Arrogance: a spiritual poison
By: Maryam Hedayat
“I am proud of my achievement”, “I feel proud being myself”, “Proud to be a father”,” and so on…we usually hear people expressing their accomplishments with pride.
Being proud or feeling of pride has become so common that it is no more seen as immodest and improper.
Pride or (takabbur) in Arabic is, in fact, a negative feeling. Pride, arrogance, egotism, self-importance are among the most malicious inner diseases of the heart and mind.
These vices of the heart lead to several immoral actions and behavior all of which are against the ethics and teachings of Islam. They lead to hatred, evil thinking about others, spreading rumors, lying, jealousy, backbiting and may also result, in extreme circumstances, the desire to cause physical harm.
Pride is to consider oneself better than others, usually people consider education, knowledge, wealth, physical beauty and strength, religious virtue, fame and success, as the quality to root arrogance and boastfulness.
In fact, pride is a universal human problem. Everyone suffers from it to some extent, even some scholars, ascetics and worshipers of Allah.
The arrogant person is always bounded with a feeling of self-importance and self-indulgence.
Apparently the first sin to have been committed in the world of creation was arrogance and pride on the part of Satan (Shaitan), who said: “I have been created of fire whereas Adam has been created of earth and fire holds supremacy over earth.”
Thus a proud and an arrogant person regards himself better and superior to others and by assuming vain and wishful thoughts in his mind, adopts the behavior of Satan.
Pride is a mental state causing self-admiration and haughtiness against others in words or deeds. It is a disease that strengthens the heart and makes it resistant to knowledge.
Allah, the almighty, says in the Quran:
“Truly Allah knows what they hide and what they manifest; surely He does not love the proud”. (Surah Al Nahal -16:23)
I wonder why to be proud if someone has got success, or blessed with a beautiful house, a good car, good health, or strong Imaan and knowledge, or any type of triumph or achievement. Instead one must be thankful, obliged and grateful to Allah for the special blessings.
Our prophet (pbuh) said:
“He who holds an atom’s weight of pride in his heart shall not enter Paradise.” (Sahih Muslim:1:166).
Who knows, the things on which we are proud today might be taken away from us tomorrow. If Allah has provided and showered his blessings upon us he can even take them away the same way.
We must always remember that all blessings come from Allah and Allah alone. We should supplicate Allah to grant us the devotion to be grateful to Him and allow us to help others with His special blessings, and to protect us from looking down upon others.
Additional danger of arrogance is that it prevents us from seeking knowledge. We might begin to feel that we know everything, so why bother looking out for an aalim (scholar) who has toiled and struggled hard to acquire true knowledge.
Nowadays it seems that everyone is an Aalim. If ever suggested to seek the advice of a sheikh or an Aalim,his/her response might be passive as he himself feels complete and perfect in the possession of knowledge.
Allah, the Almighty, says:
“And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah likes not each arrogant boaster”. (Surah Luqman-31:8)
While there are many immoralities innate in pride itself, it generates many other immoralities as well, such as narrow-mindedness, lack of ability, petty-mindedness, wickedness, and lack of courage.
Thus a person with an egotistical mentality, as soon as he beholds any virtue in himself he visualizes himself to enjoy a kind of supremacy over others. He thinks he has acquired a high position, whereas, if he fairly calculates it and judges his achievements and merits, he would see that what he imagined to be perfect and is so proud of is not at all an accomplishment or merit, and even if it were a merit how insignificant it was when compared to other person’s accomplishments.
Allah (swt) says in the Quran:
“I shall turn away from my revelations those who show pride in the world wrongfully”. (Surah Al-A’raf 7:146)
Basically, the more we really know ourselves and know Allah, the less we are a victim of arrogance and pride. A Muslim must always realize the real status and position in this world, and know that the universe does not only revolve around dreams, fame, achievements and success.
We all very well know that whatever we have in this world is from Allah, and it is neither a punishment nor an honor, but a test in this world. The test of a trial is whether we continue and go on doing good, or turn our backs from Allah and go astray.
Obviously humility and modesty is the creation of knowledge and wisdom, and arrogance and pride is the outcome of ignorance.
Intention is the basis for judging a deed, and only Allah can see into people’s hearts. Thus a person is either a Muslim or an arrogant, the two can never be together at the same time.
Allah says in the holy book:
“Therefore enter the gates of hell, to abide therein; so certainly evil is the dwelling place of the proud.” (Surah Al Nahal-16:29)
Thus, it proves that the feeling of pride is a disease that paralyzes our soul and cripples our moral health to maintaina balanced life on the earth. We should constantly make an effort to overcome its adverse effect.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of MuslimVillage.com.