“O people! Compete in good deeds”

Praise and thanks be to Allah, Lord of the Universes, He who dignified us when He appointed us at the middle positions among the nations.  And honored us when He committed to us the mission of witnessing amongst people, prayer and peace be upon whom has been sent as a mercy to the universes; our Leader, Example, Messenger and Prophet, Muhammad Bin Abdullah. Who has lifted the banner of the world justice on Earth, and the pioneer of the orthodox globalization among communities, and prayer and peace be upon his honorable family, and all his righteous companions.

 Undoubtedly, when one speculates about the world current situation regionally and internationally, clearly, he finds that the human community is in danger. And that the most apparent features of this danger are:

Firstly: A phenomenon culture of the militarizing of the international relations at the expense of the culture of dialogue and peace.

·       The thing that dispels dream of the global village which as long as we spoke a lot about; as a symbol of the inter-acquaintance, mutual approaching and human co-existence.

·       And develops phenomenon of disaccord, wrangle and clash among the cultures and civilizations at the expense of the hopes of peoples and the international communities in security, stability, and growth.

·        Also, it makes a culture of violence, terrorism, overdoing and extremism the dominant culture and policy upon the behavior of the majority of individuals and societies as well as much of the regional and international politics

·       As just it breeds fright, worry, dismay in the souls of the generations, corrupts the environment, and cripples the reasons of growth, also it spreads hard life and insecurity

·       And what is regrettable, that the notable scientific centers in the world today, are theorizing to culture of conflict and clash among civilizations. Just as others are theorizing to the end of human innovation, claming that there is a culture in Earth has reached the top of the cultural and civilizational invention, it is the thing that dos not leave any chance or need for more innovation or advancement. Due to this they announced the idea of the end of history???!!!

Once, I said to an author of this notion: you have to recognize that the movement of history is tied with the movement of science; which is at the same time connected with palpitation of life. For that, you have to know there is no end to history unless with stopping of life.

Regarding the author of the hypothesis of the clash of civilizations, it was said to him - during an international conference on dialogue of civilizations – you are promoting and theorizing to the culture of wars and ruin. Then he said: why not!? Tussle is a human tendency imposed by necessity of survival; then was said to him: but you have to know there is no survival with wars and clashes.  

Secondly: Is the Disturbance of standards of the civilizational walk on Earth. One of the most dangerous features of this problem is disturbance of the relation between the productions of the civilizational innovation and the standards of its using.  

·       In regard to this matter, the former American president, Roosevelt has a precise saying where he says: It is not what we have that matters to be a great nation, but what matters is the way in which we use what we have.

·       The famous American foreign minister Joun Foster Dalas said: The issue is not connected with the materials; we have the greatest production of material things in the world, but what we are lacking is strong faith; without it everything we have becomes little.

·       While Mr. Eden, the foreign minister of Britain in his speech in 1928 said:  One of what is laughable! That the nations spend millions of pounds to save itself from deadly machine it fears, but it doesn’t spend anything to control that machine.

·       On the other hand, the wise and famous Indian philosopher, Taghoor said one time to a Western friend of his during a dialogue with him: You had canned of flying in the sky like birds, and to dive into oceans like fish; however, you have not learn how to walk on this earth like humans.

·       Confucius says: the responsibility of Government is to ensure three matters for the people (armament, food, and regime).  Once he was asked:  If it were requested of you to give up one of the three, which would you begin with?  He said: armament. It was said to him: If you were given the choice between food and regime, of which would you give up?  He said:  I would give up food.

Then, he commented: Armament without regime brings loss and destruction; and without regime food is lost and growth would cease. 

By the way, Confucius is known for his great and famous saying:  If a family is built on a right base, the world will be in safety and peace.

·       Nixon, the former American president said in his famous book available opportunity: In the 20th Century, our technological progress has made more steps from that of our political advancement. The thing that we must not leave it to occur in the next century for the purpose of decreasing the probability of wars and to increase the probability in choices for peace.

·       And from our heritage, the quoted saying: The  (courteous ) tactful believer is the one who knows his time and his path became right.

I wanted to gather these quotes from the governors, rulers, and thinkers to reaffirm the importance of precise balance and the solid complementary between the materials, means, and skills on the one hand; and the principles, values and morals on the other, in actualizing the safe civilizational walking on Earth.

Also, I wanted by all of what has preceded concerning danger that threatens the progression of civilization, so that it may be a preparation for the discussion of the great Islamic call that was sent for all human beings 14th Centuries ago (O mankind! compete in good deeds).

This call has been mentioned in Holy Qur’an in two verses.

The first is in Surat Al-Baqara, verse 148:

( For every nation there is direction to which they face (in their prayers). So hasten towards all that is good Where so ever you may be, Allah will bring you together (on the Day of Resurrection).  Truly Allah is able to do all things))

And the second one is in Surat Al-Maida, verse 48:  (And we have sent down to you ( Muhammad pbuh ) the Book (the Qur’an) in truth, confirming the Scripture that came before it and trustworthy in highness and a witness) over it (old Scriptures).  So judge among them by what Allah has revealed, and follow not their vain desires, diverging from the truth that has come to you.  To each among you, We have prescribed a law and a clear way.  If Allah had willed, He would have made you one nation, but that (He) may test you in what He has given you; so compete in good deeds.  The return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ).

This great Qur’anic text (O mankind! compete in good deeds) has stopped me on the context of my engaging and attention by the impasse of understanding of our relationship with the other, in the frame of task of the succession on Earth, and brooking of joint responsibility of the trust of succession.  So, I stared in pondering these two glorified verses and contemplating their meanings in order to discover their direction and meaning. Then I returned to the sayings of the interpreters and I found that they spoke on the specific meanings that are tied to the reasons of descent for each of the two verses, and spook on the general meaning, and what the toe verses surround from meanings and intendeds, concerning this issue.  And I found them, may Allah have mercy on their souls to be agreeable on the general meaning and that is: (that Allah with this call, calls upon all people in spite of their different opinions and different religious laws, to inter into competition in doing good, for it is more helpful in proofing the truth that every group claims it. The last decision is in Allah Almighty hands He only has the right to says what is the truth and what is the untrue).

This meaning encouraged me to continue in crystallizing an intellectual view - as long as I have been engaged by it - regarding the relationship between Muslim and non-Muslim in the fields of life, and concerning the natural partnership between people in bearing the responsibilities of the trust of succession on earth. Then I began to reflect and contemplate the relevant Qur’anic texts with this subject, as I found that the Holy Qur’an told us about:

·       The purpose of creation of the creatures as Allah Almighty says: (And I (Allah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship me (alone).AL-Dhariyat, 56

·       That all universes are worshipping Allah Almighty: (The seven heavens and the earth and all that is therein, glorify Him and there is not a thing but glorifies His praise. But you understand not their glorification. Truly, He is Ever Forbearing, Oft-Forgiving)) Al-Isra , 44

·       And that the human is made a successor on Earth by the order of Allah Almighty. (Verily, I am going to place mankind as a successor on Earth. AL-Baqarah, 30

·       And the end of the succession is to build the earth and to establish justice (He brought you forth from the earth and settled you therein).  Hud,61 (Verily, Allah enjoins justice and philanthropy ). An-Nahl, 90

·       And I stopped for a long time at the saying of Allah Almighty: (Truly, We did offer al-amanah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allah has ordained) to the heavens and earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it. But man bore it.  Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results) Al-Ahzab,72

And I went back to the sayings of the interpreters, then I found them that they have roamed in its meanings, and they differed greatly in explanation its interpretation; as their opinions have  crystallized to more than 20 interpretations. I found myself closer to those who gave preference to the meaning that says: that the trust is the responsibility of brooking commission of the succession on Earth and establishing justice among people without discrimination. As such this meaning has strengthened and affirmed by the saying of Allah Almighty:

·       (Verily, Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice.  Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (Allah) gives you!  Truly, Allah is Ever All-Hearer, All – Seer)) An-Nisa, 58

·       And the Holy Qur’an continues to speak to us that the life in this world and its ornament and the opportunities of innovation and enjoying its riches are obtainable for all without diminishing or shortage. (Whosoever desires the life of the world and its glitter, to them We shall pay in full (the wages of) their deeds therein, and they will have no diminution therein). Hud,15

·       Also, the Holy Qur’an speaks to us that the whole universe is under the service of human kind for help him to achieve the responsibilities of the trust of succession. (…and He has made the ships to be of service to you, that they may sail through the sea by His command; and He has made rivers (also) to be of service to you.  And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their courses, to be of services to you, and He has made the night and the day, to be of service to you)) Ibrahim, 32-33, (And He has subjected to you all that is in the heavens and all that is in the earth; it is all as a favor and kindness from Him.  Verily, in it are signs for a people who think deeply). Al-Jathiya,. 13

·        Rather Allah’s will and wisdom has decreed to subjugate people one to another to activate the duty of succession and to cooperate in the carrying of its responsibilities.(Is it they who would portion out the Mercy of your Lord?  It is We who portion out between them their livelihood in this world, and We raised some of them above others in ranks, so that some may employ others in their work.  But the Mercy of your Lord (O Muhammad) is better than the (wealth of this world) which they amass).Al-Zukhruf, 32

This enjoyable tourism with the Holy Qur’an, It placed us in front of harmonious group of verses that found to an International cultural and civilizational covenant. Whereas it clarifies and assures that Allah has ordered mankind to charge the responsibility of building the earth and realizing justice. And Almighty decreed that this task and this Divine honor should be a position of cooperation and competition among people, because it is a collective divine duty as it is a common goals requested by interest of mankind in life. So the diversity in creeds and religious laws as well as the diversity in cultures and civilizations must be motive on cooperation and competition in doing good, not source or motive for contradiction or clash, and destruction. However, there is a divine direction requiring all people not to lengthen arguments concerning topics of the religious difference and varietyas Allah Almighty says: ( To you be your religion and to me my religion) AL-Kafirun, 6 , rather they have to take from these diversity a lunching point for cooperation and competition in doing good. This is beneficial in proving the truth that is clamed by each of them.

 (O people! compete in good deeds the return of you (all) is to Allah; then He will inform you about that in which you used to differ).AL-Maidah,48

And Allah Almighty assures this with His saying: (Verily, those who believe (in Allah and His Messenger Muhammad) and those who are Jews, and the Sabians, and the Christians, and the Majus, and those who worship others besides Allah, truly, Allah will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection.  Verily, Allah is over all things a witness).Al-Haj 17

Indeed this great divine call (compete in good deeds) it is an eternal direction for all of mankind, with their different races and religions, laws, sexes, and colors to cooperate and compete in doing good, and this is the clearest proof that the great message of Islam is a world message to accomplish the good on earth, and that it is a message of justice and peace, security and stability, also, it is the message of the orthodox development for all.

In order to realizing these noble goals 14 centuries ago, Islam has presented 7 steady pillars, to be the base of an orthodox and just world charter. These pillars was announced by our leader and prophet Muhammad Bin Abdullah (pbuh), the day he stood on a rock of the mercy mountain of Arafat, during the last pilgrimage he has done. As he directed his address to all people in the world saying:

1.   O people! Your Lord is one. Reaffirming on oneness of source of the faith.

2.   O people! Your father is one. Reaffirming on oneness of the human family.

3.   O people! Your blood and properties are forbidden among you. Reaffirming the sacredness of human life and his belongings.

4.   O people! Allah has ordained that there is no usury. Reaffirming on the economic security.

5.   O people!  Numbers of the months at Allah are twelve, from them four are forbidden. Reaffirming on respecting of time and the sacredness of security, peace, and safety of the environment.

6.   O people!  Take care of women in good; and you have to know there are rights for them upon you and there are rights for you upon them. Reaffirming the importance of the woman’s role as a complete partner with man in carrying life’s responsibilities.

7.   O people! Allah has made injustice forbidden on Himself and He has made it forbidden among you, so do not commit injustice against each other. Reaffirming that justice is the foundation of every virtue and it is the guaranteed guard to the security of the people and countries.

Yes, these seven pillars are our gift to human communities- with the aromatic whiffs of the blessed month of Ramadan- to be the base of a just world order, and to be a lunching point for cooperation and competition in good deeds. 

O people! We have informed you what our prophet (pbuh) has informed us from our Lord, O Allah! Then bear witness.

And the last our supplication is all the praises and thanks be to Allah, Lord of the universes.

Prof. Dr. Hamid Bin Ahmad AL-Rifaie
President of the International Islamic Forum for Dialogue

Jeddah – Saudi Arabia / Ramadan 15, 1424 H – November 09, 2003 G