God created Adam, the first man. He commanded the Angels and the Jinn, whom He had created before Adam, to prostrate themselves before him. The Angels hastened to obey this divine commandment, but Satan, the chief of the genies, held himself aloof and did not prostrate himself. When God asked him to explain his disobedience, he replied, ‘I am better than him; You created me from fire, while him you created from mud.’ (Qur’an 7:12). Since Satan was ready to prostrate himself before God, but not before Adam, he was declared beyond the pale and sentenced to everlasting damnation.
Clearly, in human relationships there are always two main possible courses of action: either to tread the path of acknowledgement of the superiority of others and to demonstrate our submission to them – as shown by the Angels – or to assert our own superiority over others, with the resulting friction – as shown by Satan. To this day the sons of Adam have to decide whether to side with the Angels, or to become the Devil’s comrades, saying of their neighbors: ‘I am better than he.’ The drama which was enacted at the time of Adam’s creation is still being played out over and over again, in our dayto-day existence, only on a much larger scale
At some point or the other during our brief sojourn on earth, we are sure to encounter an ‘Adam’ – one to whom something is due from us, be it only a kindly word. On all such occasions, God makes His will quite plain to us, albeit silently, that, in obedience to Him, we must bow to this Adam. Those who tread the path of the Angels will understand God’s wishes and will give their ‘Adam’ his rightful due, hastening to yield pride of place to him
It is only people who act in this way who are the true and faithful servants of God. As such, they will find their eternal abode in heaven. Those who follow the example of Satan, and refuse – out of conceit and arrogance – to bow before the ‘Adam’ who has entered their lives, are rebels in God’s eyes. They will be cast into Hell along with Satan, to burn there for all time.
Source: Islam, The Voice Of Human Nature