IF we look around ourselves today, we will find many individuals afflicted with the disease of arrogance. The difference is only that there are varying degrees of the disorder; some suffer from it to a large extent, others betray only traces of it.

The wise have long diagnosed arrogance as a disease. People who are afflicted are usually the types who are insecure or those suffering from some sort of inferiority complex. It is the display of pride which costs them dearly in this world and the next. Such people, Allah says, are most disliked among His beings, even if they harbour an atom of pride in their hearts.

Islam sees arrogance as among the most despised of attributes because the essence of its teachings delves into utmost humility in mankind. The Prophet (PBUH) is quoted on pride “One who possesses half a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart shall not be granted admission to paradise; and one who possesses half a mustard seed of faith shall not enter eternal Fire.” History is replete with examples of personalities infested with the ills of arrogance. History also provides us valuable lessons as evident in the stories of Satan, Nimrod, Pharaoh and the likes of Abu Jahl. They all came to a devastating end simply because they considered themselves worthy of all praise, and took pride in their power, pelf and position.

On another occasion, the Prophet is reported to have said, “Whoever has an atom of pride in his heart will not enter paradise.” The extent to which Allah despises pride is evident from the fact that He did not consider the long prayers of Iblis when the latter refused to bow in front of Adam. Iblis`s pride was based on his

assertion that he was created from fire while Adam was created from clay, and that fire was superior to clay. He was punished and denied Allah`s mercy for all times to come.

It is clearly mentioned in the Holy Quran, “Allah will put the proud to disgrace and ill-repute (dishonour) in the hereafter.” We have examples in front of us where Allah and his messengers have despised even an atom of conceit. Then why as Muslims are we plagued with this menace is the question that begs an answer. Why can`t we follow in the footsteps of revered personalities, such as the Prophet and his companions, who despite having power and position never let an iota of vanity cross their hearts?

Unfortunately, we have distanced ourselves from the lofty attributes of humility enjoined by Islam. We are unaware of the joy of completing our tasks ourselves; we consider it demeaning to run our own errands. The Prophet used to wash his own clothes, cook his own food and even clean his own house, and had no qualms about it; nor did he ever complain of hardship in life.

The cause of vainglory is embedded in assuming superior knowledge, wealth, physical attractiveness, piety, family lineage, status, position and power on one`s part. All these attributes are meaningless to Allah, for He will judge a man or a woman on their character and conduct. One`s wealth, health, colour, caste and creed will be utterly irrelevant on the day of resurrection; only our deeds shall speak for us.

Allah has said, “Perish man! How thankless he is! Of what did He create him? Of a sperm-drop. He created him and determined him, and then made the way easy for him. Then He makes him die, buries him, and then, when He wills, raises him.” The verse distinctly states the weakness of man, as he is brought into this world from nothingness by the glory of the Almighty, and subsequent to his transition from non-existence into existence.

Allah grants mankind all the blessings in this world and then eventually man returns to a state of nothingness by the will of Allah, to be raised again on the Day of Judgment. The entire cycle depicts the sheer helplessness of mankind. No power except divine resolve can alter this inevitability. It makes one wonder as to what then a sense of vanity is all about.

azizsirajuddin@gmail.com

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