The Sunday Mail
Holy Quraan Speaks
(Continued from last week)
THE second strain of arrogance involves our feeling of superiority with respect to other people. Islam’s teaching is that one should never consider oneself greater than other people, because that judgement will come from The Almighty and The Almighty alone, on the Day of Judgement.
None of us knows what our end will be, whether we will end up being a winner or loser over there. The person who appears to be nobody here may end up with eternal bliss because of his goodness that only The Almighty knew of.
On the other hand, the person who is a big shot here may end up among the sinners who will be punished there because of his evil that only The Almighty knew of. How foolish, is it then to congratulate ourselves over our fleeting “superiority”.
An interesting question arises here: What if a person does have some edge over another person in measurable worldly terms? How then can he not consider himself superior than the other person in that respect? The point is sometimes made in half jest: it is difficult to be humble when you are so great.
Islam does not ask us to reject reality and imagine we don’t have what we really do. Rather it asks us to take a deeper look at the reality and not be misled by a superficial perception of it. And the simple reality that escapes the vast majority of us is that our health, wealth, colour, beauty, talents, and power are not of our own creation.
It is surely God Almighty who gives those to us as a test and He can take them back whenever and however He wills. For those who are conscious of this reality, their blessings will produce gratitude in them and they will render submission to The Almighty at all times; those who are blind to it will develop pride and arrogance and not only become haughty but will go on to look down upon others.
No one likes arrogance in others. We never like a person who is haughty, too proud, or pompous and snobbish. We detest a person who belittles us and has a huge ego. Similarly, we love people who are humble, polite, and easy to talk to. We love people who give us respect and honour. Thus if we follow the principle of treating others the way we like to be treated, most of these problems might be cured. In reality, the treatment of the “root cause” of the sicknesses of the heart requires a deeper look.
For that we need to appreciate the difference between basic “manners” on the one hand and “morals” on the other. While manners deal with one’s external disposition; morals, as defined by Islam, deal with our inner thoughts, feeling, and attitudes.
In a healthy personality, the manners and morals are in harmony. But, we must remember that it is also possible to have the former without having the latter. The first concerns itself with how a person deals with others. The second is concerned with what a person thinks of himself. Two persons showing humbleness in their dealings with others may have opposite ideas.
One may do it out of his or her “generosity” while the other may do it because he genuinely thinks that he is not better than the other person. The first person only has a shell of humbleness, which will crumble when tested. It is the second person who is really free of arrogance.
After having gone through some detail on the evil of arrogance and pride, the dangers, the bad consequences and so forth; we should by now be cautioned and make every effort to get away from it, from its effects and its characteristics.
So, to start with, we must teach ourselves to always search for the truth and accept and follow it once we know it, and also to humble ourselves in front of others.
The Prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) said, “….And no one has humbled himself for the sake of The Almighty, except that The Almighty will surely elevate him.”
We must constantly strive to search for, remember and remind one another of the great virtues, and put them into practice throughout our daily lives. Among these great virtues are: submission to The Almighty, self-restraint, discipline, sacrifice, patience, brotherhood, generosity, and humility.
Real greatness belongs only to The Almighty, our Creator and Master. Human beings are just a creation of The Almighty – and a very small creation in comparison to the unimaginably vast universe. Anyone who understands this will realise that our proper status is only that of “servants of The Almighty”.
While throughout history, humanity has agreed on the evil of arrogance and the virtue of humbleness, this century in particular, has seen new dogmas that aim at changing the definitions of good and evil. It seems as though humbleness is no longer desirable.
To be continued next week.
For further information on Islam or a free copy of the Holy Qur’aan, please contact:
Majlisul Ulama Zimbabwe, Council of Islamic Scholars
P.O. Box W93, Waterfalls, Harare
Tel: 04-614078 / 614004, Fax : 04-614003
e-mail: [email protected]