Competing for the Hereafter…
In the Name of Allah the Most Gracious and the All Compassionate:
Fellow Muslims, Our Almighty Lord says
“And march forth in the way (which leads) to forgiveness from your Lord and for Paradise as wide as are the heavens and the earth, prepared for the pious.” (Al ‘Imran 3:133).
He also says:
“Race one with another in hastening towards Forgiveness from your Lord, and towards Paradise, the width whereof is as the width of heaven and earth, prepared for those who believe in Allah and His Messengers. That is the Grace of Allaah which He bestows on whom He pleases. And Allah is the Owner of Great Bounty.” (Al-Hadeed 57:21)
Let us leave those people moving directionlessly in their fake pleasures and ponder over a better and sublime competition; a competition that is encouraged by the Glorious Qur’an. It is a race towards the Pleasure of Allah and the Paradise, a competition in the field of righteous deeds. It is a competition in which the participants are wise people who are aware that this live is short hence they compete with one another in investing their lives in acts of obedience to Allah.
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) kindled the fire of race towards what pleases Allaah in the hearts of his companions when he said:
“Should I teach something with which you can catch up with those who have gone ahead of you and outstrip those who are behind you and none will be better than you except the one who does as you do?’ They said: ‘Yes! O Messenger of Allah!’ He said: ‘You should glorify Allah, exalt him and praise Him 33 times at the end of every prayer.” (Muslim)
He also said:
“If people had known the reward of Adzaan and the first row (in the congregational prayer) and would not get a way to it except by casting lots they would have certainly done that; and if they had known the reward in the midnoon prayer, they would have raced with one another to attend it. If they had known the reward in the late evening prayer (‘Ishaa) and the dawn prayer (Fajr) they would have attended it even if they had to crawl.” (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim).
When you read the stories of the Sahabah, you will see that they are resolute, enthusiastic and serious as far as good deeds are concerned to the extent that the poor among them do compete with the rich in carrying out meritorious acts even though they had no excessive money with which they could compete with them in acts of charity.
Here is a good example of the Sahabahs’ competition with one another.The noble and commendable competitions that occurred between Abu Bakr(May Allah be pleased with him) and ‘Umar(May Allah be pleased with him) is also well-known though ‘Umar never succeeded in outstripping Abu Bakr(May Allah be pleased with him). To cite an example, the Messenger of Allah saws once called upon his companions to give charity.
‘Umar(may Allah be pleased with him) saw that as an opportunity to outstrip Abu Bakr(may Allah be pleased with him) and he said: ‘Today, I am going to surpass Abu Bakr.’ He said: ‘So I came with half of my property. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) asked: ‘What have you left for your family?’ I answered: ‘As much as this.’ Then Abu Bakr(may Allah be pleased with him) came with all that he has and the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him)said: ‘What have you left for your family?’ He replied: ‘I left for them Allah and his Messenger.’ It is then that I said: ‘I shall never compete with him on anything again.” (At-Tirmidhee).
Actually, entering the competition for meritorious acts creates in a Muslim a desire to meet up with those who are above him in terms of devotion, Da‘wah and Jihad. Some ‘Ulama while commenting on the verse:
“Hasten towards all that is good” (Al-Baqarah 2:1448) said: “Whoever beats others to the righteous deeds in this world will be the foremost on the Last Day and the foremost people are the highest in position.”
Taken from Islam.net with slight modifications.