TOPIC: Humility in Islam

Humility in Islam 3 years 7 months ago #1407

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Are You Humble?

All praise is due to Allah, Whom we praise and seek help, guidance and forgiveness from. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils within ourselves and from the burden of our evil deeds. He, whom Allah guides, will never be misled; and he whom He allows to stray no one can guide him. I bear witness that there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah without partners and that Muhammad (SAW) is His servant and Messenger.

We ask Allah to bestow His salutation upon our master and leader, Muhammad, SAW, his household, his companions and all those who believe in him till the end of time.

Assalamu alaykum warahmatullah wabarakaatuh.

O servants of Allah! This is the month for tazkiyatun-nafs (purification of the soul). One major impediment for this purification activity is arrogance whose antidote is humility. Reflect that “the (faithful) servants of the Most Gracious (Allah) are those who walk on the earth in humility and sedateness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of gentleness.” Q25:63

The leadership role thrust upon the shoulders of the Muslim requires a great amount of humility for him to succeed in passing the message on to others. To underscore this, Allah directs that “turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth as Allah does not like the arrogant boaster.” Q31:18 The quality which Allah cherishes in the believer is “to be moderate in your walking (without arrogance) and lower your voice (when talking).” Q31:19 He (SWT) also admonished that: “And walk not on the earth with conceit and arrogance as you can neither rend nor penetrate the earth, nor can you attain the stature like the mountains in height.” Q17:37

Allah created human beings for the sole purpose to worship Him and a believer should be in the state of worship all the moments of his existence. The worship expected of the believer is referred to as Ibadah which word is derived from ‘ubudiyyah, which means servitude and expressed through one’s humility or humbleness. In this regard, Allah commands: “So glorify the praises of your Lord and be of those who prostrate themselves (to Him).” (Q15:98)

For a better understanding of humility, we can look at its opposite, arrogance. Allah provided ample examples of people of old who were arrogant and how they ended. In all the cases, Allah seized them and extracted retribution which is disastrous for all concerned. The arrow head of arrogance is Shaytan (Iblis) whose story of refusal to obey Allah’s command to prostrate before Adam should be familiar with all of us. All obeyed Allah “except Shaytan, he refused to be among those who prostrate.” Allah said, 'O Shaytan! What is your reason for not being among those who prostrate? ‘Satan said: 'I am not the one to prostrate myself to a human being, whom You created from sounding clay...” (Q15:30-35). In another narration, Shaytan explained that he is better than Adam because he was created from fire/flame as against Adam from clay. From this point on Iblis (as known as Azaazeel) lost his glorious position and became accursed till eternity.

Other well known examples of people who showed arrogance include Fir’awn (Pharaoh), Haman, Qarun, etc. These and that of Iblis (Shaytan) have a common strand: a feeling of superiority and therefore a right to be obeyed or respected or even worshipped (like Pharaoh). The end of all the arrogant people is something a Muslim will not desire for.

The fasting is to imbue taqwa into us and thereby make us worthy of being truly ibaadullah (Servants of Allah). All power and strength is from Allah alone. All human beings are equal in the sight of Allah and the distinctions between nations, tribes, and families are only to know each other and not for the sake pride. Therefore, Allah proclaimed: “O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you with Allah is that (believer) who has At-Taqwa (Allah’s consciousness). Verily, Allah is All-Knowing, All-Aware.” (Q 49:15)

For us to develop the act of humility, we need to understand our position of servanthood vis-à-vis the lordship of Allah. The kalimah of entering the faith of Islam specifically declared: La ilaha illah Allah. This in effect shows that everything belongs to and is owned by Allah, who alone exists; all other things that appear to exist are derivatives from the Real Existence and it is only for a while. Humility comes from knowing about Allah and recognising His greatness, venerating Him, loving Him and being in awe of Him; and it comes from knowing about oneself and one’s own faults, and weaknesses. Allah gives this characteristic to those who struggle to become close to Him through deeds of piety and righteousness. A companion close to the Prophet Muhammad heard him say, “Wealth does not decrease because of charity, and Allah increases His slave in honour when he forgives others. And no one humbles himself before Allah but Allah will raise him (in status).” (Saheeh Muslim )

For us to take heed and easy to cultivate the habit of humility, we must also consciously seek out the causes of arrogance. Several factors can cause arrogance which includes wealth, knowledge, position, beauty, oratory, etc. In any of the causes you will realize that it is a gift of Allah and every gift that Allah has given a servant, it is a trial. It is a trial because he will render account for its use or misuse. It is also for a defined time; it either fade away or overtaken by developments. So why will you not be humble?

O servants of Allah! Know that humility is one of the greatest blessings Allah can bestow on a human being. It allows one to achieve genuine submission. Prophet (SAW) was truly submitted to Allah; his character was one of complete humility and based on sincere trust in Him. He was a model of kindness and humbleness. In fact, the characteristics displayed by Prophet Muhammad were the exact opposite of pride and arrogance. Every aspect of his life reflected humbleness, even his walking, talking, sitting or eating.

The Prophet (SAW) did not behave towards others as if he was better than they were, nor did he spurn manual work. One of his companions reported that Prophet (SAW) worked happily with servants or workers. Other companions related that the Prophet tidied his house, tied camels, feed animals, ate meals with his servants, and helped them in kneading dough and bringing provisions from the market. It was also reported that he used to visit the sick, attend funerals, ride on a donkey, slow down his pace for the sake of the weak and accept invitations from the poor.

The companions of the Prophet (SAW) and the early generations of Muslims understood the concept of humility. They behaved humbly towards Allah and mankind because of their love for God, and their fellow man, and fear of punishment in the Hereafter. Even when the achieve victory in war, they do not show arrogance. The humility of the Muslim army, which was unparalleled in world history, encouraged multitudes to flock into Islam.

During his Caliphate, Umar ibn Al Khattab (RA) was marching upon Damascus with his army. Abu Ubayda ibn Jarrah (RA) was with him. They came upon a little lake. Umar descended from his camel, took off his shoes, tied them together, and hung them on his shoulder. He then took the halter off his camel and they entered the water together. Seeing this in front of the army, Abu Ubayda said, “O Commander of the Believers! How can you be so humble in front of all your men?” Umar answered, “Woe to you, Abu Ubayda! If only anyone else other than you thought this way! Thoughts like this will cause the downfall of the Muslims. Don't you see we were indeed a very lowly people? Allah raised us to a position of honour and greatness through Islam. If we forget who we are and wish other than the Islam which elevated us, the One who raised us surely will debase us.”

O servants of Allah! Learn wisdom from the statement of Sayyidina Umar (RA) and submit humbly to Allah. Do not elevate yourself above another creature of Allah for you do not know his/her grade before the Creator. The one who is truly humble is the one who is truly blessed. Every time he feels superior to others, he remembers Allah, the Most Great and Omnipotent, and humbles himself in true submission. Through this practice, he attains taqwa and elevation by Allah.

O Allah! Grant our souls consciousness of You and purity them. You are the best to purify. You are the souls’ Companion and Master. O Allah! Assist the Muslim Ummah and help those who will uphold the truth and enhance the welfare of the Ummah to attain your Ridwaan (Good Pleasure).

Wassalamu alal mursaleen walhamdulillahi rabbil aalameen.
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