How Can I Reach the Level of the Prophets and the Early Righteous Community in Our Times?

Answered by Imam Yama Niazi


I wonder how a layperson living in a modern, Western, liberal environment can ever reach the heights attained by the Prophets and the early righteous. I can’t imagine how someone who works a 9-5 job, is desperate for money, and lives in a Fitna-infested environment could ever reach their heights.

How can I reach the level of the Prophets and the early righteous community in our times?


All praise is due to Allah, who has inspired you to seek excellence in your religion.

We are not commanded to be at the level of the prophets or the companions. They have their unique status with Allah. The question is, “How do I become someone Allah accepts and forgives?” The answer is simple. Be the best you can be, considering your time and your place.

Being a Good Muslim

One of my teachers would often quote a hadith to illustrate the rewards under challenging times to those who uphold their religious practice and piety in corrupt times or difficult and trying times. This hadith informs of rewards that reach beyond what most would imagine. See below.

Narrated Abu Umayah Ash-Sha’bani:

“I went to Abu Tha’balah Al-Khushani and said to him: ‘How do you deal with this Ayah?’ He said: ‘Which Ayah?’ I said: ‘Allah’s saying: Take care of yourselves! If you follow the guidance, no harm shall come to you (5:105).’ He said: ‘Well, by Allah! I asked one well-informed about it; I asked the Messenger of Allah [Allah bless him and grant him peace]about it. [So] he said: “Rather, comply with (and order) the good, and stay away from (and prohibit) the evil, until you see avarice obeyed, desires followed, and the world preferred, and everyone is amazed with his view. Then you should be worried about yourself in particular and worry about the common folk. Ahead of you are the days in which patience is like holding onto an ember, for the doer (of righteous deeds) during them is the like of the reward of fifty of those who do the like of what you do.” ‘Abdullah bin Al-Mubarak said: “It was added for me, by other than ‘Utbah, that it was said: ‘O Messenger of Allah! The reward of fifty men among us, or them?’ He said: ‘No! Rather the reward of fifty men among you.’” [Tirmidhi]

Work Is an Act of Worship

Work is not something that is mundane and bares no fruit. Rather, work can and should be a means of attaining the reward from Allah for earning a lawful income.

Abu Huraira (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, “No food is better to man than that which he earns through his manual work. Dawud (peace be upon him), the Prophet of Allah, ate only out of his earnings from his manual work.” [Bukhari]

For more on this topic, read this article:
Adab 07: The Proprieties of Earning a Living.

Finally, this hadith lays out the correct mindset for seeking balance in our religion.

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “Indeed, the religion is easy. No one overburdens himself with the religion but he will be overwhelmed by it. So be moderate in your religion; if you can’t reach perfection, try to be near to it and receive the glad tidings that you will be rewarded. Take benefit of the morning, evening, and part of the night (to worship Allah).” Another narration reads: “Do your duties as good as you can and try to be near to perfection; make use of the morning, evening, and part of the night. Be moderate, be moderate and you will reach your goal.” [Bukhari]

So dear questioner, focus on doing what Allah has commanded each one of us with a focus on fulfilling obligations and abstaining from prohibitions; this will be a path of great good for you in the long term.

From Allah is our success and to Him belongs all praise.
[Imam] Yama Niazi
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Imam Yama Niazi has studied with local scholars in the USA for a number of years which culminated in him becoming an imam of the Islamic Society of Santa Barbara for 8 years. He served the community by teaching and leading prayers. In 2015 he founded “the blessed tree “a nonprofit specifically for bridging gaps between the Muslim community and others. He has spoken on many Muslim platforms throughout the USA and Canada and conducted programs in local communities in North America. He is an instructor at SeekersGuidance.