Nobility is Obtained In Accordance With One’s Taqwaa and Adherence to The Sharee’ah In Speech, Belief and Deeds
Imaam Ash’Shaatibee (rahimahullaah) stated:
Know that Allaah has established this sharee’ah as a proof against the creation (mankind and jinn) – the old and young alike; the obedient and the disobedient; the righteous and the wicked. He did not specify the proof against anyone in exclusion of another one. Also all the other revealed laws were established as a proof against all the other nations to whom those laws were revealed.
The Sharee’ah is the judge- restrictedly and unrestrictedly. It is (the means of judgement) and the judge on all those who have reached the age of responsibility. It is the path connected to (what Allaah has ordained) and the Greatest Guide. And have you not seen the statement of Allaah (The Most High):
وَكَذَٲلِكَ أَوۡحَيۡنَآ إِلَيۡكَ رُوحً۬ا مِّنۡ أَمۡرِنَاۚ مَا كُنتَ تَدۡرِى مَا ٱلۡكِتَـٰبُ وَلَا ٱلۡإِيمَـٰنُ وَلَـٰكِن جَعَلۡنَـٰهُ نُورً۬ا نَّہۡدِى بِهِۦ مَن نَّشَآءُ مِنۡ عِبَادِنَاۚ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَہۡدِىٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬
And thus We have sent to you (O Muhammad) Ruhan (an Inspiration, and a Mercy) of Our Command. You knew not what is the Book, nor what is Faith? But We have made it (this Qur’an) a light wherewith We guide whosoever of Our slaves We will. And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the Straight Path (i.e. Allah’s religion of Islamic Monotheism).’’ [Soorah Ash-Shooraa. Ayah: 52]
He (alayhis salaatu wassalaam) was the first to be guided to the Book and Eemaan, and then those who followed him. The Book is the Guide and also the Sunnah which was sent down upon him explains that guidance (i.e. the Sunnah and the Qur’aan explain each other). All the creation (i.e. mankind and Jinn) are guided by it.
So when this is the case, the Sharee’ah is worthy of being a decisive proof against them and a beacon by way of which they are guided to the truth. Their nobility is established in accordance with how far they embrace its rulings- through acting upon them in speech, belief and deeds– and not merely due to the level of their intellects or their nobility amongst their people. That is because Allaah (The Most High) has determined nobility through Taqwa and not other than it. Allaah (The Most High) said:
[إِنَّ أَڪۡرَمَكُمۡ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ أَتۡقَٮٰكُمۡۚ- Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa] [49:13]
The one who is the firmest in adherence to the Sharee’ah is more worthy of honour and nobility, but it is not possible for the one below this (i.e. the one whose adherence to the Sharee’ah is below that of the one who is firmest in adhering to it) to reach the highest level of honour based on his adherence to the Sharee’ah. Therefore, honour is (measured) in accordance with one’s (level of adherence) to the Sharee’ah.
[Source: Al-Itisaam 3/434..few paraphrased phrases]