The Cloak of Pride

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

The following is extracted from “Disciplining the Soul” by Imam Abu al-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi (r.a.).

Arrogance is glorifying one’s self and disdaining others.  The reason why arrogance occurs is due to feeling superior over others that are less in lineage, wealth, knowledge, or worship and such like.  The sign of arrogance is disdaining those who one feels superior over, also swaggering, pride and one's love for being glorified by others.

The cure for this disease lies in two approaches: a general approach and a detailed approach.  The general approach is further divided into two types; theoretical and practical.  The theoretical cure is through textual and logical evidence of the demerits of arrogance.  The practical cure is achieved by accompanying humble people and hearing their stories.

On the other hand, the detailed approach is achieved by reflecting on the flaws of the self and knowing that if someone is proud about his money, it will soon be taken away from him.  He should also know that excellence lies in being sufficient from a thing, not in needing it.  If it is knowledge that he is proud about, then he should know that many people, who are more knowledgeable than him, and preceded him in that path.  Moreover, his knowledge forbids him from arrogance, so it is an evidence against him.  In addition, if it is a deed that is making him proud, then looking at it and thinking that it is perfect is a demerit not a merit.

Abu Salamah (r.a.) narrated that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) ran across ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) on the hill of Marwah, so they descended and talked.  And then ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) left and ibn ‘Umar (r.a.) sat and wept.  He was asked, “Why are you weeping?”

He said, “He,” referring to ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr (r.a.) said that he heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) say, ‘Whoever has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his heart, Allah will Throw him in the Hellfire on his face.’”

Iyas ibn Salamah (r.a.) reported that his father said, “The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, ‘A man shall glorify himself until he is written among the tyrants, so that he suffers from what befell them.’”

Imam Muslim (r.a.) reported that ibn Mas’ud (r.a.) narrated from the Prophet (s.a.w.) that he said, “Whoever has an atom's weight of arrogance in his heart will not enter Paradise.”

A man said, “A man likes that his garment is nice and that his shoes are nice.”

The Prophet (s.a.w.) also said, "Indeed Allah is Beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance is rejecting the truth and disdaining people."

Imam Muslim (r.a.) reported from Abu Hurayrah (r.a.) and Abu Sa’id (r.a.) that they narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) said, “Allah, Glorified and Exalted is He, Says, ‘Pride is My Cloak, and Glory is My Lower Garment, so whoever contends with Me regarding either one of them, I will Torment him.’”

Imam al-Khaththabi (r.a.) said, “This means that pride and greatness are two Attributes of Allah that He Alone is particularised with, no one shares them with Him, no Created being should have them because the Attribute of the created is humility and lowness.  Allah has Set the cloak and the lower garment as an example; no one shares his cloak, or his lower garment with another person.  Likewise, Allah does not share His Pride and Greatness with anyone, and Allah Only Knows.”  He said, “And His Saying: ‘Whoever has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his heart will not enter Paradise,’ may have two meanings: the first is that this refers to the arrogance of disbelief and the second is that He Takes arrogance out of the hearts of those who will enter Paradise.  And his saying, ‘disdaining people’ means looking down at them and belittling them.”


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