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Undeserved Gifts – 6 Insights on How to Respond to & Understand Success

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Hamza Tzortzis

Channel: Hamza Tzortzis

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Episode Transcript

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Bismillah R Rahman r Rahim Al hamdu lillah wa Salatu was Salam ala Rasulillah Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakatu who brothers and sisters and friends, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon every single one of you. In this video, I want to share with you six insights on how to respond to an understand success. This is a very important topic brothers and sisters, because many of us are engaged in a project or projects or a program of work or some type of activity that wants to achieve a goal. And in essence, in a simplistic sense, success is the achievement of a particular goal. And we want to achieve goals in our personal life and our public life and our private lives.

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And specifically, when it comes to dialogue, when it comes to activism, when it comes to sharing Islam, we have some lofty goals, or at least our goals must be lofty. For example, we may want to achieve 1000s of people embracing Assam, we want to write many books, we want to build a mosque, we want to build a popular YouTube channel, we want to manage and maintain and sustain and grow an organization and activist organization, a Dow organization, a humanitarian organization. So from this context, or from this perspective, we need to understand how must we respond to achieving these goals when we achieve them when we achieve success? How must we respond to success, how we how much

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we understand success, from the perspective of a Muslim, remember, and slim, someone who is in a state of submission, someone whose way of being can be described as a person who is surrendering themselves to Allah subhanho wa Taala to God Almighty. So it's very important for us to ask that question as a Muslim. How do I respond to success? How must I understand success? And there are six insights I want to share. But before I get into that, I want to discuss with you well, what is true success. What is ultimate success from an Islamic perspective? Well, let's go to the Quran. Allah says in the third chapter, in the 185th verse, Every soul will taste death and you will be paid in

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full only on the Day of Resurrection. Whoever is kept away from the fire and and admitted to the garden will have triumphed. So the greatest triumph or the ultimate success is entering Janna, entering the garden, entering eternal bliss, being enveloped in the boundless mercy and love of Allah subhanho wa taala. This is the greatest success. Also, Allah says in the Quran in chapter 23, verse one or two, those whose good deeds weigh heavy, will be successful. So our good deeds, our actions must weigh heavy in order for us to have true success. And true success is entering the garden.

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Allah being pleased with us that we're enveloped in the boundless mercy and love of Allah subhanho wa taala. And we exist for eternity in paradise, in a state of constant bliss. This is true success. And I like saying our DS have to weigh heavy, this is very interesting concept is how many deeds you have is how heavy they are. And we have discussed on this channel, the concept of a class the concept of sincerity, in order for our deeds to weigh heavy, we must have a class we must have done those deeds, those acts of worship for Allah alone.

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We do those deeds because we love Allah, He is worthy of those deeds that we want His divine reward. And we want to protect ourselves from divine punishment. Doing for all of these three reasons is a kind of optimal EClass. It's an optimal sincerity. So for us to be successful, our deeds must weigh heavy. And for them to weigh heavy, we must have a class and we shouldn't conflate material growth or material success. With this true concept of success. Don't get me wrong, it's some promotes the idea that we should take a share of the world a share of the dunya we should have material success, of course, but we should use it that's in line with the pleasure of Allah. And the point I want to

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raise here is don't conflate material success with true success. material success will only be correlated to or cause true success. If we're using material success for the sake of Allah in a way that is in line with his pleasure, wealth can lead to this true understanding of success. If we use an acquire this wealth, we acquire this wealth and we use this wealth in line with the pleasure of Allah in

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align with obedience to Allah.

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But if we don't, then it can lead to our destruction to be unsuccessful in the hereafter. Now brothers and sisters, I can share with you six insights on how to respond to and understand success. And then we've summarized them very quickly. Insight number one, success is from Allah alone. Therefore be grateful. Praise Allah and be humble.

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Insight number two, success is an undeserved gift. Be grateful and praise Allah. Insight number three, success should not create self amazement or joke, one of the key core spiritual diseases of the heart.

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Insight number four, success should lead to praising, glorifying, repenting, and turning back to Allah. Insight number five, success was due to other means that Allah also created that you were dependent on. And all of those means, including yourself, are ultimately dependent on Allah subhanho wa taala. So therefore, be humble and grateful Insight number six, learn to ask, what could have I done better? Or what did I not do spiritually or otherwise, that prevented or could have facilitated greater success? Don't just tap yourself on the back. Be humble. Ask yourself the question, What could I have done more that was more pleasing to Allah in order for me to achieve greater results?

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What did I not do? Or what did I do that may be created a barrier to success? So these are the six insights I'm going to unpack them for you Insha Allah, Insight number one, success is from Allah alone. Not you, not me. Be grateful, be humble and praise Allah. The first thing to understand is to affirm that everything that happens in this universe, everything that happens in this universe is as a result of the irata and Qudra of Allah subhanaw taala, the will and power of Allah, including our perceived successes. So we need to understand that ultimately, behind everything that we do, including the successes is from Allah. So we need to be like shrimp Alehissalaam.

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In chapter 11, verse 88, what does schrieb alayhi salam say? He says, My success comes only through Allah, in him I trust, and to him I return. Also, Allah tells us in the eighth chapter, verse 17, Noah was you who threw a handful of sand and the disbelievers but it was ALLAH who did so rendering the believers a great favor. Surely, Allah is overhearing or knowing. Now what does this really mean? It being kefir summarizes it for us and he basically says, It is not because of our strength, or in the context of the verse, their strength, or their power, that they overcame the pagans,

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even though that there were few in number, but rather, it was Allah Who gave them victory. Allah is the source of success, that we have to remember brothers and sisters, Allah is a summit he is the independent, the absolutely independent, everything depends on him. Allah is Alleghany. He is the absolutely free.

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So from this perspective, we need to understand that we are utterly dependent on Allah subhanaw taala we are needy, we need Allah, Allah is free, Allah is independent, is absolutely independent, he is absolutely free. We are in need of Him. And we are utterly and ultimately and fundamentally dependent on Allah Subhana Allah to Allah. So when we have successes in our life, in our private life or public life, our professional lives, we need to understand that these successes are as a result of Allah. Because the means that we used or the means that we acquired in order to achieve any type of success, were created by Allah subhanho wa Taala do not focus on the means focus on the

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one who created the means. Allah subhanho wa Taala is the source of our success and also brothers and sisters. We must be grateful. Because if we know our successes are utterly and ultimately dependent on Allah subhana wa Tada and our successes is because of him, then we should be grateful to him.

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Also, we should be humble because it's not because of us. It's not because of our intrinsic ability, or even intrinsic value. It was because of Allah. No, because

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Have me and this is very important for us to understand. So you should create a sense of gratitude, and it should create a sense of humility. Also brothers and sisters, we must praise Allah subhanho wa taala. Why? Because if you can praise ourselves, or praise other people for our achievements or their achievements and success, then what about Allah who was ultimately responsible for the things that we think we deserve praise for? Allah is ultimately responsible for our successes and our achievements. So we should praise Him, He is worthy of extensive praise, because these successes and achievements could have only happened through Allah and because of Allah subhanaw taala.

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So he's worthy of an extensive praise. Insight number two, success is an undeserved gift. That's why you must be grateful to Allah. And we must praise Allah. As a general principle, we must always be grateful. Reflect on chapter 31, verse 12, Allah subhana, Allah Allah says, and we had certainly given Lookman wisdom and said, be grateful to Allah. And whoever is grateful, is grateful for the benefit of himself. And whoever denied his favor, then indeed, Allah is free of need, and praiseworthy

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brothers and sisters, we should always be grateful.

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Always be grateful, I wait to think about this, there is something in your life, that you receive every moment of your existence, and you don't deserve it. You don't own it, and you don't earn it.

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This thing is, every conscious moment of your existence. We don't earn these moments, we don't own them, we can't even create a fly.

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We don't deserve this gift of life. That's why in popular culture, we call it the gift of life. Every conscious moment is something that we receive freely, yet we don't earn or deserve it. And not only is it free, but it's priceless. It's a priceless gift.

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Think about it, if I said you had 10 minutes left to live. And in order to get another 10 days, you have to give me all of your wealth, you will give me all of your wealth and more.

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And this teaches us that every conscious moment, every second is a priceless gift and we don't earn on or deserve this gift. So if it's true that we receive every moment of our existence, a priceless gift that we don't earn on or deserve, then how should it make us feel? It should make us feel grateful, grateful to whom, to the one who gave us these moments, Allah subhanaw taala. So our utmost gratitude should be to Allah subhanho wa Taala brothers and sisters, and this is about our conscious moments, every moment of our existence. I'm not talking about how we relive these moments.

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So we should be ultimately grateful for just being alive.

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So what about being alive and having achievements and successes, we should be even more grateful.

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And that's why it's so important to frame it this way. Because when you have achievements and successes, it should increase in your gratitude to Allah subhanaw taala.

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And you should praise Allah.

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Why, as we mentioned previously, you should praise Allah, because he is worthy of that praise, by virtue of His names and attributes because of who he is. And our successes in our lives. Our achievements in our lives, are a manifestation or an expression of who Allah is, in other words, His names and attributes. And when we have successes and we may have achievements, we should praise Allah because this was as a result of Allah's names and attributes and not meet because ultimately, success and achievements are from Allah Allah.

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So when we have achievements in our lives, we should praise Allah subhanho wa Taala brothers and sisters reflects on this verse as well.

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The 14th chapter of the Quran, the 34th verse, Allah says, and if you should count the favor of Allah, the blessings of Allah, you could not enumerate them indeed, mankind is generally most unjust and ungrateful. What a beautiful verse. Allah is telling us we cannot be truly grateful, or count the blessings He has given us the favors and achievements and successes are included in that we can never be truly grateful for them.

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So this is why when we have successes and achievements, we should be even more grateful. Because we can never be truly grateful for them. We can never even enumerate them. And let me give you an example.

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For a fundamental example, consider your heartbeat, your heartbeat brothers and sisters, we already spoke about the priceless nature of life. And if for example, I said you have 1000 heartbeats left, but in order to get another million heartbeats, you have to give me all of your wealth. You give me all of your wealth, such as the prices nature of each heartbeat, because it's one of the causes that Allah uses to keep keep us alive.

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So it's a priceless gift. every heartbeat is a priceless gift.

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Now, can we enumerate individually, all the heartbeats we've had in a lifetime is actually practically impossible. For the first two or three years you can't count when you're sleeping, you can't count. So it's practically impossible to enumerate one blessing. Now let's frame it slightly differently.

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Try and be thankful for each individual hobby you've had in a lifetime say Alhamdulillah say all perfect praise and gratitude belong to Allah. Say every time you had a heartbeat, again, it's practically impossible. For the first two or three years you can't speak when you're sleeping, you can't think Allah.

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So practically is impossible to even be grateful, truly, for each individual prices heartbeat. So anything above a hobby is really a bonus, which includes our successes and achievements. And that's why our successes and achievements we must be infinitely and eternally grateful. This is why brothers and sisters we have to understand successes are undeserved gift.

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If every conscious moment is an undeserved gift, the priceless gift. If our heartbeats are

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undeserved gifts,

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and we can't even enumerate them, and we can't really be individually grateful for each hobby we've had. Then what about anything after that, such as successes and achievements in our lives, these are bonuses.

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These are things that we must be eternally and intensely grateful to Allah for Insight number three brothers and sisters success should not create our job SELF amazement. Now our job is one of the key spiritual diseases of the heart. And as you know, brothers and sisters, we have to focus on the heart because this is important for our true success, success in the orchestra in the hereafter. As you know, Allah says in the Quran, that no one is going to be safe on the Day of Judgment unless we come to Allah with Alban Salim with a sound heart.

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And this is very important for us to focus on brothers and sisters.

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Our state of hot and think about it, the CALB does tackle lube it waivers the word

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comes from the word underbar, which means to waiver to turn over and the heart needs to be firm on eemaan focused on Allah subhanaw taala. It has to be in a sound state. And a sound heart is a heart that is free of the spiritual diseases. And one of the key spiritual diseases include a joke. Now there are four main key spiritual diseases according to many orlimar that is Kibber arrogance has said blameworthy jealousy, Ria, ostentation an urgent self amazement, or vanity, and there are lmsc that the other spiritual diseases of the heart emanate from these core spiritual diseases. So it's of extreme importance for us to focus on the heart, and to ensure we don't have a job, the key, a

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key spiritual disease of the heart, because the heart has to be sound. We must have all been sullied, we must have a sound heart, brothers and sisters, otherwise, we're not going to be safe from the day of judgment. And what success can do sometimes what achievements can do sometimes is evoke within us this spiritual disease of urgent that it was because of me, the success, the achievement was because of me alone, I was the cause. I wasn't the means. That's what we think I was the cause. I wasn't the means. But no, Allah was the cause of your success. Allah was the cause of your achievements. We were just the means. So if we realize we're just the means that Allah used to

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manifest His names and attributes, then we should focus back on Allah, and we should be grateful and humble and praise Him. We shouldn't just say it was because of me. I have some kind of intrinsic value. I was the cause of these achievements and success.

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And this is very important for us to understand brothers and sisters. Now there's a beautiful story in the Quran in chapter 18, which is the story of the people the two gardens. And it starts from around verse 32. And I'm going to read it to you and we'll explain it and how it connects to this understanding of urgent, give them a profit and example of two men

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to the disbelieving one we gave two

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Do gardens of grape vines which was surrounded with palm trees and placed various crops in between. Each garden yielded all its produce never falling short, and we call the river to flow between them. And he had other resources as well. So he boasted to a poor companion of his while conversing with him. I am grade to the new in wealth and superior in manpower. And he entered his property, while running his soul, saying, I do not think this will ever perish, nor do I think the Hour will ever come. And if in fact, I am returned to my Lord, I will definitely get a far better outcome than all this. His believing companion replied, while conversing with him. Do disbelieve in the One who

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created you from dust then developed you from a sperm drop,

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then formed you into a man. But as for me, He is Allah, my lord. And I will never associate anyone with my lord in worship, if only you had said when entering your property, this is what Allah has willed.

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There is no power except with Allah. Even though you see me inferior to you in wealth and offspring, perhaps my Lord will grant me something better than your garden, and send down upon your garden, a thunderbolt from the sky, turning it into barren waste, or its word to me sink into the earth, and then you will never be able to seek it out. So all his produce was totally ruined. So he started to wring his hands for all he had spent on it. While it had collapsed on its trellises. He cried, alas, I wish I had never associated anyone with my lord in worship. And he had no manpower to help him against Allah. No, could he even help himself? Allahu Akbar.

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The LMS say this was the Schoodic this was the association ism, associating punters with Allah, of focusing on the means, not the creator of the means. Now, this might not be directly related to our job, but it's similar in some ways, it teaches us that we need to be very careful not to focus on the means. And think the means is the cause. But to focus on the true cause of the means. Allah subhanaw taala. So in the context of our achievements and successes, don't be like the man with the two gardens, thinking it's never gonna end giving himself some kind of intrinsic ability, that it was because of him. But rather, it's because of Allah. Don't focus on the means. And don't think the

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means are actually the cause. Focus on the creator of the means, the creator of the success that you have, the creative the achievements that you have. And when you do that, it should increase in your humility, you should praise Allah, and you should be humbled before him. So this is how we must respond to successes brothers and sisters. Otherwise, we may have the spiritual disease, the key spiritual disease of our job.

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And may or may Allah protect every single one of us Insight number four, praise Allah,

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glorify Allah, repent to Him and turn back to him. A beautiful chapter in the Quran is the 100 and 10th Chapter. Allah says, When the victory of Allah has come, and the conquest, and you see the people entering into the religion of Allah in multitude, then exalt Him with praise of your Lord, and ask forgiveness of him, indeed, he's ever Accepting of repentance. What do we learn from this? One of the greatest successes of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was the conquest of Mecca.

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And how did he enter Mecca? The peaceful conquest of Mecca, how did he enter, he entered with his head bowed down with humility. With humility he was he was humbled to Allah and grateful to Allah, for this conquest, this peaceful conquest, and this peaceful victory, that Islam had been dominant and successful now had become dominant and successful.

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And he was so humble where his head was

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almost touching the saddle of his riding beast, or it was touching the saddle of his riding beast. This is how you respond to success and achievements, by being humbled to Allah by being grateful to Allah, by praising Allah by repenting to Allah. So we learn how to respond to successes and achievements from this chapter. Allah is telling us what we need to do. Because think about it. If Allah is saying to the Prophet, sallAllahu alayhi wa salam, that you should respond to successes in this way, that bright greater reason, we should respond to success in a similar fashion.

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So Allah says, Then exalt Him with praise

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Have your Lord. In other words, glorify Allah and praise Allah. Then Allah says, and ask forgiveness of him, so we must stick far must turn back to Allah.

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And we must return to Him. Do Toba. So this is what we must do when we have successes brothers and sisters, glorify Allah, praise Allah. Ask his forgiveness and 10 back to him.

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This is exactly what believers should do when we have successes and achievements, Insight number five brothers and sisters,

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our success, our achievements, do not exist in a vacuum. It wasn't just because of us. In reality, we had to use something outside of ourselves, some things outside of ourselves, other people and organization, someone else's money, other people's help, or we had to go to school, we had to get educated, we had to have support from my family, whatever the case may be, we don't exist in a vacuum. We had to rely on other means other than ourselves, other than the other than our own resources, in order for us to achieve success, and have these achievements. And these means were created by Allah. And these means, including yourself, are utterly and fundamentally dependent on

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Allah subhanho wa taala.

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So this should create a sense of humility, and a sense of gratitude, brothers and sisters, and friends. And there's a very powerful and scary verse that we have to take seriously. We have to be wary of this.

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In chapter three, verse 188, Allah says in the Quran, do not think that those who exalt in what they have done and seek praise for things they have not done, will escape the torment, agonizing torment awaits them SubhanAllah. Now, this refers to people who show off, who rejoice in what they do, and claim to do what they have not done. So how does this relate to the insight that we're talking about here?

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Well, sometimes we rejoice. And we give us of praise for the successes and achievements. And we give ourselves too much value in that from the point of view that think it was because of us alone, we forget, we have to rely on other means. And those means, including ourselves, are utterly dependent on Allah subhanaw taala. And remember, and to emphasize, you did not control these means you required other means, and those means you didn't have any direct control over.

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And you needed them, in order for you to achieve this in order for you to be successful.

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And those means including yourself, are fundamentally and utterly dependent on Allah. Don't exhaust yourself, you needed other means you need to things outside of yourself. And many of those means you can't even control. So don't give yourself too much praise.

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And all those means were created by Allah. And Allah is the cause of these achievements and the success not you. Don't exalt yourself, as Allah says in the Quran, for what you think you've done,

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is because of Allah.

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And Don't exhaust yourself for things that you have not done. That you may think you but it was me I was responsible, I was leading the organization. No.

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Yes, you were leading the organization, you made good decisions. But the resources that you have, the ones that you can't even control, and even the ones that you can control. They have certain abilities and values and qualities, hardworking, dedicated, skilled, you didn't do that work yourself, they did it. You had to rely on them. They were the means. So don't take credit for that.

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They were part of that. They were the means. And Allah created those means and created you

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and Allah, the cause of all of this success and achievement anyway.

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Don't exhaust yourself for things that you have done, and things that you have not done.

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So therefore we must be humble and grateful to Allah subhanho wa taala. I remember brothers and sisters, success and achievements, whether it's in dower sharing Islam, activism, community work or private, personal social professional life is a blessing. It's an undeserved gift as we mentioned, and it's an honor. It's not a right or something that we ultimately deserve. The final insight brothers and sisters,

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we need to ask a very fundamental question. We need to learn to ask a fundamental question what could have I done better

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What did I not do spiritually or otherwise, that prevented or could have facilitated greater success? This is such an important question to ask my dear brothers and sisters, it's so important because it's in line with SN with excellence. It's in line with someone who is seeking the pleasure of Allah subhanho wa taala.

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This is so important because sometimes we over glorify ourselves or we exalt ourselves we praise ourselves or like, wow, look at my achievements, this is amazing. So we should ask ourselves, brothers and sisters, what did I not do? That prevented greater success? Or what did I do? That prevented greater success? What could I have done more in order to achieve greater success? What of the sooner did I not follow the way of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam, what characteristics should have I improved on or internalized and actualized in order to have greater success? Well, principles of the Dean did not fully implement. So these are the types of questions we should be

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asking. Because it's aligned with humility. It's aligned with gratitude, and it's aligned with turning back to Allah and repenting to Allah subhanho wa taala. So please, brothers and sisters learn to ask, what could have I done better? Or what did I not do spiritually or otherwise and otherwise, that prevented or could have facilitated greater success?

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This question is hardly asked my dear brothers and sisters, and this is not in line with gratitude, humility, and turning back to Allah repenting to Allah subhana wa Tada. No, no final point brothers and sisters, one would ask, What about self esteem Hamza?

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You say that we're just the means. This is an undeserved gift, successes and undeserved gift. eemaan is an undeserved gift. Life is an undeserved gift. Your achievements are undeserved. And so on and so forth. No matter how much hard work we we do and so on and so forth. What about self esteem? Well, this is how I would respond. What greater honor is there, that Allah chose you to be the means for this success? Or achievement?

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Him choosing you, Allah choosing you is enough.

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It's like when Allah says in surah facilite chapter four, one, verse 33. And who is better in speech? Allah is not asking a question. It's like a rhetorical question. He's making an emphasis here linguistically, that the one who is better in speech is the one who calls to Allah does righteousness and says, Indeed, I am one of the Muslims, Allahu Akbar.

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Imagine that you're chosen to share Islam, and you do righteousness. And you submit to Allah. And you just you say, you just want on the Muslims, and you linked your righteousness to your submission to Allah, then you're

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the best in speech, you're one of the best people.

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And any success you do in the Dawa, and even doing Tao itself, which is a success in itself, just doing it. That is because of Allah subhanho wa taala. And saying is because of Allah should not diminish your self esteem. Because remember, Allah has defined you, the one who is worthy of all praise is praising you if you're engaged in this work, and he has honored you by choosing you to be one of the means for this type of success. So this should never affect your self esteem if you frame it in the right way. So to repeat,

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what greater honor can there be than Allah choosing you to be the means for this success and achievement?

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Brothers and sisters, may Allah bless every single one of you. These were the six insights on how to respond to and address success. I pray you have benefited and I pray to Allah, that I actually learn from this as well and I actualized and internalize this in my life, and I bless every single one of you. So no more Alikum warahmatu Allahi wabarakatuh