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Do Not Live Without a Vision

One key quality of any successful person is to live for a mission. Unsuccessful people live from one day to the next. They are not inspired by something virtuous not living for a noble goal and therefore they do not live a noble life. Islam, being a religion of nobility, does not want people to live in this way. Allah encourages people to compete for the best possible afterlife and be inspired all of the time. In the Qur’an we read,

“Race one with another in hastening towards Forgiveness from your Lord (Allah), and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.”[1]

Such people are dedicated to achieve what they want and look for all possible means to facilitate such achievements for themselves. Having vision is paramount to the success of a person. In his book The seven Habits of Highly Successful People, Stephen Covey considered “beginning with the end in mind” as the second habit of such successful people. In fact, we easily see that when Allah desired to send a prophet, he would prepare him to be a special person with high ambition. He inspired him from an early age to become a leader and set out a vision for him. Our Prophet was raised a poor orphan – this situation tends to set a ceiling for what a person might aim for, however Allah decreed that his grandfather would look after him. His grandfather, Abdu’l-Muttalib, was the chief of the Quraish tribe which was the most dignified tribe in the world. Hence, the Prophet tasted the life of dignified leaders. Furthermore, his grandfather used to love him so much that the Prophet had the privilege to do what others could not do. For example, his grandfather would sit on a mat that no one else was allowed to sit on except the young Muhammad. Throughout his teenage years he was not involved in the many indecent activities others his age were. He was inspired to be different. Similarly, Prophet Yusuf was inspired to think big and be ready for greatness. Allah says,

“(Remember) when Yusuf (Joseph) said to his father: “O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon, I saw them prostrating themselves to me.”[2]

Moses was also inspired from a very young age as he was raised up in the Pharaoh’s house even though he was from the Children of Israel whom the Pharoah wanted to subjugate and destroy.

There is no doubt that life takes on a different meaning once a person sets out a vision for him/herself and works towards it. On the other hand it is boring and devastating when a person lives for nothing of substantial value.

Many people think that they have a vision but in reality they have nothing. Countless brothers and sisters consult me regarding key decisions in their life. My answer has always been and continues to be, ‘if you had a clear vision of what you want to be or what you want to do, you would not ask such questions!’ Some brothers and sisters may say that they want to worship Allah or they want to go to paradise. This is good, but the key question is how? Moreover, Paradise is of different levels, which level are you aiming for? The reality is many people do not have a vision. In order to set out a vision for yourself simply put yourself in the shoes of your father, what does he do now after being retired and do you want to follow the same routine?

A vision that does not materialise

I am sure that at this point many people will ask the following question: what about a vision that I failed to achieve due to ‘out of hand’ circumstances? Failing to achieve it is likely to demotivate a person and might lead to negative consequences. However, this is not true if the person follows an Islamic way of setting out his vision.

Abu Kabshah al-Anmaari, a Companion of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with him), stated that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) saying: “Four people are making the most of this world: a man to whom Allah gives wealth and knowledge, so he fears his Lord with regard to the way in which he disposes of his wealth, and he uses it to uphold ties of kinship and he realizes that Allah has rights over it. This man occupies the highest status. And a man to whom Allah has given knowledge but did not give him wealth, so he is sincere in his intention when he says,

‘If I had wealth I would have done the same as so and so is doing.’ So he will be rewarded according to his intention and the reward of both of them is the same.”[3]

Anas ibn Maalik (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) came back from the campaign to Tabuk and when he drew close to Madinah he said:

“In Madinah there are people who, whenever you travelled any distance or crossed any valley, were with you.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, even though they are in Madinah?” He said: “Even though they are in Madinah, because they were kept there by (valid) excuses.””[4]

Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani (may Allah have mercy on him) wrote in his commentary on Sahih al-Bukhari, ‘This indicates that a man may attain by means of his intention that which the one who does the deed may attain when he is prevented from acting by some (valid) excuse.’

In conclusion once a person sets out a vision and tries all possible means to achieve it yet fails to do so in this life, he will be rewarded in the hereafter. In reality, the person did not fail and thus there is no need for him to despair or lose hope. This is a unique aspect of Islam and demonstrates its beauty. Furthermore, this demonstrates that any achievement in this life is worthless if it does not count in the afterlife where he will not be worried about what he may have missed out on. Allah says,

“Know that the life of this world is only play and amusement, pomp and mutual boasting among you and rivalry in respect of wealth and children, as the likeness of vegetation after rain, thereof the growth is pleasing to the tiller; afterwards it dries up and you see it turning yellow; then it becomes straw. But in the Hereafter (there is) a severe torment (for the disbelievers, evil-doers), and (there is) Forgiveness from Allah and (His) Good Pleasure (for the believers, good-doers), whereas the life of this world is only a deceiving enjoyment.”[5]

The believer should also believe in the Divine’s wisdom and submit to Him – it is in this way that he will not be frustrated due to the inability to fully achieve what he desired. Allah says,

“That is the Grace of Allah, which He bestows on whom He wills. And Allah is the Owner of Mighty Grace.”[6]

As a final point, it must be noted that if Allah knows that a person is committed to achieving his goal He will help him to achieve it. It is amazing to read the stories that establish this point. Once Abdullah ibn al-Zubair, Musab ibn al-Zubair, Urwah ibn al-Zubair and Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab gathered together in al-Hijr next to the Kaʽbah and they said to each other let us wish. As for Abdullah ibn al-Zubair, he wanted to be the caliph over the Hijaz, Musab ibn al-Zubair wanted to be the governor of Iraq and to marry beautiful women. Urwah ibn al-Zubair desired to be a scholar of hadith and Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab wished for paradise. al-Dhahabi, the great historian said that everyone received what they desired (we pray that Abdullah ibn Umar ibn al-Khattab will receive paradise). Therefore, I urge all brothers and sisters to ask themselves – what is my vision for this life and the hereafter?

In the next article I will discuss the best vision sisters can have.


Islam21c requests all the readers of this article, and others, to share it on your facebook, twitter, and other platforms to further spread our efforts.

[1] Al-Qur’an 57:21
[2] Al-Qur’an 12:4
[3] Al-Tirmidhi (2325) and Ibn Majaah (4228).
[4] Al-Bukhari (4423)
[5] Al-Qur’an 57:20
[6] Al-Qur’an 62:64



About Shaykh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.


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  2. Assalamalaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    May Allah reward the shaikh for these words of advice…and help us achieve noble aims

  3. mr
    A highly reflective and encouraging article. May Allah guide us through our visions with ease.

  4. mr
    A highly reflective & encouraging article.

  5. mr
    A highly reflective & encouraging article.

  6. I have a vision of being an active contributor to the caliphate which would come into existence through Imam Mehdi.

  7. Interesting but not much revealing
    Good to touch upon such topics by our sheik(s) instead of continuous repetition of the obvious. Thank you Sheikh.
    If I could understand one thing: as Sheikh mentioned, and from the plethora of Hadeeths and teachings, all muslims should have one single vision- get to paradise; that’s very broad and generic, it’s like having a vision to live happy, or establish peace all over the world; this cannot serve as a vision as I understand it. I would formulate a vision like that: Having in mind that the ultimate reward you’d ever dream to achieve is paradise in the afterlife, I have a vision to become a doctor who will find a cure for one of the most terrible deseases on earth. Since the first part of the vision statement is common for all muslims, it can be skipped!!

  8. Strategic Vision
    this article is close to my heart because i work in a strategic planning department. and i have to assess the company performance using balanced scorecards. it is an excellent effort but i would like to make some minor points:
    1. First para mentions “mission” mission is about why you exist it does not mean “vision”. E.g. The mission of a telecom company is to provide telecom services. It’s vision might be to be the best telecom company in the region.
    2. For me it is not sufficient for someone to say that if they had the resources they would have done, such and such like another person has done it. For me they would have to prove, that if they couldn’t do their first choice, they did their second, if not that then their 3rd, etc. Rathr like when the prophet said. If you see something wrong correct it with your hand, if you cant, then speak against it, if you can’t then hate it etc.
    3. The final paragraph creates some confusion about, Allah helping those who have a vision. yes, but Allah helps those who help themselves. i.e. You have to make a plan, with milestones and steps to achieve each and every one. part of planning is being realistic.

    best wishes and congratulations on the effort.
    Salaam Shoaib

  9. A must read especially for the youth today who are going to be the leaders of tomorrow insha Allah. Jazak Allahu khayran for another great article.

  10. Brother with a vision
    May Allaah reward you fo reminding and encourgaing us to aspire to a higher level than we are. We are anticipating the next article on the best visions sisters can have – which is also a eqaully important read for brothers (who all are uncles, father, brothers, husbands.

    This advice of our Sheikh should be follwed with campaigns targeting particularly:

    – Muslim students attending universityies and colleges
    – Parents of school aged children
    – Islamic madaaris
    – Homework clubs etc

    May Allaah help us to reach the highest and most noble GOALS..

  11. Just today i was speaking to a sister about this. I told her you have to think about what you want to achieve as the end point.. a great tool i picked up from the Shaikh (may Allaah preserve him) in Manhaj Al-Istidlaal mashaAllaah.

  12. ….
    I read The seven habits book and for a while, it really did help me, in respect especially to how I could serve Allah. I was criticised for reading it however – on the basis that I should seek help only from Islamic sources oarticularly the Qur’an and the Sunnah. It did make me question whether this person was right…but if we read for purposes of improving, primarily for our purpose of life thsn this is ibaadah inshaAlkah right?
    Totally agree with a previous comment – may Allah preserve our respectable Shaikh Haitham for us and grant him, hafidhahullah, and his family Firdaws al-A’la. I look forward to the article for the sisters inshaAllah.

  13. JazakAllah-Khayr Ya Sheik
    May Allah reward and protect our Sheik.

    A wonderful article and very suitable for us Muslims in this present day.

  14. heavensdelight

    Jazakallah kheir sheikh, I am so grateful that I can now make a plan and work towards it. Very interested to read what you have for us sisters. Please make duah for me as I would love to be married again. I pray that Allah swt grants you jennah al-fadous. Ameen and to all the other sheikhs and advocates of Islam.

  15. Excellent prompt
    Masha’Allah! What a refreshing article. Visualising through Islamic lenses, I love it. Often people envisage themselves being materially successful, or doing something “Islamic” to become popular or unique. Rarely are we reminded that out ability to visualise (coupled with sincerity) will inevitably determine our level in Jannah!

    Shaykh Haytham I urge you to follow this article with practical steps to cure laziness, procrastination and any other distractions that hinder us from working towards our goal.

    May Allah preserve you and increase you in goodness.

    Barakalllah Feeka

  16. Mustapha badru

    Salam sheikh ,may allah reward you and your families in this life and hereafter,your advice and the proved from the story of the companions of the holy prophet [swa],give me more courage and also to be more determed,dedication and disiplined,steadfastening toward my vission in my life.

  17. Next Article
    Wow, I loved it! I’m waiting for the next article! Thankyou
    Sheikh Haitham Al-Haddad!

  18. much needed advice
    i love the shaikh because he advises us like this may Allah give him the highest grades of jannah amin. looking forward to part 2

  19. much needed advice
    i love the shaikh because he advises us like this may Allah give him the highest grades of jannah amin. looking forward to reading part 2

  20. JZK
    JazakAllah khair for a much needed article, too many Muslims are lacking aspiration.
    I eagerly await the next article!
    Shaykh Haitham is to in tune with what the people need, may Allah bless him & his family with much khair in their visions for.deen, dunya & aakhirah, Aameen.

  21. mohammed uzairu

    This is a very educative article keep up the good work May ALLAH bless and guide you

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