Surat Alnahl - Verses 22 to 25

إِلَٰهُكُمْ إِلَٰهٌ وَاحِدٌ ۚ فَالَّذِينَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْآخِرَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ مُنْكِرَةٌ وَهُمْ مُسْتَكْبِرُونَ {22} لَا جَرَمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْتَكْبِرِينَ {23} وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ مَاذَا أَنْزَلَ رَبُّكُمْ ۙ قَالُوا أَسَاطِيرُ الْأَوَّلِينَ {24} لِيَحْمِلُوا أَوْزَارَهُمْ كَامِلَةً يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ۙ وَمِنْ أَوْزَارِ الَّذِينَ يُضِلُّونَهُمْ بِغَيْرِ عِلْمٍ ۗ أَلَا سَاءَ مَا يَزِرُونَ {25}

My understanding

In the last entry, I spoke about how when counting your blessings, it’s best to start from the ground up. In this post, I’ll argue that when comparing yourself to others, it’s best to start from the top down. This is primarily an exercise in keeping your ego in check.

Whenever I start feeling good about all the things that I’ve done, whether that’s a project that is going really well, or a charity that I may have given.. I feel a sense of pride. Of accomplishment. Now this is healthy in small amounts .. but it’s also dangerous in large ones.

The idea here is to compare what you’ve accomplished, to what the greats have. Suddenly, you’re not so hot anymore. I think part of the reason why many rulers, even in this day and age, have delusions of power is because they surround themselves with yes-men .. people constantly telling them how humanity is so much better as a result of them, and that they are doing what no other man has done before.

Don’t have a head full of yes-men.

TL;DR: Look down to see how far you’ve come, but don’t forget to look up to see how far you still need to go.

Disclaimer: This is a description of my understanding of the verses in the Quran, and not the real true meaning of the verse. My understanding changes over time – I see many things differently than I did 3 years ago, and my understanding can (nay, it should) evolve with time. Think about how your understanding of the role of parents changes as you grow – first as a kid, then a teenager and later as a parent yourself. Your understanding evolves with time. The true meaning of the verses however, does not. I make absolutely no claims that this is in any way a resemblance of the true meaning of the verses. Instead, this is really just meant to be a record for me – a notebook of sorts, where I think over the meaning verses and try to glean valuable lessons with which I hope to apply to better myself.