Their High Status In The Eyes of The People Led Them to Reject Eemaan and Ridicule Those of Lower Status!

Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَجَعَلْنَا بَعْضَكُمْ لِبَعْضٍ فِتْنَةً أَتَصْبِرُونَ

And We have made some of you as a trial for others: will you have patience?

Imaam Ibnul Qayyim (rahimahullaah) said:

And because of this the poor and weak Muslims amongst the followers of the Messengers were a trial for the wealthy people and leaders–they (i.e. these wealthy ones and leaders) were prevented from accepting Eemaan after knowing the truthfulness of the Messengers. [Allaah says that they said]:

لَوْ كَانَ خَيْرًا مَا سَبَقُونَا إِلَيْهِ

Had it (i.e. the Message of the Messenger) been a good thing, they (weak and poor) would not have preceded us thereto! [Soorah Al-Ahqaaf, Ayah 11]

And (Allaah said that) they (i.e. disbelievers in the time of Nooh) said to Nooh:

أَنُؤْمِنُ لَكَ وَاتَّبَعَكَ الْأَرْذَلُونَ

Shall we believe in you, when the lowest of the people follow you? (i.e. those without wealth or status in society). [Soorah Ash-Shu’araa, Ayah 111]

Allaah (The Most High) said:

وَكَذَٰلِكَ فَتَنَّا بَعْضَهُمْ بِبَعْضٍ لِيَقُولُوا أَهَٰؤُلَاءِ مَنَّ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنْ بَيْنِنَا

Thus We have tried some of them with others, that they might say: “Is it these (poor believers) that Allah has favoured from amongst us? [Soorah Al-An’aam, Ayah 53]

So when a leader of high status saw that a poor person of lowly status had preceded him in belief and in following the Messenger (sallal-laahu-alayhi-wasallam), he become furious and scornful about accepting Islaam (due to not wanting) to be similar to (that poor person of lowly status). And he says: I enter into Islaam so that I may be at the same level with this lowly one?

Az-Zujaaj (rahimahullaah) said: Perhaps a person of high status wanted to accept Islaam, but he was prevented from it so that it would not be said: ‘’Someone lower than him preceded him (in Islaam);’’ so he remains upon disbelief due to not (wanting) a Muslim to precede him in virtue.

[Source: Ighaathatul Lahfaan 2/170-172]