The Evil of Pride and Self-Admiration
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam is His Messenger.
Pride and Arrogance
Pride, arrogant and Self-Admiration is one the major sins and shall not enter Paradise.
Allāh Almighty Says: “I will turn away from My Ayat (verses of the Qur’ān) those who behave arrogantly on the earth, without a right, and (even) if they see all the Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons signs, revelations, etc.), they will not believe in them...” [Al-A’raf; 7:146]; And Allāh Almighty also Says “... truly He likes not the proud.” [Al-Nahl; 16:23]
Abdullah Ibn Mas‘ūd narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:“The one who possesses half of mustard seed of Kibr in his heart shall not be granted admission to Jannah; and the one who possesses half of a mustard seed of Iman shall not enter the (Eternal) Fire.” [This is recorded by Imâm Muslim, Abu Dawûd, At-Tirmidzi.]
Another narration ‘Abdullah bin Salām which is the completion version the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
“The one who possesses an iota of Kibr in his heart shall not be granted admission to Jannah.”
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) was (then asked): “[But] O Messenger of Allah! A man likes to have fine clothing and footwear. Is this included in Kibr?”The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied:
“No. Allah is Beauty and loves Beauty. Kibr is the rejection of Truth (Battrul-Haqq) and condescension of others (wâ ‘ghâmttun-Nâs).”
[This is recorded by Imam Muslim (54), Ibn Khuzaymah, Abu Dawûd, At-Tirmidzi, Ibn Sa‘ad on the authority of Ibn Mas‘ûd. At-Tabrani reports it on the authority of ‘Abdullah bin Salâm]
Rasūlullāh Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) also said: “The Fire complained saying: ‘I am the dwelling of the arrogant and the tyrants’.” [This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
It is also narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Allāh will not look on the Day of Judgment at him who drags his robe (behind him) out of pride.” Then, Abu Bakar (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) said: “O Messenger of Allāh, one side of my robe slacks down but I am very cautious about it (i.e. I raise it).” Thereupon, the Messenger of Allāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “But you do not do that out of pride” This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim
Pride is an inner bad moral that makes the afflicted with it see him “above” the others due to the perfect qualities and attributes that he “believes” to have.
It is a very dangerous flaw that afflicts so many people, even some ascetics, scholars, and worshipers of Allāh. Surely it is so treacherous because the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) stated that he who has in his heart the weight of an atom of pride will not enter Paradise.
Pride deprives the prideful person from Paradise because it prevents him from acquiring the qualities of the believers, for he cannot like for the believers that which he likes for himself, nor can he be humble, or avoid animosity, envy, or wrath, or restrain his anger, or accept good advice, or refrain from despising and backbiting people. In short, he is subject to all blameworthy morals.
Among the worst forms of pride is that which prevents man from benefiting from knowledge, accepting the truth and complying with it.
However, a prideful person may have some knowledge, but his prideful soul does not let him comply with the truth, as Allāh Almighty Says: “And they denied them those (Ayat) wrongfully and arrogantly though their ownselves were convinced thereof...” [Al-Naml, 27:14]; “They said: Shall we believe in two men like ourselves…?”[Al-Mu’minun; 23:47]; “You are no more than human beings like us!” [Ibrāhīm; 14:10]
Meaning of Pride
The Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) explained the meaning of pride when he said: “Pride is to disdain the truth (out of self-conceit) and contempt people.” [This is recorded by Muslim]
The Degrees of Pride
Pride among scholars, and worshipers of Allāh falls into three degrees:
The first degree is that pride is inculcated in the heart of any of them, so he sees himself better than the others, but he tries to rectify himself and act humbly.
The second degree is that any prideful person among them shows pride and arrogance in public sittings through such acts as proving how he is more excellent than his counterparts and devaluating whoever does not show him respect.
The third degree is that he shows pride and arrogance through words; for example, he may show how proud he is of himself, his accomplishments, his lineage, etc., aiming to show how he is better and more significant than the others or than a certain person.
Some Evil Character of the Prideful Person
1. He likes that people should stand up for him, whether on his coming or while he is sitting. However, the Muslim scholars view that it is recommendable to stand up for parents, just rulers, and virtuous people.
2. He does not walk except with someone walking behind him.
3. He does not visit anyone because he feels that he is better than people (and thus it is they who should pay him visits.)
4. He does not like that anyone should sit or walk beside him.
5. He refuses to carry even his own belongings under any circumstances.
6. He does not help his wife in any of the house affairs, contradicting what the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to do.
How to Remedy Pride and Acquire Humbleness
The remedy of pride require humbleness, mainly depends on the removing of its source from the heart. This requires that the prideful person should know himself and his Lord.
By knowing himself, he realizes that he should never have been prideful. It is sufficient for him to know that “clay” is the origin of his existence then he was created out of a sperm that came out of the same place where urine comes out of the body, then out of a clot of blood, then out of a morsel of flesh, then he was given life, along with the gifts of hearing, sight, and understanding. Allāh, the Almighty, refers to this fact in the Quran, saying which means:
“From what thing did He create him? From Nutfah (mixed drops of male and female sexual discharge) He created him and then set him in due proportion.” [‘Abasa; 80:18-19]
Then He, Allah Almighty, favors him: “Then He makes the Path easy for him.” [Al-Kahf; 18: 20]
Thus, Allāh gives man life, moulds him in due proportions, and brings him to the world where he provides him with food, drink, clothing, guidance, and strength.
Therefore, if this is the reality of man's existence and creation, why should he be prideful or arrogant?
Having realized this, the prideful person should remember that his life may be taken from him at any time and in any place, and that by then he will be buried in his grave where his body will be worn out, then on the Day of Resurrection he will receive his “record” and it will be said to him as Allāh tells us saying: “Read your Book: You yourself are sufficient as a reckoner against you this Day.” [Al-Isrā’; 17:14]
Recalling such scenes every now and then is apt to decrease one's feeling of pride and arrogance until it finally fades away, Allāh willing.
As for knowing his Lord, it is enough for the prideful person to contemplate about the signs and effects of His might and greatness, to realize that no one is to show pride or arrogance in the Kingdom of the All-Mighty Lord, Glory be to Him.
Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: "While a man was strutting in two gowns out of self-admiration, Allāh caused the earth to swallow him up, and he has been submerging therein up to the Day of Resurrection." [This is recorded by Muslim]
Abdullah Ibn Mas'ūd (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) said: “Destruction lies in two things: self-admiration and despair (from the mercy of Allāh).” The gathered self-admiration and despair together because happiness cannot be obtained except with exerting much effort; the despairing person does not make any effort because of his despair and the self-admired person believes that he has got what he wants so he feels he does not have to make any effort either.
Self-admiration leads to pride, as it is originally one of its causes, and pride leads to many destructive flaws.
The Remedy of Self-Admiration
Allāh Almighty favored man when He created him and provided him with many blessings. Therefore, no one should be self-admired because of his actions, knowledge, beauty, or wealth, as these are bounties provided by Allāh out of His Grace.
Moreover, even a person's righteous deeds will not admit him to Paradise, because it is Allāh Who guides him and enables him to do them.
Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) once said: “No one's good deeds will make him enter Paradise.” The Companions (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) asked: “Not even you, O Messenger of Allāh?” Rasūlullāh (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Not even myself, unless Allāh bestows His favor and mercy on me.” [This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
It should also be known that the causes of pride are also from amongst the causes of self-admiration. They have already been mentioned earlier, so they may be referred to where they are cited above.
Someone may say: a noble man may be self-admired because of his noble lineage, and he may wish that his noble relatives will intercede for him on the Day of Resurrection.
Commenting on this, we can say that all Muslims wish for intercession on their behalf and it is true that intercession may not be accepted when one's sins are very great.
Allāh Almighty Says: “…Verily the most honorable of you with Allāh is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa [i.e., he is one of The Muttaqun (the pious)] …” [Al-Hujurat; 49:13]
Furthermore, the Prophet (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said to his daughter: "O Fātimah, I have no power (to protect you) from Allāh in anything." [This is recorded by Al-Bukhari]
Therefore, it is only man's righteous deeds and good qualities that make him "noble" or "honorable" in the sight of Allāh.
Abu Hurayrah (radhiyallāhu‘anhu) narrated that Allāh's Messenger (Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “I should not find that any of you should come on the Day of Resurrection with a growling camel mounted on his neck, and should appeal to me for help, saying, 'O Messenger of Allāh, help me, 'and I should say, I have no authority to help you; I already conveyed to you’.” This is recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim
So, whoever knows and comprehends these facts will start occupying the rest of his life with as many acts of worship and obedience as he can, as this is the only rope to salvation.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.
[Via Islam Web 25/09/2010]