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

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