How do you define success? Surely attaining whatever you strive for is part of success. So if you get that coveted degree, position in a company, the desired performance rating, love of that significant other, your dream vehicle/home, amassed wealth, comfortable lifestyle, intelligent kids, etc. you feel that you are successful. The exact details of success might vary from person to person and circumstance to circumstance.
Yet the supreme success that encompasses everything else is in being pleased with Allah (SWT) and Allah (SWT) being pleased with you. That is the touchstone of all aspects of success for a Believer. Whenever we mention the name of a Companion of the Prophet (SWAS) – i.e. a Sahabi, we say radhi Allahu anhu, i.e. may Allah be pleased with him – often abbreviated (RA). There is no formalism in using this description for the Sahabis. They were serious in pursuing their supreme goal was of being pleased with Allah (SWT) and doing those actions that were pleasing to Him. They were characterized by this characteristic and that is what led to Islam spreading like a wildfire in all known continents of that time, within a generation or two.
Allah will say, "This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness." For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment. (Al Maida 5:119)
Finding out what pleases and displeases Allah (SWT) is incumbent upon everyone who is serious about success. This entails embarking on a mission of systematic learning and implementing the deen in oneself and in one’s society – filtering out of one’s actions what displeases Allah (SWT) and replacing it with good characteristics, while keep one’s intentions sincerely for Him.
We find in our societies people who are materially very well off but do not have tranquility and balance in their lives. Our deen is naturally made to suit us. It caters to all our needs. Thus by implementing all its aspects we are forced to pay attention to every part of our lives in a manner that is suitable and sufficient for it. Thus a practicing Muslim is balanced. He takes care of his worship, education – secular and religious, self-development, work, body, family, relatives, neighbors, community, colleagues, friends, etc. Giving each its proper right, mainly because doing so is pleasing to his Lord. In fact that is the main reason he tries to excel in each aspect. He will be rewarded for all of these sincere efforts both in this world and the Hereafter. That is the Supreme Success!