This is a very important teaching as many times we think that we are better than the next person. It creates Takabbur (Pride / Haughtiness) in our hearts. The person who has Takabbur will never be able to enter Paradise. So what we need is humbleness and an easy way to get humbleness is feel that “everyone is better than me”.
Below are a few points to help us develop this feeling:
1. If the person is elder than you:
Think that because his life span was longer than mine, he had the opportunity of so many more Ramadaans, more opportunities of fasting in the month of Ramadaan, he had more opportunities to sit in the company of the pious, to make more Salaah. His good ‘Aamaal (deeds) are more than mine. For example: My age is only 25, his age is 55, so even if I performed many deeds, his deeds are much more than mine, so that’s why he is better than me.
2. If the person is younger than you:
We can then easily think that because my lifespan was longer, I have made more mistakes than him. His sins are less than mine, so that’s why he is better than me.
3. If the person is a big sinner:
We must think that if he will make Taubah (repent to Allah) at any moment, Allah can change all of his sins to virtue.
– Allah Almighty says in the Qur’aan:
أُولَئِكَ يُبَدِّلُ اللَّهُ سَيِّئَاتِهِمْ حَسَنَاتٍ
(Ulaa-ika-Yubaddilullahu Say-yiaatihim Hasanaat)
“They are those whom Allah will changed their misdeeds into virtue.”
So if Allah Subhannahu Wa Ta’ala will change his sins into virtue, he will become better than me. So still he is better than me.
Think even a dog to be better than you!
Imaam Rabbbani Hazrat Mujaddid Alf Thaani (Rahmatullah Alayh) has written in his Maktubaat (letters) that the animals are also better than us. He gave the example of a dog, that a dog is more grateful to his owner than we are to our Master, Allah Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aala. Look at the life of a dog, it takes whatever little it gets and stays awake all night to safeguard the house of its master and we eat so many different foods and keep enjoying everything and yet when night comes we keep lying in our beds, we do not even wake for Tahajjud. So it means that the dog is even better than us because even if the master punishes the dog, the dog will never leave the master, yet if we face a little calamity we leave going to the Masjid.
We must try to change our way of thinking in order to rid ourselves from this poisonous disease of Kibr (pride) and develop humbleness.
(From a lecture of Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad Naqshbandi [May Almighty Allah elevate him) titled “Think everyone is better than you”)