Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh.
What is it that makes some people think themselves better than others? What is it that makes the younger or more physically attractive people think they are more beautiful or appealing? What is it that makes the sister all in black in a head abaya with gloves and niqaab or the brother with the thobe up to his shins and beard down to his chest think they are more pious than others who dress differently? Why does the one who gets perfect scores on her Arabic tests or Memorization and Recitation classes feel better than those who struggle? Kibr. Prideful arrogance.
Sometimes, if I know that a person isn't obeying Allah, I feel that I am being more obedient and am earning Allah's pleasure while they are not. Sometimes I speculate that I am thinner, look younger, have more knowledge in certain areas, or more discipline about certain things. These are facts, and as long as I acknowledge them as just facts without thinking I'm better, then inshaa'Allah they will not ruin me.
An outlook that is very helpful when I want to avoid the "I'm better in that" syndrome, is to always look at others and think how much better they are in other things. I admire their way of conducting themselves, their patience and beautiful approach to their children and husband, their memorization of Quran, their knowledge of Islam, and their beautiful attributes. I think of my inferiority rather than my superiority. There is always the knowledge that others have qualities that I don't and, most surely, some of those qualities are more loved by Allah.
Our beloved Prophet, salla Alalhu alayhi wa sallam, married Sawdah (radhi Allahu anhaa) after the death of Khadijah. We know he was suffering great grief over Khadijah's death. "According to a report by a Companion, she was very dark in complexion, slow and fat. In spite of her being slow and fat, she was amiable and humorous, dispelling the Prophet's worries with her light joking, which was an essential and effective timely remedy." (quote from the book Women around the Messenger)
When we see people who are very disobedient to Allah, or appear to have weak knowledge and implementation of their Islam, we may think they are in a sad state. However, shaytaan is always whispering and we often don't know the reality of them and their journey through life. What we think, may not be the true case. Never forget the story of Musa (alayhi salaam) and Khidr in Surat al Kahf. Khidr did things that Musa deemed heinous crimes, but they were actually commands from Allah and were righteous acts.
Most Muslims have been through different processes, including many mistakes and different developmental stages. Who is to say that the person who isn't praying today, won't be the one who wakes up and sniffs the Quran tomorrow and becomes the most pious of us? Who is to say that the person who wears a jilbab and shayla/hijab won't have a stellar account with Allah because she never hurt another human being by hand or tongue? Who is to say that the out-of-shape sister or brother, whose face shows all the signs of their hard life, isn't one of Al-Muqarrabeen (those nearest to Allah in the Aakihrah) because they have always put others before themselves?
When we stand before Allah, it is our hearts and our deeds that will count, not whether we were the best looking, wore the most pious clothes, had great intelligence, had the most Islamic information, or memorized the most Quran. There is no benefit in a fit body, beautiful face, immaculate presentation, or extensive knowledge unless they are TOTALLY for the sake of Allah and seeking His Pleasure. May Allah protect us from all forms of kibr (pride and arrogance), riyaa (showing off), and guide us to His Pleasure in our every action - ameen.