If you go through the Qur’an in quest of its central message—or the crux of the scripture—you will certainly discover an important point on which the Qur’an lays great emphasis, that is, its concept of Falah. There are other similar words used by the Qur’an such as fawz, etc. Both Falah and fawz mean success. According to the Qur’an, the truly successful are those and only those who are destined to find success in the Hereafter. Two well-known terms are very helpful in understanding the Qur’anic point of view. These terms are ‘promotion’ and ‘break-in service’. After a long period of service, one is given a promotion. Promotion brings better salary and better perks.
According to the Qur’an, the day one dies is the final day when one receives a promotion. In our present world, we have been given all kinds of natural amenities and the best possible life support system. It is like a mini-Paradise in which all the things we have been given are there to test us. One who proves, by his good behavior, in such an environment that he is fit to be admitted to Paradise will be selected and promoted to the eternal life of the next, ideal world. This promotion is based on the record of the pre-death period of life. The present world is also like a paradise, in that it has all those good things which will be given in Paradise, the only difference being that the present world is an imperfect paradise, while the paradise to come will be perfect. Those who will be selected for this promotion will be allowed to settle in the Paradise of the next world, where all the desires they had in this life will be fulfilled. This paradise is free of all kinds of disadvantages and limitations, and the eligible entrants will be able to enjoy all the good things it offers for all eternity.
Then there is a rule in government service that is called ‘break-in service’. Anyone who does his job for up to ten years and more but then absents himself from his office without prior permission shall have to pay a heavy price for this, this being considered a ‘break-in service’. Such is the case of those who have failed to utilize the opportunities that were given to them in the present world. This failure will be treated as a break-in service and the ruling will never be overturned. Defaulters will therefore enter the next world without any kind of favor and they will never have another chance to start their life again.
There is a verse in the Qur’an which says that the present world is very similar to Paradise. (47:6) Why is there this similarity? It stems from divine planning, for God Almighty wants only those who are truly deserving to find a place in the eternal Paradise. He, therefore, created the present world with many similarities to Paradise, so that He should know who measures up to the required paradisiacal standard in the way they live their lives in the present world. Then He will select those who pass the divine test in this life for settlement in the coming paradise—that is, the ideal paradise. This is an idea that makes one very prudent about one’s behavior in this world.