Nouman Ali Khan – The Devil’s Obsession with Comparison

Nouman Ali Khan
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Today I continue our series of code buzz on the story of Adam alayhis. Salam as told in solid and are off, and the focus of mahoba. Today is going to be the 12th ayah. But before I go to it, I want to share some other mini stories with you and kind of build up to what I'd like to share with you about this 12th ayah of the sutra.

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The reason the fundamental reason that many people have Quraysh, especially the elite, the leaders of Quraysh, the very wealthy and the politically influential, their primary reason for rejecting the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam was that he did not belong in the elite class. He was not from their class. They actually later on even said, well, Lola lucilla huddle Quran, Allah Raja minakari, attaining the Quran even revealed this rationale of theirs. How come this Quran didn't come down on one of the two great men from the two towns, one of the one of the men from the two great towns and by the great towns, they mean, five, and MCI. Those were the two economic capitals of the time. So

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if he was a millionaire, and he was politically influential, then people are already used to listening to him. But I mean, he's not a tribe leader, he doesn't have massive wealth under his name. On top of that his ancestors, the ones that used to have influence, save his uncle, all of them have passed away. So I mean, in back in the day, your family was your influence, your connections, and the people of influence of his family have already passed away, or they sought to sell them. So they're like, I mean, he doesn't really have much clout behind him, he doesn't have much of a, you know, that kind of an influence in society. So there's no way we can accept a message

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coming from him and accept him as a leader. This is actually a similar even even along with that, you find other prophets, they would be told their criticism would be well, you know, I would listen to you because you are, sometimes I'd love would send profits from the leadership. And then they would come and say, well, the people around you are the Luna body, or I've noticed that the people that accept your message are like homeless people, poor people, farmers, street workers, I can't be I'm a governor, I'm a millionaire, I'm a I can't be associated having dinner with these the janitor, it's you can you meet me at my place, I'll talk to you separately because I don't want to mix with

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these people. So the idea was that they're above a certain class of people. That's why they can't accept this message. Or they can't be seen associating with people that they consider lower than themselves, you know, then if you go even even in different other places in the Quran, the idea of rejecting someone rejecting the message of truth, because of who someone is. Even Musa alayhis salam who was raised as royalty, as a matter of fact, he was raised as a prince. And one of the criticisms that Phil made of him was a man, you know, and I don't mean has a lady who of my Himalaya, do you mean, you want me to? I'm not better than this one. This humiliated one, he can't even talk

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properly. In other words, forget his race or his economic class, the fact that musala salaam had a stutter, and he used to stumble on words, sometimes he's picking on that and saying, How can I not be considered better than him? People have rejected and people have diminished advice counsel from those who tried to get tell them the truth, just based on thinking they're better than them. I'm not gonna listen to you because I'm better than you. And let's take that even a step further. The first major crime in humanity after Adam alayhis salaam came down that's also mentioned in salt a lot of the same sort of that we're studying or we're going through the story of Adam and Islam from the

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first major crime is the crime of murder. And that happened between two brothers they were family have been copied. That story is mentioned in the same surah and if you think about why that murder happened, you know this one brother killing his own brother not over money, not over a house, not over nothing else, but they both presented a sacrifice it's actually quite a strange story the way the Quran tells it. They both presented a sacrifice for to be loving a hottie Hema, whenever you talk about minella have one of their sacrifices are like accepted. And, you know, in the ancient times, Allah tells us and this is also found in biblical literature. And the Jews also confirm this.

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It's mentioned other places in the Quran, you know, when we slaughter an animal at aid, like recently, we don't know if ally accepted it or not. We don't know that. But back in the ancient days, what Allah used to do was used to send a fire from the sky, and it would consume the sacrifice that was accepted. So what actually and this is something that the Jews actually complained it with the prophets, Allah Solomon said, if he's really appreciate how come no fire comes, and you know, we could have an entire crew now How come he doesn't bring a sacrifice that the fire will come in eat. And this started from the time of Adam alayhis salam. So when one of them sacrificed and the fire

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consumed it and the other one sacrificed and they didn't consume it, now, this was not a matter of money. This was not a matter of status or power. It was just once worship was accepted, and the other wasn't, and this was enough for one of them to say, I'm going to kill you. Which doesn't tempt to you and me. It doesn't make any sense why

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would that happen, but I'm sharing all of these events with you, because they go back to one single event. And that single event is the story of Adam alayhis salam, when you please refuse to do such that when he refused to do such that Allah asked him, Why would you do such a thing? Why would you do it? And you know, he, of course, you know, the famous story of one version of it, or another you might be familiar with, he responds in this talk is Anna Heilmann who, I'm better than him. His number one reason is, I'm better than him. But if he just says I'm better than him, that's not enough. You have to qualify what makes you better. So he gives his own rationale and notice his

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rationale will not have anything to do with his accomplishments, and everything he's done for Allah and his history, and none of it. His rationale was collected on him and not in

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vain. You made me from fire, you made him from dirt. Obviously, I'm better than him. I made a better material than he is. Now the thing is, Allah azza wa jal made you He made me, he made nibblies. He made the jinn he made the human beings he made the angels. And Allah as origin decides who's better and who's worse. But when you and I forget that all of us are lost creation, and our focus is comparing ourselves to others, then you're always thinking about who's better and who's worse. And that's what at least wants, at least wants us to forget that we are all equally creation of Allah. And he wants us to be like him, where his entire obsession is comparing himself to another creation.

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This, this idea of comparison of consumes him, and he wants humanity to be consumed with that idea, comparing yourself all the time with someone else. And it's not just about race. It's not just about his made of fire, and I made of clay, it could be I graduated from this university, they only graduated from that university, I have this degree, they only have that degree. I have these I have this job, they only have that job. That guy, he's a taxi driver.

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This one this human media. And you know, sometimes you have, for example, a good family proposal comes for your daughter, or comes for your son, you say yeah, but they're their fathers, or he runs a grocery store. Or he's a 10. He's a taxi driver, oh, this guy, his brother's a truck driver. You want me to marry among truck drivers? Like you look at their job, and you say we're better than them because of the job that they do. Or you look at them. Of course, the more obvious ones are what kind of, you know, Iblees said he's made of clay, we then distinguish between different kinds of clay, are you seriously you think I'm gonna marry my child to someone from this country, or this region,

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or this race or this skin color? Have you even seen them? My kid with them? This idea of us comparing, you know, I'm bringing up the example of marriage, but it's not reduced to marriage. It's actually in all walks of life. And everything that we do, if there's a something in our head, which is making us compare ourselves to someone else, and establish some sort of superiority for some people, they're, they're obsessed with their appearance. And so when they see someone else with lesser appearance, then immediately they size them up. Well, you know, I'm a nine, they're more like a four, you know?

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So normally, they don't really add up. And then this idea of constant comparison, then it starts shaping your thoughts and what you do with your life. And you know, what your priorities are all of that changes, because now shaitaan has been able to successfully make you obsessed with comparison. That thing that was that was so powerful, that even obeying Allah disappeared, because he's too consumed with that comparison. Even when Allah spoke to him directly and said, What prevented you explain yourself and that asked you that is that you wouldn't do such that when I commanded you and his he's so consumed with that instead of apologizing, instead of recognizing that he's disobeyed

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Allah. He's still so consumed with that comparison. I am better than him. You made him from a You made me from fire you made him from clay, even though he recognizes Allah made. He says what you made, but you must have made me better. Clearly, I'm better if and by the way, some people get this disease. And this disease afflicts Muslims, according to the alesund in South Africa have this particular disease I'm about to mention to you, afflicts Muslims, some people in their head have, if Allah has given you more, that must mean he loves you more.

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If Allah gave you better looks, if Allah gave you money, if Allah gave you fail, if Allah give you knowledge, if Allah gave you ability, that he didn't give other people, some children, for some, some, some men and women have an ability, for example, to memorize the Quran.

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Other people don't. Other people, no matter how hard they try, they can't do it. But the one who has the ability to memorize and the one who doesn't start thinking to themselves, alone must think I'm better. That's why he gave me that talent. That's why he gave me that skill. I must think that I'm somehow more worthy of the success I have in business.

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He must think I'm more worthy, because he made me look this way, my siblings don't look this way. So you must think I'm more worthy. So now you start assuming that Allah Himself declared that you're better,

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that you are somehow superior because of what you've been given in this life. And people who have that in their head, just remind yourself, what happened to the gardener. And so tilaka have a lot takes it all away, just to remind you, you're not special, you're just being given a gift. And as a matter of fact, these things that we think make us better than others. For example, I'll give you two examples, strength and beauty. For example, strength and beauty are something that can be God given you, you may not have any control over it. And yet, these two things that we consider a blessing, you find in the stories of Yusuf Ali Salaam, and musante salaam, those two things are the

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things that got them in trouble. What you thought was a blessing actually turns into your biggest trial, right? So just because Allah gave you something, gave you a gift, it doesn't make you better than anybody else. But then there's even a further step. And that further step is, you and I are actually supposed to compare to each other. There is a level of, you know, in in our Deen or phenolic, affiliate, an official motivation, people are supposed to compete with each other, it is supposed to happen. And competition is actually a natural thing. As a matter of fact, you wouldn't succeed in your business, if you didn't compete, it just wouldn't happen. If your pizza place is not

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better than the other guy, you're not gonna get customers. So you have to, you have to compete with others. If you're not the best at whatever job you're applying for, you're not going to get the job, you have to compete with others. So on the one hand, there's a kind of comparison, that's condemned, that's like, that's being like the devil. And then on the other hand, Elon naturally made comparison a part of life. So what kind of comparison and what kind of competition is okay? And what kind of competition is not okay? When you and I compete based on efforts. And that's the key thing when you and I compete based on effort not to establish I'm more superior, I'm better or I'm whatever, but

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actually just for yourself to do your very best, you're competing and your ultimate comparison. And your ultimate competition is actually against your own self, not with anybody else. We actually don't we don't even you don't even concern yourself with anybody else. You know, those of you that own businesses, if you want to have a Quran mindset in your business, other people that don't have a Quran mindset, they say, what's our competitor doing? What are they selling? What are they working on? When's their sale happening? Let's do our sale one day before their sale, you're always thinking about your competitor and what they're doing, and then you make your decisions. But you know, if you

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have the right product, if you know that you're doing your very best, and you know, you're the best at something, you don't look at the competition, you just do what you do. You're just consumed within yourself. And this is actually what Eliza describes in sort of Nyssa matamanoa football along with the Hebrew document about don't wish for what Allah has given as a preference to some over others. Some people have an advantage there, their business might be in a better location. They might have a better financial adventures, they might have some other things, that's fine. You focus on what you need to focus on. You know, the crazy thing about this unhealthy comparison. This

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unhealthy comparison can make its way not just in business, not just in family life, or you know, you know, marital relations and things like that. It can even make its way into religious matters. You can have in one city, a couple of massages, and one must have a program and they're like, Oh, we have to do a bigger program.

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They had a fundraiser there is how much Oh, we gotta we gotta raise more than them. We got to beat them. How are they expanding before we're expanding? Why and you we you better go attend their fundraiser find out who attended their fundraiser because we need to make those guys calls so that next time before they attend theirs, they attend ours and they write their checks will have they have no more text to write.

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This is happening even when you're serving supposedly LS Dean. When a machine is being built when some Islamic work is being done, and you're doing your work and they're doing their work is that competition.

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I back in the day I remember when I was in college I used to be part of the MSA and even MSS Muslim Students Association you're supposed to do some Islamic activities do some data events something like Hey, what's that college doing? Oh my god, their event was way bigger than ours. We got a crush them next time.

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You know, this idea of Anna hydro Minho. Competition for good causes is actually healthy not to beat someone else. But to actually do to when you see someone else do something good and inspires you and you say I want to do even better. I want to do better than I did before. not better than them better than what I did. That's the key. When you see someone else successful. You don't say I'm gonna beat that guy one day. You're gonna say, you know, he must have put a lot of work in to get where he got or she must have put a lot of work in to get where she got. I'm going to put work in and see how far I can get. You compare yourself to yourself.

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You compare yourself to yourself from yesterday, that is actually the road to progress ahead, instead of consuming yourself with somebody else. And that consumption with someone else will lead to the ugliest of sins. As a matter of fact, if you trace the majority sins in the Quran cover denial of the message. gopher is a sin. But actually, Cofer is the final product. rejection of the message. I started by saying that the root of it was, we're better than him, we can't listen to him for only saying I'm better than him, he has a stutter. You know, and then that tied to this Finally I share with you is the idea of jealousy. inshallah, in the next session, I'll talk to you about

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shaitaan. And where the worshiping comes from, and how we have to learn some things about this enemy of ours. What, how does he destroy us? This is the first, you know, crime of his, and he wants us to repeat that crime. That first crime. It's not just arrogance. arrogance is of course, the it's a big part of the equation. And that's coming in the next year. But right now, I want you to think where did arrogance start? arrogance started when you start obsessing yourself with somebody else? When you start thinking about somebody else, you and I should be thinking put yourself in that position. If somebody has been honored by Allah, if some man has been chosen, like Rasulo someone was chosen

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as a messenger, you know, who got really upset, the rabbi's of the Israelites got very upset, how come an Arab was chosen? He should have been from the chosen people he should have been from among us. And they were extremely upset I called him called him out on it. It actually something it's something a lot criticized them on. The same way. He said, a salon when he called them out, they had the same problem. So even within religion and outside religion, this idea of comparing yourself or questioning why did Allah give this one these blessings? Why did Allah make this life this person's life apparently easier than mine? Why is that one happy when that goes far enough, then you know

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what, and this is the final thing I'm sharing with you today, you know, shaitan, one of its origins, even though the detailed discussion will be later, one of its origins is actually to be consumed to be consumed in rage. You know, when someone's angry, clearly they're upset, right? You can't be angry and happy at the same time. And when you're angry, you're miserable. Anger is not a feeling or a state of being that you and I enjoy being in. We'd rather not be in a state of anger. But shaitan is someone who's constantly in a state of anger. Why? Because he's constantly upset at the fact that somebody is doing okay. Somebody succeeding somebody who's doing well. And the fact that they're

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doing okay bothers them. Now, ask yourself this question. If you've become the kind of person Don't think about anybody else think I think about me, you think about yourself, if you become the kind of person that someone else when they succeed, when something good happens in their life, when you see that they've accomplished something, and it bothers you, it upsets you. That's a problem. That's a trait of Shetland.

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You and I are not concerned with what trials alone will give me in my life for you and your life. You cannot be worried about me. Hey, this one's life is too easy. Why isn't it harder? How come he seems happy?

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And upsets me that he's happy. You are if these are the kinds of thoughts that you have about someone, then shutdown has gotten to you. Then shutdowns gotten to you. Because now forget it. Now the only thing is the only thing that you think will make you happy is seeing them go down, seeing them destroyed what shutdowns only purpose in life, not to do anything for himself. You know, all of creation naturally, all of creation Allah made, the secret is for themselves. They seek sustenance for themselves. They seek home for themselves, they do something for themselves. shaitaan does nothing for himself. shaitaan only does something to harm someone else. He's even destroying

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himself. He doesn't care. He's even destroying himself knowing full well he's heading into a fire. He could stop but nope. When this takes over you then it doesn't matter if you're headed to or self destruction. You are now consumed by rage. This is something that we really have to ask Allah is refuge from, which is why you find in sootel Falak woman surely has it in his or her son. You know, I will call him Rahim. Allah said about that ayah you know, we ask Allah as protection from those who become jealous, jealous stare doesn't mean Oh, why do you have a nice car actually has it actually means someone sees you have something good and they wish you didn't have it? Whether I get

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it or not, as doesn't matter. I hope he gets into an accident. I hope his car breaks down. Whether I get it or not is not even the issue. When someone has that disease. Abraham Allah correctly pointed out that is a disease of the heart from which there is no cure mentioned in the Quran. The only thing you can ask for is to protect you from the person who has it from a person who has hazard because only because at that point shutdowns taken over, that is a quote that is the fundamental

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quality of the shaitaan. I ask Allah azza wa jal to protect us from that quality, because that is a quality that he will bring into our life over and over and over and over again, wanting us to become like him. I'll just give you a personal example. And I close, I've been seeing that closing. But I mean, at this time, you know, one time I obviously I teach Arabic, and I love teaching Arabic, and there are 1000s of Institute's that teach the Arabic language 1000s of them. And one time that some some some time ago, we were starting an Arabic program. And one of my employees came to me and said, Have you seen this other Institute, they're starting an Arabic program, and in our city,

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and they're starting in like a week before our program is really concerned. And I just looked at him and said,

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that's a good thing. More people to learn Arabic? Why are you worried about that? Are we here to make sure that we beat someone else or their Institute's fails or succeed, if they're doing good work, it will stand on its own feet. And they will, they will get students and May Allah give them more students, and may allow us to give them success because any effort that's doing something good, we should be gone for it. And whatever is written in your name, no matter what you think, if you get them shut down, doesn't mean you're going to get more customers. You know, there are people that have competing rest, hello restaurants and do all kinds of haram things. They open up a restaurant,

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this guy's opened up their restaurant and they go online and they give the other one bad reviews. They were rats in the food. And there was a snake in my in my noodles. Like

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why? Because I want to get them shut down. Even if you shut them down. Allah will not give you more risk, because you shut them down. What Allah has written for you is written for you. You know, stop consuming yourself with the failure of someone else, or with the success of someone else. That is a quality of shaitan and that's where it gets so bad that even if a lot directly tells you why didn't you do such that you still won't submit yourself that's how bad it can get. May Allah azza wa jal protect ourselves from jealousy and protect those that have that towards ourselves. barakallahu li walakum film called Anil Hakeem when finally we are coming at once again

Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan delivers an amazing lecture that deals with the Devil’s obsession with comparison.

Lessons from this lecture:

  • Iblees said that he is better than Adam (AS) since he is made from fire and Adam (AS) from clay, which led to Shirk. As it is Allah who decides who is better than anyone among us and we don’t have any basis of comparison.
  • Don’t compare yourself with anyone in this dunya as this is not your job to do, your sustenance is in Allah’s hands and you won’t get anything more or less as what is decided.
  •  Comparing in materialistic items as those of clothes, income, cars, home, etc will lead to arrogance which will lead to jealousy and thus this is what Iblees wants from all of us to fight and holds grudges among ourselves.
  • You are not superior when compared with anyone else.
  • If Allah gave you knowledge, fame, money, power, etc, don’t consider it as a sign that Allah loves you more than anyone else. 
  • If you have thoughts like “Why someone else is happy”, “Why he earns more than me”, “How can he be successful and I am not”, then seek refuge from shaytan and read and recite Surah Al-Falaq and ask Allah for help.

May Allah protect us from jealousy and hasad and ask for the success for all people in this dunya and akhirah as well.

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