IAFL organized this competition in 2010. Following are 5 essays from that competition. You can also download them by clicking at highlighted links.
- Essay # 1 – No Title
Praise is exclusively due to Allah, Cherisher and Sustainer of existence. Peace be upon our
leader Muhammad and his followers.
We as Muslims are the inheritors of the Trust. We are culpable and will be brought to
account for how we use this Trust.We set the precedent for establishing a set of criteria to
contrast what is knowledge and what is ignorance. This is related to the similitude given to us
by Allah ta’alaa in that there is no likeness between those who are in darkness (ignorant) and
those who are in the Light(knowledge), for it is as those who can see and those who are blind
Al hamdu liLlah, synchronous to the rapid expansion of al Islam, we gathered
scientific knowledge (architecture, art, medical, philosophical, astronomical, geographical)
voraciously. We set forth with the knowledge of that which is more True than all else as the
basis to learn the truth about our earthly existence. In the quest for knowledge, we were able to
gather it from all points of the compass and to then categorize it voluminously, for the first time
in a centralized way. We stood then, and stand to this day as the qualified mediators of scientific
knowledge. Imam Shafi’i(Allah have mercy on him)said:” Accepting knowledge without proof
is like gathering firewood at night, one never knows when one will pick up a snake.” We
demonstrated the contrast…embracing science, logic, and objective observation of our existence
as incapable of conflicting with Ar-Ruboobiya wal-Uloohiya. Further, these as necessarily
harmonious with the aforementioned. Allah ta’alaa revealed al Furqan. He azza wa jall bestowed
the methodology that we use to discern all matters.There was never a seed of prejudice due to the
removal of and purification from superstitions. We had(and still have) access to al Fitrah.
This Trust binds us, forever inseparably, to the role of leaders, innovators and establishers of
scientific and pseudo-scientific knowledge. The believers remain as teachers of the unbelievers,
never vice-versa. We are khaleefatul-Furqan, we are ar-rashidun, we will be held accountable.
May Allah keeps the jama’ah firmly established on the Siratul Mustaqeem. I pray that Allah
reckon us an easy reckoning. And praise is due to Allah, peace be upon Muhammad, seal of
the prophets. And may Allah accept it. Ameen.
- Essay # 2 – In The Dark:
Buzz! Buzz! The alarm on my nightstand started to wake me. With a groan, I rolled over
and turned it off. I stayed in bed for a few minutes, enjoying the warmth of it, then willed myself
to sit up and walk out of my comfy room. It seemed pretty dark in the hallway, but I took no
notice of that, it was 5:00 in the morning, the sun was not expected to rise until about six.
I grumbled to myself under my breath, “Early news, such a brilliant idea, make people
wake up before the sun is up to broadcast the news. Who even watches the news at 6 o’clock
in the morning?” My excitement at being a news reporter had quickly faded, when, as a new
recruit, I was set to broadcast the early news. The very early news.
I shaved the stubble off my chin, and from my face. Then I got myself dressed in the suit
and tie. I decided to be rebellious and wear one with bright yellow polka dots. See what people at
the station would think of that!
Needless to say, the drive to work was very boring. And to top things off, it was still
dark. I came so close to falling asleep and driving off the road that it wasn’t even funny. Finally
I arrived at work. It was about quarter to six, and I was pretty pleased that I had made it on time.
I strolled into work, carefully straightening my tie, looking all confident and cool about my job.
That is, until my boss spotted me. “Mr. Schyler! We run an enterprising business here, and if you
do not arrive on time, then you will have to be replaced!”
“Yes, Ms. Jones,” I said meekly. Ms. Jones, my boss, was a very intimidating woman,
who towered over everyone that she met. Her hulking body just added to her lovely personality.
She was also known for her temper, which was incredibly short for a woman who had once run a
Snuggles toy store commercial. She seemed to like only two things: her coffee, which was black
and smelled vulgar, and her pet bulldogs, of which resembled her, or vice versa.
It was now about ten minutes until showtime, and I wandered over to the weathermen
who were sitting at the computers, and writing out the forecast for me to read. I walked up to one
of them, some Chinese guy with glasses who was arguing emphatically about something or the
other. “Excuse me sir, is there a problem?” I asked in my best polite get-out-of-my-way voice.
The guy turned right around and gave me a weird look. Then he asked one of the weathermen,
“Who is this man?”
“Well I can answer for myself, I am James Schyler, the new news reporter for the six
o’clock hour.” I said, just a little bit ticked off. The man gave me another look, then he said,
“Look, I don’t have time to deal with you, I have much more important issues to deal with then
some news reporter with a swollen head.”
Ouch. I have to admit, that one came a little close to home. But I could still defend
myself. “Really, well what is your problem?” I asked. The man just ignored me, and turned again
to the group of weathermen. “Look, I need to see the head department person here. It is very
urgent and cannot wait. The very world is at stake!”
“I am sorry, Mr. Wang, but she cannot see you at the moment.” A weatherman told him.
Mr. Wang did not take to this piece of news very well. He became enraged, and color started to
rush to his face. What was this guy’s problem?
“Look, Wang, what is your problem, if I am in the mood, then I maybe could pass a
message along.” Psshh. Like that would happen. I was waaayyy too scared of Ms. Jones to go
near her. It was just sparking my interest on what was eating this guy up so badly.
Wang turned and looked at me. For a second, something crossed his face, probably
indecision, then he spoke to me. “Alright, Mr. Schyler, it is of major importance that you tell
your boss this: Something is wrong. The earth is being pulled out of orbit, and today, there will
be no sunrise. Everyone needs to go back into their houses, and do not travel until word is given.”
I was laughing even before he finished speaking. “Right, and why don’t I tell her that
pigs have started flying too, isn’t that right? Who are you anyway?” My laughter died away
when I looked up in Wang’s face. He wasn’t laughing.
“Take it as a joke, for right now, but you will see. I am right, unfortunately.”
His face was so serious it nearly convinced me. But not quite. “Look, Wang, the sun will rise in a
few minutes, and then we will see who is right.” I brushed the crazy lunatic off.
At that moment, Ms. Jones went into a frenzy. “Schyler, get over here! You are on in 2
minutes!” Someone random shoved the copy of the news into my hands, and I walked out
quickly and took a seat at the table in front of the cameras. I heard the countdown, and then I was
on live TV. “Good morning citizens of Nashville! I am James Schyler, your 6 o’clock news
reporter! If we look out on the outdoor camera, we will see the sun rising over the hills, for what
is expected to be a hot, sunny day!” I made this pointed remark specifically to Wang, who was
standing near the cameras. But as the focus shifted to the outdoor cameras, I felt my stomach
sinking. Outside, where normally the sun would be seen almost fully risen, there was pitch
darkness, as black as night. The cameras shifted back to me, and I lost it. “He was right,” I half
whispered to myself. Then someone stepped in front of me and started yelling. I stared with
amazement. It was Wang! I knew he was a little weird, but this was way beyond normal! “Stay
inside your houses, don’t leave them! The earth is being pulled out of orbit, and we are moving
away from the sun! We will loose all heat and light then we will-“ Wang’s words were cut off
from the newscast as someone turned off the cameras. All I saw was Ms. Jones storming towards
me. “In my office, both of you! NOW!”
It was about 7:20. We were in Ms. Jones office, waiting for her to come in. She was
busy “cleaning up the mess” I had made of the news. From what I had heard, she was going to
pass it off as some kind of April Fools day joke. As a matter of fact, it was April 2nd
not going to be the one to point that out. I snuck a look through the blinds, it was still dark. The
panic that had been growing in my stomach was getting bigger. The weirdo, Wang, was actually
right. And if he was right, then there was going to be no sunlight forever, and then, we would
have no heat, and no light, and then there would be no plants, and then no food, and then-. My
thoughts were interrupted by Ms. Jones, who barged into her office, looking scarier then ever,
and slammed the door behind her. Even Wang, who had kept silent this entire time, jumped at
her entrance. She looked tired, and furious at the same time. “Alright, what is going on here?”
Ms. Jones’ voice had lost her usual screaming tone, and was reduced to a sort of weary loud
voice. “I spent more than an hour picking up the pieces of a ruined job. We could have been put
out of commission for that little stunt. What were you thinking?”
“Well,” I started to say. My plan was to blame it all on Wang, and hope to escape with
my job. “Please allow me to explain,” Wang said.
“My name is Yu Su Wang, and I work in the field of astrology. Recently I have noticed
that every circuit around the sun was becoming more and more irregular, as well as becoming
faster. My reasoning for this is, it is like a ball on a string. The faster you spin it around,
the further out it will reach. Eventually the string will snap, and the ball will fly out into the
unknown depths. That is what has happened to the earth now at this moment. Our ‘string’ has
snapped and we are now set free to wander the depths of space. There is a high chance that we
, but I was
could collide with something and therefore be obliterated.”
I was listening to all this with an incredulous look on my face. I am sure that Ms. Jones
was the same way. “So you mean to tell me that our entire existence is going to die?” she asked
in disbelief. This was new to me. I had never seen Ms. Jones have such a look on her face. I had
seen fury, anger, impatience, grouchiness, the straight-out-death glare cross her face, but never
had I seen disbelief mar those features. “So what do we do about this?” I asked. “Just sit back
and wait to die?”
“Essentially, yes.” Wang replied. “There is nothing we can do to stop the inevitable. But
we can prolong it. When I discovered what was happening to the earth, I immediately informed
several colleagues of mine, and we proceeded to come up with some solutions that will prolong
our free wanderings. We have already launched several protective shields into the atmosphere,
and those will activate on command. We have also started growing many plants in artificial
lighting, but these will not last long. We finally, have switched the majority of our outside
power to hydropower, as it will remain unchanged for this period of time. I came to Nashville to
confirm my theory. This is the first part of the earth that will be feeling the effect of the missing
sunlight. I need everyone in this area to stay calm and in their houses, and most importantly, not
to panic. Panicking will cause complete chaos. That is why I have interrupted your broadcast,
and for that I am deeply sorry.”
Both my boss and I were at a loss for words. Wang also fell silent. His words had been
calm and composed at first, almost rehearsed, but as he continued speaking, his voice had gotten
louder and louder, and his face had become flushed. My guess was that he had been rehearsing
his lines before Ms. Jones had come in. I felt kind of bad for being such a jerk to him before.
Who would have thought that this short, thin man with glasses would be the one to save the
So, overall, the city of Nashville was pretty advanced when it came to realizing
what had happened to the world. I ended up going back on the air, and I was the one to explain
to the people, what was going on, and how to remain calm, and what the government and
scientists were doing to ‘stop’ it. I did lie about the whole, we have no chance kind of thing,
because you have to leave people some kind of hope. And we all followed orders. Soon the grass
died, then the insects, then the small animals, and pretty soon most of the food chain was extinct.
What people found, though is that the scientists had already thought ahead and had food in
reserve. The artificial lighting served to grow plants well, and soon a habitat was thriving,
without light! For most other commodities and luxuries that had become a part of everyday life,
people found they had to give up. There were many examples of ‘modernized’ people who just
gave up all those things and went back to old times. Fire was the source of heat and light, and
flashlights and batteries were saved for rare occasions. Electricity was rationed also, because
hydropower was not enough for everything. So far, everything is working fine. Wang has
become a world-recognized genius, and I have become a sort of world newscaster. Instead of
TV, people would listen on radios. I am now the head of a company, and everyone knows the
name of James Schyler. Also I have the best help. Ms. Jones is amazing at getting people to do
whatever she orders them to do. Some days, or nights, or whatever you wish to call them. I go
outside, and look at all the different stars. And only then do I realize how small and insignificant
we humans are. We are nothing but a small speck and each of us is alone in the dark.
- Essay # 3 – No Title
“And [in] the alternation of night and day…are signs for a people who reason,” (45, 5). If
there was no light, no trees would bloom and no animals would grow. The sun would not
kiss our faces in the summer or warm our hands in the winter. Dark days would not see
brightness and the soul would freeze cold without the assurance that one could sleep off
the darkness, wake up, and be given the opportunity to start over. So what if one morning
we awoke to complete darkness? Yes, the early hours of morning are more often than not
ebony, but what about the latter part of our day?
Everything around us is Allah’s creation. The trees are creations of God. The ground
that supports these trees, the water that grows these trees, and the sun that nourishes
the trees are all Allah’s creations. One may not always realize this, when looking at our
surroundings but I believe, that light, one of the most obvious and noticeable aspects of
nature, is given by Allah to remind us, that he is there. I also believe that the gift of light
is given to us as a chance to rebirth ourselves before the next sunset and the following
sunrise. As stated in sura an’Nur:
“God is the Light of the heavens and the earth;
The similitude of His Light is as if there were a niche;
And within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass;
The glass as it were a glittering star;
Lit from a Blessed Tree…”
Allah has created nature for us to enjoy. Without light, our eyes would not be able to
view and appreciate nature’s greatness. The fact that we are given the opportunity to see,
and study our existence and all that is around us shows us Muslims that we are able to
strengthen our faith and finalize our certainty of Islam.
- Essay # 4 – A world without a sun
It was dark as night. There was stillness all around; not a creature was stirring. Slowly
one by one you saw lights coming on in the houses and people glancing out their windows.
All the people had a look of confusion on their faces. It was still dark outside, when the clock
clearly indicated that sun should be out and shining.
The people at the windows turned around and started to check the clocks in their houses
thinking that there must be something wrong with them. One by one the people came out to talk
to their neighbors to see if they had the same time on their clocks. All the clocks and watches
were showing that it was 6 O’clock in the morning; however there wasn’t a trace of sunlight in
The imam of the town was sitting down in the masjid doing Zikr. He was waiting for
the sun to come up so that he could offer his Ishraq Nafal before leaving for home. Every so
often he looked out the window to see if the sun had come up yet. Every time he looked up the
sky was as dark as before, perhaps even darker. There was not a trace of light in the sky.Finally
the imam got up and went to go check the prayer timetable. It was way past the time for sunrise
but the sun still hadn’t come up yet. He started to get worried. His mind automatically went to
the time in history, during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (s), when the night wouldn’t end.
The sun didn’t come or because Bilal (r) couldn’t give the Azan for the prayer anymore. The sun
only came up when Bilal (r) gave the Azan for Fajr prayer. Remembering this, the imam started
to feel scared and thought about the signs of the day of Judgment and the ending of this world.
He sprang up and started to offer 4 rakats of nafal feeling scared the whole while.
What if this really happened! What would you do? How would you feel? Would you
feel confused! Scared?
This would change your life-style in many ways. The people living in the developed
countries wouldn’t be worried about light much, because of their electricity; but you have to
remember that the electricity only produces artificial light. It could go out any time without a
warning. The people living in the developed nations depend upon the sun for most of their light.
They don’t have electricity available to them for most of the time and when they do have it’s
only there for a little while and then it goes out. They can’t do much while the little electricity
that they get. One must have to buy candles and/or oil so that they can light their lamps and
bring in some warmth.
Sitting in a dark room can make you feel gloomy and make you feel like you’re down in
the dumps. Light brings happiness and hope with it. Where would the world be without light;
without hope and happiness! Without light would there be no hope for a new day, when there is
nothing but darkness all around, all the time?
It won’t be hard for someone to know the answers when you haven’t experienced total
People need the light that came from the sun to help tell time and also direction when
traveling. Sun helps people know when it is time for a certain prayer to be performed. It would
become hard for people to perform there prayers if the sun was the only thing they had to go
by to tell the time. Faith is of utmost importance to most people, and one of the things that
strengthens peoples faith is offering there prayers. What would happen to the faith of the people
if they are not able to perform there prayers at the correct time. Nowadays we have others ways
of telling what time it is and when the sun rises and sets, But in the olden times there was no
science to tell them when the sun sets and rises.
Have you ever thought about what would happen to the plants if there was no sun in sky?
We all know that plants need sunlight in order to grow. This means that if there was no sun, the
plants wouldn’t get any sunlight and die. There is now artificial light like electricity and candle
light but plants don’t grow well in these types of light. All of the food that we eat either come
directly or directly from plants. The meats we eat come from animals, and animals eat plants.
We humans also eat the fruits of all these different plants. We absolutely need the sun to survive.
Sunlight is the strength we need to carry on.
There would be no earth without the sun. The sun represents Faith, strength and Hope for
human kind! When you think about these feelings are linked to the sun in one way of the other.
This light is present in our hearts all the time. Let us hope that it stays there until the end of time.
- Essay # 5 – No Title:
First thing I did on Sunday, was I woke up and brushed my teeth and I changed my clothes.
But when I picked out my clothes I usually looked outside for the weather, but there was no
light because the sun did not rise. I looked out the side of the window then I saw all the plants
and trees were going to die and then I knew I was going to die because there was no other food
source or oxygen source. The plants were going to die because there was on sun. Even if a
scientist figured out how to make oxygen, he wouldn’t be able to make it, because of all of the
outside light is gone. So the plants would die, and then we wouldn’t have any heat. Since there
was no light people couldn’t see to work machines or anything that digs for fossil fuels, oil, and
gas. The animals that eat plants would die, and then the people who eat the animals would die
because there wouldn’t be any food left. People would have to use flashlights until their batteries
died, then they wouldn’t be able to see anything. There would be no light. People would hurt
themselves because they can’t see anything, and then the doctors would not be able to make
medicine because they couldn’t see to make it. People would get lost in the dark. They wouldn’t
be able to drive cars, and there would be no heat. Children would not go to school, and thieves
would have an advantage, because of the dark. People would not be able to communicate with
each other. People would try to live off of fire, because it gives off light and heat, but the wood
would run out, and it would not work. The trees would not grow back, without sunlight. In the
end, we would not be able to survive, because there would be no heat, light, or food.