Moral Teachings of Islam 25 – Humility And Dignity
Channel: Jamal Badawi
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In the Name of God, the benevolent the Merciful, the creator and the Sustainer of the universe, peace and blessings upon His servants and messenger Muhammad forever. I mean, I bear witness that there was no God worthy of worship except the one true God. And I bear witness that Muhammad is His Messenger and servant. I greet you with our usual greeting the universal greetings of peace, a greeting that has been used by all the prophets from Abraham through to Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them all. Assalamu Aleikum, which means peace beyond you. I'm your host Hamad Rashid. Today we have our 25th program and our series on moral teachings of Islam. We'll be talking
about humbleness and dignity. I have joining me as usual on the program, Dr. Jamal, betta. We have St. Mary's University, brother Jamal Assalamualaikum.
First of all, can you perhaps explain the meaning of the term humbleness as interpreted by Muslims and perhaps could you give us
a few references from the Quran which speak on this topic of humbleness?
humbleness can be divided in one particular division into two basic categories. One is humbleness before God, the other relate to humbleness with the creatures of God work with other people. Now, the first one or humbleness with God implies facing God and submission to his world so you don't feel haughty. When God commands certain things you follow? What he ordained.
The other one, or humbleness with people is the one that usually you find defined in dictionaries as the quality of being humble
or being unassuming person, modest, the lack of pride,
boastfulness or excessive self assertiveness,
which I think reflects pretty well also the view of Islam of pride with people in accordance with the Quran, the Word of God.
The only foundation or basis for varying degrees of honor among people
is their piety. For example, in chapter 14, verse 13, says, all mankind, we created your male and female and we made you into nations and tribes, that you may get to know one another and then take no, the most honored of you in the sight of God is the most pious of you the most God conscious among you.
And since piety, and God consciousness is something which is determined, only God knows for sure whether a person is pious or pretending to be pious, it follows then that one should follow or observe modesty in humbleness as one of the basic traits of a believer. Indeed, in the Quran, we find a description of the type of people who are loved most by God and who themselves also love God. If it Bahama buena, for example, in chapter five, verse 54, it says that God would bring people whom he loves and who love him and then one of the description given to them is that they are humble and lowly with the believer, even though they might be stern and strong against rejecters. So this is
one trait again, the Quran emphasizes instructing Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. The Quran addresses him, what's the genetic element tobacco mean and momineen literally means lower, or Mohammed lower your wink to the believers who follow you. And this is a beautiful, tender expression, because just like a bird, lower its wings in kindness and protection or humbleness to protect its offsprings. So was the message of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him presented in the Quran. And not only this we find that instruction in the Quran goes beyond the prophet to all believers also
asking us not to try and justify ourselves not to overpraise ourselves. For example, in chapter 53, verse 32, say it's better to set one for second what Adam and Taka, do not try to justify yourself or praise yourself, God knows who was good, was better. And I think about 100 at this particular point, is at the heart of many of the malaise that we find in today's civilization, that people do not try to be themselves. They won't always to have different masks to appear different from the reality you spend a lot of effort to be not yourself. Whereas you can spend one 10th of that effort just to be yourself, be humble and
have the sense of simplicity in your attitudes and relationship with other people.
So far, we've discussed the references to the Hill the subject of the middle day, from the point of view of what is said in the in the grandmother, sayings as well of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon them which are instructive in this area. Regarding humility, there are several but maybe you can choose a few, just to give you the sense of the feel of it. And according to the collection of prophetic sayings in Muslim, Muslim,
the prophet peace be upon him said, God revealed to me
that you should be humble, so that no person should be boastful or should boast over another person, and so that no person would commit an act of aggression against another person. In the same collection, also another Hadees very frequently quoted one manaka, some element cerca de la abdon, baffling Eliza, well, not a lot, I had a lot of fun, which means no property, or no money really would diminish because of paying charity. In other words, there will be a blessing to compensate for what you sacrifice of your property for charity.
And that no person forgives another person except that God would increase him in dignity and status. And then the third one that relate to humbleness. It says that no person who tries to practice this attitude of humility accept that God would raise him in degrees.
In a similar Hadith, which contradicts quotes which mean the Prophet is narrating but not in the form of the Quran in the form of Hadith,
that God said that I accept prayers only from those who humble themselves before my glory. Those who spent the day remembering me, those who did not treat my creatures in a haughty and snobbish way, and those who never slept a night insisting on disobeying me.
As far as the, the attitude of the Prophet peace be upon him, aside from his sake, or in addition to what he said, his personal life was exemplary of this humbleness. You can write books on that, but maybe just give a glimpse of of this behavior. His wife, Ayesha was once asked, What is the Prophet life in his own household? She said, when he would be serving or helping his family during work even. And when the time of prayer comes, he just leaves and go to the present say, Oh, I am the Great Prophet, everybody should serve Him and just run after he just lived a very simple life. In another occasion,
she was asking similar questions he said he's just like any of you. He sometimes goes and milk his ongoing
repair his shoes are meant his his clothing. And the collection of Buhari It was also mentioned that at times, when a little girl, just small girl comes to play with the Prophet hold his hand. And she said she can just take him by hand in whatever state of Medina she wishes and he would not object just go play with her and doesn't really show any
you know, snobbishness that How come he's spending his time with just a little girl playing the
one time when he was traveling with some of his companions, they started preparing food. So some people said, I do this, I do that. So Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him said, and I take charge of collecting and cutting the wood. So they said, We can do that for you. He said, Yes, I know you can do it for me. But I hate to sit there and feel distinguished if it's some distinction over you. This is the attitude of humility, and humbleness and sharing with people whatever they are doing.
And whenever he came to a place where people are sitting, he didn't just rush himself to put himself in the forefront. He just sat wherever the place is, is available to him and this attitude
By the way, is not something that was only in times of weakness or the time when Muslims were few. But even in some of the most glorious moments, like when he re entered Makkah after he was given away and his companions, victorious, he didn't go like some people plundering and you know, showing pride or others, he was lowering his forehead on his cannon, making prostration of humility and thanksgiving to God that He gave victory finally, to the, to the believers. Like I said, these are only, you know, glimpses of what the prophetic tradition by way of sayings and actions show on importance of humility. Okay. Well, in our previous programs in this series dealing with moral
virtues, we've we've looked at the opposite side of the coin, and sort of contrast of the situation in the case of our topic today or in the case of humanity. What does Islam say about about pride?
When there are lots of things also mentioned about pride as a moral vise?
Indeed, it's presented as a site serious psychological disease that the Quran warns against. To start with, the Quran indicates and this you find particularly in chapter seven, verse 12, on
that when God created the first human being on Earth, he asked the angels to bow down in frustration, or in respect to the first human being created.
Satan was there also he was not an angel, but he was there and he refused to bow down. He says Anna, Hiram, middle Harlequin, even Noreen mahalik, the home team. He says, How can you ask me to bow down to him I am better than he. You created me from fire and he flunked clay. So there's different species so he, he felt too great to bow down to such a creature made of clay.
So the Quran indicates then that this was the reason why actually Satan was ousted out of Paradise, cockroach Manhattan a coup de cantata kabara to get out of it. God told him, it is not appropriate for you to be haughty in it. That's that's the behavior that resulted in serious consequence for him, and for those who follow him. A second
aspect of it is that the Quran presented also as an act which is most hated by God, just like we mentioned before, that humility is mentioned as an act which is loved by God. The opposite also is true. You find the Quran frequently and expression like in Allah had a mystic been in a hula shabu sectarian. For example, in chapter 16, verse 23. Indeed, God does not love those who are arrogant or boastful or snobbish if you want.
In addition, you find that there are several stories in the Quran that shows the consequences of of arrogance, and haughtiness, it mentioned it in context of talking about the Pharaoh and the tyranny of the pharaohs. For example, in chapter 43, verse 51, on
that the Pharaoh said,
don't you people see the domain of Egypt is all mine. Don't you see the rivers flowing underneath my palaces? And then he started downgrading, Prophet Moses peace be upon him, he said, am I not better than this fellow who cannot express himself? Clearly even this kind of attitude, as we know resulted in the drowning of the Pharaoh and his soldiers. In a similar story also, in the Quran, in chapter 28, it talks about qarun. Some believe that this was the same as Korra, which appeared, or history appeared in chapter 16, or the book of Numbers. a contemporary of Prophet Moses, peace be upon him, was so rich, so arrogant people taught him that you should have moderation and remember, God said,
No, I got that, because of my knowledge and my smartness, and Docker. According to the story in the Quran. Also, his punishment was that God ordered the ears to swallow him up,
along with his house and his his property. There are similar stories in chapter 18 in the Quran, for example, about the people of the garden, all showing that this have taken different forms of arrogance, and they all were common in a sense of the severe punishment that befell those people, but aside even from the punishment, which may come in this word, as a result of boastfulness and arrogance, the Quran also talks about kebab or stick bar or pride as something that will is
Also in the punishment in the hereafter.
For example, people who would be destined to the Hellfire will be told, according to chapter 16, the bits and that's one with a country, even indeed is the abode of those who are boastful and arrogant. In chapter seven, there are similar statements also that your money or whatever you collected did not really help you in this day because of your, your pride.
That's as far as the what the Quran says about it. But to complete the picture, you can give us a glimpse of me to some of the saying of the Prophet peace be upon him and this and the collection of
he says that whoever had an atom's weight in his heart of pride, he will be thrown or with the fell on his face, in the hellfire.
In another hand is narrated by hockey, it's a beautiful one, it says there are three things which are Redeemer, things that saved the person, and three things which caused the destruction of the person,
as to the three that are redeemers It includes
to be Gods conscious and secrets, and in public,
to, to say the truth, whether you are angry, or whether your normal state
and three, to have moderation, whether you are rich, or poor,
as to the three things which are destroyers, or even.
One is to follow your own whims. Secondly, is stinginess. And then notice the third one Agia will not obey Nazi he what he has said the one that is if a person
so much admirers, or self admiration are so much proud of himself, and which is the worst that was considered as one of the worst traits of the person right.
looking into the, to the realm of our day to day activities, what are some of the common manifestations of pride? You mean, how people express that are clearly detected? Yes. Well, it takes a variety of form, but perhaps, I should start with the most dangerous one the most serious form of pride. Obviously, that would be rejection of truth, after truth has been manifest, because that's pride or if a person is not accepted to it, because he doesn't understand or doesn't know that this is the truth. Well, he might have some excuse. But after the person realizes in his own heart, that this is the threats and keep making, you know, vain arguments against it, then this is regarded as
pride. Indeed, in the Quran, for example,
in chapters 37, verse 35, it describes the unbelievers saying, in his appeal, Allahu Allah, Allah, Allah who
these people were, that if it was told to them, or said to them, there is no God, but God, the one God, or one true God, they are passed up with with pride. So this is one of the most difficult
type of price to try to overcome.
Pride can be manifested also in the treatment the way a person relate and deal with with other people. If a person deals with people in contempt in a haughty and snobbish Wait, that's also a reflection of pride. For example, in the Quran in chapter 31, verse 18, quoting look man who was a wise holy person advising his son, he was telling his son, what not to say, I've heard the colonists don't you swell your shake your cheek at people not
talking to them as if you're up there and everybody's else's, you know, down on the earth.
And actually another moving verse also in chapter 17, verse 37.
It addresses mankind in general. While attempts you fill out the morahan, Nicoletta colada, Allah tala, which means don't walk on Earth, in incidence and arrogance. Because after all, you cannot rent the earth Ascendant you can't make a hole in the earth, no matter how strong you walk on it, nor are you going to reach the mountains, in in height. So everybody should know his position and place in this universe without over emphasis or under. Under emphasis, it may take also the form of the way rather than person walks the way the person dresses.
You might recall in a previous program on Standard Code of dress, we quoted the Prophet peace be upon him as narrated both in Bukhari and Muslim that says, God
will not look at the person who draws his garment behind him in pride, you know, we'll get the big Jason just walk in. And incidents are snobbish wait.
This this are all different forms which reflect some psychological weakness, that people instead of trying to be good
from within some people having that weakness try to compensate for it by being snobbish and arrogant in the treatment of other people. I'd like to
go back to the last point that you touched on in your your answer relating to the question of vanity and dress.
Does this mean in any way that there's any restriction in Islam on dressing nicely or needy? or, for that matter? Generally? any restriction on dressing nicely? No, not at all? Not at all. In fact, I'm glad that you, you know, put this point because, in fact, a similar question was asked to the Prophet peace be upon him, he was sitting with his companions. And then he started he told them, nobody will enter Paradise who have a mustard seed with in his heart of pride.
So one of the people sitting there, he said, All messengers of God,
you know that a person would like to have a nice garment or nice clothes. And every person loves to have a nice shoe. Is that the price you're talking about?
kind of question that he wants to ask. So the Prophet peace be upon him said no, he said, pride. First of all, he said, God is beautiful, and he loves beauty, or graceful and he likes grace, or loves grace. But he said, later, real pride is to reject truth, and to be little other people,
reject the truth, and be haughty, and other new treatment of other people. So there's no problem, the issue is not really what to dress, whether it's nicely designed, the good color, good, clean, and all that there is no difficulty with this, so long as it fits within the code of dress as provided in Islamic law, it should be okay. Not only it can be graceful, it should be graceful. But this is not with the intention really of short of just enjoying legitimate things that God has provided. Now, we've mentioned that our program, the title of our program, today was humility and dignity. I'd like to ask you if you could perhaps explain
the meaning of dignity and how the dignity differs from this question of pride that we've just been talking about. Okay, I bet some people might have been wondering a bit about the title, humbleness and dignity. Sometimes people may get the impression that when you talk about dignity, and honor, that somehow a question is is this whether it's different? Or is it different from
pride? Well, the Arabic word for dignity, that the one that I'm referring to really is, as
and when it's translated into English, it's the closest thing would be something like honor, dignity.
But when you talk about dignity, in that sense outright, that in this clinic usage of the terminology, it refers to dignity, which is derived not just from personal ego, but dignity which is derived from faith in God. In other words, your dignity is derived dignity, because of what God has bestowed on you, by way of believing him knowledge of Him and faith in him.
Whereas private in the sense we were describing refers to an attitude that you feel that you're better than others, others are lower than you are. So you treat them with some degree of contempt. Now, this the kind of dignity or pride if you will, like I said, In English, there is no exact equivalent for the Arabic 10. But pride in the positive sense in a sense of dignity and honor derived from faith is not only permissible, it is even required, it's encouraged. I get to give you documentation, for example, in the Quran in chapter 63, verse eight. It says, when he learned is that when it assumed he will mean, the real or true honor and dignity belongs to God, to His
Messenger and to the believers to say that believers deserve more dignity than those who reject the garden are ungrateful for what he has provided for them.
So when you feel grateful that God has guided you, to know him to obey Him, and helped you to follow the straight path, to be proud
That in the positive sense, is not really egotistic. It's not something that's innate yourself, but you're really doing that in humility and saying, you know, thanks for
blessing me with this. It's not the same thing.
Now, luckily, at the practical side of this discussion of moral virtues with particular reference to this, this question of dignity,
how can a person achieve dignity? Are there specific acts that one should involve oneself in or specific acts that one should perhaps try to eliminate or not get involved in? Okay? What since we said before that the real dignity in the Islamic sense is that the rise of dignity derives from faith in God and obedience to Him? It follows then, that one can maintain and nourish this dignity by maintaining his obedience to God, to follow the path that he's provided for us, and to really avoid an act which displeases God, because the loss of dignity is not loss of money or status, the loss of dignity is the loss of faith. That is why in chapter 35, for example, verse 10, in the
Quran, it says mankind realized that he led to Jamia whoever is really seeking dignity and honor unto God belongs all honor, and dignity. So it's derived from that so you can by pleasing God by following his path, not only do you benefit personally, in your own life, to have a wholesome life that has meaning that has a purpose, but you also achieve the true dignity regardless of how poor or rich might be.
And the other aspects also in the achievement of this dignity, is not to be overly worried about the material things that people normally use to assess people's dignity. For most people, when I say dignity and honesty, oh is somebody who has reached some of these big, strong and high position. And to give you an practical example of what happened during the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him to reflect his teaching. One time he was sitting with a few people.
And then a person passed by. So he said, asked one of the people sitting, what do you think of him, he said, Oh, he is one of the most rich and honored people here. If that person goes to any family to ask the hand of their daughter, they would marry her gladly to him. If he goes to intercede on behalf of anyone, his intercession would be accepted. So the Prophet kept silent, he didn't come. And then after a while, another person passed by. So I asked him, What do you think of that fella
said, Well, he's one of those poor, rich people. If that person goes to any family to ask to marry their daughter or something, they would probably not marry her to him.
If He intercedes on behalf of someone, nobody would listen to him. And if he says anything, people would not pay much attention to what he says. So the Prophet then intervened and said, Listen, this, that is this poor person is better than an earth full of the other film. No matter how rich or powerful you may be, that means a person could be very simple, very poor, but in the eyes of God, he could be much greater than a bunch of other people who are more arrogant or more insolent.
It follows then that
when the true dignity when it's derived from God, it means that you should be submissive to God, you submit to the will of God, but you should also resist human tyranny that's also part of the dignity of the believer.
In the Quran, for example, in chapter four, it talks about people who would be asked or questions in the Day of Judgment, why didn't you resist tyranny? They said, We were weak and said, respond to them, why didn't you try to do something about it, even leave and go to some other place where you can practice your freedom. And finally, one should also keep in mind that God alone controls our destiny, and may appear to us that a boss can tell us what to do or can determine our raises or this or that. But after all, we should believe that God alone
is the one who control the universe. try our best to do an excellent job so that we don't be in a situation of humiliation.
alanna, thank you for watching our program today. I invite you back. Next week. We will continue with our next program in the series of moral teachings. Thank you for watching. Salaam Alaikum peace