This world is just a transient prelude to the real life to come. The Qur’an says that this world in reality has not been made to reward a person for every good deed or to punish him for all his bad deeds. It is only in the Hereafter where results will truly be in conformity with the deeds done. Every person who had remained a sincere seeker of the truth would attain success in the world to come. Thus the Qur’an is firm that real success is success in the Hereafter:
He who is saved from Hell and admitted into Heaven indeed attained success. (3:185)
Now what needs to be understood is that Islam wants its adherents to live a profound life in this world by doing whatever they can for its betterment. However, they must always give priority to the requisites of the Hereafter. If they have to choose between good and evil, they must always try to choose good. Other than this, they must strive to make this world a better place by becoming good scientists, engineers, doctors, lawyers and the like. All this is inherent in the urges found in human nature. Islam does not curtail these urges; it only directs man to live with the priority of the Hereafter while contributing to this world through his skills and abilities. In short, one must strike a balance between one’s struggles and efforts to achieve material success, while not overriding the requisites of the life to come.
(Dr Shehzad Saleem)