وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
Wattuqallāha la‘allakum tuflihūn
And have piety of Allah so that you may be victorious.
(Sūrat Āl ‘Imrān, No 3, Āyat 200)
In various verses of the Noble Quran, the above sentence is repeated (for example, see 2:189 and 3:130 for the exact same wording). In these blessed verses, taqwā (piety) is categorically mentioned as the means of attaining victory. In other words, the trait of being an obedient servant of Allah ‘azza wajall is itself a key factor for man to attain success in his works. This may initially seem surprising. If Muslims have certain social and political goals they are pursuing, what difference does it make if they uphold taqwā in their individual lives? Can they not work for the cause of Islam and succeed in this path, even if they have not yet mastered the ability of controlling their base desires and their anger? Does it matter if a soldier of Islam does not control his eyes and his tongue from that which is forbidden by Allah subhānahu wata‘ālā?
The reality, as mentioned in this verse, is that it does indeed matter! Allah has ordained that those who have taqwā, those who strengthen and preserve their relationship with Him, these are the people who shall leave a lasting and profound effect in helping the cause of Islam. Those servants of Allah who implore Him humbly in their night prayers, He will give success to their pure efforts and allow these efforts to come to fruition. Success—in particular for those who seek to spread Islamic values and serve the Muslim nation—does not come about by apparent means such as time-management, emotional skills of dealing with others, the ability to speak and write well, etc. These are important and necessary factors, but if they are not coupled with taqwā they will not be successful.
A cursory glance at those who left a lasting and positive impact on the Muslim nation will attest to this reality, both in contemporary times as well as in history. The epitome of such individuals whose piety resulted in the success of their efforts, can be seen in the Ahlul Bayt ‘alayhimus-salām. For example, while Sayyidah Fātimah (a) was active at the social level and tried to awaken the Muslims to the deviation that had transpired after her father’s demise, it was her piety and her lofty spiritual station that gave blessings and success to her efforts.
On one hand she engages in society, addressing the ladies of the Muhājirūn and the Ansār who had come to visit her when is she is sick, warning them that:
It [the camel of the caliphate] has become pregnant, wait a little to see its result, then milk a large wooden vessel full of fresh blood and bitter poison. (Al-Tabarsī, al-Ihtijāj, v 1, p 109)
On the other hand, her luminous position and her relationship with Allah is beyond that which we can comprehend. On one Thursday night, she engages in worship for the entire night, in rukū’ and in sajdah, supplicating for other believers by name, but not mentioning herself or her family. When asked by her young son, Imam al-Hasan (a) about it, she replies: My son! The neighbor, then the house. (Al-Sadūq, ‘Ilal al-Sharā’i’, v 1, p 182)
May Allah allow us to be amongst those who equip themselves with the quality of taqwā such that their endeavors in this world attain success. May Allah, by the sake of Sayyidah Fātimah (a), allow us to be from her followers and those who mourn and love her, while also following in her footsteps of serving Islam with piety.
Resources: Āyatullāh Sayyid Alī Khamenei, Tarhe Kullī-ye Andīshe-ye Islamī Dar Qur’ān (Islamic Beliefs).