In the name of Allah the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Welcome to pearls to reach the stars. Pearls and stars are metaphors. The pearls are very precious, highly valued things and stars indicate a category of excellence. Thus,the aims of Pearls to Reach the Stars are to stimulate our inner feelings, our minds and arouse our spirit in order that our speech, actions and thoughts are reflected positively, optimistically and virtuously as true muslims who are close to God. The collection of some pearls of wisdom from various authentic and reliable sources to reach the stars like motivational quotes, inspirational phrases , poems, aesthetic expressions, for inner stimulation to become a worthy person. May God forgive us and place us in the group of people who have good intentions, who love and help each other for the sake of Him and may Allah place us in the group of As-habul Yamin on the Day of Judgment in the hereafter. Ameen.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
When you do kind actions for other people, do you do it so they will be pleased and appreciative? If you think a person would like a gift from you, do you rush to buy it in hopes you will see them happy and they will be grateful? If you do you are a good and generous person and I pray ALLAH will reward you immensely.
But on the other hand, you may be setting yourself up to be hurt and disappointed by the response you may get. If the person is not as responsive as you think they should be, does that make you feel unappreciated? This is not unusual because we as human beings naturally want to have our good actions to others recognized with acknowledgement and gratitude.
But there is a way to be certain of feeling wanted, needed, and appreciated by everyone. And that is to do everything with the thought in mind of pleasing ALLAH. You see, when you think and act fi sabillilah, the admiration of mankind is secondary. When you consciously strive to please ALLAH first, then the human recipient of your goodness should be happy too. If not, it is no matter because they are simply the fringe benefit of your desire to please ALLAH.
This is also true, and especially important if you are being wronged by someone. It might be your husband or wife who belittles you or abuses you. If you go about trying to do things to please them so they will learn to love you or treat you better, you’re going about it in the wrong way. It will probably be worse and have an adverse effect because they will feel they have all the power over you, and will continue being mean.
But if you treat them as a human being, FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH, it doesn’t matter if they appreciate it or not. You might be giving too much, whereas if you did it with the intention to please ALLAH, it will be just right.
ALLAH made us all equal human beings, both men and women. And the only superiority of one person over another is directly related to the amount of God-consciousness he or she posses in their heart. So if you approach everybody and everything with the expressed intention of pleasing ALLAH, you are instantly elevated above those who do not. And if they don’t appreciate your benevolence, it won’t matter. It wasn’t for them anyway…it was for ALLAH.
So the next time you think of doing something good to anybody, for any reason, think of ALLAH first. Ask yourself if this action would be pleasing to ALLAH, and if the answer is yes, then go to it. You will be happier and give yourself less chance to be hurt. Isn’t ALLAH wonderful?
As Salaam Alaikum
(Al Hajj) Abdullah Bey El-Amin
Taken from ‘al-Muntaqaa min Ighaathatul Lufhaan fee Masaayid ash-Shaytaan’ [pp.’s 102-105] of ibn al-Qayyim, summarised by Alee Hasan
Allaah, the Exalted said, "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their private parts; that will make for greater purity for them. Indeed Allaah is well acquainted with all that they do." [an-Nur (24):30]
So Allaah made purification and spiritual growth to be the outcome of lowering the gaze and guarding the private parts. It is for this reason that lowrering ones gaze from (seeing) the prohibited things necessarily leads to three benefits that carry tremendous value and are of great significance.
The First: experiencing the delight and sweetness of faith.
This delight and sweetness is far greater and more desirable that which might have been attained from the object that one lowered his gaze from for the sake of Allaah. Indeed, "whosoever leaves something for the sake of Allaah then Allaah, the Mighty and Magnificent, will replace it with something better than it."
The soul is a temptress and loves to look at beautiful forms and the eye is the guide of the heart. The heart commissions its guide to go and look to see what is there and when the eye informs it of a beautiful image it shudders out of love and desire for it. Frequently such inter-relations tire and wear down both the heart and the eye as is said:
When you sent your eye as a guide
For your heart one day, the object of sight fatigued you
For you saw one over whom you had no power
Neither a portion or in totality, instead you had to be patient.
Therefore when the sight is prevented from looking and investigating the heart finds relief from having to go through the arduous task of (vainly) seeking and desiring.
Whosoever lets his sight roam free will find that he is in a perpetual state of loss and anguish for sight gives birth to love (mahabbah) the starting point of which is the heart being devoted and dependant upon that which it beholds. This then intensifies to become fervent longing (sabaabah) whereby the heart becomes totally dependant and devoted to the (object of its desire). Then this further intensifies and becomes infatuation (gharaamah) which clings to the heart like the one seeking repayment of a debt clings firmly to the one who has to pay the debt. Then this intensifies and becomes passionate love (ishk) and this is a love that transgresses all bounds. Then this further intensifies and becomes crazed passion (shaghafa) and this a love that encompasses every tiny part of the heart. Then this intensifies and becomes worshipful love (tatayyuma). Tatayyum means worship and it is said: tayyama Allaah i.e. he worshipped Allaah.
Hence the heart begins to worship that which is not correct for it to worship and the reason behind all of this was an illegal glance. The heart is now bound in chains whereas before it used to be the master, it is now imprisoned whereas before it was free. It has been oppressed by the eye and it complains to it upon which the eye replies: I am your guide and messenger and it was you who sent me in the first place!
All that has been mentioned applies to the heart that has relinquished the love of Allaah and being sincere to Him for indeed the heart must have an object of love that it devotes itself to. Therefore when the heart does not love Allaah Alone and does not take Him as its God then it must worship something else.
Allaah said concerning Yusuf as-Siddeeq (AS),
"Thus (did We order) so that We might turn away from him all evil and indecent actions for he was one of Our sincere servants." [Yusuf (12): 24]
It was because the wife of al-Azeez was a polytheist that (the passionate love) entered her heart despite her being married. It was because Yusuf (AS) was sincere to Allaah that he was saved from it despite his being a young man, unamarried and a servant.
The Second: the illumination of the heart, clear perception and penetrating insight.
Ibn Shujaa` al-Kirmaanee said, "whosoever builds his outward form upon following the Sunnah, his internal form upon perpetual contemplation and awareness of Allaah, he restrains his soul from following desires, he lowers his gaze from the forbidden things and he always eats the lawful things then his perception and insight shall never be wrong."
Allaah mentioned the people of Lut and what they were afflicted with and then He went on to say,
"Indeed in this are signs for the Mutawassimeen." [al-Hijr (15): 75]
The Mutwassimeen are those who have clear perception and penetrating insight, those who are secure from looking at the unlawful and performing indecent acts.
Allaah said after mentioning the verse concerning lowering the gaze,
"Allaah is the Light of the heavens and the earth." [an-Nur (24): 35]
The reason behind this is that the reward is of the same type as the action. So whosoever lowers his gaze from the unlawful for the sake of Allaah, the Mighty and Magnificent, He will replace it with something better than it of the same type. So just as the servant restrained the light of his eye from falling upon the unlawful, Allaah blesses the light of his sight and heart thereby making him perceive what he would not have seen and understood had he not lowered his gaze.
This is a matter that the person can physically sense in himself for the heart is like a mirror and the base desires are like rust upon it. When the mirror is polished and cleaned of the rust then it will reflect the realities (haqaa`iq) as they actually are. However if it remains rusty then it will not reflect properly and therefore its knowledge and speech will arise from conjecture and doubt.
The Third: the heart becoming strong, firm and courageous.
Allaah will give it the might of aid for its strength just as He gave it the might of clear proofs for its light. Hence the heart shall combine both of these factors and as a result, Shaytaan shall flee from it. It is mentioned in the narration, "whosoever opposes his base desires, the Shaytaan shall flee in terror from his shade."
This is why the one who follows his base desires shall find in himself the ignominy of the soul, its being weak, feeble and contemptible. Indeed Allaah places nobilty for the one who obeys Him and disgrace for the one who disobeys Him,
"So do not lose heart nor fall into despair; for you must gain mastery if you are true in faith." [Aali Imraan(3): 139]
"If any do seek for nobilty and power then to Allaah belongs all nobility and power." [Faatir(35): 10]
Meaning that whosoever seeks after disobedience and sin then Allaah, the Might and Magnificent, will humiliate the one who disobeys Him.
Some of the salaf said, "the people seek nobilty and power at the door of the Kings and they will not find it except through the obedience of Allaah."
This is because the one who who obeys Allaah has taken Allaah as his friend and protector and Allaah will never humiliate the one who takes his Lord as friend and patron. In the Du`aa Qunut their occurs, "the one who You take as a friend is not humiliated and the one who You take as an enemy is not ennobled."
Portrait of a Traveler
By Muhammad Al-Shareef
Al Fudayl ibn Iyaadh (RA) once sat with a senior and asked him, “How old are you?” The man replied, “60 years old.” “Did you know,” said Al Fudayl, “that for 60 years you have been traveling towards your Lord, and that you have almost arrived.” The man was reduced to silence. He whispered, “Inna lillahi wa Inna Ilayhi Raaji’oon (To Allah we belong and to Him we return).” Al Fudayl asked, “Do you know the meaning of that statement.
You are saying that you are Allah’s slave and that to Him you are returning. Whoever knows that he is the slave of Allah, and that to Him he shall return, should know that he shall be stopped on the Day of Judgment. And whoever knows that he will be stopped, let him also know that he will be responsible for what he did in life. And whoever knows that he will be responsible for what he did, let him know that he will be questioned.
And whoever knows that he will be questioned, let him prepare an answer now!” “What then shall I do,” asked the man. “It is simple,” said Al Fudayl. “Do good in what is left of your life, forgiven shall be your past. If not, you shall be taken to account for the past and what is to come.”
In the not-so-far-away days of old, whenever a journey was to be undertaken proper provisions had to be prepared. The deserts were long, hot, and harsh. Unmerciful.
There were no truck stops to fill up with Doritos, or rest stops to buy a coke from a vending machine. In fact, there was not even a human in sight for miles upon miles of barren sand dunes. Thus, you had to have the provision with you before you made the journey. Enough food, enough water, enough everything to carry you to your destination.
From here, in the verses dealing of Hajj, when everyone shall have to make some sort of journey to reach the Ka’bah, Allah tuned the attention of His slaves to another journey, a journey every soul is traveling, whether they know it or care to just remain heedless.
Allah turned their attention to the journey to the Hereafter, to Paradise or Hell, “And take a provision (with you) for the journey; verily the best provision is Taqwa (piety and righteousness)” – Al Baqarah 2:197
Ibn Umar narrates: one day I was with the Messenger of Allah (SAAWS). He then turned to me, held my shoulders with both of his blessed hands, and said: “Be in this life like a stranger or a traveler.”
And whenever Ibn Umar narrated this to his disciples he would add: “If you reach the evening, do not await (to be alive) by dawn, and if you reach dawn, do not await (to be alive) by evening. Take advantage of your Health before you fall sick. And take advantage of your life, before you die.” – Bukhari
Your story and mine in this life should be the story of a stranger in town or a traveler. Recently, the writer lived the life of a stranger about to begin a journey. It had been six years that he had lived in Madinah Munawwarah and now had come the time to move on.
In the last days, he would buy a bar of soap and think, ‘will I be around long enough to use the whole bar or should I get a smaller one.’ Gadgets and inventions bounced off the supermarket’s shelves.
It all looked interesting, but there was no time to enjoy it, it had to be left on the shelf. The journey was about to begin. A few extra trips were made to the Prophet’s Masjid. Concentration was up a few notches in prayer. The journey was about to begin.
When our father and mother, Adam and Hawwa’ (AS) were expelled from Paradise, their hearts continued to sob in remembrance of their first home. You know how it is when some youth go to camp.
Night after night they cry homesick. Well that’s how our parents were. And as their children, believers in Allah, His Messenger, and the hereafter, that is the kind of homesickness we should have day after day, until we come home, in sha’ Allah. That is what a stranger feels; this is how we should go through life.
In a Hasan hadith narrated by Ahmed and Tirmithi, the Prophet (SAAWS) said, “What have I got to do with the material world? The example of the material world and I is that of a traveler.
Traveling in the afternoon heat, he stopped to rest under the shade of a tree for some moments. Then, he rose and left it.”
The journey: life. The destination: Paradise or Hellfire. Ali (RA) used to say, “The material world has gotten up to leave you and the Hereafter has gotten up on its way towards you.
Both of them have children, so be from amongst the children of the Hereafter and not from the children of the material world. For verily, today is deeds and no accountancy, and tomorrow is accountancy and no deeds.”
A Wiseman once said, “Strange is he who has the material world walking away from him and the hereafter walking towards him. How could he busy himself with what is leaving him and turn his back to that which is coming towards him.”
This is the journey that we are all traveling. Now it is up to us to take advantage of the time. Muhammad ibn Wasi’ (RA) was asked once how he was feeling. He replied, “What’s your opinion of someone who travels a mile towards the hereafter every single day?” Dear brother, dear sister. Every soul is on this journey.
Some have understood this and are spending their days in preparation for the questions to come, for the repayment. Others are living life ‘to the fullest’ as they say, heedless and negligent of the hereafter. Allah (SWT) describes the day that they will finally wake up and smell the fire in sura 50, verse 22, “Indeed you were heedless of this, now We have removed your covering, and sharp is your sight this Day!” They are living in a satanic intoxication.
All that concerns them is a new car, a bigger house, and a handsome mate. Some wake up in this life with time to repent. Others will here the above verse when regret will be worthless.
In Surah Al Qiyamah, verse 26, Allah (SWT) describes the extraction of the soul, those last minutes, “Nay, when (the soul) reaches to the collarbone (i.e. up to the throat in its exit).” He probably went to sleep that night not intending to pray Fajr. He promised his kids they would go to Disney Land in the summer.
He promised his wife a new dress. He promised himself a new car if he beat his golf score. Tonight, however, he had an unexpected visitor. O the visitor had an appointment with him; he was just careless and forgot.
The soul does not leave the entire body in one swoop. It leaves body part by body part until it reaches the collarbone, until it reaches the throat. His legs were dead, his arms were dead. The soul gargled in his throat.
He screamed. His wife and children ran to his side. What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Not now, he is about to begin another journey. Allah says in Surah Al Qiyamah, verse 27, “And it will be said: ‘Who can cure him and save him from death?’”
Even in the last breaths, the wife runs to the phone to call an ambulance. The children look left and right for someone to save their dad. Nay, no one can save him from death when death arrives.
Everyone shall die. “And (the dying person) will conclude that it is the time of departure (death)” Al Qiyamah, verse 28
Reality has hit him now. He knows this is the end. The time for departure has arrived; the journey is about to begin. What is he departing from though? From a Quran he used to recite after Asr? From 4 rakas he used to pray during those long winter nights? Was he even departing from the 5 daily prayers?
“And leg will be joined with another leg (i.e. shrouded)” Al Qiyamah, verse 29
Strangers washed his body, strange hands shrouded his body, strangers prayed on his body. Down, down into that hole that was waiting for him from the day he entered this world. Now, the journey begins...
“The drive will be, on that Day, to your Lord (Allah)!” Al Qiyamah, verse 30
Dear brother, dear Sister. Do not leave your repentance till Ramadan. Do not wait until you go for Hajj. Do not even wait till tomorrow. Do it now and prepare for this journey. Come back to Allah before it is too late. Come now! Ali (RA) once stood at the head of a grave and said to his companion, “If he had a chance to return to this life, what do you think he would do?” His companion replied, “He would do nothing but good deeds.” Ali (RA) then said, “If it is not going to be him, then let it be you.”
If you are young and handsome now, fear Allah (SWT) and cover as He commanded you. If you are healthy now, worship Allah (SWT) as much as you can before you are old. If you are wealthy now, use your wealth for the sake of Allah (SWT) before the day comes when you may lose it. If you have some free time now, spend it memorizing Quran and reading Hadith before a time comes when you will not find the time. If you are alive now, take advantage of your life in preparation for the next leg of your journey, in preparation for your meeting with Allah (SWT).
Ibn Abbas (RA) heard the Prophet (SAAWS) advising someone, saying, “Take advantage of five before five: You’re youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you become occupied, and your life before your death.”
Weep No More:
From Canaan Joseph shall return, whose face
A little time was hidden: weep no more -
Oh, weep no more! in sorrow's dwelling-place
The roses yet shall spring from the bare floor!
And heart bowed down beneath a secret pain -
Oh stricken heart! joy shall return again,
Peace to the love-tossed brain - oh, weep no more!
Oh, weep no more! for once again Life's Spring
Shall throne her to the meadows green, and o'er
Her head the minstrel of the night shall fling
A canopy of rose leaves, score on score.
The secret of the world thou shalt not learn,
And yet behind the veil Love's fire may burn -
Weep'st thou? let hope return and weep no more!
Today may pass, tomorrow pass, before
The turning wheel give me my heart's desire;
Heaven's self shall change, and turn not evermore
The universal wheel of Fate in ire.
Oh Pilgrim nearing Mecca's holy fane,
The thorny maghilan wounds thee in vain,
The desert blooms again - oh, weep no more!
What though the river of mortality
Round the unstable house of Life doth roar,
Weep not, oh heart, Noah shall pilot thee,
And guide thine ark to the desired shore!
The goal lies far, and perilous is thy road,
Yet every path leads to that same abode
Where thou shalt drop thy load - oh, weep no more!
Mine enemies have persecuted me,
My love has turned and fled from out my door -
God counts our tears and knows our misery;
Ah, weep not! He has heard thy weeping sore.
And chained in poverty and plunged in night,
Oh Hafiz, take thy Koran and recite
Litanies infinite, and weep no more!
Note: The poem above was written by the Persian poet, Hafiz in his, "Divan
Hafiz" which is a collection of his poems. It was translated by Gertrude Bell in the book, "Teachings Of Hafiz" and can also be found in, "A Treasury Of Asian Literature" edited by John Yohannan. divan = collection. maghilian = a thorny shrub which grows in the deserts of Arabia near Mecca
1. Smile: It is the first arrow and the fastest of them all. It is like the salt for food. It is also regarded as a kind of worship and alms-giving as is mentioned in a hadith "Smiling at your brother's face is as charity (Sadaqa)" (Jami Tirmidhi). "Abdullah ibn al Harith tells us about the Prophet (PBUH) saying that he had never seen someone smile at the other's face as the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to do"(Jami Tirmidhi).
2. Be always the one who initiates greetings: This arrow is the one that lets you to be in the innermost depths of the others hearts. This arrow needs a skillful shooter. The needed skills are the hearty smile, the warm shaking of hands and the friendly welcoming to the other. Being successfully achieved, such kinds of skills are going to be rewarded, referring to the hadith: "Those who are nearest to Allah are they who are first to give a salutation " (Jami Tirmidhi). According to Hadith of Anas when people of Yemen came the Prophet (PBUH) said , " The people of Yemen are approaching and they have softer hearts than yours'. (Anas said) " They are the first who came with hand shaking". (Sunan Abu Dawud and Adb ul Mufarad)
3. The Presents: It has a strange charming affection that captivates all senses. Hence, exchanging presents and gifts in different occasions is a pleasant habit however gifts should be within one's tolerable expenses.Aa’ishah (RA) said: "The Messenger of Allaah used to accept gifts and reward people for giving them." (Sahih Bukhari)
4. Say something Good or remain silent: Loud voice and chattering are bad merits. You have to be sweet-worded, tender in expressing yourself. A good word has its own magic in winning the hearts of your enemies, how powerfully it would work then with your brothers' hearts!! "Repel (Evil) with what is better: Then will he between whom and thee was hatred become as it were thy friend and intimate " (Surah Fussilat 41:34) .The Prophet (PBUH) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day should speak good or be silent" (Mawtta Imam Malik). Abu Abdullah Jadali reported that he askedSayyidah Aisha (RA) about the manners of Allah’s Messenger She said, He was never indecent of speech or of manners. He never spoke loudly in the markets. And, he never returned evil with evil, but he forgave and overlooked.’ (Jami Tirmidhi)
5. Be a good listener: Listen patiently and never interrupt the speaker, as the Prophet (PBUH) never interrupted a speaker till he ended his speech. And he who fights for this merit gains others love and admiration, whilst on the contrary is the one who chatters and interrupts the other.
6. Appearance and dressing well: You have to be careful with your appearance so as to be neat, well–dressed and sweet smelling as well. The Prophet (PBUH) says that "Allaah is beautiful and he love beauty" (Masnad Ahmed).
7. Being in others favor and helping them: Good treatment classifies you as an obedient, beloved slave of Allaah. Allaah says in the Qur'an: "And spend of your substance in the cause of Allaah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your own) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good"(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:195). Sayyidina Abu Dharr (RA) reported that Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “Your smile your brother is a sadaqah for you, and your enjoining piety and forbidding evil is a sadaqah. Your guiding one who is lost on the land is a sadaqah for you. Your leading the blind is a sadaqah for you. Your removing from the thoroughfare a stone, a thorn or a bone is for you a sadaqah. And, your filling with your bucket the bucket of your brother is asadaqah for you." (Jami Tirmidhi)
8. Being Generous: Offering money is the key for most of the closed doors that hinder you from reaching others hearts, especially in these days. Now I will tell you a story about the magic of the merit of generosity. In the conquest of Makkah, there was a man called "Safwan Ibn Umia". That man ran away after making all possible means in keeping the people of Islam and after making conspiracies to kill the Prophet (PBUH). Later on, the Prophet (PBUH) forgave him and he came back asking the Prophet (PBUH) to give him the time of two months to think about Islam and the Prophet (PBUH) said, "You can take four months, not just two". In spite of being an atheist, he accompanied the Prophet (PBUH) in the Hunain and Al Ta'if conquests. In Al Ta`if, while the Prophet (PBUH) was dividing the booties of the war, he noticed that man looking longingly to a vast land in which a large number of cattle were flocking. The Prophet (PBUH) asked him, "Do you like it?" The man eagerly answered "Yes." The Prophet (PBUH) said, "It is for you then." Safwan said, "Only a prophet could behave as generously as you have. I believe that there is no god but Allaah and that Muhammad is His Prophet." Notice how the Prophet (PBUH) found the missing key and succeeded in moving his heart. Some people behave stingily as if they see the ghost of poverty waiting to attack them once they think about being generous in offering money.
9. To have a good opinion of others and to give them an excuse: Keeping an eye on others behavior is a bad merit that blocks your way to their hearts. On the contrary is to have a good opinion of them. So, try hard to give your brothers the excuse as much as you can. Concerning this merit, Ibn Al Mubarak says, "The believer is he who gives his brothers the excuse, and the hypocrite is he who seeks their slips." Quran says " O ye who believe! Avoid suspicion as much (as possible): for suspicion in some cases is a sin: And spy not on each other behind their backs." (Surah Hujraat 49:12)
10. Express your feelings: If you love someone, or have good feelings about him, don't wait, just tell him at once. Regarding this Allah’s Messenger (SAW) said, “If one of you loves his brother, let him inform him about it.” (Sahih Bukhari) Prophet (PBUH) also said " A good dream is from Allah, so if anyone of you saw a dream which he liked, he should not tell it to anybody except to the one whom he loves."(Sahih Bukhari)
~Muhammmad Awais Tahir~
It has been called ummul-amradh, or the root of all sicknesses of the heart. Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, warned that a person having even an iota of it in his heart will never enter paradise. This deadliest of all sins is kibr, or arrogance.
No one likes arrogance --- in others. We never like a person who is haughty, too proud, or condescending. We detest a person who belittles us and has a huge ego. Similarly we love people who are humble, polite, and easy to talk to. We love people who give us respect and honor. Thus if we follow the principle of treating others the way we like to be treated, most of these problems might be cured. In reality, the treatment of ummul-amradh requires a deeper look.
For that we need to appreciate the difference between adab or manners, on the one hand and akhlaq or morals on the other. While adab deal with one’s external disposition, akhlaq as defined by Islam deal with our inner thoughts, feeling, and attitudes. In a healthy personality, the manners and morals are in harmony. But it is also possible to have the former without having the latter. The first concerns itself with how a person deals with others. The second is concerned with what a person thinks of himself. Two persons showing humbleness in their dealings with others, may have exactly opposite ideas in their minds. One may do it out of his or her "generosity"; the other may do it because he genuinely thinks that he is not better than the other person. The first person only has a shell of humbleness, which will crumble when tested. It is the second person who is really free of arrogance.
Real greatness belongs only to Allah, our Lord, Creator, and Master. Human beings are just a creation of Allah --- and a very small creation in comparison to the unimaginably vast universe. Anyone who understands this will realize that our proper status is only that of servants of Allah. In fact for a Muslim the real human model is none other than Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, who is the greatest of all human beings. His greatness lies in being the humblest of all servants of Allah! It is impossible for any person who has this consciousness to entertain any notions of his own greatness.
This leads us to the definition of kibr, given in a famous hadith: "Kibr is to knowingly reject Truth and to belittle other people." This hadith exposes two strains of this deadly disease, both dealing with our exaggerated ideas of self-importance. The first suggests that I am more important than the Truth. The second suggests that I am more important than other people.
We know about the Quraish and Jews of Arabia who had come in contact with Prophet Muhammad, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, and who knew in the heart of their hearts that he indeed was the Messenger of Allah. Their arrogance, though, kept them from accepting it. History has recorded statements from some of them who said we know he is the Promised Prophet but we will keep on opposing him to maintain our leadership.
While that was the most blatant form of arrogance, we can witness the same attitude on a smaller scale in our discussions and arguments. A person realizes that he was wrong, but then his pride keeps him from admitting it. No matter how polite or "humble" that person may appear to be ordinarily, this test shows the presence of arrogance in his heart. It is arrogance that keeps a person from saying "I am sorry."
The second strain involves our feeling of superiority with respect to other people. Islam’s teaching is that one should never consider oneself greater than other people, because that Judgment will come from Allah, and Allah alone, on the Day of Judgment. None of us knows what our end will be, whether we will end up being a winner or loser over there. The person who appears to be nobody here may end up with eternal bliss because of his goodness that only Allah knew. The person who is a big shot here may end up among the sinners who will be punished there, because of his evil that only Allah knew. How foolish, it is then to congratulate ourselves over our fleeting "superiority".
What if a person does have edge over another person in measurable worldly terms? How then can he not consider himself superior than the other person in that respect? The point is sometimes made in half jest: it is difficult to be humble when you are so great. Islam does not ask us to reject reality and imagine we don’t have what we really do. Rather it asks us to take a deeper look at the reality and not be misled by a superficial perception of it. And the simple reality that escapes many is that our health, wealth, talents, and power are not of our own creation. God gave those to us as a test and He can take them back whenever He wills. Those who are conscious of this reality, their blessings will produce gratitude in them; those who are blind to it will develop pride and arrogance.
Some forms of kibr are subtle. If a person is embarrassed to bow to Allah in the presence of non-believers, that is a case of "kibr in the face of Allah," says Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi.
While throughout history humanity had agreed on the evil of arrogance and the virtue of humbleness (despite its failures in practice), this century has seen new dogmas that aim at changing the definitions of good and evil. Humbleness is no longer desirable. Rather, one has to avoid "Inferiority Complex." Alfred Adler (1870-1937) gave us that term. According to him, life is a continuous struggle to move from a position of inferiority to a position of significance. Those who fail to make the progress, develop inferiority complex, which can be treated by increasing self-esteem. Unfortunately today such pseudo-science is accepted as gospel truth.
The truth is that problems arise when we turn away from reality. A humble person is a happy, content, grateful person who thanks God for his blessings and has no notions of his own superiority. False notions of superiority or of one’s entitlements in life, on the other hand, lead to frustrations and complexes.