I Am Better Than Him


http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregoryjordan/4638164288/By Dina Basiony

“I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay,” (Qur’an, 7:12).

Among the most intriguing aspects about the Qur’an is that it constantly urges the reader to reflect, understand and remember aspects about the reality of life. In the aforementioned verse, the reader is reminded of the source of envy.

“I am better than him!” That was Iblis’s answer when he was asked why he disobeyed the order of God. He envied. Envy is the root of many conflicts we see around us all the time; whether between family members, at work places or between friends.

The problem is that this state of envy results in one’s inability to see things as they are. Iblis saw the external being of Adam, alayhi as-salaam—peace be upon him, but he didn’t see the internal. He saw Adam (as) made of clay. He didn’t see the heart of Adam (as) that surrenders to His Creator, subhanahu wa ta`ala – exalted is He, with utmost love and humility.

Observe what Adam (as) said upon disappointing God (swt): “Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and have mercy upon us, we will surely be among the losers, (Qur’an, 7:23).

When Adam (as) made a mistake, he immediately repented out of fear of losing the connection and love of his Beloved (swt).  But when Iblis made a mistake, he became arrogant and argumentative, unable to see the wisdom beyond.  Similarly, when people are hateful and envious, they judge others by their external appearances, unable to look beyond.

“I’m better. I deserve this more. We are right, they are wrong…” This is what one thinks in moments of arrogance and envy forgetting that by doing so, they’re trading the beautiful qualities of humility and trust in God (swt) that characterizes the sons of Adam (as) with the heated envious qualities of the one who was made of fire!

Humility, patience, softness and trust in God (swt)—this is the beauty of the state of Islam (surrendering with peace). Envy; however, fills a person with explosive negative energy and may force him/her to focus on revenge rather than productivity and moving on with life.  Why waste one’s time on that?

So, whenever you’re in a situation in which you’re tempted to become envious, remember:

  1. Both the good and the bad are a test from God (swt). “[He] who created death and life to test you [as to] which of you is best in deed – and He is the Exalted in Might, the Forgiving,” (Qur’an, 67:2).
  2. You may hate that something happened or didn’t happen: “But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not,” (Qur’an, 2:216).
  3. If you sincerely deserve something, put your trust in God (swt), He will definitely reward you: “And be patient, for indeed, Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of those who do good,” (Qur’an, 11:115).
  4. Remember the reality of this life. “And whatever thing you [people] have been given – it is [only for] the enjoyment of worldly life and its adornment. And what is with Allah is better and more lasting; so will you not use reason?”  (Qur’an, 28:60).

There is beauty and wisdom in that the Qur’anic revelation that begins with this verse: “Recite in the name of your Rabb who created (96.1).” Rabb comes from the same root as tarbiya’ which refers to educating. This invites the human being to read life, read reality and read the self through its Creator, the Supreme Educator, the All-Knowing (swt). To put matters in perspective, read and understand life through His Wisdom and with His Help (swt).

So find comfort in approaching Allah (swt) with love and humility. Find comfort in remembering and reciting His words in prayers and asking of His (swt) ease, mercy and blessings after prayers. Find comfort in the company and remembrance of Allah (swt): “Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured, ” (Qur’an, 13:28).

May Allah (swt) remove any irritating envy from our hearts, may He place the coolness of His sakeena (rest and serenity) upon everyone’s hearts and may He keep us focused on and reminded of our destination. We belong to Allah (swt), and to Him we shall return.

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13 Comments

  1. anthony says:

    Qur’an,67:2 continues to purge actions and consequences to reaction and reactionary aspects of our character.
    Imagine, to grow pure by clear intention and Godly attributes.
    Cleansing before prayer,oh to purge the nature within carnal man and expiate purgatively, a more righteous behavior.
    We need to expire the fire within,to bring to an end,
    to die out and become the expiscator of the soul!

  2. aslan says:

    Allhumdulliah ..amazing read…perfect…I want to write like this but I am unable to do so…..Please let me know how can I become a writer

    • Dina Basiony says:

      Salam alaykum,

      I just saw this, Subhan Allah. I wanted to say that when I first started writing at the University’s paper, my writing was quite a mess. I had a strong desire to write, but definitely needed to learn a lot. AlhamdulAllah, over time, the needed skills will be developed. So, don’t think you “can’t” write. You can. Like any talent, you need to polish your writing further and practice in order to reach your goal, Insha’Allah. If you could enroll in a nearby writing center that would be helpful as well, Insha’Allah.
      Now, you can start by writing very short pieces (maybe just one paragraph) on the topic you’re passionate about. Just be as sincere as possible. Think about sincerity from the minute you have an idea until you finish writing your piece. The most important thing is for you to have a message, a sincere message. Then, try to express it as clear, simple and sincere as possible. Think about what you can write or say that would benefit people, those in your circle and beyond. Do think about benefiting people, Insha’Allah. Writing is a mean to an end. It is not an end, in-and-of itself. So, your end could be…spreading mercy, kindness, peace, or reminding people of essential principles that characterize us as human beings. Don’t try to be judgmental. Just think of an advice from your heart to the hearts of people. May Allah benefit and have mercy on all His people. Also, don’t worry about fancy vocabulary. Again, the end is to spread goodness, not to show off.
      You could write about small, but thoughtful, incidents that provoked your thinking and helped you see the wisdom and beauty in a Quranic verse, for example. If you’re going to share specific pieces of knowledge, try to check and double check until you are certain of the information you are spreading. You might seek help from experts; whether on Islam, or any other field you’re writing about. This will make writing a learning experience for you and the readers.
      Last, but not least, seek the Help of Allah (swt). If you asked Allah (swt) sincerely to enable you to write in order to be of benefit to people…then without a doubt Allah is ever Near and Responsive.
      All the best, Insha’Allah.

  3. fri says:

    Alhumdulillah. Beautiful article.really touched my heart. Allah swt truly is most merciful and loving. But we sin so much literally every moment that at times even after we (esp.me) repent, I remain confused and wondering and hopeful…that have I been forgiven. Do I dare ask for anything when I dont pray as fervently as I should.

  4. Laura says:

    Jazakum Allah khairan for this beautiful reminder!

  5. Anisa Fatima says:

    Salam, MashAllah it is a good piece of knowledge.

    Hadrat Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Beware of jealousy, for verily it destroys good deeds the way fire destroys wood.” [Abu Dawood]

  6. TheConvert says:

    For a heart with envy, say “Masha-Allah la quwwat illa billah.”

  7. shynaz says:

    Beautiful enlightning article….needed it jazakAllahu khairan.

  8. Mona says:

    Awakening, JAK, enjoyed reading. Important knowledge that we all need to know..

  9. Aya Sugita says:

    Mashalah Dina, may Allah give you thawab for this lovely article and become a useful one to people who read it. I’m proud of you. I hope I can express the way you do. Mashalah

  10. M Allam Reheem says:

    Beautifully done.

  11. syed moeen uddin says:

    “I am better than him” it is the reason that increases the ratio of hate between the human being. No one is superior to other in this world. in the Quran superior is that one who is muttaqi .we should not show others that we are better than them. In past, wars held due to this thing. Very good issue is discussed by author. I appreciate you.

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