Thursday, September 23, 2004

Pride and Arrogance-What's allowed and what's not

Any type of pride which constitutes of one of the following two things is impermissible:
1- belittling others 'ihtiqar al-ghair' (which is classified as kibr 'inward arrogance'/takabbur 'outward arrogance')

2- the satisfaction of a result due to individual effort 'al-istirwah' (which is classified as ujb), without the manifestation of it being an ability given by Allah and a blessing (adm idhafati al-ni'mati nisbat al-mun'im).

Scholars mention that 'ujb' is usually the first step to arrogance and they are both forbidden.
(See: Sharh al-Tariqha al-Muhammdiyyah, al-Nabulsi. Al-Hadyat al-Ala'iyyah, Ala'uddin ibn Abideen)

However, if one expresses his/her pride in something, it will not be forbidden (1) if he/she does not intend to belittle another (2) and if he/she considers the result or work a ni'mah of Allah swt and his given ability. Hence, all injunctions regarding the impermissibility and undesirability are directed to the pride which constitutes of the two things mentioned above. If the pride is not due to any of them, it is allowed. For example, if somebody writes a book on fiqh and has pride over having completing it, it is allowed to show pride (1) if one does not contemptuously put down another (2) and if he affirms his dependency on Allah swt on completion of the book (not showing satisfaction with independent effort), stating that the work done is a blessing from Allah swt. Note that the latter can be done orally and can be practiced by the heart (Shar al-Tareeqah al-Muhammadiyyah, al-Nabulsi).

The Prophet saw said: "No one with the slightest particle of arrogance in his heart will enter paradise." A man remarked, "But a man likes his clothes to be nice and his sandals good." The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, "Verily, Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance is refusing to acknowledge what is right and considering others beneath one." (Mishkat al-Masabih)

Moreover, Scholars mention that to outwardly show kibr is desirable to those who are arrogant. And Allah is most great.

Munawwar Ateeq Rizvi