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Hues of Arrogance – Part 2

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Following the first part of this article, “Hues of Arrogance”, we detail below the steps one can take to become more humble towards Allah and His creation:

Know Allah:

“What has knowing Allah got to do with arrogance?”

Everything! The one who truly recognizes his Creator, and learns about His exalted names and attributes (click here), embraces reality. He knows with conviction how great his Lord is, and how absolutely miniscule his own self is. He knows that each and everything that he has and does, is from Allah, the One who created him, fashioned him, brought him into this world, gave him sustenance, and nurtured him into strength after the frailty of infancy and childhood. Once he truly knows Allah, he can not have arrogance reside in his heart for long.

Make Quran education and recitation a daily part of your life:

What better way to get acquainted with Allah, than to understand His Word? The Quran is the best remedy for arrogance, because the latter is a disease of the heart, and the Quran itself testifies to being a healer of such diseases:

“O mankind! There has now come unto you an admonition from your Sustainer, and a cure for all [the ill] that may be in men’s hearts, and guidance and grace unto all who believe [in Him].” [10:57]

By pondering on its meanings, studying it with a teacher, and reciting it both in the morning and during prayers, with understanding, you will eventually be able to acquire the endearing trait of humility, insha’Allah. For this, you need to have a sincere intention when you approach the Quran.

“Thus, step by step, We bestow through this Qur’an all that gives health [to the spirit] and is a grace unto those who believe [in Us], the while it only adds to the ruin of evildoers.” [17:82]

Take heed from Allah’s signs:

The greatest people who ever lived – those having extraordinary physical or mental strengths – were reduced to dependence and weakness with the passage of time. Great scholars or professors can one day suffer from amnesia or Alzheimer’s. Even the man who played the fictional “Superman” – the idol of many young boys – suffered a crippling fall, withered and died before their very eyes.

Narrated Abû Hurairah [رضی اللہ عنہ]: Allah’s Messenger [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said, “Allah looks neither at your figures, nor at your outward appearance, but He looks at your hearts and your deeds.” [Muslim]

This should remind us that each and every little blessing we have – from our looks, to our wealth, to our abilities and talents – is solely from Allah. Our achievements are not the product of our own selves – they are the result of the talents He endowed us with, combined with the effort He guided us to undertake. Not only that, He can take them away whenever He wants, even within a split second. A beauty queen can lose her perfect body and beauty to a disease (just a passing reference to the recent death of a 20-year-old Brazilian model, who died within two months of contracting a mysterious disease). A strong wrestler might suffer an accident that could render him invalid. Such accidents happen each day to people, but the less wise and arrogant ones do not take heed.

“None feels secure from Allah’s deep devising save people who are lost.” [7:99]

Wear ordinary clothes:

Muadh Bin Anas [رضی اللہ عنہ] reported: “The Messenger of Allah [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said, “Whoever gives up wearing elegant and expensive garments out of humbleness, when he can do so, Allah will call him on the Day of Resurrection and before all the creations, He will give him the choice to wear whichever garment of ‘imaan‘ he would like to wear.””
[Al-Tirmidhi]

Remember that whatever you have, or whatever you are, will cease to exist one day:

The life of this world is fleeting; everything in it, whether it is a source of happiness or misery, will be gone one day. Only memories and stories will remain, remembered as ‘history’. So if you are the owner of something that makes you swell with pride, just remind yourself that it will be dead and gone one day. Just like you.

“Only the Face of your Lord of Might and Glory will remain.” [Al-Rahman 55:27]

Admit your mistakes, or accede to your opponent when they are right:

It might take a huge effort at first, but try to develop humility by hearing the other person out, even if you are right or better in opinion. Develop the ability to look at things from their point of view, which will make you a gentler and more empathetic person; more approachable and likeable.  Also, if you are among the older generation (say, above 50) and for the most part of your life, you have been telling the younger lot what to do and how to do it, accede to the fact that now they are adults; maybe acknowledging your own shortcomings before them, and occasionally acquiescing to their wishes won’t really belittle you before them. On the contrary, it might just make you more honorable.

Apologize to those you have wronged:

It takes a lot of strength to not just admit your mistake, but to go one step ahead and apologize to those you’ve wronged, whether it happened intentionally or not.  Asking another person to forgive you is a sign of humility, one that very few strong individuals can muster up the guts to acquire.

Befriend or occasionally keep company of poor people:

A humble person always compares himself to those lower than him in worldly status. For this reason, he is constantly concerned about their well-being and prosperity (“If we are finding it so hard to get by, what about those who earn just a few notes per day?”; “If we can not afford a rented apartment, what about those who are homeless?”). He is also attracted to their simple minds, lack of airs and superficiality, and genuineness. As a result, he finds himself sharing his meals with them, giving away his clothes to them, paying their medical bills, or asking about their well-being often. In short, rather than spend time with the influential upper crust of the society’s elite at lavish soirees featuring arrays of expensive food, couture and decor, he’d rather eat vegetables on bran whilst sitting on the floor with his servants dining around him.

Give alms regularly:

Narrated Abu Hurairah [رضی اللہ عنہ]: Allah’s Messenger [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said, “Wealth is not diminished by giving (in charity). Allah augments the honor of one who forgives; and one who displays humility towards another seeking the Pleasure of Allah, Allah exalts him in ranks.” [Muslim]

Giving charity kills many birds with one stone, so to speak. It cools off the wrath of Allah if one has committed a sin; it carries great rewards, and it is the means of increasing one’s own sustenance. Last but not least, it appeases someone else’s calamity/neediness, or fills their stomach.

Greet people first, whether they are younger or older:

“So-and-so’s daughter is such a Miss high-and-mighty! What does she think of herself? Whenever she sees me, she averts her eyes. She doesn’t greet me, even though I am old enough to be her mother.”

Er……maybe you can teach her what she’s missing by practicing what you preach? What’s stopping you from greeting her with a warm, motherly smile?

Narrated Abu Dharr [رضی اللہ عنہ]: The Prophet [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] said, “Do not disdain any good deed, even your meeting with your brother (Muslim) with a cheerful face.” [Muslim]

While it’s true that the rider should greet the one on foot, and the standing one should greet the sitting one, it doesn’t mean the latter should expect to be greeted, passing judgments if not.

Remember your origins:

“Was he not a Nutfah (mixed male and female discharge of semen) poured forth? Then he became a clot; then (Allah) shaped and fashioned (him) in due proportion.” [Al-Qiyamah: 37-38]

The IslamQA fatwa committee bluntly describes this remedy (click here for the full article) for arrogance: “Another remedy (for arrogance) is to remember that he and urine came out of the same place; that he began as a despised drop of sperm and he will end up as a rotten corpse, and that in between he is a vessel for feces.  So what does he have to feel so proud and arrogant about?!”

Remember your sins and take yourself to account daily:

Every day, when you retire for the night, mentally recount how many wrong things you did during the day. After that, proceed to sincerely ask Allah for forgiveness. This daily activity will ensure that you stay focused on your own errors and weaknesses, paving the way for consistent humility and a gentler attitude towards the mistakes of others.

Remember that humility is a pathway to Paradise:

Narrated Harithah bin Wahb [رضی اللہ عنہ]: I heard Allah’s Messenger [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] saying, “Shall I not inform you about those who are entitled to Paradise? It is every person who is modest and humble (before Allah), a person who is accounted weak and is looked down upon, but if he swears (hoping for Allah’s Bounty), Allah will certainly give him what he desires. Now shall I not inform you about the inmates of Hell? It is every violent, impertinent and proud man.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Allah says: “Whosoever desires honor, power and glory then to Allah belong all honor, power and glory [and one can get honor, power and glory only by worshipping Allah (Alone)].” [Faatir – 35:10]

“See you not how Allah sets forth a parable? – A goodly word as a goodly tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches (reach) to the sky (i.e. very high).

Giving its fruit at all times, by the Leave of its Lord and Allah sets forth parables for mankind in order that they may remember.”
[Surah Ibrahim: 24-25]

A believer has been likened to the date-palm tree. It provides beneficial fruit perennially. Similarly, a humble believer is of benefit to other human beings through word and deed, during all times, be they good or bad.

Any trait of humility that you have encountered in life, which is not mentioned above? Please tell us by commenting below.

Allah knows best, and is the source of all strength.

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Sadaf Farooqi is a postgraduate in Computer Science who has done the Taleem Al-Quran Course from Al-Huda International, Institute of Islamic Education for Women, in Karachi, Pakistan. 11 years on, she is now a homeschooling parent of three children, a blogger, published author and freelance writer. She has written articles regularly for Hiba Magazine, SISTERS Magazine and Saudi Gazette. Sadaf shares her life experiences and insights on her award-winning blog, Sadaf's Space, and intermittently teaches subjects such as Fiqh of Zakah, Aqeedah, Arabic Grammar, and Science of Hadith part-time at a local branch of Al-Huda. She has recently become a published author of a book titled 'Traversing the Highs and Lows of Muslim Marriage'. For most part, her Jihad bil Qalam involves juggling work around persistent power breakdowns and preventing six chubby little hands from her computer! Even though it may not seem so, most of her time is spent not in doing all this, but in what she loves most - reading.

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. MM Associates

    February 26, 2009 at 1:42 AM

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran sister Sadaf. I really loved this article.-amatullah

  2. ayesha

    February 26, 2009 at 3:49 AM

    Assaamualikum,
    Barakallahukfeeki….May Allah open His doors of mercy for you!!!
    …..and reward you with Jannat Al Firdaus!!!

  3. UmmeAmmaarah

    February 26, 2009 at 3:53 AM

    MashaAllah sister! a really wonderful and insightful article. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of many of these mistakes and pretty often.

    I have heard of a couple of Hadith that went something like this :
    1. that our beloved prophet Muhammad SAWS was once served food on something that was just a little elevated off the floor, and his face turned red with anger.

    2. that 4 habits of the time of Jahiliyyah would be in his Ummah, one of them being taking pride in lineage.

    3. that they used to wear ‘patched’ clothes, and so occasionally wearing old clothes that are patched up would be sunnah for us.

    If somebody can paste the actual hadith concerning these issues, i think we could all learn a lesson or two from them.

    One more kind of arrogance that we see so often is that a lot of people treat less ‘intellectual’ or articulate people like trash, even their own parents who maybe don’t speak/act the way ‘educated’ people do. A lot of times people make their own ‘cliques’, and anybody who is an outsider is looked down upon, even when it comes to the often-witnessed issue of bearded v/s non-bearded or hijabis/non-hijabis, or even wearing un-fashionable beards/jilbabs/hijabs, and it becomes so second-nature, that unless someone explicitly reminds us (like this post)that what we are doing is wrong, we wouldn’t ever even realise it. May Allah cleanse our hearts and our souls, and make us all people of ‘jannati’ character.

    • shiney

      March 25, 2011 at 10:00 PM

      I understand where you are coming from sister but I have never heard from any authentic source about the incident that the Prophet (SAW) became angry when someone brought him food on an elevated platform.

      There are certain things that the Prophet (SAW) did and if we do them, it counts as Sunnah and we get reward for them but there are other things that the Prophet (SAW) did but we cannot call them Sunnah exclusively and hope to get reward for it. For example, praying the Ar-Rawatib (sunnahs associated with Fard prayers) would be Sunnah for us and we would get reward for doing so because it is a religious act. Some people think that when they wear the amamah (turban) or eat with their fingers or on the floor, they are acting upon the Sunnah but that is not so. The turban was simply a part of the Prophet (SAW)’s culture, it was not a religious practice. Also, he (SAW) ate with his fingers and on the floor simply because dining tables and utensils weren’t available at the time. European nobles later started eaing on tables and it was kinda like a royal thing. But today, it is quite common to eat on dining tables and with utensils, etc. However, if it becomes a show of pride or arrogance, then I agree with you that it should be avoided. Also, about patched clothes, they simply wore those because they were poor and they didn’t have clothes. It is the sunnah to be dressed in a humble yet dignified manner. Ostentatious display of humility by going out with a shaggy appearance can be a sign of showing off as I read in an article by a sheikh. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1JFpeVHBJY (please see video desc.) But yes, arrogance should not stop a person from wearing ‘low-quality’ or ‘patched-up’ clothes if there is a necessity.
      In regards to the educated vs. uneducated, hijabi vs. non-hijabi, I agree with you sister. I myself fell into that trap before as do many people. May Allah (SWT) forgive all of our sins and make us His humble and sincere, believing slaves and grant us Jannatul-Firdaus. Ameen.

  4. Ayesha Fatima

    February 26, 2009 at 10:32 AM

    Asak wr wb ,

    Mashaallah! Jazakumallahu khairaa sister .

    salaam

  5. Farhan

    February 26, 2009 at 11:23 AM

    In the previous post, I said “what are the practical steps?” I suppose these are the practical steps.
    May Allah remove arrogance from all of our hearts.

  6. Anisa

    February 26, 2009 at 2:15 PM

    “Another remedy (for arrogance) is to remember that he and urine came out of the same place; that he began as a despised drop of sperm and he will end up as a rotten corpse, and that in between he is a vessel for feces. So what does he have to feel so proud and arrogant about?!”

    Masha’Allah, how true are these words!! :) BarakAllahu Feeki!

    When I see arrogant people, I feel pity for them. Bragging about a race they had no hand in choosing, or a tribe, family name, etc. SubhanAllah, I just think to myself, how big are these people (in their own minds) in this dunya, they abuse and oppress others and look down on them, and how SMALL will these same people be on Qiyamah? How much regret will they feel when those that they oppressed will come to take their good deeds and possibly also ‘transfer’ their sins to them?

    Ya Rabb, cure our hearts, words and actions from kibr and make us from the humble, sincere Muslims, ameen!

  7. Khan Shahid

    February 27, 2009 at 8:33 AM

    SubhanAllah

    For the doors of wisdom are open if one wants to enter it In the name of Allah.

    Atleast i have found MashAllah from this article there is a door.

    JazakAllah Khair

  8. Sadaf

    February 28, 2009 at 12:01 PM

    Bismillah

    Jazakumullahu Khairan readers, for your input and feedback.
    May Allah indeed make us among the ones who have not even one iota of arrogance in our hearts when we die. Ameen.

    One aspect which I missed mentioning in the article is the arrogance that pious people become a victim of. When a person becomes very knowledgeable in Islam, perhaps climbing to the status of scholar/da’ee/aalim, writes several books and preserves a vast sea of ilm/knowledge in his heart, has thousands of students, and leads prayer in mosques — such a person can also be targeted by Satan in that he might start thinking he is above or better than the rest, or more guided, or that his school of thought regarding jurisprudence, or his fatawa are always the most correct.

    Pious people also tend to look down upon people who dress in a certain so-called “sinful” way, or who might be known to do the party circuit, perhaps with drugs and drinking. Hence, trying to tread Sirat Al-Mustqeem is not a surefire way of saying that arrogance won’t enter one’s heart. Rather, one needs to constantly be on the lookout for this vice, lest it has affected one unknowingly.

    Allah is the Source of Knowledge.

  9. kai

    March 11, 2009 at 10:43 AM

    Assalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahee wa Barakatu

    Imam Al Shafi’ee, raheematullah, said that manhood consists of four pillars:

    1. Worship
    2. Generosity
    3. Good Manners
    4. Humility

    He also said that if someone studies Qur’an then this person gains high spiritual status. If this person studies fiqh then then this person becomes noble. If this person studies language and languages then this knowledge can make the person well-mannered. The studying of mathematics help a person to gain unerring judgement, while those who love to write may gain powerful logic.

    The more we learn the humbler we become because a little knowledge can make a person feel arrogant and load, but as more knowledge increases the more the humility increases and pride decreases. Insha’Allah.

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