The 102nd Surah of the Holy Quran begins by informing us that “Rivalry amongst mankind does not cease, until they reach there graves” This is followed up with the repetition of a warning “They will come to know, They will surely come to know, If only they but knew now with certainty”

Two of his 99 beautiful names are Al- Wasi, The all comprehending and Al-Wali, The Protecting friend, so any warning this all comprehending and guiding friend of ours gives us through the Quran should be taken with great importance. But, when the lord of the worlds decides to repeat a warning back to back, surely the importance of the statement multiplies manifold.

I started to look for ways in which this competition and rivalry for things related to worldly matters manifested itself inside myself and although I wasn’t shocked that it did, what shocked me was the way it would come out in the most trivial of occasions.  Like noticing while driving, how the number plate of another vehicle was newer than my own vehicle or that someone had a slightly better version of the same phone as me. Silly little things like these are just a few examples but how did this competitiveness  come to manifest itself inside of me and how widespread has this become?

From a young age we are taught both covertly and openly that we are rivals and competitors of one another, that we are in a dog eat dog world where only the fittest survive and those who make it to the top of the pile are rewarded with great pleasures and honours that we should all aspire to achieving. Living in the freedoms of a capitalist culture we’re told life is all about pleasing ourselves, our own egos and desires, even if it’s in preference over the needs of others. You can see from the video below one example of how severely this competition and rivalry has manifested itself.



So who is responsible for the creation of these desires? Yes of course, it’s us who will be held to account for our own actions, but there is at the heart of our system, mechanisms that operate expressly for the sake of creating these desires within us and therefore making the practice of Islamic ethics and morality difficult for us.

“We must shift America from a needs- to a desires-culture. People must be trained to desire, to want new things, even before the old have been entirely consumed. […] Man’s desires must overshadow his needs.” PAUL MAZER, LEHMAN BROTHERS C.A 1930

Through advertising, marketing and the media, role models are created on our behalves to show us the definition of what ‘normality’ is. Advertising claims that these role models set us free but is the opposite actually true? Do they infact only act to trap us into a narrow minded view of what life is about and what we should hope to accomplish through it?

  • Cocacola – Open Happiness
  • Nike- Just do it
  • Adidas- Impossible is nothing
  • Mcdonalds- I’M loving it
  • Youtube- Broadcast YOURSELF
  • L’oreal- Because I’M worth it                      and on… and on… 

“Inside the Great Mystery that is, we don’t really own anything. What is this competition we feel then, before we go, one at a time, through the same gate?” (Rumi)

I think the lesson I take is that we need to be aware of the competition and rivalry that exists amongst us in regards to matters related to the temporary life of this world. At the same time we must not forget the words of the role model given to us as a gift from Allah, the prophet (pbuh) who told us

“None of you will believe until you love for your brother what you love for yourself.”

O Allah! Assist me in remembering You, in thanking You, and in worshipping You in the best of manners.
Our Lord! Forgive us our sins and the lack of moderation in our doings, and make firm our steps and succour us against those who deny the truth. (3:147)
Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the life to come and keep us safe from the torment of the Fire (2:201)