The progeny of Prophet Abraham later split up into two branches, one known as the Children of Israel, the second as the Children of Ishmael. All the prophets up to Jesus were descendants of the Children of Israel. After Jesus, when the final prophet Mohammad, a descendant of the Children of Ishmael, made his appearance, the Children of Israel refused to believe in him. Commenting on the Jews’ lack of belief, the Quran says that it was because of “jealousy of what God has granted certain people of His bounty” (The Quran, 4:54). Jealousy is a common weakness of human character. This verse of the Quran shows that it appears when one human being is loath to accept the superiority of another.
Generally, no one takes notice when some charge is brought against an insignificant person, of no standing in society; it is only when someone of note is charged with misconduct that people’s attention is aroused. Without looking into the authenticity of what is being said, they accept without question the truth of every adverse comment concerning those who excel in some way. One has no trouble making people believe stories about the wicked ways in which a person has accumulated wealth or the dishonourable conduct of one who has reached a respectable position in society. If one concocts scandalous stories concerning those in authority, people will immediately take note of what one says: their authority will be undermined; while by bringing them into disrepute, one will oneself become a focus of attraction and popularity.
The reason for this is that man’s greatest weakness is his reluctance to accept the superiority of another. He does not wish to see anyone save himself in a position of prominence. Consequently, those who stand out from others in society become the target of jealousy – either open or concealed – on the part of their fellows. Everyone would like to see them robbed of their position. So, when a person says something which achieves this end, people take his words to heart, using them as ammunition to fire against one whose superiority they were so loath to accept.
While in this world, people take great relish in this pastime. But in fact, they are following in the footsteps of Satan, who was cursed because of his refusal to accept the superiority of Adam over himself. Those who refuse to accept the superiority of another will soon learn that their own fate is no different from that of Satan, their precursor.