1. It is reported in an authentic hadith by Imam Muslim and At-Tirmidzi that our beloved Prophet SAW once said, “One will not enter Paradise, if one has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his/her heart.”
2. May 3rd, 2011: Within limited space I have for this column, I will try to address this subject in a broad manner yet very specific in examples before I close it with a number of important lessons we should grasp and put into daily practice.
3. Needless to explain further, the word egotism is understandably equivalent to the word arrogance, and trust me, there are many instances whereby the severity of this heart disease is strongly emphasized in Islam. Therefore I will now elaborate on that through the following stories namely the Libyan War, story of Prophet Adam AS, the arrogance of the Jews and not to forget, Abu Jahal’s genuine attraction towards Al-Quran.
4. The whole world is still waiting now. It is not easy to expect where the Libyan War will lead to. But one thing for sure, Gaddafi has taken over the country of Libya since 1969 and after 41 years, he should know better that the people don’t want him anymore. Thousands of innocent people were reported to be dead as victims of war now and still counting. Yet Gaddafi won’t let go and entertain his arrogance for too long at the expense of his own people’s lives.
5. Isn’t it disturbing to know that though Libya has the largest oil reserves in Africa, two-thirds of its 6.5 million populations live on less than $2 a day? Truly Gaddafi may have gone too far to deny his leadership failure. And perhaps it is this self-inflicting arrogance of him (which perpetrates mass murders) that justifies a profound fatwa issued by Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi when he said, “I rule that whoever can fire a bullet, and relieve us, as well as Libya and its great people, of this man’s evil and danger, should do so.”
In Surah Al-Ghafir, (40:76) Allah declares, “Enter you the gates of Hell, to dwell therein: and evil is (this) abode of the arrogant!”
6. Next, the story of our father of mankind, Adam AS is not at all less unique. It is another quintessential instance of how arrogance and sense of ego would lead one astray from the truth. But it was not Adam AS who was arrogant; it was Iblees (the devil) instead.
7. When Allah ordered Iblees to prostrate to Adam, he rejected in arrogance and in envy towards Adam AS, claiming that he was better. Allah recorded this story in the Quran in Surah Al-A’raf, (7:12) whereby Iblees said, “I am better than he: You did create me from fire, and him from clay.”
In addition to that, before Adam was created, Iblees was one of the most knowledgeable and active worshippers of Allah SWT, and this was another reason why he felt so arrogant that he refused to follow Allah’s order.
8. The consequence is clear. Iblees, satans and all of their followers from mankind will be punished in the Hellfire forever (May Allah have Mercy on us and protect us from Jahannam).
9. The following is one of my favorites- the story of the Jew’s arrogance. But this story needs a longer introduction. Do you remember the story of Prophet Abraham (Ibrahim AS)? He had a wife, Sarah but no son. Hence, Sarah allowed Abraham to marry her servant, Hajar and by Allah’s Mercy, Abraham AS was granted his first son, Prophet Ishmael (Ismail) AS through Hajar. When Abraham and Sarah were old however, Allah granted them with a miracle for their good deeds and strong faith in Allah, although they almost lost hope for any son at that age. Sarah eventually gave birth to another prophet, Isaac (Ishaaq) AS.
10. So now Abraham had 2 sons, the first being Prophet Ishmael AS and the second, Prophet Isaac AS. The descendants of Isaac were Prophet Jacob (Yaa’qub) AS, Prophet Joseph (Yusuf) AS, Prophet Moses (Musa) AS and also Prophet Jesus (Isa) AS. Take note that Prophet Jacob had another name, Israel, and therefore the descendants of Abraham through Isaac are called the Jews (Bani Israel).
11. Meanwhile, the descendant of Abraham through Ishmael AS was no other but our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW, the seal of all prophets. And this is how the story began. Abraham AS had received the divine order to leave his wife, Hajar and son, Ishmael in the middle of desert, which is now known as Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
12. To cut this short, the divine order from Allah to do so was actually His great plan to test the Jews. Had Allah not ordered such, our last prophet SAW would have been born among the Jews in Palestine as well. But he was not, because he was the descendant of Ishmael and Ishmael lived in Mecca instead.
13. So when the Jews heard about the news that a prophet will be sent to them, they eagerly waited for it. However, when it was told that Jesus AS was the promised prophet, they rejected him. After Jesus AS was ascended by Allah to heaven, they still waited for the promised prophet until finally a revelation came that a final prophet was sent and he was not from the Jewish nation, but he was Muhammad SAW, the last Messenger of Allah and he was from the Arabs instead.
14.The Jews refused to accept him as a prophet just because Muhammad SAW was not a Jew. This, is the arrogance that I am talking about- they arrogantly believed that only Jewish people deserve to be a prophet. All of this leads to the most interesting story ever- about Dajjal the Anti-Christ. Allah created Dajjal to impersonate Jesus AS, because the Jews are still waiting for the promised prophet, although we Muslims believe, that the promised prophet to the Jews was Jesus AS, and he was already sent by Allah about 2000 year ago.
15. Again, the consequence is that, when one day Dajjal is released and he declares that he is the Messiah (the promised prophet), those whom are deceived by this claim (including the arrogant Jews) will follow him and end up with severe punishment from Allah SWT- na’uzubillahiminzalik.
16. This is the last part of the article. Do you know that Abu Jahal, the most evil enemy of beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW, was enchanted by the beauty of Quran? In fact, he admitted that Quran spoke the truth. However, he argued that if he submitted to what Muhammad SAW brought, he will lose his pride because he was not from the same tribe with Muhammad SAW, Bani Hashim. This means that even the most stiff-necked person in history was awed by the miraculous Al-Quran. However, he rejected faith only because of his arrogance, and for that, he never became a Muslim and will never taste Paradise!
17. In Surah An-Naml, (27:14) Allah speaks of those who were convinced by the truth but rejected it in arrogance. “And they rejected those Signs in iniquity and arrogance, though their souls were convinced thereof: so see what was the end of those who acted corruptly!”
18. If none of the above has any impact to our hearts, then let us ask ourselves whether we too are arrogant, towards Allah SWT and people around us. We must remember, that everything that we have in this world does not belong to us, and for that, we have no reason to feel proud about it and look down upon people around us.
19. As for what to do, we have to always nurture a sense of humility and gratitude in our heart, to oppose the ugly nature of arrogance that may haunt us. As a start, let us thank all people around us who have been helpful to us all this while, and apologize for our wrong deeds, because that, is a sign of being free from arrogance insya Allah. Mind you, this is what our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW, our best teacher, teaches us. May Allah bless us all and may He place us in the same place with people He grants Jannatul Firdaus, the Paradise. Ameen. Wallahua’lam and Happy Teacher's Day.
“And swell not your cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loves not any arrogant boaster.” Surah Luqman, (31:18)
P/S: This article is prepared for As-Shifa' Magazine, May 2011. Do visit this page again for the electronic copy of the magazine very soon. Jazakallahukhair ;-)