On Arrogance and Humility Part 1

“Arrogance is a state in which we are convinced that we have the right to be above others. Justifiable self-regard, wihtout comparing ourselves to others and feeling superior, is not the same thing. That is, at worst, vanity. Arrogance is unlawful in Islam. It is considered to be a disgraceful state.

The opposite of arrogance is to look at ourselves with the intention of truly knowing ourselves. Self-examination is a virtue, and one that is expected of a Muslim. Whether our self-regard is justifiable or not, whether truly in our hearts we believe that we are superior to others or not, if our conceit is exteriorized, manifested, communicated to others by mind or deed, it is a sin. The worst version of this sin occurs when no justification exists for the feeling of superiority we cherish. Allah Most High, one of whose attributes is The Proud One, is the only one with the right to that name.

Modesty, to appear less than we are, is commendable. Yet, the exaggeration of humbleness to the extent of appearing abject is a sin.

Only knowledge is worth begging for, and worth humbling ourselves to receive.”

– adapted from “The Path of Muhammad (SAWS) – A Book on Islamic Morals and Ethics”
by Imam Birgivi: interpreted by Shaykh Tosun Bayrak al-Jerrahi al-Halveti

A Ripe Mind

“What my family traditions, my education and my social environment had offered me in the making of my mind, I was from the very beginning of my life, reluctant to rest content with. The bonds of inherited dependance on the past could not hold me under.

The zest of search for truth never forsook me. There is hardly a single conviction in me which has not had to bear the stings of doubt, or a single belief which has not faced the test of denial. I have gulped in poison mixed with every draught applied to my lips, and have also administered to myself Elixir coming forth from every quarter. Whenever I felt thirsty, my parched lips did not resemble the lips of others who were equally thirsty, and when I quenched my thirst, it was not from the same fountain as others did.

Whatever I could gather in this lengthy period of my life in my search of the Qur’anic truth, I have tried to understand to the best of my ability, and spread over the pages of this volume:”

“This is no new tale of fiction, but a confirmation of previous scriptures, and the explanation of all things, and a guidance and mercy to those who believe”

Surah 12(Yusuf) : Ayah 111
The Qur’an

-from the District Jail, Meerut (UP, India)

16th, November 1930
Preface to the 1st Edition,
“The Opening Chapter of the Qur’an”
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad