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Friday, September 17, 2004

How to Achieve Humbleness

Humbleness is the opposite of arrogance, and is an attitude and behavior that Allahu Ta'ala and His Messenger (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) have commanded us to have. It is also a great tool used to spread Islam to others.

The best way to achieve humbleness in the heart is contained in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) who prescribed many methods to teach his Companions how to be humble.

Some of the methods and ways of achieving humbleness:

1. Extending As-Salam (saying As-Salamu Alaykum, peace be unto you).
Abdullah ibn 'Amr said that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam): 'Which part of Islam is the best?' He said, "To feed the food (to the poor), and to extend As-Salam to those whom you know and whom you do not know." [Bukhari & Muslim]

Therefore, extending As-Salam to the old, young, rich, poor, noble, common folk, stranger and relative, will open one's heart to achieve humbleness and will shut the door closed for arrogance and tyranny.

2. Muslims should hate that people stand up for them when they pass by them or enter their homes or businesses.

Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan once entered a house where Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair and Abdullah ibn 'Amr were sitting. Abdullah ibn 'Amr stood up while Ibn Az-Zubair did not. Mu'awiyah said, "O ibn 'Amr! Sit down, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) say, "Let those who like for people to stand up for them take their seats in the Fire." [At-Tirmithi]

This Hadith prohibits the Muslim to like that people stand up for him when he meets with or passes by them. Furthermore, this Hadith teaches Muslims to enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, for Mu'awiyah criticized Abdullah ibn 'Amr for standing up for him.

3. Sitting wherever one finds space.

Jabir ibn Samurah said, 'When we used to come to the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) we would sit wherever we find space.' Also, Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "One of you must not remove a man from his place and sit in it. However, (those already sitting should) make space and spread up (leaving adequate space for newcomers)."
[Bukhari & Muslim]

Also, Ibn Umar used to avoid the place which a man vacated to make space for him. Therefore, one should sit wherever he finds space, whether in the center of the audience or not. Also, those who accept that first-comers have the right to the best seats, because all Muslims whether rich or poor are equal, will achieve humbleness in their hearts and deed.

4. Prohibiting the Muslim from claiming purity for himself. Allahu Ta'ala said, what translated means, "So ascribe not purity to yourselves. He (Allah) knows best him who fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him." [Surah 53:32]

Zaynab bint Abi Salamah (Radhian Allahu Anha) said that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prohibited using this name when she was called Barrah (the righteous one). He said, "Do not ascribe purity to yourselves. Allah knows the righteous ones among you." The Companions asked, 'What should we call her?' He said, "Zaynab". [Muslim]

5. Prohibiting praising people in their presence.

Abu Musa (Radhian Allahu Anhu) said, "The Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) heard a man praising another man and saying good words about him while he was present with them. He said, "You have destroyed or broke the back of the man!" [Bukhari & Muslim]

Also, Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Bakrah said that a man was once mentioned in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Another man said good words of praise about him. The Messenger of Allah then said, "Woe unto you! You have beheaded your friend. If one of you has to praise, let him say, 'I think this and that (about the praised man if he thinks that he deserves it) and his reckoning is with Allah,' and let him not ascribe purity (to anyone)." [Bukhari & Muslim]

Also, Ibrahim At-Taymi said that his father said, "We were sitting in the presence of Umar (Radhian Allahu Anhu) when a man praised another man to his face. Umar said, 'You crippled him, may Allah do the same to you.' Furthermore, Abu Ma'mar said that a man stood up and praised one of the leaders, then Al-Miqdad started throwing sand in his face, and saying, 'The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) ordered us to throw sand in the faces of the praisers!' [Muslim, At-Tirmithi, Abu Dawood & ibn Majah]

From these Hadiths and stories, we conclude that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) prohibited praising others, especially while they can hear their praise. This is because such praise may encourage the praised persons to overestimate themselves, especially if they were people of position or wealth. Also, such praise may lead the praised person to be arrogant, which may lead to laziness and a lower number of good deeds, for one will depend on what he heard of praise and ignore acquiring more good deeds.

6. Man's abandoning of wearing long dresses which cover the ankles

Ibn Juray ibn Sulaiym (Radhian Allahu Anhu) said that the Messenger of Allah said, "... Do not increase the length of the dress (lower than the ankles), for it is arrogance, and Allah does not like arrogance." [Abu Dawood, At-Tirmithi & Al- Hakim]

In this Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) considered extending the length of the dress to cover the ankles an act of arrogance and pride. Also, Abu Hurayrah (Radhian Allahu Anhu) said that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "Whatever is below the ankles will be in the Fire." [Bukhari]
Furthermore, Abu Hurayrah (Radhian Allahu Anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said, "On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not look at he who used to drag his dress behind him (because it is too long below the ankles) out of arrogance." [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

These Hadiths above state that wearing long dresses which cover the ankles is a type of arrogance, or at least leads to such behavior. Therefore, shortening the length of the dress is a type of humbleness and leads to such behavior.

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