Allah, Exalted is He says:
“The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly thing diverts you…” [At-Takâthur, 102:1]
This chapter talks about Promise, Threat, and Menace. It gives exhortation to whoever understands.
Which means “diverts you…”
That is to say, those matters divert you in a way that you are not to be excused. You are busy doing something else. If this diversion is intentional, then the obligatory acts of worship have been violated, and if it was unintentional as when the Prophet (Peace be upon him) prayed in a clothing which had marks on it and he said, ‘it diverted my attention from my prayer’ [Sahih Bukhari 373], its owner will be excused and it will be considered a form of forgetfulness.
The heart can be diverted and the limbs can be misused and that is why they are gathered together. That is why Allah says which means, “The mutual rivalry of piling up worldly things diverts you” and did not say, “…busies you.”
A worker can use his body in his work while his heart is not diverted by his activity. “Diversion” refers to distraction and avoidance. Allah did not mention the object of their competition in order to keep it general. Whatever the servants are mutually piling up rather than obeying Allah and His Messenger and every matter that will be useful to him on the day of his Resurrection, is to be included in this mutual rivalry.
Mutual rivalry could be money, power, authority, women, speech, or knowledge. This is especially true when the person is in need of this object. It could extend to those things that are not necessary, like further books, volumes and unnecessary questioning and its branches.
Mutual rivalry is when man seeks to acquire more than others and this is dispraised unless it is for something that will bring him closer to Allah. Mutual rivalry includes competing in doing good deeds.
Muslim recorded that Abdullah Ibn Ash-Shikhkhîr (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated, “I came to the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) as he was reciting,
” The mutual rivalry for piling up of worldly things divert you…”. He said, “The son of Adam claims, ‘My Wealth, my wealth.’ And he (the Holy Prophet) said, ‘O son of Adam! Is there anything that really belongs to you, except that which you consumed, which you utilized, or which you wore and then it was worn out or you gave as charity and sent it forward for yourself?'” [Muslim, 2958, 2959]
[Excerpts from Al-Fawâ’id of Imam Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah Rahimahullah]