Importance of Healthy Competition

Memorizing the Quran has unimaginable effect on people. As a result of choosing this path, every person builds their special journey in memorizing it. Every person has their unique story of how they connected to Allah (swt) through it and how it changed their life forever. For me, memorizing a part of the Quran has resulted in this same life changing experience. It wasn’t a conscious decision trying to memorize these three chapters in a row. I was involved in a course which required memorizing them. Little did I know that ‘Surah Ar-Rahman’, ‘Surah Al-Waqiah’ and ‘Surah Al-Hadid’ would change my perspective towards life and how I perceive this life and the next.

Surah Ar-Rahman

This chapter helped me realize the immense blessings that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us. It also highlighted the need for a person to be grateful for everything that He has blessed us with. The shift in perspective begins as a person’s focus deepens on the countless blessings Allah (swt) has bestowed them with. The sin of complaining to Allah (swt) for not blessing them with what they want or need, diminishes and eventually vanishes. This is the profound feeling that ‘Surah Ar-Rahman’ brings into a person’s life. The feeling of gratefulness only increases with time from that moment. Undoubtedly, when a person is constantly happy from within for all that he / she has, nothing can worry them.

Many people struggle with this. They keep comparing themselves with others on the bases of what they don’t have. When actually Allah has decided to make them special with what He has given them and will give them, if they are grateful.

Allah (swt) tests each one of us by providing blessings and restricting some as well. He tests to see how we react towards what he has given us. Only if we develop the attitude of being grateful, will the blessings increase. He tests our gratefulness and patience. He tests to see if we are ready, ready for what we are supplicating to Him for. Only when we are ready does He provide it and even if He doesn’t, He makes sure that we know that we will benefit from not having it in the hereafter.

A particular verse that had a profound effect on me was the below one:

“Is the reward for good [anything] but good?” (Verse 60) 

It is a powerful reassurance that nothing is lost out of all the good deeds a person sends upwards. It is carefully recorded and will be retrieved and restored to its rightful owner when the time comes. For all good deeds a person does, he / she will be rewarded immensely.

Surah Al-Waqiah

An increase in gratefulness will definitely motivate a person to take action and work towards a better future. And hence the description of ‘jannah’ in ‘Surah Ar-Rahman’ and its follow-up in ‘Surah Al-Waqiah’ further enhances the effect that these chapters have on a person memorizing them.

The levels of ‘jannah’ discussed in ‘Surah Al-Waqiah’ and how people will be divided into 3 major groups on the day of judgement acts as a catalyst in altering a person’s deeds.  

  • ‘As-Habul-Maimana’ – the People of the Right
  • ‘As-Habul-Mash’ama’ – the People of the Left
  • ‘As-Sabiqoon’ – the Foremost ones

Here is where things get interesting. The constant comparison of these three groups of people will make a person want to strive for more. Especially the below verses:

‘And the Foremost are the foremost. Those are the ones blessed with nearness (to Allah) in gardens of bliss, many from the first generations, and a few from the later ones.’ (Verse 10-14)

The third group is the utmost group, those closest to Allah (swt). Those who strive to please Allah (swt) in all matters. Their most important trait being ever ready to follow Allah’s command. They are those who offer obligatory prayers, fast in ‘Ramadan’, pay ‘zakat’ and are not satisfied with it. They are good to the creation of Allah (swt) and a few good deeds are not enough to keep them satisfied. They constantly want to increase in their worship and in benefit of others. So, they follow the obligatory deeds with voluntary ones (sunnah and nafil acts). They increase in their charity even beyond ‘zakat’. Their life and all struggles in it are merely to please Allah (swt). They are as eager to meet Him as He is to meet them. One cannot help but strive to be listed in this category. And this is what memorization of this chapter of the Quran helps to achieve.

Surah Hadeed

This chapter has many lessons imbibed in it. The verse that catches one’s attention is:

He is the One who reveals clear verses to His servant, so that He brings you out from layers of darkness into the light. And to you, Allah is Very-Kind indeed, Very-Merciful. (verse 9)

Right from ‘Surah Ar-Rahman’ to this chapter in the Quran, a person journey’s from the darkness of ignorance into the light of Islam. Yet another aspect of this chapter is it urges a believer to further increase in charity, worship, and remembrance of Allah(swt). It emphasizes on the fact that this world is merely an enjoyment for a limited time. It is temporary and filled with suffering whereas the hereafter is pleasant and long lasting.

Know well that the worldly life is but a play and an amusement, and a show of beauty, and exchange of boastful claims between you, and a competition of increase in riches and children. (All this is) like a rain, the growth of which attracts the farmers, then it withers, and you see it turning yellow, then it becomes straw. And in the Hereafter there is a severe punishment (for the disbelievers), and forgiveness from Allah and (Allah’s) pleasure (for the believers and the righteous). The worldly life is nothing but a material of delusion. (Verse 20)

The choice lies with each and every one of us, as to which life we want to beautify and look forward to. Moreover, the idea of competing with one another is also discussed in this chapter. The sense of competition is a part of human nature. But we tend to forget that it is a characteristic which Allah (swt) has placed within us so we can increase in our good deeds (in comparison with each other) and strive to achieve higher levels of ‘jannah’. It is definitely not instilled in us, to increase our greed and compete with one another for the leisure and luxury this world has to offer.

Compete with each other in proceeding towards forgiveness from your Lord and to Paradise the width of which is like the width of the sky and the earth. It has been prepared for those who believe in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah; He gives it to whomsoever He Wills and Allah is the Lord of the great bounty. (Verse 21)