Should Muslims see themselves superior to non-Muslims?
Seeing oneself as superior to others in any way, shape or form whether based on his social status, financial position, religious affiliation, racial origin, educational degree is one of the grave sins which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) warned us against. The Prophet said in one of his authentic traditions, “There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab and neither for a non-Arab over an Arab, also there is no superiority of a white man over a black man, neither for a black man over a white man except by piety”. The measurement of piety is used by Allah the Al Mighty to determine the level of goodness that one has in his/her heart and it was not meant at all as a tool for people to measure themselves against each other because piety can only be determined by Allah the Al Mighty.
Another prophetic tradition which warns us against snobbery, conceit or arrogance states, “No one enters paradise with his/her heart has an atom-weight of conceit”. This hadith indicates the seriousness of such horrendous act. From another perspective, any blessings or gifts that we have in this world whether it is related to having good health, stable financial income, good family or related to religious perspective such as maintaining a deep relationship with Allah and having Him the center of your life, increasing your closeness to what pleases Him through helping others etc…all these blessings have a divine source as they are gifts from Allah the Almighty. Therefore, in reaction to these blessings, one should maintain his humility and humbleness as he/she should feel blissful to be the recipient of such blessings and let these blessings be his/her driving force to benefit others as a way of being thankful to the Lord Almighty.
Also the seed of faith when implanted in the heart of the faithful grows into a tree of mercy and compassion with fruits of benevolence and love to all Allah’s creatures. The more pious one gets, the more humble and merciful he/she becomes towards All Allah’s creatures. Therefore, Muslims should never see themselves above others who are non-Muslims because Islam is a divine gift and Allah the Almighty guides whom He wills to His straight path. Thus Muslims should be humble and thankful to be the recipients of the gift of guidance and should continue presenting a good example of morality and fine character in order for non-Muslims to see the beauty of Islam embodied in reality. This will help the light of faith and guidance to shine in their hearts and if they are not destined to be guided to Islam, they will continue to admire and respect Muslims for the fine characteristics they possess due to their religious commitment. It takes no brainer that being arrogant or snobbish due to waving the flag of religious superiority is a repelling attitude which drives people away from faith.
It was reported that at the time of Prophet Moses, there was a religious monk who spent all his life in sanctuary seeking Allah’s pleasure through continuous worshipping. This monk was descending down the mountain to fetch a need and on his way he met a sinner whose life is full of sins. So once the sinner saw the monk approaching, he cleared the way for him and he pushed himself against the wall in order not to be on the monk’s way. The sinner was thinking to himself that he is so sinful and should not walk in the same path as the pious man of God. The Monk on the other hand had a snobbish heart and he was so disgusted to see the sinful man on his way as he felt so superior with his piety over the sinner. Allah the Almighty punished the monk for his snobbish merciless heart and did not accept all his acts of worship which he spent all his life performing. As for the sinner, Allah the Almighty forgave all his sins and guided him to His straight path due to his merciful and remorseful heart.
Muslims need to differentiate between the sin and the sinner. We wholeheartedly condemn disbelief and disapprove it yet we do not hate the disbeliever and we do not banish him. We rather look at him with the eyes of mercy and compassion and pray for his guidance and his return back to the way of His Lord the Almighty.
Muslims are commanded to be modest and humble as Islam teaches them to see the divine beauty in all Allah’s creatures and therefore should never feel superior over them. Muslims rather should continue supplicating Allah the Almighty to let the beauty of faith shine through the hearts of people and guide them to find their way back to their Creator. Muslims should be acting like a walking beacon of light, love and mercy in order to become a real embodiment of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who was described by Allah in the Quran to be “a Mercy to the worlds”. Let Prophet Muhammad be our role model of kindness, compassion and mercy and let us follow his divine guidance of love which enables us to win people’s hearts and enlighten their souls with the divine beauty of faith.