By Kaniz Fatma, New Age Islam
12 March 2018
It was pride that caused Iblis to disobey Allah’s command, thereby leading to his expulsion from Heaven [Jannat]. He chose to be thrown out of Heaven, rather than swallow his pride and prostrate to Hadrat Adam (peace be upon him). Instead of repenting, he requested Allah to lengthen his life so that he could devote his life to misleading mankind.
The Quran narrates this story of Iblis’s pride,
“And when We said to the angels, ‘Prostrate to Adam’, they prostrated, except Iblis. He refused and waxed arrogant and became of the disbelievers” (2:34)
The Quran and Sunnah have strictly condemned pride and haughtiness. Allah Almighty says,
“I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right…” (7:146)
The arrogant people are deprived of the blessing of Allah and thereby they spend their life disputing about the signs of Allah. Allah Almighty says,
“Those who dispute regarding the signs of Allah without any proof having come to them; how very disgusting this is, in the sight of Allah and in the sight of the believers! This is how Allah seals the entire heart of every haughty, rebellious person.” (40:35).
Allah Almighty says,
“And you will see on the Day of Resurrection the fabricators of lies against Allah, with their faces blackened; is not the destination of the haughty in hell?” (39:60).
Allah Almighty also says,
“It will be said, ‘Enter the gates of hell to remain in it forever’; so what a wretched destination for the haughty!” (39:72)
The Quran says,
“Verily, Allah does not love those who are proud and boastful.” (4:36)
The Quran also says,
“Those who turn away from My service out of pride will soon enter Hell being disgraced.” (40:60)
It is reported that the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” Someone asked if that person was proud who likes that his clothes and shoes to be neat and smart. The Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty (This statement means that good clothing and shoes do not denote pride”. Thereafter the beloved Prophet added saying, “pride means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” (Sahih Muslim)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah will throw Hell over the face of one in whose mind there is the slightest pride.” (Ihyaul Ulum vol 3, p.249)
The disease of pride and haughtiness is prevalent in all levels of society, and even the seemingly pious people, scholars and intellectuals fall prey to this disease. Pride is usually displayed when people refuse to confess to their errors and argue that only they are right. They may pass a wrong ruling or spread incorrect information, but will adamantly oppose anyone who corrects them.
Allah loves humility in a person. Perfect belief [Iman] will dictate to a person that he should show appreciation for all Allah’s bounties and behave humbly towards all mankind.
It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, Allah increases the honour of a man by virtue of his pardon. Allah raises him up who takes to modesty for pleasure of Allah. (Ihyaul Ulum vol 3, p.251)
Standing on the pulpit, Hadrat Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) once said, “Oh, people! Adopt humility because I have heard the holy Prophet (peace be upon him) say that Allah elevates the rank of the person who humbles himself for Allah. he will appear low in his own eyes, but high in the estimation of others. Allah will humiliate the person who is haughty. He will appear high in his own eyes, but will be more disgraced than a pig in the eyes of the others (Mishkat p.434)
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, He who has an atom of pride in him will not enter paradise. A proud man cannot love for others what he loves for himself as there is pride in him. He cannot give up hatred as there is pride in him. He cannot stand on truth as there is pride in him. He cannot control anger as he has got pride in him. He cannot accept admonitions as there is pride in him. He is not safe from accusations of the people as there is pride in him. The worst thing in self-conceit is to receive no benefit from learning, not to recognize truth and not to follow it. Allah Almighty says, “Enter the door of Hell and live therein. How bad is the place of the proud” (37:72) (Ihyaul Ulum vol 3, p. 252-253)
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Can Envy Be Good for You?
Why Pride is Good
Try to forget about the idea of pride as a deadly sin. The latest research shows that pride can be a powerful motivational force.
The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament declared, “Nothing is better than that a man should rejoice in his own works” (Ecclesiastes 3:22, NKJV).
5:48 To each among you have we prescribed a law and an open way. If Allah had so willed, He would have made you a single people, but (His plan is) to test you in what He hath given you: so strive as in a race in all virtues. The goal of you all is to Allah; it is He that will show you the truth of the matters in which ye dispute;
To strive as in a race comes from the desire to excel all others. This is a legitimate desire and legitimate striving and If one excels in something, he/she has a right to take pride in it. Pride and envy, if used to excel in all good things and virtues, is the correct use of Allah’s gift of these emotions to man. Allah has given man these emotions and Allah is not a creator of evil. The improper use is what leads to evil.
There is a difference between pride, arrogance and firmness. The Quran does not decry taking legitimate pride. Verse 7:146 also speaks of “arrogant upon the earth without right” or as Asad translates: “(7:146) From My messages shall I cause to turn away all those who, without any right, behave haughtily on earth: …..”
The Quran speaks of arrogance without the right as being evil. The arrogance of Iblis was without the right and because of envy of Adam. Neither pride nor envy by themselves are bad unless they lead a person into doing wrong as in the case of Iblis. The envy and pride of Iblis could have also lead him into striving even more to excel Adam in all virtues without trying to bring him down, but it lead him into disobedience of Allah and vowing to waylay Adam and his progeny and make them his followers and deserving of Hell.
Taking legitimate pride is good, arrogance on the other hand with good/humble people is bad, firmness with the evil people is the right way. The evil people will call your firmness in dealing with their falsehood as arrogance. The correct way is taught in the Quran in the following manner:
(1) (The Prophet) frowned and turned away,
(2) Because there came to him the blind man (interrupting).
(3) But what could tell thee but that perchance he might grow (in spiritual understanding)?-
(4) Or that he might receive admonition, and the teaching might profit him?
(5) As to one who regards Himself as self-sufficient,
(6) To him dost thou attend;
(7) Though it is no blame to thee if he grow not (in spiritual understanding).
(8) But as to him who came to thee striving earnestly,
(9) And with fear (in his heart),
(10) Of him wast thou unmindful.
The type of person with whom you should be humble and considerate is clearly defined above. Such a person is not arrogant, but a humble seeker of the truth and you are answerable to Allah if you turn away from such a person. About the arrogant person, Allah will not question you even if you paid no heed to him. He must find firmness in you.
(48:29) Muhammad is the messenger of Allah; and those who are with him are severe with the Kuffari, (but) compassionate amongst each other.
The truth must be put across with firmness and it is not a virtue to compromise with falsehood in the name of humility. That is false humility and false humility is hypocrisy. We do not have enough people who can put across the truth with firmness or even people who have the courage to support those who do.