Ramadan Reminders 1444/2023 – Racing to do good deeds

As human beings, competition is deeply ingrained in us. We’ve been competing since time immemorial for things like wealth, status, and power.

We find ourselves competing on a day to day basis to get promoted at work, to be the top in our class, to have a better physique, and so on.

We put so much effort into these competitions, but we don’t put anywhere near the same level of effort into the competition for the akhira.

We can pull off multiple all-nighters when it comes to our exams, but we can’t pull off a single all-nighter for Laylatul Qadr; a night that is equivalent to a thousand months.

We’ve let the competition for the dunya take center stage in our lives while giving the competition for the akhira the back seat.

But this mentality runs contrary to what the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) told us when he said:

مَا مَثَلُ الدُّنْيَا فِي الْآخِرَةِ إِلَّا مَثَلُ مَا يَجْعَلُ أَحَدُكُمْ إِصْبَعَهُ فِي الْيَمِّ فَلْيَنْظُرْ بِمَ يَرْجِعُ

What is the example of this worldly life in comparison to the Hereafter other than one of you dipping his finger in the sea? Let him see what he brings forth.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2858, Grade: Sahih

This means that the dunya is so insignificant compared to the akhira that it essentially amounts to nothing in the grand scheme of things!

Imagine training hard for months on end for an upcoming ultramarathon. And for those that don’t know… an ultramarathon is an extremely challenging race that tests one’s physical endurance and mental toughness to its limits.

Competitors are tasked with running distances that are typically 100 miles long and can even go all the way up to 200 miles! To put that into perspective, a traditional marathon is around 26 miles, which means an ultramarathon is at least four times longer!

Now imagine putting your blood, sweat, and tears into preparing for this race, following a strict training regimen, running for miles on end every day, and carefully monitoring your calorie intake.

Imagine that for all this effort, you will get nothing. No reward, no recognition, not even an internal feeling of satisfaction. This is what completing an ultramarathon will feel like when compared to the akhira. It will be like dipping your finger in the sea.

Which is why we need to straighten out our priorities and put the competition for the akhira at the forefront. The good news is that, by the mercy of Allah, this competition is nowhere near as difficult as an ultramarathon.

Not only that, but Allah, out of His generosity, rewards us beyond measure for even the simplest of deeds. For example, just by praying two rakats of tahajjud on Laylatul Qadr, it is as if you’ve prayed tahajjud for 83 years. Just by attending a janazah from start to finish, you can get two qirats of reward (where each qirat is like the size of Mount Uhud) [1]. And these rewards are everlasting unlike the rewards of the dunya.

An important point to note is that the competition for the akhira does not require one to abandon their competitions in their dunya. This is not what Islam expects of us; to just sit in the masjid all day and completely isolate oneself like what monks do. Rather, worship in Islam is an all-encompassing concept that permeates all aspects of our existence, which means it is not limited to just prayer and fasting but also includes our worldly responsibilities and ambitions.

This means that with regards to the dunyawi competitions that we find ourselves in; all we have to do is to rectify our intentions to make them akhira-focused.

For example…

  • Instead of studying hard in our exams just for the sake of getting good grades, we can study with the intention of using our knowledge to benefit the ummah.
  • Instead of hitting the gym just for aesthetic purposes, we can do so for the purpose of keeping our bodies healthy and strong so that we can worship more, protect our families, and show gratitude to our Creator who gifted us with this body.
  • Instead of amassing wealth just for the sake of acquiring material possessions, we can amass it so that we can spend more in the cause of Allah and thereby earn His pleasure.

In conclusion, the dunya is a place of distraction. It makes us compete for things that yield very little benefit. So the wise man focuses instead on the competition of the akhira whose rewards are far greater and everlasting, and by so doing he ends up earning both the dunya AND the akhira.

Written by Naveed Elahi


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  1. Masha Allah Alhamdulillah I have enjoyed this topic and it has opened my mind and I have learnt something important from this massage, Now I have understand that duniya is nothing but vanity so I will put all my efforts to acquire here after not materials things.

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