lf one wants to know whether
one is climbing upwards toward success, there are certain signs and indications
that can help him to determine his progress.
l. As one becomes more
knowledgeable, one becomes more humble and merciful to others. Think of an
expensive pearl: the more heavy and valuable it is, the deeper it is in the
ocean. A wise person knows that though knowledge is a gift, Allah tests the one
whom He gives it to. When one is thankful for the gift of knowledge, one will
be raised in ranking.
(Allah will exalt in degree
those of you who believe and those who have been granted
knowledge) (Qur’an 58:11)
2. The more one performs
good deeds; the more one becomes cautious and fearful, in the sense that he
does not feel secure from error, such as a slip of the tongue or a change of
heart. He is always in a state of watching over himself and of being wary. He
is like a careful bird: each time it lands on a tree, it soon leaves it for
another, afraid of the skilled hunter and his bullet.
3. The older one gets the
less covetous should one be for this world, for he comes to know with certainty
that his time is soon finished.
4. The wealthier one becomes
the more generous should one be towards others. The wealthy Muslim must
understand that his wealth is a trust given to him, and that Allah is testing
him in that wealth.
5. The higher one’s status
becomes in society, the closer should he be to ordinary people, showing
humility and fulfilling their needs.
But there are also signs
that indicate wretchedness:
l. The more knowledge one attains
the more haughty and arrogant he becomes. Such a person’s knowledge is not beneficial.
His heart is empty and his company is heavy to bear.
2. The more he increases in
deeds, the more proud he becomes and the more contemptuous he becomes of
others. He doesn’t give the benefit of the doubt to anyone except to his own
self Thus, he deems that he is the only one who achieves salvation while all
others are bound for destruction.
3. The older he gets, the
more avarice and cupidity become part of his character. He gathers, but he
never shares. Calamities and misfortune fail to move him into becoming a
benefactor to others.
4. The wealthier he becomes,
the more miserly he becomes with his money.
5. The higher his position
in society, the higher his level of arrogance and haughtiness. The Prophet
(Blessings and Peace be upon him) said:
"The arrogant ones will
be gathered on the Day of Judgment in the form of small ants. People will
trample on them with their feet."
In each of the points
discussed above, I mentioned some of Allah’s favors, favors by which He tests
His slaves: some of those slaves will pass the test while others will fail it.