge, wisdom, strength and self-belief. A lean young man against a giant warrior. When the people of Bani Israel were mocked, he chose to believe in himself and leave a courageous legacy for generations to learn from.

All he had was a simple sling, confidence, an accurate shot and determination.

Self-belief allows you to have faith in your abilities and confidence to complete a task. Prophet David is lauded for self-belief, sound judgments and his undying tawakkul. He was bestowed with kingship and a lineage with prophets.

David and Goliath, Dawud Nabi, story of Dawud Nabi in the Quran, book of Psalms, Zabur, Jalut, The giant Goliath,

Allah says: 

فَهَزَمُوهُم بِإِذْنِ ٱللَّهِ وَقَتَلَ دَاوُۥدُ جَالُوتَ وَءَاتَىٰهُ ٱللَّهُ ٱلْمُلْكَ وَٱلْحِكْمَةَ وَعَلَّمَهُۥ مِمَّا يَشَآءُ ۗ وَلَوْلَا دَفْعُ ٱللَّهِ ٱلنَّاسَ بَعْضَهُم بِبَعْضٍ لَّفَسَدَتِ ٱلْأَرْضُ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱللَّهَ ذُو فَضْلٍ عَلَى ٱلْعَـٰلَمِينَ

So they defeated them by permission of Allah, and David killed Goliath, and Allah gave him the kingship and wisdom [i.e., prophethood] and taught him from that which He willed. And if it were not for Allah checking [some] people by means of others, the earth would have been corrupted, but Allah is the possessor of bounty for the worlds.

[Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:251]

3. Perseverance of Prophet Nuh

The story of Prophet Nuh (or Noah) in the Quran is captivating. The lessons from that story are innumerable. However, two very prominent qualities were his perseverance and patience. 

Allah says: 

وَلَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا نُوحًا إِلَىٰ قَوْمِهِۦ فَلَبِثَ فِيهِمْ أَلْفَ سَنَةٍ إِلَّا خَمْسِينَ عَامًا فَأَخَذَهُمُ ٱلطُّوفَانُ وَهُمْ ظَـٰلِمُونَ

And We certainly sent Noah to his people, and he remained among them a thousand years minus fifty years, and the flood seized them while they were wrongdoers.

[Surah Al-Ankabut, 29:14]

The sheer tolerance that Prophet Nuh displayed for 950 years cannot be fathomed. When Prophet Nuh set out to preach to the people to fear Allah and obey Him, they put their fingers in their ears and refused to listen to his teachings. When he realized his efforts were falling on deaf ears, he prayed to Allah: 

رَّبِّ ٱغْفِرْ لِى وَلِوَٰلِدَىَّ وَلِمَن دَخَلَ بَيْتِىَ مُؤْمِنًا وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَٱلْمُؤْمِنَـٰتِ وَلَا تَزِدِ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ إِلَّا تَبَارًۢا

My Lord, forgive me and my parents and whoever enters my house a believer and the believing men and believing women. And do not increase the wrongdoers except in destruction.”

[Surah Nuh, 71:28]

Allah ordered Prophet Nuh to build an ark: 

Noah's Ark, the story of Nuh Nabi, Prophet Nuh, the great flood, Mount Judi

وَٱصْنَعِ ٱلْفُلْكَ بِأَعْيُنِنَا وَوَحْيِنَا وَلَا تُخَـٰطِبْنِى فِى ٱلَّذِينَ ظَلَمُوٓا۟ ۚ إِنَّهُم مُّغْرَقُونَ

And it was revealed to Noah that, “No one will believe from your people except those who have already believed, so do not be distressed by what they have been doing.

[Surah Hud 11:36]

Prophet Nuh’s story relays his perseverance through centuries. He willingly asked Allah to punish the disbelievers. The flood drowned the wrongdoers, including his wife and son. Such was his determination in the path of righteousness that Allah praised him in the Quran:

ذُرِّيَّةَ مَنْ حَمَلْنَا مَعَ نُوحٍ ۚ إِنَّهُۥ كَانَ عَبْدًا شَكُورًا 

O descendants of those We carried [in the ship] with Noah. Indeed, he was a grateful servant.

[Surah Al-Isra, 17:3]

The ark’s final resting place was on Mount Judi, after which Allah commanded the believers to descend from the ship, and they all kneeled in praise of Allah.

How Can You Achieve Your Success?

As you grow older, change takes over in different forms which affects your personal and professional life. If you feel distraught, come back to Allah and read His book. You will find articles of faith.

Success doesn’t come easy. Our true success is to make a place in Jannah. 

Self-awareness. Self-belief. Perseverance.

Understand these qualities that were displayed in the prophets before us and integrate them into your lives in hopes that they may enlighten your journey as you strive for success. Inshallah.