The Source of Mockery: Arrogance
If people consider themselves superior to others, this feeling is called arrogance. Arrogant people behave in a way designed to make others feel inferior. However, it is wrong to regard arrogance as a defect only in regards to one's behavior toward others, because when arrogant people are called to follow Allah's religion and the true path, they display their arrogance by refusing to do so.
People will fall into a trap set by the self as long as they do not act according to their conscience, do not give up their selfish desires, and do not live by the morality laid down by Allah, because: "the self indeed commands to evil acts – except for those on whom my Lord has mercy" (Surah Yusuf, 53). Those who listen to satan's blandishments and see in themselves superior characteristics that have no basis in reality are, in fact, entirely under the control of the self. As a result, they are inescapably arrogant.
Arrogance is one of satan's most clearly defined characteristics. As in the Qur'an Allah tells us, all of the angels bowed to the Prophet Adam (as) when Allah told them to do so – all except satan, who regarded himself, unwisely, as superior to the Prophet Adam (as) and thus was filled with conceit. Allah reveals:
We said to the angels: "Prostrate to Adam," and they prostrated, with the exception of Iblis. He refused and was arrogant, and was one of the unbelievers. (Surat al-Baqara, 34)
… then We said to the angels: "Prostrate before Adam," and they prostrated – except for Iblis. He was not among those who prostrated. He [Allah] asked: "What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you to?" He [Iblis] replied: "I am better than him. You created me from fire, and You created him from clay." He [Allah] said: "Descend from Heaven. It is not for you to be arrogant in it, so get out! You are one of the abased." (Surat al-A‘raf, 11-13)
In reality, neither satan nor those who heed his deceitful calls have any superiority at all. On the contrary, such people fall into foolishness and demean themselves by refusing to accept the fact that Allah has supreme power over everything. Allah tells us about those who claim superiority for themselves: "… [they] have nothing in their breasts except for pride, which they will never be able to vindicate" (Surah Ghafir, 56).
In other words, no matter how great their desire, the unbelievers can never achieve the superiority that they want. They cannot achieve it because real superiority belongs only to Allah, Who exalts those of His servants who devote themselves to Him, and brings low, both in this world and the hereafter, all those who insist upon their unbelief. Allah describes the unbelievers' blindness and incomprehension in the following terms:
The Creation of the heavens and earth is far greater than the Creation of humanity. However, most people do not know it. The blind and the sighted are not the same, nor are those who believe and do right the same as those who do evil. What little heed they pay! The Hour is coming – there is no doubt about it. But most people have no faith. (Surah Ghafir, 57-59)
As in the above verses Allah informs us, most people become proud of the characteristics that He has given them as a blessing, and thus fall into the trap of arrogance because they cannot understand His power and greatness. One of the ways in which they reveal their internal arrogance is by mocking others. As stated earlier, they believe they can make themselves superior by making others feel small. As a result, mockery is very widespread in societies that are far from religion.
Moreover, their internal superiority complex compels them to see only the other person's defects, not his or her good aspects. Every one is proud of one or more of his or her characteristics: success, beauty, wealth, and so on. As a result, they compare themselves with others who they consider deficient in these characteristics and then mock them, even though Allah gave them these characteristics and can withdraw them at any time.
Due to their estrangement from religion, mockery has become an inseparable part of these societies' normal life. Children and young people alike all grow up with this culture and this moral defect. In the pages to come, we will examine how those who mock others actually suffer from mockery themselves, and how this behavior traps them in a stressful environment.