Question: When we say man is the most superior creature (Ashraf al-Makhluqaat) does it mean that from all the things. Created by Allah, man is the best, even greater than the angels?
Answer: Like the other creations. Man and angels are also the creatures of Allah. The only difference is that Man has some extraordinary capabilities, which the angels do not have. In addition to this the angels are created in such a way that they are free from selfish desires. Apart from this the animals do not have reasoning capacity, they only possess animal desires but both these abilities are present in Man.
Because Man has these two opposite qualities his responsibility is also serious and dangerous. Therefore if Man follows the intellect and if he recognizes Allah and becomes faithful and suppresses his wrongful desires he can become better than angels. If he follows his base desires and becomes aloof of the guidance of intellect and also dissociates from truth, goodness and faith he becomes worse than animals.
This is the reason that we read in the Qur’an that when the Almighty Allah created Adam (a.s.). He commanded all the angels to prostrate before him and ordered Adam (a.s.) to tell the angels what he knew and in other words Allah made Adam (a.s.) the teacher of the angels.