Fruits for the Week

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The Messenger (saw) said: “The one who has an ant’s weight of arrogance in their heart shall not enter Paradise.” A man said: “Indeed, one loves his clothes and his shoes to be nice.” He said: “Allah is beautiful and loves beautification. Arrogance is rejection of the truth and the belittling of people.” (Muslim)

There are foundational or cardinal diseases of the heart, and kibr (arrogance and pride) is one of them. This grave sin reflects serious flaws in our souls and relationship with Allah, and it leads to a host of other great sins. Anyone worried about their fate in the next life and their well-being in this one must understand the problem with kibr and how to protect themselves from it.

Arrogance and pride stand as a barrier between us and the truth. When our sense of self is inflated, and we exaggerate our grandeur, we see that everything and everyone else is beneath us, undeserving of us. Our sense of superiority leads us to believe that we possess what no one has. And we put ourselves before and above everything and everyone else.

This flawed perception opens the door to so many other sins, and it blocks the path to do many virtues. The arrogant cannot love for others what they love for themselves, cannot be humble, and cannot be free of envy and hatred. The arrogant will cover, backbite, spread gossip, and will say and do whatever to maintain their false superiority.

The arrogant fail to accept advice or admit their mistakes and so fail to reform and improve. And they reject the truth that they receive from others, especially when it does not suite their teste.

Kibr is a disease that is fatal to iman. Ibn Taymiyyah said: “The sin of pride and self-admiration and showing-off is greater than the sin of drinking alcohol. The one drinks alcohol and is afraid of His Lord is closer to the mercy of his Lord than the arrogant and self-admiring fasting person who is showing off. The one who thinks that the obedience of Allah is the mere external act of the deed is ignorant. Obedience refers to the obedience of the heart with fear and hope and sincerity to Allah and thankfulness and other things, more that it refers to the obedience of the body, such as fasting, night prayer, and charity.” (Al-Radd ‘ala al-Shadhili)

The arrogant compromises the essence of worship, even if it looks perfect externally. Worship is to approach Allah with humility. Arrogance ruins the heart and hollows out our worship, leaving it an empty shell of physical performance. Mutarrif ibn Abdullah said: “That I spend the night asleep and be sorry in the morning is more beloved to me than to spend the night praying and admire myself in the morning.”

The one who has a humble and regretful heart puts his trust in the forgiveness and mercy of Allah, and is completely reliant on Allah to save him. This is the heart that Allah loves. The one who admires his works puts his trust in them, and his heart is distant from Allah; he has failed to extract the real benefit from his worship

Heaven is not the abode of the proud, but Hell is. When Iblis showed his arrogance and refused Allah direct command, Allah told him that there would be no place for him in Heaven with that type of rebellion. Allah said: “What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?” Iblis said: “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.” Allah said: “Descend from Paradise, for it is not for you to be arrogant in it, so leave. Indeed, you are of the debased.” (Qur’an 7: 12-13)

Note how his arrogance and feeling of superiority made him lose his high station and all honour and privileges he used to enjoy; he instead, became the lowliest creature. This is what arrogance brings: it distances us from every virtue we have and casts us into anger, resentment, and rebellion against Allah. And on the Last day, the haughty will receive great humiliation as the Prophet (saw) said: “The arrogant will be gathered on the Day of Judgement the size of ants in human form, with humiliation coming to them from every direction.” (Tirmidhi)

As pride casts one out of Heaven, so it casts guidance from the heart. Allah says while talking about Pharaoh: “Those who dispute the ayat of Allah without any authority that has come to them, this is extremely hateful to Allah and to those who believe. So does Allah seal up the heart of every arrogant, tyrant.” (Qur’an 40: 35)

Iman is the antidote to kibr. It is through iman that we understand who Allah is and who we truly are. We see through it the contrast between the greatness of Allah and our own weakness and helplessness, and we then submit to Allah’s wisdom and power. Because of it, we focus on our own faults and weakness and are humbled by the great qualities we note in people around us.

The knowledge the faithful have, their application of it, and their proximity to Allah drives pride away. But they must guard their heart at all times from arrogance and self-admiration sneaking back and ruining their intentions.

(To be continued)

by Dr. Ali Al-Burghouthi