By Imam Abdullah El-Amin
To each is a goal to which Allah turns him; then strive together (as in a race) Towards all that is good. Wheresoever ye are, Allah will bring you Together. For Allah Hath power over all things.
ALLAH, the Almighty, has equipped the human being with the power to â€œstrive as in a raceâ€ to do good, or to do evil. To do these deeds, He desires us to utilize the tools He has equipped us withâ€“one of these tools is our inner drive. Without it, action is difficult.
I had a conversation recently with a person who was under the impression that the word â€œcompetitiveâ€ denoted a character that was not altogether positive. I found out, during the course of this conversation, that many people in their quest to be right feel that any kind of aggressive behavior is against positive human behavior. They feel it is not being humble enough. As a result, they suppress a trait that was designed by ALLAH to be used for good, and deprive themselves, their families, and their community of something that can be used to enhance us.
It is true that a person that uses their competitive nature because they are envious and jealous of their fellow man does not contribute as much to society as they would if they utilized that nature in the service of the creation, as ALLAH desires. Sure, their works do some good, but they alienate people as well and cause unnecessary confusion in the community.
â€œStriving as in a raceâ€ does not necessarily mean each person striving for the same thing, either. Each of us is different and has unique qualities bestowed on us by our Creator. Some of us are teachers, doctors, plumbers, street sweepers, brain surgeons and rocket scientists. ALLAH wants you to take what He has given us and â€œstrive as in a raceâ€ with all other human beings to do good with our unique gifts.
The more you compete, the stronger your competitive spirit gets; so when you sweep that street or hallway, or perform that delicate heart surgery, and you are striving and racing to see how much good it produces, your moral nature grows and you become more and more competitiveâ€¦but all for the good.
Of course it is imperative to keep your focus on being pleasing to ALLAH. We donâ€™t want to be competitive in selling drugs, or being lazyâ€“seeing how little you can do. During slavery in this country it did not pay for the slaves to be productive. You had no gain if you worked hard. Even today some people say a good job is where you do nothing. This is not the way for a human being to grow. There is no gain because this type of mentality suppresses your competitive drive and you become comfortable just sitting and doing nothing. ALLAH doesnâ€™t like that. We are not donkeys or cows that just sit and eat whatever grass is available. We were created to be productive.
I have a golfing buddy Iâ€™ve been playing with for many years and believe me that competitive spirit is there every time we play. If it wasnâ€™t, the game would not be fun or exciting and you almost certainly wouldnâ€™t win. You have to desire to be good, or at least the best you can be. Then you get respect.
So let us look at every facet of our lives, whether at work, play, or personal relationships. Look deeply at what ALLAH has created in us and use it ONLY FOR HIS SERVICE. Youâ€™ll be amazed at the rate you will grow and prosper
As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin