Arrogance is a mental state causing self-admiration and haughtiness against others in words or deeds. It is censured and dispraised in many texts in the Qur’an and Sunna:
“Do not scornfully turn your face away from people. Do not walk around puffed-up with pride; Allah does not love arrogant and boastful people (31:18)."
“Do not walk proudly on the earth; your feet cannot tear apart the earth nor are you as tall as the mountains (17:37)."
“He does not love the proud ones (16:23)."
“Is not hell the dwelling of the arrogant ones? (39:60)"
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “The most favourable of you and the nearest to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the most well-mannered and the most modest. The remotest of you to me on the Day of Resurrection will be the bigmouth and the proud." (1)
As he passed by some people, the Prophet (PBUH) asked them about the reason of their gathering. They answered that they were gathering on an insane epileptic person. He (PBUH) commented: “This is not insane. He is afflicted with a disease. May I tell you about the true insane?" “Yes, you may," they answered. He said: “The true insane is he who walks swaggeringly, looks to his sides, moves his shoulders through his sides, and hopes for Paradise of Allah while he acts disobediently to Him. His evil cannot be trusted and good is not expected from him. That is the true insane and this one is inflicted with a disease." (2)
While a wealthy man with a clean garment was sitting with the Prophet (PBUH), a poor man with dirty garment came and sat next to the wealthy who pulled his garment. The Prophet (PBUH) said to the wealthy: “Have you been afraid that his poverty would inflict you?" “No, I have not," answered the man. “Have you been afraid that he would soil your garment?" asked the Prophet. “No, I have not," answered the man. “Why did you then do so?" asked the Prophet. “God’s Messenger," said the man, “I have a companion who shows me my evildoings as righteous and my righteous ones as evildoings. As penance, I offer the half of my fortune to this man."
The poor man refused this offer and answered the wealthy who asked him about the reason, “Well, I refuse because I am afraid I will be inflicted with the same feeling of arrogance that you had."
In one of his sermons, Amir ul-Mu'minin (A.S) said: “You should take a lesson from what Allah did with Satan; namely He nullified his great acts and extensive efforts on account of the vanity of one moment, although Satan had worshipped Allah for six thous and years””whether by the reckoning of this world or of the next world is not known. Who now can remain safe from Allah after Satan by committing a similar disobedience? None at all. Allah cannot let a human being enter Paradise if he does the same thing for which Allah turned out from it an angel… and seek Allah’s protection from the dangers of vanity, as you seek His protection from calamities. Certainly, if Allah were to allow anyone to indulge in pride, He would have allowed it to his selected prophets and vicegerents. But Allah, the Sublime, disliked vanity for them and liked humbleness for them." (3)
Imam Sadiq (A.S) said: In the heavens, there are two angels whose mission is to oversee the servants. They advance him who behaves modestly, and humiliate him who behaves proudly." (4)
“Any behaviour of arrogance or haughtiness is inevitably the result of the feeling of humility in the mentality of the arrogant or the haughty." (5)
A quarrel broke out between Salman al-Farsi (6) and a man who addressed to him: “Who are you and what are you?" Salman answered: “The first of you and me is a dirty sperm. The last of you and me is stinking carrion. On the Day of Resurrection, the scales will be maintained. Those whose good deeds will weigh heavier on the scale will be the true noble men, but those whose good deeds will be lighter on the scale, will be the true inglorious." (7)
1. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 15 part 2 page 209 (quoted from Qurb ul-Isnad.) There is a similar narrative that is recorded in Sheikh as-Saduq’s Ilal ush-Sharaayi.
2. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 15 part 3 page 125 (quoted from Sheikh as-Saduq’s al-Khissal.)
3. Quoted from Nahj ul-Balagha.
4. Quoted from al-Wafi; 3:87 (quoted from al-Kafi).
5. Quoted from al-Wafi; 3:150 (quoted from al-Kafi).
6. Salman al-Farsi (born in 7th century) is a great figure in Islam. He was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and a close friend of Imam Ali Amir ul-Mu'minin (a) who supported him during the tragedy of the usurpation of his right of leadership after the Prophet. During his caliphate, Imam Ali (a) gave him a governmental office.
7. Quoted from Bihar ul-Anwar; vol. 15 part 3 page 124 (quoted from Sheikh as-Saduq’s al-Amali.)
Source: Ethical Role-Models by Sayyid Mahdi as-Sadr
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