Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying:
There was a dispute between Hell and Paradise and it (Hell) said: “The haughty and the proud would find abode in me”. And Paradise said: “The meek and the humble would find their abode in me.” Thereupon Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, (addressing Hell) said: “You are (the means) of My punishment by which I punish those of My servants whom I wish.” (And addressing Paradise) He said: “You are only My Mercy by means of which I shall show mercy to those whom I wish, but each one of you would be full.” (Sahih Muslim: Book 40, Number 6818)
From the above hadith, we can deduce that when a believer is humble Allah bestows his mercy upon him/her. SubhanAllah! What a beautiful guarantee! What better news can there be for a believer who is humble? Isn’t this what we desire at all times? Allah’s mercy and his blessings!
As Muslims, we believe that the right to be ‘supremely’ proud belongs to Allah alone. He is Al-Mutakkabir! Meaning, that Allah is supremely great, possessor of all rights, and the perfection of greatness. Allah is above all others, He is Mighty and Supreme.
Living examples of humility
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) is the finest example of humility for all of the humanity.
Narrated Abu Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “A man came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and he began to speak to him, and he was seized by fear (of the Prophet). Upon witnessing his demeanor the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said to him: “Take it easy and calm down, for verily I am not a king, but instead I am only the son of a woman from the Quraish who used to eat dried salted meat strips”. (Ibn Majah)
Subhanallah! Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) forbade people from praising him too much and also from exaggerating about him. He was the humblest of all and always submissive to his Lord. Narrated Umar (may Allah be pleased with him), I heard the Prophet saying:
“Do not exaggerate about me as the Christians have exaggerated about the son of Maryam, for I am no more than His slave, so say, (that I am merely) the slave of Allah and His messenger.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 55, Number 654)
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) would sit on the ground and eat and drink like a slave with his Companions.He would visit the sick, console and pray for them. He would accept the invitation of a slave to eat bread with him who worked for him. If anyone accompanied him on a journey, he would never let them walk on foot while he rode his mount. They would take turns. In addition to all this, the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was well known for his humble character amongst his family. Narrated by Al-Aswad that he asked Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her), “What did the Prophet use to do in his house?” She replied, “He used to keep himself busy serving his family and when it was time for prayer he would go for it.” (Sahih Bukhari, Volume 1, Book 11, Number 644)
He would joke with his friends and family, offer help to the poor and needy, play with children and lie down and sleep on sand and ground. (And we often complain about the type of mattresses we have that give us backaches. Sad indeed! )
Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) could have lived a luxurious life… living in palaces, eating tasty food, wearing expensive clothes BUT he chose the life of a slave. Mu`adh bin Anas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever gives up wearing elegant and expensive garments out of humbleness, when he can do so, Allah will call him on the Day of Resurrection and before all the creations, He will give him the choice to wear whichever garment of Iman he would like to wear.” (At-Tirmidhi)
The second Caliph, Umar ibn Khattab was known for his strong personality. Urwah ibn Zubair (may Allah be pleased with him) said: ‘I saw Umar carrying a large leather water canteen on his shoulder. I said to him, ‘O Amir-ul-Mu’mineen, you shouldn’t be carrying that’. Umar replied by saying, ‘A delegation came to Madinah and I saw their obedience to me, and some ‘nakwah’ (pride) entered into my heart and I wanted to destroy it’.
Allahu Akbar! Such was the humility of great people.
On the other hand, Allah has provided us with an example of the preserved body of Pharaoh who turned arrogant (he considered himself the king of the world) and rejected the signs of Allah and Prophet Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) as the prophet of Allah and even tried to kill him.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“So this day We shall deliver your (dead) body (out from the sea) that you may be a sign to those who come after you! And verily, many among mankind are heedless of Our Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) (Qur’an 10:92)
Pharaoh and his people had an overbearing sense of pride which caused their downfall. Allah punished them and saved Prophet Musa (may Allah be pleased with him) from such a corrupt nation.
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And We did certainly send Moses with Our signs and a clear authority to Pharaoh and his establishment, but they followed the command of Pharaoh, and the command of Pharaoh was not [at all] discerning.He will precede his people on the Day of Resurrection and lead them into the Fire; and wretched is the place to which they are led.And they were followed in this [world] with a curse and on the Day of Resurrection. And wretched is the gift which is given.” (Qur’an 11: 96-99)
Words of Advice
Various scientific studies have concluded that a sense of arrogance develops when someone suffers from inferiority.
But WHY suffer from inferiority? Why not count your blessings? One should try not to compare themselves with others. Allah has gifted all of us with something or the other and we should be thankful to Him.
Try to recognize your own faults instead of trying to find errors in others; this will help you in cultivating a sense of humility within yourself. Appreciate others and give them credit for their good deeds.
Accept your own abilities and be thankful to your Lord. Stop neglecting the truth and others by being over confident. One should try not to refuse the possibility that others can be right. It’s not necessary for you to have the final word in everything.
However, one should also bear in mind, that when trying to be humble, one should do it from the heart and not for praise. Thus, even humility should be in moderation, DO NOT become a doormat!
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion.”(Qur’an 57:20)
I sincerely pray that Allah bestows His blessings upon the entire Muslim ummah and may HE make us the most humble human beings, guide us to the straight path and make Jannat ul firdous our final abode. Ameen.