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Sunday, July 19, 2009


Another sign of conceit is an aversion to walking alone and a tendency towards being followed by someone walking behind, or a penchant for riding a horse with a number of pupils walking along beside the horse. Rasulullah ‘salla-Allahu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ was going toward the “Baki” cemetery of the city of Medina. Some people saw him and started to walk behind him. Rasulullah ‘salla-Allahu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ stopped walking and commanded them to walk ahead of him and he followed them. When he was asked for the reason for his behavior he said, “I heard the sound of their steps. I required them to walk ahead of me in order to prevent an atom’s weight of conceit coming into my heart.” It is obvious that he would not have any conceit in his heart but this was a way of communication or teaching his Sahaba [1]. According to Abuddarda, ‘rahimahullahu ta’ala’, when the number of people walking behind a conceited man increases, the conceited man’s spiritual distance from Allahu ta’ala also increases.

The following actions also indicate conceit: not to visit acquaintances or friends; a dislike for sitting with someone beside you; not to sit together with sick or ill people; not to do housework, not to do the shopping necessary for the household; a distaste for wearing something you have worn once, or an overall as you work. It is conceit as well to refuse a poor person’s invitation and to accept a rich one’s. The following actions are considered hypocrisy when done in the presence of others and conceit when done alone or in the presence of others: not providing necessities of one’s relatives and family members, not accepting the righteous warnings and arguing with those who advise one, and not thanking those who point out one’s shortcomings.

A person’s being a humble person requires knowing his origins, e.g., where he came from and where he is going. He did not exist before. Later, he became a weakling infant who could not move. He is now a person who is always in fear of becoming ill or dying. At the end, he will die, rot away and become soil. He will become livestock for worms and insects. His sufferings are similar to a prisoner’s suffering, e.g., one who is awaiting execution by hanging, i.e., in the dungeon of the world. He waits every minute for news of his punishment. He will die. His body will become a carcass and will be food-stock for insects. He will suffer punishment in his grave. After all, he will be raised from death and will suffer the inconveniences of the last Judgement day. Which one of the following would be better fitting for a person who is living with the fear of being punished eternally in Hell: humility or conceit? Allahu ta’ala, Who is the Creator, the Raiser, the Protector of human beings, the all-Powerful Who has no likeness and Who is the only Ruler and the Almighty says, “I don’t like conceited people,” and “I like humble people.” Hence, which one would be more befitting for weakling human creatures? Could a sensible person who recognizes the greatness of Allahu ta’ala ever be conceited?


[1] Sahaba: if a Muslim has seen the Prophet, or talked to him, at least once when the Prophet was alive, he is called Sahabi. Plural form of Sahabi is Sahaba or As’hab. The word Sahaba-i kiram includes all those great people each of whom has seen the Prophet at least once. The lowest of the Sahaba is much higher than the highest of other Muslims. If a person has not seen the Prophet but has seen or talked to one of the Sahaba at least once, he is called Tabi’. Its plural form is Tabi’in. In other words, the Tabi’in are the successors of the Sahaba. If a person has not seen any of the Sahaba but has seen at least one of the Tabi’in, he is called Taba’i Tabi’in. The Sahaba, the Tabi’in and the Taba’i tabi’in altogether are called the Salaf-i salihin (the early savants).


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