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“Mom, it’s my friend’s birthday!! All my friends would be wearing Elsa dresses from the movie Frozen, I want one too.” A very commonly heard phrase. Life is full of competitions. We are all competing with each other in numerous worldly matters but do we ever think of competing in religious matters? The beloved companions of Prophet (PBUH) used to compete with each other in religious matters. They used to inquire about ways to compete as comes in the following hadith taken from Al-Arbaeen An-Nawawi’s collection.

On the authority of Abu Dharr (RA): “Some people from amongst the Companions of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said to the Prophet (PBUH), ‘O Messenger of Allah, the affluent have made off with the rewards; they pray as we pray, they fast as we fast, and they give [much] in charity by virtue of their wealth.’ He (PBUH) said, ‘Has not Allah made things for you to give in charity? Truly every Tasbeeh [saying Subhanallah] is a charity, and every Takbeer [saying Allah-u-Akbar] is a charity, and every Tahmeed [saying Alhamdulillah] is a charity, and every Tahleel [saying La-ilaha-ill-Allah] is a charity. And commanding the good is a charity, and forbidding an evil is a charity, and in the sexual act of each one of you there is a charity.’ They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, when one of us fulfills his sexual desire, will he have some reward for that?’ He (PBUH) said: ‘Do you not see that if he were to act upon it [his desire] in an unlawful manner, then he would be deserving of punishment? Likewise, if he were to act upon it in a lawful manner, then he will be deserving of a reward.'” [Muslim]

Splendid! The beloved companions of the Prophet (PBUH) raced in doing good deeds. Each of them wanted to have the greatest reward. On the contrary, in today’s world most people are worried only about worldly gains. Once Prophet (PBUH) said: “By Allah, I do not fear poverty upon you. what I fear is that this Duniya would open upon you like it was opened for those before you. And I am afraid that you will compete in this Duniya like they have competed and that this would destroy you like it had destroyed them.” Therefore, we should not compete with others in getting a better job or marrying the most beautiful/handsome or being the richest because this is not intended and such competitions lead to destruction, rather we should compete in seeking Allah’s Pleasure and reaching Paradise.

Once Prophet (PBUH) was collecting charity in the mosque. There was a very poor man who wanted to take part and spend in the way of Allah too but had nothing except the clothes that he was wearing. He thought of siting on the entrance of the mosque in order to receive some charity. Since everyone knew that the Prophet (PBUH) was collected charity inside, no one gave him anything. He became so upset that he started crying, went to the Prophet (PBUH), told him the whole matter, took off his shirt, gave it to Prophet (PBUH) and made sure that he played his part too.

SUBHANNALLAH! These people never paid attention to their own needs when it came to religious matters. However it should be clearly understood that it is permissible only to sacrifice one’s own needs/wants in such a situation and not the needs/wants/rights of those dependent upon oneself. Imam Al-Hasan Al-Basri once said, “Whoever seeks to compete with you in your religion, compete with him; whoever seeks to compete with you in this world, let him have it.” There is a hidden wisdom behind creating an environment of competition. Each and every inhabitant of such an environment tries his best to win or at least be among the few best. In doing so, the overall standard is raised thus increasing overall success. Same is the case in competing for good deeds.

If the whole Muslim Ummah decides to race towards excelling in good deeds and striving towards doing their level best in all religious matters only for the sake of Allah, the standard of the Ummah would raise automatically thus making Muslims powerful. Furthermore, instead of beating each other on the grounds of beauty, richness or capabilities, we should compete on being the most pious, remaining steadfast or being the most generous. Taking part in such true and healthy competition is extremely worthwhile where success and failure have no meaning, it’s an all WIN-WIN situation. MAY ALLAH MAKE US AMONG THE COMPETITORS OF ETERNAL SUCCESS IN JANNAH! AMEEN!

By Farhat Aziz
Student, Essentials Program, 1st Year.


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