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Chapter 14. Averting Arrogance

Arrogance is glorifying one's self and disdainng others. The reason why arrogance occurs is due to feeling superior over others that are less in lineage, wealth, knowledge, or worship etc. The sign of arrogance is disdaining those who one feels superior over, also swaggering, pride and one's love for being glorified by others.

The cure for this disease lies in two approaches: a general approach and a detailed approach. The general approach is further divided into two types; theoretical and practical. The theoretical cure is through textual and logical evidence of the demerits of arrogance. The practical cure is achieved by accompanying humble people and hearing their stories.

On the other hand the detailed approach is achieved by reflecting on the flaws of the self and knowing that if someone is proud about his money, it will soon be taken away from him. He should also know that excellence lies in being sufficient from a thing, not in needing it. If it is knowledge that he is proud about, then he should know that many people, who are more knowledgeable than him, and preceded him in that path. Moreover his knowledge forbids him from arrogance, so it is an evidence against him. In addition if it is a deed that is making him proud, then looking at it and thinking that it is perfect is a demerit not a merit.

Section One: Arrogance in the Heart

Abu Salamah narrated that Abdullah ibn Amr (ra) ran across ibn Umar (ra) on the hill of Marwah, so they descended and talked. And then Abdullah ibn Amr left and ibn Umar sat and wept. He was asked, "Why are you weeping?" He said, "He (Abdullah ibn Amr) claims that he heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say, 'Whoever has an atom's weight of arrogance in his heart, Allah will throw him in the hell­fire on his face." [Bayhaqi]

Iyas ibn Salamah (ra) reported that his father said, "The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "A man shall glorify himself until he is written among the tyrants, so that he suffers from what befell them." [Tirmidhi and Daylami]

Muslim reported that Ibo Masud (ra) narrated from the Prophet (saw) that he said, "Whoever has an atom's weight of arrogance in his heart will not enter paradise." A Man said, "A man likes that his garment is nice and that his shoes are nice." He (saw) also said, "Indeed Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty.

Arrogance is rejecting the truth and disdaining people." [Muslim]

Muslim reported from al-Aghar from Abu Hurayrah (ra) and Abu Said (ra) that they narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said, "Allah, glorified and exalted is He, says: 'Pride is my cloak, and glory is my lower garment, so whoever contends with Me regarding either one of them, I will  torment him."

Al-KhattabI said, "This means that pride and greatness are two attributes of Allah that He alone is particularised with, no one shares them with Him, no created being should have them because the attribute of the created is humbleness and lowness. Allah has set the cloak and the lower garment as an example; no one shares his cloak, or his lower garment with another person. Like­wise Allah does not share his pride and greatness with anyone, and Allah only knows."

He (al-Khattabl) said, "And his saying: 'Whoever has an atom's weight of arrogance in his heart will not enter paradise,' may have two meanings: the first is that this refers to the arrogance of disbelief and the second is that He takes arrogance out of the hearts of those who will enter paradise. And his saying: 'disdaining people' means looking down at them and belittling them."

Al-Hasan said, "You see people praising a man extravagantly, saying to him, you are indeed such and such, so he just sits silently believing what is being said to him, and you see a man walking slowly and boastfully, not in a normal manner [he does that out of arrogance]."