Prohibition of Arrogance
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
(Friday Speech delivered by Imam Mohamed Baianonie at the Islamic Center of Raleigh, NC on December 12, 1997)
Arrogance is one of the most dangerous inner diseases of the heart. Those inner diseases reside in the hearts but their destructive effects are reflected in the behavior and conduct of the sick person who can be prevented from entering paradise on the Day of Judgment. In the authentic hadith reported by Imams Muslim and At-Tirmithi the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "One will not enter Paradise, if one has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his/her heart."
This hadith is evidence that arrogance is one of the major sins because it prevents the arrogant from entering Paradise on the Day of Judgment. It is also an evidence that arrogance is from the diseases of the heart, and an evidence that the degree of arrogance varies. The heart can be filled with arrogance or can have only up to a small atom’s weight of arrogance.
In scolding arrogance and demonstrating its danger, many verses and authentic ahadith have been revealed and we will mention some of them.
First, what is arrogance? The prophet (S.A.W.) defined it for us in an authentic hadith reported by Imams Muslim and At-Tirmithi, "One will not enter Paradise, if one has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his/her heart." a man then asked, "One may love his clothes to look good and his shoes to look good?!" The prophet replied, "Allah is beautiful and loves beauty, arrogance is: rejecting the truth and looking down on people."
The different degrees and types of arrogance: The most evil kind of arrogance is rejection of the truth and not following it. In this context, many verses were revealed to scold arrogance and the arrogant people. Examples are: On the Day of Judgment, it is said to the arrogant people in surat Ghafer, (Verse 76), what can be translated as, "Enter the gates of
Hell to abide therein, and (indeed) what an evil abode of the arrogant!"
Hell Fire is the abode of the arrogant people. This is emphasized in the hadith of the prophet (S.A.W.) that is reported by Imam Muslim, "Paradise and Hell Fire have argued. Hell fire said: Inside me are the merciless and the arrogant people....and Allah has judged between them:… You (Hell Fire) are my torture, with you I torture whom I will…."
Allah (S.W.T.) turns the arrogant people away from being guided with his signs. He (S.W.T.) say sin surat Al-A’raaf, (Verse 146), what can be translated as, "I shall turn away from My Ayat (verses of the Qur’an) those who behave arrogantly on the earth, in a wrongful manner."
The most severe arrogance is being arrogant against Allah (S.W.T.) and rejecting submission and worshipping Him. Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Ghafer, (Verse 60), what can be translated as, "Verily! Those who disdain My worship (because of arrogance), they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!"
From arrogance is being arrogant against the messengers and rejecting their message and not following them just because they are human. This is the case of many non-believers about whom Allah (S.W.T.) says in the Qur'an in surat Al-Mu’minoon, (Verse 47), what can be translated as, "They said: "Shall we believe in two men like ourselves." And in surat Ibraheem, (Verse 10), can be translated as, "They said to their messengers: "You are no more than human beings like us." And the tribe of Quraish also said, when it rejected and looked down on the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) because he was an orphan and poor, as Allah (S.W.T.) told us in surat Az-Zukhruf, (Verse 31), what can be translated as, "And they say: "Why is not this Qur’an sent down to some great man of the two towns (Makka and Ta’if)."
Allah (S.W.T.) described to us the real situation of the disbelievers in surat An-Namal, (Verse 14), what can be translated as, "And they belied them (those Ayat) wrongfully and arrogantly, though their ownselves were convinced thereof (i.e. those Ayat are from Allah)."
From the examples of arrogance against the prophet (S.A.W.) reported by Imam Muslim that a man who came and ate in the presence of the prophet (S.A.W.) with his left hand, so the prophet (S.A.W.) said to him, "Eat with your right hand." The man said, "I cannot." The prophet (S.A.W.) then supplicated to Allah against this man, "May Allah, make you unable to use your right hand." "Nothing prevented him from doing so (eating with his right hand) except his arrogance, so he forever could not lift his right hand to his mouth."
Allah (S.W.T.) told us the story of Iblees so that we may learn lessons from it, when he ordered him to prostrate to Adam and he rejected because of his Arrogance and Envy towards Adam, claiming that he is better than him. Allah said in surat Al-A’raaf, Verse (12), what can be translated as, "…I am better than him (Adam), you created me from fire, and you created him from clay."
Allah (S.W.T.) demonstrated to us that arrogance is an exclusive attribute of Himself. In a Qudsi hadith reported by Imam Muslim that Allah (S.W.T.) says, "Dignity is my lower garment, and arrogance is my covering. If anyone competes with Me in either of these two, surely I torture him." Allah (S.W.T.) says in surat Luqman, (Verse 18), what can be translated as, "And do not turn your face away from men with arrogance, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, Allah does not like each arrogant boaster."
Allah does not like the one who is conceited and arrogant. The prophet (S.A.W.) says what was reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim, "While a man was showing off in his garment, he looked proudly to himself, all of a sudden, Allah immediately crumbled the earth underneath him, and he is still dropping with struggle through it till the Day of Judgment."
Allah (S.W.T.) does not look with mercy, on the Day of Judgment, at the one whom lengthened his clothes out of arrogance. The prophet (S.A.W.) says reported by Imams Bukhari, Muslim, and other, "Whosoever drags his clothes out of arrogance, Allah will not look at him on the Day of Judgment." Abu Bakr said: "O messenger of Allah: My garment slips (slightly off his waist) to the ground but I lift it!?" The prophet replied, "You are not among those who do it out of arrogance."
After we have heard all these verses and ahadith about the dangers of arrogance and how bad the consequences are, we should be cautioned and get away from it and from its effects and its characteristics. So we teach ourselves to follow the truth when we know it, and humble ourselves in front of others. Imam Muslim reported that the prophet (S.A.W.) said, "....And no one has humbled himself for the sake of Allah, but Allah has elevated him."
The prophet (S.A.W.) is the best example of humility in his life. Imams Bukhari and Muslim reported that "The prophet used to pass by children and give Salaam to them (greet them)." Imam Bukhari reported that, "A female slave from Madinah use to take the prophet’s sleeve and take him wherever she wants." Imam Bukhari also reported, "That the Prophet used to be at the service of his family."