Islam teaches us to maintain a balanced perception of others. We should not have unrealistically high expectations of anyone. This is because if our exceedingly high expectations (of others) are not realised, we will be disappointed and will eventually lose respect for them. Human beings naturally make mistakes and only Allah سبحانه وتعالى is perfect. If we see others as normal human beings with faults, passions, desires and weaknesses and then view their achievements in that context, our respect and admiration for them will increase. However, if we expect others to be angels then we will be disappointed, just as the disbelievers were with Rasūl Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم. Being the bearer of Divine Revelation ,they expected him to be more than a human being. Allah سبحانه وتعالى quotes them in the Holy Qur’an:
قُلْ لا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ عِندِي خَزَائِنُ اللَّهِ وَلا أَعْلَمُ الْغَيْبَ
وَلا أَقُولُ لَكُمْ إِنِّي مَلَكٌ إِنْ أَتَّبِعُ إِلاَّ مَا يُوحَى إِلَيَّ
“Say (O Prophet to the disbelievers): I say not unto you, that with me are the treasures of Allah, nor do I know the Unseen, nor do I say to you that I am an angel; I but follow that which has been revealed unto me. ” [[Al An’am 6/50]]
The disbelievers rejected the message of Rasūl Allāh صلى الله عليه وسلم because he was a normal human being. However, despite him being a human being with human needs, his achievements were miraculous. In this way our love, admiration and respect for him should only increase. We should apply the same principle in our perception of others i.e. see the achievements of others whilst overlooking their weaknesses and faults.
[This short excerpt is based on a brothers’ majlis (gathering held for spiritual training) held by Shaykh Abu Yusuf Riyadh ul Haq on 24th April 2002].