Abu Masood was one of the helpers of the Prophet. One day he became annoyed with his slave and began beating him with a stick. Just at that moment, the Prophet passed by.
“Abu Masood,” he said, “you should know that God has more power over you than that you have over this slave.” On hearing the Prophet’s words, the stick immediately fell from Abu Masood’s hand. Furthermore, he granted the slave his freedom.
Initially, Abu Masood had thought of the matter as one between two human beings. He was the master and the other man a slave. He appeared himself to be on a higher plane than his slave. But on being jolted by what the Prophet said, the scales fell from his eyes and he related the entire matter to God. He saw that both he and the slave were equal in God’s sight, neither of them had any superiority over the other; both of them were God’s helpless servants. That was why the stick fell from his hand; he was in no position to beat his slave.
Were people to look at their situation in relation to God, the haves would see that they themselves were as destitute as the have-nots.
For one person to speak contemptuously to another means that he considers the other person inferior to himself.
When a person rises to a high position in society, he looks down on those beneath him. But were he to look at matters in relation to God instead of in relation to other people, his estimation of himself would be drastically depreciated, he would willingly share the lowly position he accords to others. For one person to speak contemptuously to another means that he considers the other person inferior to himself. Were he to look at himself in relation to God, his words would dry up; he would see that he himself was as powerless as the other before the Lord on high.
People should realise that when they are dealing with another person they are not just dealing with a human being like themselves. They are dealing with God, for eventually every matter will be referred to Him. Were they to look at matters this way, they would have no ground for pride, jealousy, love of power and injustice. The ‘stick’ with which they have been threatening and oppressing others would then fall from their hands, just as it fell from the hand of Abu Masood.