Arrogance is a great spiritual disease of the heart. We should never be arrogant.
Boasting is a problematic behaviour that universally evokes objection and is considered a spiritual disease. No one likes a boaster, the person who walks with a swank and swagger.
Quran on Arrogance
Allah Himself reveals His dislike of bragging: Allah does not love the arrogant and boasting ones.
وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا ۖ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ
“And do not turn your nose up to people, nor walk pridefully upon the earth. Surely Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, boastful.(Quran 31:18)
لِّكَيْلَا تَأْسَوْا۟ عَلَىٰ مَا فَاتَكُمْ وَلَا تَفْرَحُوا۟ بِمَآ ءَاتَىٰكُمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ
˹We let you know this˺ so that you neither grieve over what you have missed nor boast over what He has granted you. For Allah does not like whoever is arrogant, boastful ( Quran 57:23)
The Arabs used to shout out, “I am the son of so and so!” claiming somehow that one’s pedigree suffices as a mark of one’s status and privilege, an ethic that loomed large in pre-Islamic Arab social structure.
Mawlana al-Rumi composed the lines,
“Be not content with stories of those who went before you. Go forth and create your own story.” Strive to be among those whom others speak of with veneration.
mawlana al rumi
One of the attributes of God the Exalted is al-Mutakabhir (the Proud), which is reserved for Himself. It is not becoming for anyone to have any of it in his or her heart.
الْعِزُّ إِزَارُهُ وَالْكِبْرِيَاءُ رِدَاؤُهُ فَمَنْ يُنَازِعُنِي عَذَّبْتُهُ ”
Glory is His lower garment and Majesty is His cloak
Allah says, ” He who contends with Me in regard to them I shall torment him.”
Hadith on Arrogance
وعن سلمه بن الأكوع رضي الله عنه قال: قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: “لا يزال الرجل يذهب بنفسه حتى يكتب في الجبارين، فيصيبه ما أصابهم” ((رواه الترمذي وقال: حديث حسن.
((“يذهب بنفسه” أى: يرتفع ويتكبر)).
Salamah bin Al-Akwa’ (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Man continues to display haughtiness and arrogance until he is recorded among the arrogant and will be therefore afflicted with what afflicts them.”[At- Tirmidhi, who classified it as Hadith Hasan].”
حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ يُوسُفَ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَالِكٌ، عَنْ أَبِي الزِّنَادِ، عَنِ الأَعْرَجِ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ لاَ يَنْظُرُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِلَى مَنْ جَرَّ إِزَارَهُ بَطَرًا ”
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), “Allah will not look, on the Day of Resurrection, at a person who drags his Izar (behind him) out of pride and arrogance. (Sahih al-Bukhari 5788)
لاَ يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ خَرْدَلٍ مِنْ كِبْرٍ وَلاَ يَدْخُلُ النَّارَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ حَبَّةٍ مِنْ إِيمَانٍ ”
Abdullah narrated that the Messenger of Allah said: “Whoever has a mustard seed’s weight of pride (arrogance) in his heart, shall not be admitted into Paradise. And whoever has a mustard seed’s weight of faith in his heart, shall not be admitted into the Fire.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi 1998)
مَنْ تَعَظَّمَ فِي نَفْسِهِ، أَوِ اخْتَالَ فِي مِشْيَتِهِ، لَقِيَ اللَّهَ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَهُوَ عَلَيْهِ غَضْبَانُ.
Ibn ‘Umar reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “If anyone behaves insolently or walks with an arrogant,he will meet Allah Almighty covered with His anger.”(Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 549)
عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم قال: “لا يدخل الجنة من كان في قلبه مثقال ذرة من كبر” فقال رجل” إن الرجل يحب أن يكون ثوبه حسناً ونعله حسناً؟ قال: “إن الله جميل يحب الجمال الكبر بطر الحق وغمط الناس” ((رواه مسلم)).
Abdullah bin Mas’ud (May Allah be pleased with him) reported:The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who has, in his heart, an ant’s weight of arrogance will not enter Jannah.” Someone said: “A man likes to wear beautiful clothes and shoes?” Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “Allah is Beautiful, He loves beauty. Arrogance means ridiculing and rejecting the Truth and despising people.”[Muslim].
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ “ رَأْسُ الْكُفْرِ نَحْوَ الْمَشْرِقِ، وَالْفَخْرُ وَالْخُيَلاَءُ فِي أَهْلِ الْخَيْلِ وَالإِبِلِ، وَالْفَدَّادِينَ أَهْلِ الْوَبَرِ، وَالسَّكِينَةُ فِي أَهْلِ الْغَنَمِ ”.
Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The main source of disbelief is in the east. Pride and arrogance are characteristics of the owners of horses and camels, and those Bedouins who are busy with their camels and pay no attention to Religion; while modesty and gentleness are the characteristics of the owners of sheep.” (Riyad as-Salihin 611)
حَدَّثَنَا هِشَامُ بْنُ عَمَّارٍ، وَمُحَمَّدُ بْنُ الصَّبَّاحِ، قَالاَ حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ أَبِي حَازِمٍ، حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ مِقْسَمٍ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُمَرَ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ وَهُوَ عَلَى الْمِنْبَرِ يَقُولُ “ يَأْخُذُ الْجَبَّارُ سَمَوَاتِهِ وَأَرَضِيهِ بِيَدِهِ – وَقَبَضَ يَدَهُ فَجَعَلَ يَقْبِضُهَا وَيَبْسُطُهَا – ثُمَّ يَقُولُ أَنَا الْجَبَّارُ أَنَا الْمَلِكُ أَيْنَ الْجَبَّارُونَ أَيْنَ الْمُتَكَبِّرُونَ ” . قَالَ وَيَتَمَايَلُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ عَنْ يَمِينِهِ وَعَنْ شِمَالِهِ حَتَّى نَظَرْتُ إِلَى الْمِنْبَرِ يَتَحَرَّكُ مِنْ أَسْفَلِ شَىْءٍ مِنْهُ حَتَّى إِنِّي لأَقُولُ أَسَاقِطٌ هُوَ بِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ
It was narrated that Abdullah bin Umar said: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say on the pulpit: ‘The Compeller (Al-Jabbar) will seize His heavens and His earths in His Hand – and he clenched his hand and started to open and close it –Then He will say: “I am the Compeller, I am the King. Where are the tyrants? Where are the arrogant?” And the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) was leaning to his right and his left, until I could see the pulpit shaking at the bottom, and I thought that it would fall along with the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ).”( Sunan Ibn Majah 4275)
حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنُ مَهْدِيٍّ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، عَنْ مَعْبَدِ بْنِ خَالِدٍ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ حَارِثَةَ بْنَ وَهْبٍ، قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ـ صلى الله عليه وسلم ـ “ أَلاَ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِأَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ كُلُّ ضَعِيفٍ مُتَضَعِّفٍ أَلاَ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِأَهْلِ النَّارِ كُلُّ عُتُلٍّ جَوَّاظٍ مُسْتَكْبِرٍ ”
Harithah bin Wahb narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:“Shall I not tell you about the people of Paradise? Every weak and oppressed one. Shall I not tell you about the people of Hell? Every harsh, haughty and arrogant one.”(Sunan Ibn Majah 4116)
Types of Arrogance and its cure
Humility, by nature, leads to gratitude, for when one is humble before God the Exalted, only then does one see the vast mercy God bestows upon His creation, even upon liars and disbelievers
As for the cure for arrogance, there are several aspects. First, we should remember our humble organic origins. As the Quran reminds us, we are created from a drop of semen
أَلَمْ يَكُ نُطْفَةً مِّن مَّنِىٍّ يُمْنَىٰ
Were they not ˹once˺ a sperm-drop emitted?
In Islam, we have religious heroes for a reason. To study the personalities of the Companions of the Prophet is to study incredibly great people who were humble. Abu Hurayrah—the illustrious repository of prophetic hadith—once sat in the company of another person who immediately moved his feet away from Abu Hurayrah out of respect for this august Companion of the Prophet. But Abu Hurayrah objected: “Why did you move your feet?”
The man said, “Out of deference to you.” Abu Hurayrah replied, “For someone like me? I do not see anyone in this gathering worse than me.”
Arrogance owing to beauty.
The cure is to realize that beauty can be the most illusory of things. Social conditioning impacts our sense of beauty more that we would admit. But even if we were to ignore this, why should beauty ever be a cause of arrogance, that obnoxious sense of superiority for something one had nothing to do with? First of all, God is the Fashioner; it is He who gives all things their shapes and forms. Second, beauty wanes, as the pressures of age and stress tear down flesh. And what we are left with is what we should have focused on in the first place, the content of our character, our beliefs, and our deeds.
Arrogance due to wealth.
The affluent are notorious for showing contempt to those of lesser means. This is not to say that all wealthy people exhibit this. There are generous men and women who recognize the source and responsibility of wealth. But they tend to be the exception.
Arrogance based on strength.
A man once came up to the Prophet and challenged him to wrestle. The Prophet agreed, and twice the Prophet threw him to the ground. The man was astounded that the Prophet was able to do that. “I’ve never been thrown to the ground,” he said. The man’s arrogance was rooted in his personal strength, which he thought none could match.
Arrogance for having a lot of something,
like a teacher having many students and then seeing himself as being better than another teacher. The same is true with those who boast of having many friends, especially those in so-called high places.
The eighth is arrogance for having knowledge. This is particularly insidious, given that knowledge is an Honorable matter.
May Allah save us from the spiritual diseases.
- ( Quran 57:23)
- (Quran 31:18)
- (QURAN, 75:37).
- (Sunan Ibn Majah 4116
- (Jami at-Tirmidhi 1998
- Sahih al-Bukhari 5788
- Imam Mawlud’s matharat al Qulub
- Sunan Ibn Majah 4116
- Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 549
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