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  Opinion   Oped  02 Dec 2016  Mystic Mantra: Humility vs arrogance

Mystic Mantra: Humility vs arrogance

Sadia Dehlvi is a Delhi-based writer and author of Sufism: The Heart of Islam. She can be contacted at sadiafeedback@gmail.com
Published : Dec 2, 2016, 2:09 am IST
Updated : Dec 7, 2016, 11:15 pm IST

Sometimes people of knowledge are in greater danger of arrogance because they may feel superior to others on account of their knowledge.

The Quran clearly states that the only rank that eventually matters is marked by the relationship that one has with God.
 The Quran clearly states that the only rank that eventually matters is marked by the relationship that one has with God.

Humbleness is a virtue that is the essence of good moral character. The Quran constantly reminds people to be humble. “Call upon your Lord with humility and in private. Verily, He does not love transgressors”. Allah tells us not to walk proudly on the earth. His words in the Quran repeatedly praise those with humility and label those without humility as the heedless who do not recognise the signs and Majesty of God.

When Muslims prostrate on the earth to offer their ritual prayers five times a day, they are demonstrating their humility before their Creator. However, its not just the outward appearance, but about the internal essence of realising that we are nothing before God. When we touch our forehead to the ground, it’s the most humbling of human positions. It is a constant reminder that we are created from the earth by the will of God and we shall return to Him when He wills.

 

The famous ninth century Sufi scholar Imam Junaid of Baghdad said that the first thing that spiritual Masters should teach their disciples is to recognise one’s own signs of arrogance and how to treat it in them in themselves. Practicing humility is a way of connecting with the divinity in ourselves and dissolving self centredness.

Arrogance is a sign of a spiritually diseased heart. Prophet Muhammad famously said, “No one will enter paradise if they have an atom’s weight of arrogance in their hearts”. There are different kinds of arrogance. The first is when a person deems himself superior to others. The second type of arrogance is displayed in a person who shows contempt of others. The third is when people think they are born superior and are arrogant of their lineage.  

 

Arrogance is the characteristic of Satan, for when God created Adam and commanded all the angels and Jinns to prostrate before him, Satan refused saying, “I am better than me. You created him from clay and me from fire”. This claim of superiority and failure of Satan to follow God’s command led to his being thrown out of Paradise and being condemned to the eternal fire.

Sometimes people of knowledge are in greater danger of arrogance because they may feel superior to others on account of their knowledge. The villains of history have been those filled with false pride and arrogance. The Quran clearly states that the only rank that eventually matters is marked by the relationship that one has with God.

 

On the subject of humility, Mevlana Rumi writes:

When a seed falls on the ground,
it germinates, grows and becomes a tree,
if you understand these symbols,
you’ll follow us, and fall to the ground, with us.

Tags: god, quran, prophet muhammad