This blog post is about gaining inward purification from esoteric diseases like arrogance.
Magnificence and glory belongs to Allah and only He deserves them. As there is Qudsi Hadith, “Grandeur is My cover, Magnificence is My dress and whoever will fight with Me over them I’ll break him”
Arrogance is enmity with Allah
Arrogance is in fact enmity with Allah. Allah is the Greatest in His attributes and Essence, He is perfect and complete. No one is equivalent to Him, which is why only Allah deserves all the grandeur and glory. No one can get any rank or grade in the court of Allah without His will. Allah is greatest in every aspect so arrogance of a man has no reality.
What is definition of arrogance according to Sharia?
As per sharia, considering ourselves better than others is referred to as arrogance. In fact, arrogance is a satanic trait as Satan refused to prostrate Adam because of arrogance and due to arrogance he was accursed by Allah.
Way to Inward Purification
Therefore, a seeker of Allah must save himself from arrogance by adopting humility on the path of Faqr. The truth is that humility is very essential on the path of Faqr and it can only be adopted if arrogance is eradicated completely. Humility is the base of spirituality and Humility is infact a defence against troubles and hurdles coming on the path of Faqr. It is obligatory upon every seeker to attain the inward purification from arrogance completely and adopt humility. Allah has condemned arrogance. There are numerous verses regarding arrogance, only few are narrated here.
Allah says about the arrogance of Satan:
- And (also recall) when We commanded the angels: ‘Prostrate yourselves before Adam.’ Then they all prostrated themselves to Adam except Iblis (Satan). He refused and showed arrogance, and (consequently) became one of the disbelievers. (Al-Baqarah-34)
Incident of Satan
Allah has narrated this incident in surah Al-A’raf:
- Then We commanded the angels: ‘Prostrate yourselves before Adam.’ Hence, they all prostrated themselves except Iblis; he was not of those who prostrate themselves. (Allah) said: ‘(O Iblis!) What inhibited you that you did not prostrate yourself when I commanded you?’ He said: ‘I am better than he. You have created me from fire and You have made him from clay.’ (Allah) said: ‘So, get you down from here. You have no right to show arrogance here. Away with you (from My presence!) You are certainly of the disgraced and the humiliated lot.’ He (Iblis) said: ‘Grant me respite (to live) till the Day when people will be raised up (from the graves).’
(Allah) said: ‘Indeed, you are of those granted respite.’ He (Iblis) said: ‘Since You have led me astray, (I swear that) I will (also) sit on Your straight path (to waylay the children of Adam till I cause them to deviate from the path of truth). I will assuredly approach them from their front, from their rear, from their right and from their left, and (consequently) You will not find most of them grateful.’ Allah commanded: ‘(O Iblis!) Be gone from here, humiliated and cursed. Whoever of them will follow you, I will certainly fill Hell with all of you. (Al-A’raf-11-18)
Satan refused to Prostrate
- So all the angels fell down together prostrating themselves before Him except Iblis. He showed arrogance (against the dignity of the Prophet) and became one of the disbelievers. (Allah) said: ‘O’ Iblis! What has prevented you from falling down prostrate before this (exalted person) whom I have created with My Own (Benevolent) Hand? Did you show arrogance (to him), or were you (presuming yourself) high ranking?’ (Sad-73-75)
In this way, arrogance wasted all devotions (almost devotions of fifty thousand years) of Satan. Afterwards Satan was removed from the rank of master of angels and became cursed and rejected.
Arrogance of Pharaoh
In addition, arrogance destroyed Pharaoh too. Allah says:
- Then, after them, We sent Musa and Harun (Moses and Aaron) with Our signs to Pharaoh and his chiefs. But they displayed arrogance and they were people given to crimes. (Yunus-75)
Thus, Pharaoh and his followers rejected invitation of Prophet Moses towards Allah. They behaved arrogantly and did not accept the invitation, ultimately were drowned in river Nile.
Arrogance of people of Aad
People of Aad also became arrogant and thus were punished. Allah says about them:
- As for the people of ‘Aad, they were unrightfully arrogant (and rebellious) in the land and said: ‘Who is greater in might than we are?’ And have they not seen that Allah, Who has created them, is far mightier in power than they are? And they kept denying Our Revelations. So We sent upon them an appalling and violent wind during ill-omened days to make them taste the torment of humiliation in the worldly life, and the torment of the Hereafter will be far more degrading. And they will not be helped at all. (Surah Ha-Mim Al-Sajda-15,16)
Arrogance Upon Devotions
Moreover, Allah says in Quran:
- And your Lord has said: “Always pray to Me; I shall certainly grant your prayer. Surely, those who turn away from My worship in defiance will soon enter Hell disgraced.”
According to Fakirs and Saints arrogance, pride and vanity on devotions is immense negligence and critical blunder. In fact, devotions are for Allah and it is up to Allah whether He accepts or rejects them. Allah says in surah Nisa, “Those who disdain His worship and are arrogant, He will gather them all together unto Himself to (answer).”
Quality of Angels
On the other hand, Angels are not arrogant on their worship. Allah says:
- And those (angels) who (remain) in His presence are not arrogant towards His worship, nor do they become weary (of carrying out His obedience). (Surah Al-Anbiya 19)
- Shaikh Motraf says, “If I sleep for a complete night and wake up worried and aggrieved (because of realisation of negligence), it is far better than I offer prayer for a complete night and in the morning I become arrogant of my prayer.” Once Shaikh Bashir Ibn Mansoor offered a long prayer. He noticed that an individual was very impressed because of his prayer. After the prayer he said to him, “Do not be surprised at my long prayer. Iblis offered devotion for years but you are aware of his end.”
Arrogance upon Lineage
Al-Ghazali writes in Ahya-ul-Uloom (Vol-3), “One kind of arrogance is that an individual of high lineage considers belittle of other individuals of low lineage, no matter latter may be better than former in knowledge, piety and deeds. Some people are so much arrogant because of their lineage that they consider others their slaves and hate to interact and sit with them. They keep spelling this arrogance everywhere and disdainfully comment about others as, “What is their worth and reality. I am the son of so and so and grandson of so and so. How can someone dare to speak in front of me.”
In fact, arrogance is a hidden illness in nafs that is present in all people of high lineage no matter how much wise and virtuous they are. They do not express it in normal state but when anger and annoyance dominate them, their wisdom fades away and then they express it.”
In the following Hadith arrogance is condemned:
- Abu Huraira relates a tradition that the Holy Prophet said, “People must abandon arrogance upon their ancestors’ status, otherwise Allah will disgrace them more than the insect of muck.” (Abu-Dawood, Tirmidhi)
Other types of Arrogance
Moreover, there are other types of arrogance which are not narrated to be precise. For example; arrogance because of knowledge, arrogance because of rank and designation, arrogance of power, arrogance of wealth and progeny, arrogance because of beauty and health etc.
Denial of Right Path Due to Arrogance
Some people, groups and sections forego religion and reject the right path for materialistic gains, desires of baser self, egotism and arrogance. Thus, they also reject the preachers of right path. Allah says about them:
- And those who disbelieved (it will be said to them), “Were My Verses not recited to you? But you showed arrogance and you were the evildoers.” (Surah Al-Jathiya-31)
- But is it (not) that whenever a Messenger brought you (the commandments of Allah) your (ill-commanding) selves disliked, you arrogantly resisted there and then. You belied some of the Messengers and started killing others. (Surah Al-Baqarah-87)
- Your God is One God, so those who do not believe in Hereafter are deniers at heart and are beliers and arrogant. (Surah Al-Nahl-22)
- So those who believe and persist in doing pious deeds, He will pay them their wages in full and will (then) award them more out of His bounty. But those who disdain (worshiping Allah) and behave arrogantly, He will punish them with grievous torment. (Surah An-Nisa-173)
Hadiths about Arrogance
Moreover, arrogance has been condemned in Hadiths as well.
- Salamah ibn Al-Akwa relates a tradition that the Holy Prophet said, “Man keeps following his innerself until he is included in the (list of) arrogants and thus, ends like them.” (Al-Tirmidhi)
- Hazrat Abdullah relates that the Holy Prophet said, “Whoever will have a bit of arrogance in his heart, he will not enter the heaven and whoever will have a bit of faith in his heart, he will not enter the hell.” (Ibn Majah)
- Abu Huraira narrates that once the Holy Prophet said, “Whoever drags his apron because of arrogance, Allah will not look towards him mercifully on Doomsday.” (Bukhari)
Arrogance leads to hell
- Abdullah ibn Umar narrates that once Holy Prophet said, “Whoever will have a bit of arrogance in his inward, Allah will throw him in hell facedown.” (Bayhaqi)
- Hazrat Uqbah ibn Amir relates that the Holy Prophet said, “Whoever will have a bit of faith in his inward, he will not enter the hell and whoever will have a bit of arrogance in his heart, he will not enter the heaven.” (Muslim, Abu Dawood)
Sultan Bahoo says:
- “A sin which is done because of lust may be forgiven but a sin which is done because of arrogance cannot be forgiven. Prophet Adam’s sin was because of lust and Satan’s sin was because of arrogance.” (Asrar-e-Qadri)
What had stopped Satan to prostrate?
- You must know that the knowledge of “Do not prostrate other than Allah” stopped Satan from prostrating Adam. This knowledge proved a veil for him and he became disobedient of Allah. There is saying of Holy Prophet: Knowledge is the greatest veil between Allah and His slave.” (Mahak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Arrogant is a friend of Satan
- An arrogant is friend and companion of Satan. (Mahak-ul-Faqr Kalan)
Arrogance is such a dangerous spiritual disease that if it is present in the inward even in the least quantity equivalent to a mustard seed then no devotion is acceptable at all in the court of Allah. May Allah save everyone from all kinds of arrogance. There is a similar disease to arrogance called pride and vanity.
Pride and Vanity
Islam has strictly prohibited display of pride and vanity. All human beings are equal. White has no superiority over black and Arab over non-Arab. That is why it is not right to display pride over tribe, status, knowledge or wealth. Allah has severely disliked it. Usually people feel pride over their lineage, this creates imbalance in society which leads to conflicts.
Permission of Pride
People of Faqr consider it malicious to even disclose themselves in front of people, what to talk about pride and vanity. Pride and vanity lead to arrogance, that is why they have no importance for the people of Faqr. They consider Faqr as standard of closeness to Allah. The more the seeker is humble, the more the path of Faqr becomes easier for him.
Pride is only allowed in one situation i.e. when it is displayed to show power and supremacy over the enemies of Allah and Islam. Such kind of pride is proved from Companions of the Holy Prophet and our sacred ancestors. But if pride is due to nafs then it is like arrogance and strictly prohibited. Generally people become victim of pride and vanity because of nafs. Allah has absolutely detested this kind of pride.
Quran prohibits pride and vanity in these words:
- And Allah does not like anyone arrogant and proud. (Surah Al-Hadid-23)
- Surely Allah does not like the one who is arrogant and boastful. (Surah An-Nisa-36)
- And if We make man taste mercy from Us, then withdraw it from him (for some reason), he becomes highly disappointed (and) And if We make him taste (some) favour after the suffering that afflicted him, then he is sure to say: “Gone are my troubles.” Surely he (becomes) most exultant and boastful. (Surah Hud-9,10)
- Hazrat Abu Malik Asha’ari relates that Holy Prophet said, “There are four things of age of ignorance still prevalent in my nation:
- Pride over lineage.
- Curse others’ lineage
- Associate raining with stars
- To lament the deceased
Sultan Bahoo Teachings
- The obedience and devotion polluted with arrogance is merely a sin, the disobedience with a proper excuse is better than such devotion. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- Arrogance, vanity and pride are the heritage of Satan, Pharaoh and Qaroon whereas humility is the heritage of Messengers and Saints. (Ain-ul-Faqr)
- Listen! Iblis said, “I obeyed” (Allah) answered, “I cursed (you)” Adam said, “I made a mistake” (Allah) answered, “I forgave (you).” (Ain-ul-Faqr)
Pride and vanity give birth to injustice and rigidity. Human beings start oppressing each other.
Humility – Inward Purification
Holy Prophet is the reason behind the creation of the universe and he is the lord of this universe. But whenever the Holy Prophet was asked about his status, he replied with utmost humility, “I am a slave of Allah and His Messenger.” Humility works like a fort against difficulties and dangers faced in the path of truth. Every Saint has taught to adopt humility rather they have presented themselves as inferior.
Humility leads to Gnosis
- Ibn-e-Arabi says:
“Friends of Allah achieve gnosis by adopting humility and they know that Allah Almighty has laid down only a path of humility which leads to His gnosis.” (Fatoohat-e-Makiah, Volume 5)
- Rumi says: “Humility leads on way of truth.” (Mathnawi)
The words of perfect spiritual guides are commands of Allah and their words can change the fate. In their practical lives they are so humble that they present themselves inferior than public. They behave like this just to teach us the humility so that we incorporate humility in our personality.
Sultan Bahoo says:
ہر کہ آمد در انا در نار شد
خاکی آدمؑ لائق دیدار شد
Explanation: Satan became the victim of arrogance and thus destined to hell-fire while the man (who saved himself from arrogance and sought forgiveness from Allah after committing sin) blessed with the Divine vision.
How to achieve union with Allah?
- Union with Allah is achieved through humility. O Allah! Your Divine secret discloses in the inward of every perfect spiritual guide. The door of Your blessing is open for everyone, whoever comes with humility in Your court, he does not go back empty handed. O seeker! Get rid of egotism (adopt humility) and annihilate yourself in Allah to get such Divine presence which fulfils your desire of union (with Allah). (Kaleed-ul-Tauheed Kalan)
Sultan Bahoo says in his Punjabi couplets:
سو ہزار تنہاں توں صدقے، جیہڑے منہ نہ بولن پھِکا ھُو
لَکھ ہزار تنہاں توں صدقے، جیہڑے گَل کریندے ہِکَّا ھُو
لَکھ کروڑ تنہاں توں صدقے، جیہڑے نفس رکھیندے جِھکّا ھُو
نیل پدم تنہاں توں صدقے باھُوؒ، جیہڑے ہوون سونا سڈاون سِکّا ھُو
Explanation: I may sacrifice myself thousands of times for those seekers who adorn themselves with perseverance on the way of Faqr against all odds. They stand firm in the face of all troubles without complaining being thankful to Allah. I may sacrifice myself millions of times for those seeker who withhold their pledges, I may sacrifice billions of times for seekers who purify their inciting innerself. And I may sacrifice myself trillions of times for those who are like gold but they live like any common person. Such seekers always remain annihilated in Divine vision and never disclose their status.
عشق جنہاندے ہڈیں رَچیا، اوہ رہندے چُپ چپاتے ھُو
Seekers of Oneness remain Humble
وحدت دا دریا اُچھلے، جَل تَھل جنگل رَینے ھُو
عشق دی ذات منیندے ناہن، سانگاں جھل تپینے ھُو
رنگ بھبھوت ملیندے ڈِٹھے، سَے جوان لکھینے ھُو
میں قربان تنہاں توں باھُوؒ، جیہڑے ہوندیاں ہمت ہینے ھُو
Explanation: O seeker! The river of Oneness of Allah has sprung up to its bank with the spirit of blessings. The inwards which have even smell of Divine love quench themselves from this river. Eternal unfortunates deny the path of Divine love, thus they are unaware of blessings of Oneness. They are suffering because of their bad luck in this world and will suffer in the hereafter too. On the other hand, there are hundreds of lucky seekers who have gained Divine love and entered the river of Oneness by spending their wealth and renouncing luxuries for Allah. I may sacrifice myself for seekers who remain engross in Divine vision and even then they are humble. (Abyat-e-Bahoo Kamil)
Humility is the effective weapon against attacks of Satan on the path of Faqr.
NOTE: This article is English translation of the Urdu article in May 2020 issue of the monthly Sultan ul Faqr magazine
This article was taken from book of Sultan ul Ashiqeen Sultan Mohammad Najib ur Rehman. Mohammad Abdullah Sarwari Qadri has translated it in English.