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The Real Contest
Dr. Shehzad Saleem

Not all people are sharp and intelligent, not all are good looking. Not all are born with a silver spoon in their mouth and not all achieve fame. However, the yearning to be intelligent and the desire to be good looking, the wish to be wealthy and the thirst for fame can cause sadness in a person because these are not always achievable. To brood over what one does not have is one of the most common causes of depression and frustration. A person loses interest in life and becomes the victim of inferiority complex if he is persistently overwhelmed with feelings of deprivation. His desire to become superior to others persistently haunts him.

The Qur’ān corrects our approach by pointing out that the real contest among human beings lies elsewhere: the sphere in which they should strive to outdo others, is not the sphere of ordained circumstances and inherent traits: it is the sphere of virtue and piety in which each person has equal opportunity to excel and surpass others. It is just as open to the ugly, the poor and the ordinary as it is to the good looking, the rich and the intelligent. Wasting one’s effort in the wrong sphere only instills a negative approach towards life. If one really wants to test their mettle and enter into a contest with others, he must select the sphere of piety and virtue. The Qur’ān says:

And in no way desire those things in which God has bestowed His favors on some of you over others: to men is allotted what they earn [in the sphere of piety], and to women what they earn [in the sphere of piety]. And ask God of His bounty. For God has full knowledge of all things. (4:32)

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