Friday Sermon

Dangers of Destructive Calls and the Necessity of
Resisting them to Achieve Security and Stability
Ṣafar 29, 1437AH/Dec. 11, 2015CE

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Key Ideas

  1. Grace of security and stability
  2. Stability is a religious and national duty  
  3. Factors of national stability:
  4. Patriotism
  5. Promotion of mutual kindness and cooperation among people
  6. Obeying the ruler in good deeds and service of one’s nation
  7. Warning against disorders
  8. Dangers of destructive calls on individuals and community
  9. Resisting these destructive calls is urgently necessary

Topic

Security and stability are of the divine greatest graces; without them, human beings suffer unease and insecurity and cannot enjoy life even if they have all means to the worldly happiness and pleasures. The true happiness and pleasure of this world entirely depends upon the procurement of security and stability. According to the Prophet’s statement: “Anyone of you who is secure in his property, healthy in his body and has his food for the day has actually—as if he—possessed the entire world” (al-Tirmidhi).

The grace of security and stability is the goal of all creation on the earth. Ibrāhīm (peace be upon him) prayed for the security and stability of his family and people. He said, “My Lord, make this a land of peace and provide for its inhabitants of the fruits for whoever believes in God and the Last Day” (the Quran, 2: 126). Evidently, Ibrāhīm supplicated Allah to endow the people of Mecca with security and provision, giving precedence to security over provision. Security is essential for human serenity and life. Allah responded to his prophet’s supplication and endowed Mecca with stability and safety by His Will and Decree until it became the blessed home of Islam, thanks to Ibrāhīm’s prayers. In another context, Ibrāhīm gave precedence to the grace of security over the grace of worship and true belief in the oneness of Allah: “My Lord, make this a land of peace, and keep me and my sons away from serving statues” (the Quran, 14: 35).

Allah also reminded the people of Mecca of the great graces of security and prosperous life that He conferred on them: “So let them serve the Lord of this Sanctuary; the One who fed them from hunger, and protected them from fear” (the Quran, 106: 3-4).

He also reminded them of the secure sanctuary that He made for them: “Have they not seen that We have set up a sanctuary secure, while all around them the people are in constant danger? Would they still believe in falsehood, and reject the blessings of God?” (the Quran, 29: 67).

Security and stability are the main ways to the progress of nations and communities, whereby people enjoy their lives; economy develops and grows as evident in the Glorious Quran. Allah reminded the people of Sheba of the Grace of security and stability, as He (may He be Exalted) says, “And We placed between them and between the towns that We blessed, towns that were easy to see; and We measured the journey between them: “Travel in them by night and day in complete security” (the Quran, 34: 18). The progress of nations and civilization is conditional upon the domination of security and stability among all members.

Insecurity and instability affect nations and peoples even in performance of religious rites, which is the first objective behind the human creation. The manner of Fear Prayer thus differs from the ordinary prayers in case of security. Likewise, the obligation of ajj is conditional upon the available secure roads; if the road is insecure, the ajj is not obligatory. In other words, acts of worship can only be observed in the optimal manner when both security and stability are guaranteed.

When the nation enjoys security and all citizens feel their life, wealth and dignity secure and respected, the whole community enjoys tranquil and stable life free from terrors, worries and disorders. The community achieves progress and prosperity; the stability of nations is thus a religious necessity and national request. It is also one of the greatest Islamic objectives.

Important factors of stability also include patriotism; a human being shall love his homeland where he enjoys all legal freedoms and feels the value of one’s homeland. In his migration way from Mecca to Medina, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) practically gave a lofty example of human love of homelands; he deeply loved Mecca and felt its great value despite the given cruelty of its people. Revealing this feeling, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “By Allah, you are the best of Allah’s lands and the most beloved land to Allah; if it were not that your people expelled me from you, I would not have departed” (Ahmad and al-Tirmidhi). According to the narration of Ibn ʿAbbas (may Allah be pleased with him and with his father): “How sweet of a land you are and how dear you are to me, and if it were not that my people expelled me from you, I would not have resided in any other land” (al-Tirmidhi).

After his migration to Medina, he began his endeavors to construct the newborn state; he wanted to teach his Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) and all humankind that only those who love nations will build them. He thus used to supplicate Allah, as narrated by ʿAishah (may Allah be pleased with her), saying: “O Allah! Make us love Medina as You made us love Mecca, or more” (al-Bukhari). The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) only prayed for the love of his new homeland for the achievement of national stability and security.

 It is then obligatory upon a human being to safeguard and preserve his homeland undertaking his national duties and responsibilities in the best manner. The value of homeland is a basic Islamic value, which shall not be violated. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) praised highly the one who protects his homeland and sacrifices his rest for it promising him a relief from punishment. Ibn ʿAbbas (may Allah be pleased with him and with his father) said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saying, “Two eyes shall not be touched by Fire: an eye that weeps from the fear of Allah and an eye that spends the night standing on guard in the cause of Allah” (al-Tirmidhi).

National love is essential for any stable society; when a human being loves his homeland he feels responsible for its security and stability and never yields to false destructive calls. When a person feels secure in his homeland, his psychological state becomes secure and he proves creative in his works giving the best production and growth he can.

Stability factors also include the promotion of mutual kindness and cooperation among people; the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “A believer to another believer is like a building whose different parts enforce each other; the Prophet then clasped his hands with the fingers interlaced (while saying that)” (al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Keep apart from disputes and discrepancies, as they only lead to disunity and destruction. Allah (my He be Exalted) says, “And obey Allah and His messenger, and do not dispute else you will fail and your momentum will depart, and be patient. God is with the patient” (the Quran, 8: 46).

Beware of differences and disputes; they only incur disunity and loss. Beware of biased and partisan affiliations, as they only lead community to ruin and disintegration. All must concertedly cooperate for the achievement of secure homeland in submission to Allah’s command: “And help each other in piety and righteousness, and do not help each other in sin and aggression. And be aware of Allah, for the retribution of Allah is severe” (the Quran, 5: 2).

The most important factor for national security is to hear and obey the rulers apart from disobeying Allah, Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the messenger and those in authority among you. If you dispute in any matter, then you shall refer it to Allah and His messenger if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for knowing” (the Quran, 4: 59). The rulers are in charge of implementing the laws of Allah on the earth. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Sultan is the shadow of Allah i.e. viceroy, on the earth; he who respects him will have God’s respect and he who disrespect him will be disgraced by God” (al-Tabarani and al-Bayhaqi). According to another prophetic statement: “He who respects Allah’s laws in this world will have the divine respect on the Day of Resurrection. Yet, he who disregards them in this world will be disregarded on the Day of Resurrection” (Ahmad).

It is a religious duty to obey the rulers in matters of obedience to Allah and national interests; their orders and prohibitions shall be obeyed unless they lead to a sin. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, I heard the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saying, “Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah; and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah, and whoever obeys the ruler I appoint, obeys me, and whoever disobeys him, disobeys me. The Muslim ruler is like a shield behind him people fight and get protection (from wrongdoing and aggression). If he enjoins fear of God, the Exalted and Glorious, and dispenses justice, there will be a (great) reward for him; and if he enjoins otherwise, it redounds on him” (al-Bukhari). Obeying the rulers in matters free of sins leads to the reform of religion and life whereas disobeying the ruler leads to mischief and ruin.

A person shall obey the rulers and keep to the Muslim main community apart from rebellion that incurs disunity. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said, I heard the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saying, “One who defects from obedience (to the ruler) and separates from the main body of the Muslim community— if he dies in that state— would die in darkness. Likewise, the one who fights under a blind banner and gets flared up with family pride, calls (people) to fight for their family honor and supports kith and kin (i.e. is not fighting in the cause of Allah but for the sake of family or tribe)— if he is killed (in this fight), he dies in darkness. Whoso attacks my ummah (indiscriminately) killing the righteous and the wicked of them, sparing not (even) those staunch in faith and fulfilling not his promise made with those who have been given a pledge of security – he has nothing to do with me and I have nothing to do with him” (Muslim).

The reason behind the necessity of obeying rulers is most likely the avoidance of evils that follow disobedience; such evils are greater in scale than the benefits expected from rebellion against them. Actually, extending advice and promoting reform have several peaceful and democratic means to escape disunity and differences and their consequences of bloodshed, violations, destruction and loss of properties and diaspora. All these evils are seen to all following the chaos caused by disobedience of some rulers.

Evoking disorder and chaos is the gravest danger that destabilizes nations, leading graces to disappear and afflictions to befall, disintegrating peoples and nations, spreading vices and expelling virtues. It strengthens the spirit of enmity and grudge and uproots the spirit of love and fraternity. Like fire, disorder consumes everything separating a person from his brother, mother, children and wife. It only drives away from the obedience of Allah, the Lord of all. Damned is the one who fuels chaos and inflames conflicts, which spoil life and lead to bad consequences. Hellfire is the last abode awaiting both the killer and the one killed in chaos.

Islam proves keen on relieving the community from the evils of chaos. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) teaches us to take the necessary preventive measures in case of chaos. He educates Muslims how to face this case as cited in the prophetic tradition narrated by Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn al-As (may Allah be pleased with him and his father). He narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him)  said: “How will you be at a time that will soon come, when the good people will pass away and only the worst ones will be left, who will break their promises and betray their trusts. They will differ while they were previously together like this,” – and he interlaced his fingers. They said: “What should we do, O Messenger of Allah, when that comes to pass?” He said: “Follow that which you know is true, and leave that which you dislike. Take care of your own affairs and turn away from the common folk” (Abu Dawud).

Keep to union and safeguard your nation; beware of disorders, hidden or manifest. Allah warns us against chaos and disorder in several contexts of His Glorious Book. For example, He (may He be Exalted) told us that chaos will bring all to ruin, those who advocate it and those who oppose it: “And be aware of a disorder that will not only afflict those of you who were wicked; and know that Allah is severe in retribution” (the Quran, 8: 25).

The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) warned us in so many traditions. For example, Huzayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him): “Temptations will be presented to men’s hearts as reed mat is woven stick by stick and any heart which is impregnated by them will have a black mark put into it. However, any heart which rejects them will have a white mark put in it. The result is that there will become two types of hearts: one white like a white stone which will not be harmed by any turmoil or temptation, so long as the heavens and the earth endure; and the other black and dust-colored like a vessel which is upset, not recognizing what is good or rejecting what is abominable, but being impregnated with passion” (Muslim).

Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) saying: “There will be afflictions (in the near future) during which a sitting person will be better than a standing one, and the standing one will be better than a walking one, and the walking one will be better than a running one, and whoever will expose himself to these afflictions, they will destroy him. So whoever can find a place of protection or refuge from them, should take shelter in it” (al-Bukhari and Muslim).

It is incumbent upon a Muslim of sound mind to escape chaos and take necessary precautions against them. Anas Ibn Malik (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said to al-Anṣar: “After me you will see others given preference to you; so be patient till you meet me, and your promised place (of meeting) will be the Tank (i.e. Lake of Kauthar)” (al-Bukhari).

It is one of the basics of Muslim character, who seeks salvation in this life and in the life to come, to escape disorder. The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) advised him who seeks for success to escape disorder as possible as he could. Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “There will be soon a period of turmoil in which the one who sits will be better than one who stands and the one who stands will be better than one who walks and the one who walks will be better than one who runs. He who would watch them will be drawn by them. So he who finds a refuge or shelter against it should make it as his resort” (al-Bukhari and Muslim).

To escape chaos one shall obey the commands of Allah and his Messenger. More to the point, one shall adhere to the main body of Muslims and obey the rulers in good deeds that bring about the national interests. Allah warns against any deviation or involvement in disorder, which may incur painful punishment. Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “Let those who oppose his command beware, for an ordeal may strike them, or a painful retribution” (the Quran, 24: 63).

All shall cooperate for the prosperity and progress of this blessed homeland by virtue of hard work and preservation of properties. All shall also keep to the national ethics and morals, systems and laws to achieve security and stability. A good citizen helps the construction of his homeland and safeguards the national security without following the deviant people driven by personal interests.

Destructive calls and their mongers seek to spread chaos and destroy nation whereas Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “And hold firmly to the rope of Allah, all of you, and do not be separated. And remember the blessing of Allah upon you when you were enemies and He united your hearts. Then you became, with His blessing, brothers; and you were on the edge of a pit of fire and He saved you from it; it is thus that God clarifies for you His signs that you may be guided” (the Quran, 3: 103).

The gravest chaos that endangers society and incurs instability is the destructive calls that only arise from the diseased hearts of those who have fragile faith and weak sense of their homeland. The extremists always work on dismembering societies and bring about instability and insecurity that result in disunity and disintegration. Their strategies and plots are endlessly malicious; they only aim to topple and destabilize the state.

Abuse of religion is one of the worst means to disunity and rancor; it launches false and empty slogans, redundant speeches and fruitless debates that ultimately achieve no good end. Recently, some odd voices and destructive calls find no qualm or shyness to spread mischief and bloodshed and to terrify the secure people; they promote evil calls while Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “As for those who enjoy that immorality spreads amongst those who have acknowledged, they will have a painful retribution in the world and the Hereafter. God knows while you do not know” (the Quran, 24: 19).

The advocates of destructive calls seek to destroy society, spread chaos and waste the respect of laws that seriously endanger the national security. The destructive calls are the fuel of terror and extremism; they provide a pretext to slander society and may lead to grave seditions throwing lands and citizens into evil ends of bloodshed, destruction and devastation. More to the point, they destabilize the individual and social security. Lessons to be taken from the neighboring countries that fell to ruin and chaos. At last, Islam strongly promotes security, safety and stability and warns against aggression and terrorism.

Arab solidarity and patriotism are prerequisite to face terrorism and challenges

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Elements

  1. Islamic calls to unity and cooperation
  2. Dangers of disunity and disputes
  3. Patriotism is a national and religious duty
  4. Inevitability of Arab and Muslim solidarity
  5. Effects of Arab solidarity in face of terrorism and challenges

Topic

It is a sign of Islamic faith grandeur that it promotes human values and ethics, among—not only Muslims but also, all humans; it encourages Muslims to impart these values in their communities. It also promotes the calls to unity, cooperation, friendship, mutual sympathy, solidarity, fraternity and reciprocal support with a view to achieving social peace.

The Islamic sacred texts clearly defend and preach these values:

  • Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “And hold fast, all together, unto the bond of Allah, and do not draw apart from one another. You have to remember the blessings, which Allah has bestowed upon you: how, when you were enemies, He brought your hearts together, so that through His blessing you became brethren; and [how, when] you were on the brink of a fiery abyss and He saved you from it. In this way does Allah make clear His messages unto you, so that you might find guidance” (the Quran, 3: 103).
  • Allah (may He be Exalted) says “help one another in furthering virtue and God-consciousness, and do not help one another in furthering evil and enmity” (the Quran, 5: 2)

Similarly, the prophetic statements also promote Muslim unity and solidarity:

  • Al-Nuʿman Ibn Bashir (May Allah be pleased with him and his father) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said: “The likeness of believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy is just like one body; when any of its limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever” (Recorded by Muslim).
  • ʿAbdullah Ibn ʿUmar (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) said, “A Muslim is a brother of his fellow Muslim. He should not oppress him nor should he hand him over to [evils]. If anyone fulfills his brother’s needs, Allah will fulfill his needs; and whoever covers up the fault of a Muslim, Allah will cover up his fault on the Day of Resurrection” (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

The Muslim union, cooperation and coordination in all fields are all inescapable duties for any nation with ambitions for success, progress, prosperity in face of difficulties and challenges.

  • Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “The Believers are but brothers” (the Qur’ān, 49: 10). For Islam, the nation must be friendly united and integrated.
  • Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “This is your nation, one nation, and I am your Lord so serve Me” (the Quran, 21: 92)
  • Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “This is your nation, one nation, and I am your Lord so remain conscious of Me” (the Quran, 23: 52)

Muslim union is an inevitable duty as a translation of the divine scheme of Islamic faith and law as well as their religious ultimate goal and way. Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “And know that this is the way leading straight unto Me, so follow it and follow not other ways, lest they cause you to deviate. These are the Divine commandments ordained for you, so that you may live upright” (the Quran, 6: 153).

Promoting union and integration and discouraging from disunion and disintegration, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said:

“Surely, Allah likes three things for your and dislikes three things for you; He likes  that you worship Him and associate none with Him; and that you all take hold of the bond of Allah and keep apart from disunity. He dislikes engagement in chitchat, persistent questioning and squandering wealth” (Recorded by Muslim).

The Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) also said,

“A faithful believer to a faithful believer is like the bricks of a wall; they strengthen each other. Saying that, he clasped his hands interlacing his fingers” (Recorded by al-Bukhari).

It is necessary to expedite to union and coalition and denounce disunity and disintegration holding fast to the Muslim fraternity in all life practical possibilities.

Islam also calls to union and friendship and makes several caveats against differences and disputes, which are only conducive to weakness and defeats. Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “Be not like those who have drawn apart from one another and have taken to conflicting views after all evidence of the truth has come unto them: for these it is for whom tremendous suffering is in store” (the Quran, 3: 105). Allah also says, “Do not dispute; else you will fail and lose your strength. Be steadfast, for certainly, Allah is with the steadfast” (the Quran, 8: 46).

Indeed, Muslim differences and disputes incur grave dangers and evil consequences; they preclude cooperation and solidarity, lead to disintegration and disunity and undermine Muslim material, military and intellectual powers.

It is no doubt that our need to deepening and entrenching patriotic values and senses is currently most urgent. Sincere loyalty to the nation must take precedence over all other interests including the partisan, sectarian, organization or international interests. For Islam, the value of one’s homeland is greatly important. That the moment when he was departing Mecca, the Prophet paid his loved city saying: “I know that you are the best of Allah’s Land and the most beloved to Allah. Unless you people drove me out, I would not have departed” (Recorded by Ahmad).

On his way back to Medina after his expedition to Khaybar, the Prophet pointed to Medina with his hand and said, “O Allah, I make the area which is in between Medina’s two mountains a sanctuary, as Abraham made Mecca a sanctuary. O Allah, bless us in our Saʿ (a certain measure which equals 4 mudds) and Mudd (a handful of an average person used as a unit of measuring)” (Recorded by al-Bukhari).

Shawqi says,

For homelands’ rights are due debts and favors in blood of all free people      

It is no doubt that our Arab nation is currently suffering a very crucial phase necessitating all Arabs to integrate, cooperate and hold fast to unity in face of challenges. Al-Nuʿmān Ibn Bashir (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) narrated that the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said:

“The example of the person abiding by Allah’s order and restrictions in comparison to those who violate them is like the example of those persons who drew lots for their seats in a ship. Some of them got seats in the upper part, and the others in the lower. When the latter needed water, they had to go up to bring water (and that troubled the others), so they said, ‘Let us make a hole in our share of the ship (and get water) saving those who are above us from troubling them. So, if the people in the upper part left the others do what they had suggested, all the people of the ship would be destroyed, but if they prevented them, both parties would be safe” (Recorded by al-Bukhari).

The Arab union and cooperation are inevitably essential to the protection of Arab interests and political regimes against the imperial schemes and plots to invade the Arab nation and disintegrate the Arab lands with a view to dominating them. The real Arab solidarity turns the united Arab nation into a very significant and insurmountable power in the international political forums and economic blocs as well as in fields of thinking, culture and media production.

The Arabs, as an integrated and united nation, can create a powerful political and economic entity rich with many talents and distinctive characteristics. The Arab solidarity signifies the real cooperation for construction of communities; the partial solidarity is indeed imperfect and fails to meet the Arab national prospects. The Arabs are in need of an inclusive renaissance and a comprehensive solidarity, which entail integration of all efforts and mobilization of all energies. This universal mobilization makes it the duty of all individuals to work together seriously against terrorism and terroristic organizations, which endanger several Arab countries to achieve security and peace for all Arabs and humankind in general.

The phenomenon of terrorism is the most serious domestic challenge encountering the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is not a new problem. The world suffered this problem long time ago. It has only currently increased in scope and scale leaving more victims and giving rise to new unprecedented terrifying forms. Terrorists kill and destroy the lives of innocent people sparing none, even children, women, aged or young people. Worse indeed are the crimes of burnings, oppressions and mayhems, which are frequently done in the name of Islam while Islam is free from these hideous crimes; Islam is the religion of mercy, civilization and humanity. It forbids the violation of human blood, honor or property. Allah (may He be Exalted) says, “And do not take the life which God has made forbidden, except in justice” (the Quran, 6: 151). Similarly, in his all-inclusive Farewell Speech on Ḥajj, the Prophet (may Allah’s Peace and Blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed, your blood, your property and your honor are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month and in this town of yours. He then said: have I conveyed this message [to you]? In reply, they said: Yes. He said, O Allah, be a witness to this.” (Recorded by Muslim in his Sahih collection and Ahmad in his Musand).

It is no doubt that the past years witnessed a drastic change in this phenomenon; terroristic crimes increase by day and it is not expected to end unless all countries work collectively to face this phenomenon. The Arab solidarity in the broad sense of the word means the real cooperation in face of these challenges. Endeavors should work on uprooting terroristic cells and organizations to build new communities and promote the Arab union. Actually, solidarity and cooperation have great benefits for sake of Arab union and solidarity. They can entrench relations between individuals, communities and countries and strengthen friendship and peace to mitigate the bad effects of terrorism and ably face challenges.

It is necessary for comprehensive solidarity to mobilize all efforts and energies and invest expertise and minds of Arabs and non-Arabs in collective work within all fields. It is a point of pride for Muslims that their faith is one, their prophet is one, their prayers’ destination is one, their culture is one and their history is the same and so will be their present and future. We should work together for the prosperity and happiness of all.

At last, we affirm the necessity of Arab solidarity and cooperation amongst the Arab people to face challenges and protect the Arab national security and common interests. Bearing in mind the challenges that face the Arab nation, solidarity is urgently necessary and brooks no further delay, especially the battle against terrorism and terroristic elements until the complete elimination of these elements.

Competition in Goodness and Nation Service
Muharram 24th, 1437 – November 6th, 2015

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Allah Almighty has created human beings, honored and favored them over all other creatures and equipped them with significant qualities and faculties to lead a stable prosperous life. For example, Allah created in humans the intellect whereby they can think and recognize what is good and what is evil. Humans are created with senses in order to figure out their surroundings. They have emotions in order to better communicate with others. Human being is born with all these qualities in order to enjoy and lead a balanced life.  Allah Almighty has privileged humans with such qualities and capabilities and has put them on this earth to populate it. With this in mind, life has become a big field for humans to compete with one another according to the rules that Allah has established.

A thorough look into our world reveals that people are of different interests and consequently have different conditions of life. Some people only search for money and, therefore, they are fully preoccupied with accumulating wealth. Others are fond of discovering and inventing new things; they hopefully maintain the world with discoveries and inventions. Others are so keen on gratifying their desires whatsoever and take so much as they can from worldly pleasures. Each one of those people uses their talents and God-given qualities in achieving what they aspire for.  Some other people are gifted in physical strength and body building, and they consequently invest their physical strength wherever it fits. This difference in interests does not apply only to individuals but it extends to communities and nations at large as well.

But what about the Muslim Person? Where should the ambitions of Muslims fit in?

The Muslim is of a good character; therefore, he always seeks all that is good. Allah Almighty explains that He set a direction for every nation to follow. However, He extremely urges Muslims to hasten to do all that is good (Quran 2: 148). In the same context, Allah explains that the return of all humans will be unto Him and then He will judge people according to how much good they have accomplished (Quran 5: 48). Somewhere else in the Quran, Allah also calls upon all of us to seek His forgiveness and work hard to attain Paradise by doing all that is good (Quran 3: 133).

Islam is the religion of goodness and happiness. Islam aims at populating the earth with righteous individuals and communities. Islam recognizes the virtue of competition and encourages humans to utilize their talents in attaining all that is good for themselves and their communities. One goal that Muslims are commanded to achieve is to attain happiness in the life of this world and the hereafter. Allah the Almighty teaches that we should seek the hereafter through whatever we do; yet we may enjoy the life of this world provided we do not go against the religion (Quran 28: 77). The Muslim believes that the life of this world is just a bridge to the life hereafter.

Competition in doing good deeds is highly recommended in Islam, whereby competitors spare no efforts in serving their communities. Muslims are motivated to take part in such competition since the reward will be Paradise and eternal bliss.

In this regard, the Prophet (PBUH) encourages Muslims to get involved and take the lead.

Narrated Abu Hurayrah (RA):

A group of poor people came to the Prophet (PBUH) and complained: “O Prophet! The wealthy people get away with all the rewards.” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “And what is that?” |They explained: “The wealthy people pray as we pray and they fast as we fast. However, they have money to give in charity but we do not.” The Prophet (PBUH) said to them: “Shall I teach you a deed whereby you will attain the rank of those who excelled you in the religion, and you will excel others in the religion, and none will be like you in this regard unless they do like what you do?” They said: “Yes Prophet!” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Say Glory be to Allah, Praise be to Allah, and Allah is the Greatest thirty three times after each prayer.”

According to this narration, the Prophet (PBUH) teaches the poor people to fix their inability to give charities by confessing glory and praise to Allah, which is one of the best deeds ever in Allah’s sight.

Looking into the following Prophetic narration we can easily notice how the Prophet (PBUH) extremely encourages Muslims to keep up with acts of worship on top of which ritual prayer sits.

Abu Hurayrah (RA) narrated that the Prophet (PBUH) said: “If the people knew what the reward of calling the Adhan (the call to prayer) and for attending in the first row in congregational prayers, they would draw lots for who would do it. And if the people knew (the reward of) praying dhuhr (noon) prayer on time, they would race for it. And if the people knew the reward of attending ‘Isha (evening) and Fajr (dawn) prayers on time and in congregation, they would come to them even if they had to crawl.”

Actually the spirit of competition inspired the companions of the Prophet (PBUH). Abu Bakr would always race for all that is good.

Once, the Prophet (PBUH) asked the companions to give in charity. ‘Umar (RA) said: “At that time I had some money. I said to myself: ‘Today I shall excel Abu Bakr, if I were ever to excel him one time.” `Umar took half of his wealth to the Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) asked him: “What have you left for your family `Umar?” `Umar said: “This is the half of my wealth and I left for my family the second half.” Then, Abu Bakr (RA) came in with all his wealth. The Prophet (PBUH) said to him: “What have you left for your family Abu Bakr?” He said, “I have left Allah and His Messenger for them.” Thereupon, `Umar said: “It seems like I will never be able to beat Abu Bakr.”

Here is another example that clearly shows how the companions compete in doing good.

Narrated Abdullah Ibn Mas`ood:

Allah the Almighty revealed: “Who is he that will lend to Allah a goodly loan so that He may multiply it for him many times? And it is Allah that decreases or increases (your provisions), and unto Him you shall return.” (Quran 2: 245)

When this verse was revealed, Abu Ad-Dahdah was a companion of the Prophet who said to the Prophet: “O Prophet! Does Allah need a loan from us?” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Yes! O Abu Ad-Dahdah!” Abu Ad-Dahdah said: “O Prophet! Stretch your hand.” The Prophet stretched his hand and Abu Ad-Dahdah took the Prophet’s hand and said: “O Prophet! I have given my garden as a loan to my Lord.” Abu Ad-Dahdah had a garden with six hundred date trees and his wife and children were living in that garden too. Abu Ad-Dahdah went back to his wife and called her: “`Umm Ad-Dahdah!” She said: “Yes!” He said: “Let us get out of the garden, because I have given it as a loan to my Lord, the Exalted and Most Honored.” She said: “That must be a successful transaction Abu Ad-Dahdah!” She then collected her things, took the children, and left.” The Prophet (PBUH) was so pleased with what Abu Ad-Dahdah did and said: “Abu Ad-Dahdah! You have plentiful sweet date clusters in Paradise!”

Narrated Anas (RA):

Abu Talha was the richest man in Medina; the best property he owned was a garden called Bayruhaa and it was located in front of the Mosque of the Prophet. The Prophet used to visit this garden and drink from its nice water.

Allah has revealed his saying: “By no means shall you attain righteousness unless you spend (in charity) of that which you love.” (Quran 3.92) Hearing this verse, Abu Talha went to the Prophet (PBUH) and said: “O Prophet! Allah says: “By no means shall you attain righteousness, unless you spend (in charity) of that which you love.” As you know Bayruhaa garden is the most beloved of my wealth to me. So, I want to give it in charity for Allah’s sake. I am looking for the reward of this from Allah. You could spend it where you see fit.” The Prophet (PBUH) said: “That is great Abu Talha! That should be a successful deal. However, I think you better give it away to your relatives.” Abu Talha said: “I will, Prophet!” Then, Abu Talha distributed the garden amongst his relatives. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Those who came after the Prophet and his companions followed in the same path as they would compete in doing all that was good. Waheeb Ibn Al-Ward says: “If you could excel everybody in the way to Allah, then do.”

The wise person is the one who takes the opportunity to do all that is good as long as he is able to. You never know: now you have the opportunity to do good deeds but maybe in the future you will not. Now you are young but soon you will become old. Now you have good health, maybe in the future you will fall sick. Therefore, we need to race against time and hasten to do as much of good as we can. You never know what is going to happen in the future.

In this regard, the Prophet (PBUH) says: “Hasten to do good deeds before trials and tribulations come over. When they occur, such trials and tribulations will be as confusing as darkness is. A person will be a believer in the morning and a disbeliever in the evening and another person will be a disbeliever in the morning and a believer in the evening; they will sell out the religion for a worldly gain.”

There are multiple fields of goodness. The Muslim should actively enter all these fields before it becomes too late. Allah praises those who hasten to goodness as He says: “Indeed, they who are apprehensive from fear of their Lord, and they who believe in the signs of their Lord, and they who do not associate anything with their Lord, and they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord, it is those who hasten to good deeds, and they outstrip [others] therein.” (Quran 23: 57 – 61)

The Muslim is required to hasten to do that is good. Allah says: “Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth.” (Quran 57: 21)

The Prophet (PBUH) explains that Allah the Almighty has prepared for the righteous a Paradise which has pleasures and enjoyments that none may ever expect.

Competition in doing good deeds is characteristic of all Allah’s prophets as Allah Almighty states (Quran 21: 90). It is characteristic of the believers as well (Quran 56: 10 – 12).

The Prophet (PBUH) says: “The people of Paradise will see those who will live in levels above them as you see the stars all over the sky. The distance is big between them since they are different in their degrees of righteousness.” The companions asked the Prophet (PBUH): “Do you mean that those who are above are higher in rank and they will be the prophets of Allah who none will attain their ranks?” The Prophet said: “No! Those who are above are normal people who believed in Allah and accepted the prophets.”

All the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) took part in this competition; they all, individuals and communities, would compete in doing all that is good.

Narrated Abu Huryrah:

One day, the Prophet (PBUH) asked: “Who is fasting today?” Abu Bakr said: “I am.” The Prophet again said: “Who has attended a funeral procession today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” The Prophet again said: “Who offered food to the needy today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” The Prophet again said: “Who visited a sick person today?” Abu Bakr said: “I did.” Thereupon, the Prophet said: “Anyone who does these four deeds combined will certainly enter Paradise.”

Ubay ibn Ka’b said that there was a man whose house was too far from the mosque. However, he never missed a congregational prayer at the mosque. It was said to this man: “You could buy a donkey and ride it to the mosque especially when it is too hot or dark at night to walk. The man said: “You know what. I do not wish my house to be close to the mosque.  I would rather walk many steps to the mosque and even more back to my house so that all these steps back and forth are recorded as good deeds in my account. The Prophet (PBUH) said to this man: “You have been already given what you sought.” [Muslims]

Competition is one way to develop strong determination and ignite enthusiasm. Competition reveals who is good and who is bad. Competition reveals points of weakness and strength in one’s character. They will never be equal; those who hasten and those who are sluggish. Allah the Almighty Says: “And why do you not spend in the cause of Allah while to Allah belongs the ownership of the heavens and the earth? Not equal among you are those who spent before the conquest of Mecca and fought and those who did so after. The former are greater in degree than those who spent afterwards and fought. But to all Allah has promised the best reward.” (Quran 57: 10)

In fact, competition contributes to the progressiveness of nations. A nation should advance if there is a competition among its individuals, parties and organizations in serving people and sparing no effort to protect the society. Let us walk the talk and translate our beliefs into actions.

The principle of competing for goodness should be highly featured through social work and community service that always aim to enhance people’s life and improve the overall condition of society. Such is a mission and not a slogan to chant; it is a mission that practically stands for the protection of human interest. Let actions speak louder than words when it comes to national work. The Prophet (PBUH) deferred it to us to manage our worldly life affairs our own way and taught that we must balance the life of this world with the life hereafter. The Prophet (PBUH) says: “Work on maintaining the life of this world as if you would live forever and work on maintaining the life hereafter as you would die tomorrow.”

The feeling of belonging to one’s country must be present in our everyday life if we want to maintain our growth and stability. Let everyone strengthen the feeling of belonging to their country by positive participation in social work and community service. Let everybody defend the overall interest of their country and let everyone raise their heads and be proud of their belonging to their country.

To wrap it up, there are many ways to compete for the goodness of one’s country. Some examples include hard work, religious commitment, and national love. Other examples include defending religion and keeping it away from being a cause of civil strife and fragmentation.