The definition of pride from a Hadīth:
“Pride is to reject the truth knowingly and to belittle other people.” This Hadīth exposes two harmful qualities both dealing with one’s exaggerated ideas of self-importance. The first suggests that one is more important than the truth. The second suggests that one is more important than other people.
It was pride that made Azāzīl, a devout servant, into Shaytān. Similarly, the Jews and hypocrites who met Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم knew that indeed He صلى الله عليه و سلم was the messenger of Allāh. Their arrogance, though, kept them from accepting it.
Pride has been called the mother of all spiritual sicknesses, or the root of all sicknesses of the heart. Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم warned that a person having even an iota of pride in his heart will not enter paradise.
Three people are deserving of punishment.
Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم has mentioned that Allāh Ta’ālā will not speak to three groups of people on the Day of Qiyāmah. He will not even look at them with mercy and He will subject them to the most excruciating of punishments.
1. An old man who fornicates. Although fornication is just as abominable in youth but in old age it is much more despicable.
2. A king who lies. Lying is worse for a king because he has none to fear.
3. A proud beggar. Pride is worse for a beggar because he has nothing to be proud of.
The reality of pride
Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم has mentioned that the person who has pride equivalent to a mustard seed will not enter Jannah. Someone asked, “I like my clothes and shoes to be nice and clean. Is this also pride?” Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم replied: “No. Allāh Ta’ālā loves and appreciates beauty. He wants to see the effects of His bounties and blessings on His bondsmen. Allāh Ta’ālā dislikes a wealthy person from adopting the appearance of a poor person. Pride means that a person looks down upon others (believes that he is superior to others). The person who keeps his shoes in order, patches his clothes, and prostrates to Allāh Ta’ālā is free of pride.”
The most detestable person
Nabi Mūsa (Alayhis-Salām) once asked Allāh, “Which of your creation is most detestable in Your sight?” Allāh replied, “The person whose heart is filled with pride, whose tongue is harsh, whose conviction is weak and whose hands are miserly.”
Allāh Ta’ālā dislikes arrogance
Muhallab Bin Mugheerah, who was in the army of Hajjāj, once passed Mutarraf Ibn Abdullah walking arrogantly. Mutarraf (r.a) told him, “Oh servant of Allāh! Allāh Ta’ālā does not like this walk.” Muhallab retorted, “Do you not know who I am?” Mutarraf (r.a) replied, “I know you very well. You were originally a drop of dirty fluid and will soon become a stinking corpse. At this point in time you are carrying a load of faeces (filth) with you.” After hearing this Muhallab changed his walk.
The highest form of humility
Sayyidunā Umar (r.a) said, “The highest form of humility is that you greet every Muslim, and you are pleased with the simplest place in a gathering and that you dislike being praised.”
The humility of Sayyidunā Salmān Fārsī (r.a)
Sayyidunā Salmān Fārsī (r.a) after being appointed as the governor of Madīnah Munawwarah, was once walking through the marketplace. Mistaking him to be a slave, someone instructed him to carry his goods. Sayyidunā Salmān (r.a) happily complied. As they were walking through the streets, people began to wonder in astonishment. Each one of them said, “O the companion of Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم ! May Allāh have mercy on you! Allow us to carry the load.”
However, Sayyidunā Salmān (r.a) refused their offer and continued to carry the load. When the person realized his blunder, he apologized for not recognizing the governor. Sayyidunā Salmān (r.a) said, “Do not worry about it. Just keep walking.” The two eventually reached the person’s house. The person was so embarrassed about his behaviour that he vowed never to employ the services of anyone.
Rasūlullah صلى الله عليه و سلم said:
“Wealth does not decrease when spent in charity (but rather increases). Forgiving the transgressions of others raises a person’s ranks. If three traits are not found within a person when he dies, he shall enter Jannah:
No one likes a person who is haughty, proud, or condescending. We detest a person who belittles others and walks around carrying his ego. Similarly we naturally love people who are humble, polite, and easy to talk to. As human beings we tend to appreciate those who respect and honour us. The cure for pride is just the opposite, viz. Humility. Some basic guidelines pertaining to the remedy:
1. Be conscious of the harms and detriments of pride at all times.
2. Seek the guidance of the learned and pious
3. Do not associate yourselves with those who are proud and haughty, instead adopt the company of those who are humble
4. Ponder over the reality of the hereafter, especially the grave.
5. Ponder on the reality of our lives, that we were created from a drop of dirty fluid, one day we will be placed in the grave where insects and worms will feed off our bodies. Ponder on our weaknesses and most importantly, one must constantly supplicate to Allāh Ta’ālā for guidance and perseverance.
Maulānā Maseehullah Khan Sahib (Rahimahullah) said:
Pride and arrogance is remedied by reflecting on the Splendour, Glory and Majesty of Allāh Ta’ala. This reflection will produce in one a realization of one’s own lowly position. Your own excellences will then recede into nothingness. Also, humble yourself in the presence of those whom you regard as your inferior. Be respectful to them so that you become imbued with humility.
“The fruit of patience is comfort and the fruit of humility is love. The pride of a believer is his Rabb, his honour is his religion. On the other hand, the pride of the hypocrite is his lineage and his wealth is his honour.”