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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The ill-effects of Competition

In terms of competition there is both positive and negative competition.

Positive competition occurs when people compete with another to do good deeds and when the competition results in people trying to better themselves.

Negative competition occurs when people compete for things that do not bring about good consequences, do not have any benefit for the people involved or it can also occur when people compete for things that are beyond their means. For instance, if someone wants to compete with his neighbour who has a big house, car etc and he himself does not have the means to get these things, this will most likely bring about negative consequences.

Positive competition is allowed and even encouraged in Islam. For instance, people are encouraged to compete with each other to do good deeds. This type of competition is healthy and results in ties between people been strengthened because they end up having a common positive goal. One just has to look at the example of the two Sahaaba (May Allah be pleased with them), Umar and Abu Bakr. Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) always used to try and do more than Abu Bakr (May Allah be pleased with Him). This competition to do good deeds only led to a greater respect and admiration between the two.

Negative competition gives rise to jealousy, envy, enmity and instead of building ties between people it breaks the ties between people. Also, negative competition makes people ungrateful because it stops you from focusing on the good that Allah (SWT) has given you. Instead you end up regarding what you have been given as inferior. This is why the Prophet (SAW) gave the advice of looking to those who have less than ourselves instead of those who have more.

Negative competition makes people bitter, envious and ungrateful. It also lowers people’s self-esteem and makes them feel worthless when they compare themselves to others. These effects are opposite to the effects of positive competition.

Negative competition should always try to be avoided. Here are some suggestion to try and get rid of negative competition in our lives:
  • The best way to do this is to remember that Allah Almighty created all of us differently.We are individuals with our own individual capacity, intelligence, appearance, emotional make-up, etc.
  • Whatever we have Allah has given to us because that suits us. Each person gets what is best for them, and that’s why we should never wish that we were like others.
  • Allah will judge us according to our own situations and not the situations of other people.
  • Instead of wanting to be like others, we should spend time trying to find the positives within ourselves and this will help us to be more grateful of the bounties that Allah Almighty has bestowed upon us.
  • We should try as far as possible not to worry about what others think and say about us because this causes unnecessary negative competition.
Let us try our best to get rid of the negative competition in our lives and instead focus our energies on competing for good things.

May Allah make it easy for all of us, Inshaa Allah


Here’s a little quiz to take to see if you are prone to negative competition or not. Hope you enjoy it!

Am I Competing?

Ask yourself the following questions (circle Yes or No):
• Do I get jealous when others are invited to a function and I am not? Y / N
• Do I feel superior to people who don’t have as much as I do? Y / N
• Do I get sulky when others get more attention? Y / N
• Do I always have to win (or won’t do something unless I can win)? Y / N
• Do I feel more valuable or less valuable than others? Y / N
• Do I have to have the last word? Y / N
• Do I argue frequently? Y / N
If you answered YES to any of the above, parts of your personality are competing negatively. You probbaly don't even realize this and this could be a cause of unhappiness in your life.  
Competing with others just makes you end up feeling drained and stressed out. Positive relationships does not involved competition, instead it involves acceptance and mutual respect!

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