The Amazing Race to Allah
Imagine three people running a race of equal athletic ability. one with hidden weights attached to their body, one carrying a heavy load on their back, and a third person without any weights or loads running freely.
The first person has weights strapped on to every inch of their body, so they don’t see the load they carry but they just feel heavy and exhausted, and in a short amount of time, they burn out. They keep trying but keep burning out quickly every time.
The second person is trying to run while carrying a heavy load they recognise and see is on their backs, but they are still determined to run. Unfortunately, the load they carry slips around and even distracts their vision from the racecourse so they veer off in the wrong direction often. Because they won’t simply let go of the load, even coming back to the racecourse itself becomes its own challenge.
The third person has no weights or loads. They are free to run without anything holding them down. They feel light as the wind, and they actually enjoy the run.
Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) mentions in the Qur’an:
“[…] So race to all that is good. […]” (Qur’an 2:148 and 5:48)
“Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers. That is the bounty of Allah which He gives to whom He wills, and Allah is the possessor of great bounty.” (Qur’an 57:21)
“And hasten to forgiveness from your Lord and a garden as wide as the heavens and earth, prepared for the righteous.” (Qur’an 3:133)
“It is these who race for the good deeds, and they are foremost in them.” (Qur’an 23:61)
“And the foremost in the race, the foremost in the race. Those are the ones brought near to Allah.” (Qur’an 56:10-11)
Negative emotions, when held onto, become part of the attachments of dunya (this world). They are the weights attached to the runner as they try to run to Allah (swt) and get exhausted early. A traumatic life event is the heavy load that someone carries over their shoulders after the calamity has passed and they have the ability to put it down.
The general rule in Islam is we always pray and strive for the best. We don’t ask for the lowest level of Jannah and we don’t ask to be a weaker Muslim in the race. We ask to be strong Muslims, to reach the Highest Paradise; we ask for good in this life and the next; and we seek refuge from all that is heavy upon us in the race to Allah (swt).
The Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him) taught us, “The strong believer is better and more beloved to Allah than the weak believer, while there is good in both.”
The intended meaning of strength here is a firm will and a desire to work for the Hereafter. So the one being described as a strong believer is more bold and stern against the enemy in Jihad, quicker to go out and searching for striving in Allah’s path, more in his enjoining the good and forbidding the evil, in his patience with the harms he faces throughout, and stronger in the way he carries out difficult tasks for Allah’s sake.
He loves to pray, fast, make dhikr (remembrance of Allah), and perform the rest of the acts of worship, and he is more active in seeking after these affairs, as he keeps a closer watch over his performance of them.
Please visit our website Jannat Al Quran.