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Pride and Humility - Hazrat Maulana Abdul Hamid Is`haq Saheb (Daamat Barakaatuhum)


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Bismillahi Rahmaanir Raheem
 
EASY REMEDY FOR PRIDE AND
EASY PRESCRIPTION FOR NURTURING HUMILITY  
 
Advice given to Students
 
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Amongst the noble characteristics, which comprise Akhlaaq-e-Hameedah (good and praiseworthy character), is the very important quality of Tawaadhu (humility), which we need to develop within ourselves.
 
 
When a student takes admission into a Madrasah, then generally, he does not know anything in respect to Qur`aan Sharief, Arabic grammar, Urdu, etc., or he knows very little. At that time, he is quite humble and he acknowledges: ‘I don’t know anything.’ …His ignorance humbles him.
 
 
Very sadly, when it comes to Daura Hadith (the final year), then it is a common weakness, that having gained and acquired so much of knowledge, and now having mastered the Arabic language, and having a command of languages, etc. pride manifests itself; whereas it should have been the opposite:  The student should have increased in humility and humbleness.
 
 
When a student commences learning the Qur`aan Sharief, many a time, he does not even know the very basics i.eا ,ب,ت,ث (alif, baa, taa, thaa). When he completes his Hifz, there is pride over the achievement and he considers himself, great.
 
 
A student does not know anything about Qira’ah; not even knowing that there are seven types of Qira’ah. However, when he completes the course and Allah Ta’ala blesses him with this great bounty, then instead of being more humble before Allah Ta’ala, he becomes proud. He is now a Qaari, and this title and achievement generates a feeling of greatness.
 
 
Imam Al-Ghazaali (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had said: “People of knowledge are in greater danger of pride and arrogance than anyone else.”
 
 
Allah Ta’ala expresses His dislike for the one who has pride:
 
“VERILY ALLAH DOES NOT LIKE THE ONE WHO HAS PRIDE AND IS BOASTFUL.”
[surah An-Nisaa 4 : 36]
 
 
Just this alone – that we would be disliked by Allah Ta’ala - should create concern and should exhort us to reform and humble ourselves.
 
 
This sin of pride, steals into the heart – without the person realising it. Very much like Riyaa (doing actions for show), which creeps into our hearts, unnoticed. …Riyaa comes into a person in such a way that he is totally unaware of it.
 
 
Nabi (Sallallaahu alayhi wa Sallam) said: "Ash-Shirk-al-Khafi (Riyaa) in the Muslim Ummah is more inconspicuous than the creeping of black ant on black rock in the pitch-darkness of the night."
 
 
No one can see that ant and no one can hear it – except Allah Ta’ala. More stealthily than that, more secretly than that, does the quality of Riyaa creep into a person.
 
 
In the same way, Takabbur (pride) also enters the heart of a person, in such a way that a person does not realise it. This sickness is so dangerous that it is narrated in a Hadith that a person, who has a tiny grain (or an atom) of pride in his heart, will not be admitted into Jannat.[1]
 
 
If a person has got one atom, one iota, one spec of pride, then besides Jannat, he will be deprived of even the fragrance of Jannat – and as had been mentioned, in different narrations, the fragrance of Jannat is such, which will spread to a distance of a journey of hundreds of years out of Jannat.
 
 
In this day and age, if we consider a journey by plane, to some distant country, then a person will, in all probability, be stopping in different cities, in transit. Such a journey may be twenty hours or even longer. Together with waiting in transit – which itself may be a number of hours, the person may only reach his destination after a few days. Thousands of miles are traversed in a few days. And in the Ahadith, hundreds ofyears of travel are mentioned to describe distances… Not days; but hundreds of years. Allahu Akbar!
 
 
In one Hadith, we are informed that just the fragrance of Jannah will travel to a distance of five hundred years out of Jannat. …A person who is proud will thus not benefit and enjoy even this. May Allah Ta’ala save us.
 
 
A sign of whether we have Takabbur, Riyaa, or other spiritual ailments within us, is that we are unconcerned about these maladies. If we are unconcerned, then there is great danger that nafs and shaytaan have the upper-hand over us or have floored us with these sins.
 
 
As students, as Asaatiza, as Saalikeen, as Mureedeen – as Muslims, we must be concerned about treating our spiritual ailments.
 
 
Ibnu Abi Mulayka (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh), who was a Tabi’e, said: “I met no less than thirty Sahabah (Radiyallaahu ‘anhum) and each of them feared Nifaaq (hypocrisy) within themselves.”[2]
 
فقد أخرج البخاري - تعليقاً - أن ابن أبي مليكة رحمه الله قال : (أدركت ثلاثين من أصحاب النبي -صلى الله عليه وسلم- كلهم يخاف النفاق على نفسه)
 
 
They were always afraid; keeping a check on their nafs, and on whether these evil qualities were within them:Do I possess these evil qualities? Am I doing actions for show? Do I have pride within myself? …In contrast, we are very confident that we are perfect believers. We seem to have no fear of any spiritual ailments; not even Nifaaq (hypocrisy).
 
 
Hadhrat Hasan Basri (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) would say in respect to Nifaaq: “No one fears it but a Believer and no one feels safe from it but a hypocrite."
 
 
What a difference between us and those great men?
 
 
They were always concerned, and when they requested one another for Dua, it was Dua regarding these matters; that Allah Ta’ala saves them from name, fame, pride, show, conceit, etc. When they advised each other, it was on these matters. Hadhrat Abdullah ibn Mubarak (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) said: “Sufyaan Thauri (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) advised me: ‘Beware of fame. Everyone I met warned me about fame.’” 
 
 
…SubhanAllah, so much of concern. And there are many other such advices that were sought and that were given; and that were not only appreciated, but were followed through with.
 
 
We also request others for Dua – but the request is usually for wealth, Barakah, and health – for ourselves, children or others. We also request others for advice, but generally it relates to worldly matters. We do not give attention to our spiritual ailments; we sometimes do not take out even a minute or a few seconds to think of our spiritual weaknesses.
 
 
Even if we read about them in the kitaabs, then we read it for knowledge-sake, just to know – because we are students of Dien. …Unfortunately and sadly, we do not introspect, reflect, or take heed of whether these sins and weaknesses are within us or not, and we do not look towards a course of action to remedy these weaknesses.
 
 
It is extremely important that a person becomes more humble as he acquires more knowledge. If he entertains pride, then this will be the cause of his downfall and disgrace. May Allah Ta’ala save us all.
 
 
As an example: A person is engaged in all types of sins. But his sins make him ashamed and humble him. He is devoid of pride – because he views himself as a miserable sinner. Allah Ta’ala then guides him to Taubah (repentance) and he corrects his life. He then becomes punctual with his Salaah, five times a day, and he even performs Tahajjud. He engages in Tilawat, Zikrullah, sits for Sunnat I’tikaaf and makes Umrah again and again. However, on carrying out all these good deeds, pride now steals into his heart and he begins to think that he is very pious.
 
 
One of the ways to remedy this is to think of one’s past, one’s history; what one was at one time. We should think: “I was a complete jaahil (ignoramus). Allah Ta’ala, out of His Fadhl (grace) made me a Hafiz and Qaari."
 
 
…Insha-Allah, by doing this, pride will be extinguished.
 
 
Our Sheikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Saheb (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) gave a very simple treatment for Takabbur; and that is Tashakkur (expressing gratitude to Allah Ta’ala).
 
 
A person who is conscious of his Dieni condition will constantly check whether he has pride within himself or not. Whenever he fears or perceives that Takabbur is lurking within his heart, then the easy way to remedy it is to engage in Shukr.
 
 
Shukr takes a person closer to Allah Ta’ala, whilst Takabbur takes a person further away from Allah Ta’ala. These are two opposites, and the general rule is: Two opposites will not be in one place, at the same time.
 
 
There cannot be light and darkness at the same time, in one place. There is either light or darkness. …If a person enters a dark room and he switches the light on, the darkness disappears.
 
 
In a similar vein, Tashakkur (gratitude) and Takabbur (pride) cannot be in the heart at one and the same time.When the person switches the light of Tashakkur on, the darkness of Takabbur will disappear.
 
 
However, we need to understand that Tashakkur will become a reality, when we learn and implement Shukr in our lives; when we express sincere Shukr to Allah Ta’ala for all the bounties Allah Ta’ala is showering upon us, and true Shukr is utilising all bounties in Allah Ta’ala’s obedience and in seeking His Pleasure.
 
 
Many of us speak about Tashakkur and we think we have made Shukr, and that we have Shukr in us. …Commonly, in a Madrasah Jalsa, where students are completing their Hifz or the Aalim course, we say: “We make Shukr to Allah Ta’ala for this,” but more often, these are just words uttered.
 
 
Sometimes, Shukr is evident on the tongue, but Kibr (pride) is hiding in the heart. …Because, within ourselves, we feel that we have achieved this, we made the effort and sacrifice – so it is our accomplishment; whereas real Tashakkur is that a person realises that he has not done anything whatsoever.
 
 
Everything is purely the Grace, Favour and Generosity of Allah Ta’ala. He gave us the brains, the intelligence, the capacity to understand, the strength, the memory, the opportunity, and created all the means whereby there is someone to tutor us and teach us and assist us to become a Hafiz, Aalim, Mufti, etc. Allah Ta’ala made all the arrangements for us.
 
 
Together with Tashakkur, we should also recite the following in order to save ourselves from Takabbur. This is a simple Masnoon Dua that we should recite after every good action, and particularly when Allah Ta’ala takes some Khidmat of Dien or some great work from us.
 
‏الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ الَّذِي بِنِعْمَتِهِ تَتِمُّ الصَّالِحَاتُ
 
“All praise is only due to Allah Ta’ala and it is solely by His grace and kindness that this good work has been completed.”[3]
 
 
The moment you ascribe your good work and good deed to Allah Ta’ala – who gave the Taufeeq and opportunity – humbleness will be nurtured in the heart. Even if the entire world praises you and even if shaytaan whispers that you are a very great person - that you have done great work - the focus of the heart will be on Allah Ta’ala. The person will keep before him that without Allah Ta’ala’s Kindness and Assistance, nothing would have been achieved.  
 
 
Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) had provided a very effective remedy for annihilating the nafs and developing this noble characteristic of humility. And this prescription should be carried out on a daily basis. …It should be done when lying down to sleep.
 
 
…Many bad thoughts come to a person when he is going to sleep. Therefore, we should read our Kalimas, spend a few minutes in Taubah and Istighfaar, express Shukr to Allah Ta’ala that the day passed well. We should also thank Allah Ta’ala for saving us from so many calamities throughout our lives until now. By engaging in these actions, we will be saved from the evil whisperings of shaytaan.
 
 
Together with these actions, Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) said that every person should say to himself:
 
 
حال مے تمام مسلمانوں میں سے  تو (نام لےکر) بدتر اور کمتر ہے
 
Presently, I – (take your own name) - am the worst amongst all the Muslims in the world.
 
 
It is Fardh-e-ain (compulsory) to regard ourselves as the lowest in Allah Ta’ala’s creation.
 
 
…This is a start in nurturing Tawaadhu and it plants the seed of Fana`iyyat (annihilation). In this manner, Tawaadhu will develop within the person, Insha-Allah.
 
 
Of course, the result is not obtained by saying this once or twice. We should not deceive ourselves, thinking we said it once or twice and we are now “Mutawaadhi” – (one with a lot of humility).
 
 
These words are only planting the seed. We will have to water it, fertilise it and take care of it.
 
 
If the plant is given attention, it will continue to grow and will, Insha-Allah, grow into a tree, and after many years, it will begin to bear fruit also. …However, we don’t know exactly when the tree will bear fruit.
 
 
A mango tree may bear fruit after three or four years; sometimes later. Trees, which are planted for paper, only gain maturity after twenty or thirty years. …Whilst we don’t know when the tree of humility will bear its fruit, it still needs to be planted and nurtured.
 
 
No matter how far others are from Dien and how distanced they are from Allah Ta’ala’s obedience, and even though they are caught up in many evils and major sins, we should think that the person may possess some quality in him that Allah Ta’ala loves; whereas we may have some quality in us which Allah Ta’ala dislikes. On this basis, accept wholeheartedly that: “I am the lowest and the worst.”
 
 
اور مآل کے اعتبار سے تمام جانوروں اور کافروں میں سے  تو (نام لےکر) بدتر اور کمتر ہے
 
“With regards to the future, amongst all the animals and non-believers, I – (take your own name) - am the worst of all.”
 
 
If a person dies without Imaan, then he is worse than an animal. A Kaafir (disbeliever), who is living for ninety nine years in Kufr, can make Taubah, read the Kalima and pass away on Imaan. Many were Muslims but due to their sins, they die on Kufr and lose the Aakhirah (Allah Ta’ala protect us all). …So we do not know what our end result will be. How can we ever think that we are better than others?
 
 
It is said that Hadhrat Sufyaan Thauri (Rahmatullahi ‘alayh) developed a hunched back in his youth. When asked about being bent at such a young age, he replied: "I had three Ustaadhs; one died as a Christian, one died as a Jew and one died a Majoosi (Fire-Worshipper). When I observed this, I recognized Allah Ta’ala’s absolute Independence and the fear of Allah Ta’ala bent my back. Since witnessing this, I always supplicate to Allah Ta’ala for death on Imaan."
 
 
This is the reality : We don’t know our end result, but we have to continue with Dua and with effort.
 
 
…This Muraqabah will help tremendously in bringing humility in a person.
 
 
Another very simple statement, which Hadhrat Moulana Sayyid Sulaiman Nadwi (رَحْمَةُ اللهِ عَلَيْهِ) would express and which we should say to ourselves as well is:
 
ھم  ایسے رھے یا کہ ویسے رھے وہاں دیکھناھے کہ کیسے رھے
 
‘Whether we live like this or whether we live like that,
What is left to be seen is how our stay there will be
(i.e. the Hereafter).’
 
 
We lived in this world, this way or that way. It does not matter whether people praised us or criticised us. On the day of Qiyaamah, what counts is the report that will be given in our hands. This is what is most important.
 
 
No person knows, with certainty, whether Allah Ta’ala will be pleased with him on the day of Qiyaamah or not. …Yes, there can be signs, but no person is certain. By following through with this simple prescription Insha-Allah, Allah Ta’ala will purify us of pride and save us from pride.
 
 
If we do not remedy this ailment, if we do not make that effort of Tazkiyah (purification) and we leave this world with pride, then the fire of Jahannum is the only other way of purifying a person of his sins - unless Allah Ta’ala forgives, which is His prerogative. If not, there will be delayed entry into Jannah – because the purification process that was not carried out in this world, will then be carried out in Jahannum (May Allah Ta’ala protect us all).
 
 
This matter is extremely serious. Say these few sentences. Follow through with the above-mentioned Muraqabah and make Muhasabah (take account of our actions and behaviour): Do I possess pride? What signs are there?
 
 
…We all need to be concerned about our spiritual condition. When we suffer from a little headache or a toothache, we become restless and worried, but we don’t care about the cancer of pride which is spreading in our hearts. We don’t pay any attention to our spiritual diseases; whereas we should be more conscious and more concerned about our spiritual condition. This is what determines the end result.
 
 
May Allah Ta’ala grant us Taufeeq of undertaking our Islaah and grant us complete Islaah and Tazkiyah, with ease.

 

 
 
 

[1] Sahih Muslim. Hadith related by Abdullah Ibn Mas`ud (Radiyallaahu anhu)
[2] Sahih Bukhari
[3] Ibn Majah, Ibn Sunni and Al Haakim
 
 

 

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