We indeed offered trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, but they refused to bear it and became afraid of it, and man bore it. Indeed he puts himself into hardship, extremely unwise. In order that Allah may punish the hypocrite men, and the hypocrite women, and the polytheist men, and the polytheist women, and accept the repentance of believing men and believing women. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful.
[Kanz-ul-Iman (Translation of Quran)J (Part 22, Surah Al-Ahzaab, Ayah 72-73)
The trust that Allah offered to skies, earths and mountains, they all refused to accept it due to the fear of Allah . But the human accepted the responsibility of that trust. The question is what that trust was? In this context, there are few opinions of the commentators of the Holy Quran. However, Imam Saawi has told that the best interpretation of this trust is that it was the responsibility of abiding by the commandments of Shari’ ah.
It has been reported that when Allah presented the commandments of Shari’ah to skies, earths and mountains, all the three said, ‘O Allah ! What will we gain after carrying out this heavy responsibility?’ Allah said, ‘If you follow the laws of Shari’ah, you will be rewarded with an excellent return and reward.’ Then these three replied, ‘O Allah ! We are however obedient to Your command. We have no concern with any reward or torment.’ All of them refused to accept the responsibility whilst shivering with the fear of Allah . Then Allah offered this responsibility to Sayyiduna Aadam · He also said, ‘What will we gain upon accepting the responsibility of this trust?’ Allah said, ‘If you properly follow this, you will be blessed with the great rewards and bounties. And if you disobeyed, you will be made to suffer various punishments.’ Then Sayyiduna Aadam accepted the responsibility. At that time, Allah said, ‘O Aadam! I will help you in this regard.’
(T’afseer As-Saawi, vol. 5, pp. 1659-6; part 22, Surah AI-Ahzaab, Ayah 72)
Satan disobeyed the command of Allah for offering Sajdah to Sayyiduna Aadam and became accursed in both the worlds and was dismissed from the court of Allah .
But on the other hand, when the skies, the mountains and the earth disobeyed the command of Allah to accept the trust, they were not convicted at all. What is the reason behind it? The answer for this is that the denial by Satan was out of his arrogance, whereas the denial of skies, etc. was due to their humbleness. That is, Satan denied prostrating to Sayyiduna Aadam considering himself to be superior to Aadam – In fact, arrogance is a major sin that is extremely disliked by Allah , whereas humbleness is such a good conduct that is extremely valuable in the court of Allah .
Due to this very reason, Satan became deserving of an eternal torment due to his denial whereas the skies and the earth etc. were not charged for their denial. Instead, they became deserving of the mercy and compassion of Allah .
This is because of the huge difference between arrogance and humbleness. Considering oneself inferior to others is virtuous while considering otherwise has no virtue. May Allah protect us from arrogance and make us a symbol of humbleness!