Addressing Conceit

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

Imam Abu al-Faraj ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn ‘Ali ibn al-Jawzy (r.a.) wrote, in Thib ar-Ruhani, “Conceit originates from loving the self.  For indeed the faults of the beloved are never noticed, and are not believed to be flawed, rather they are seen as perfect, by the lover.

From among the consequences of conceit is that it leads to detesting the thing that caused conceit in the first place, because the one who possesses conceit regarding a matter does not increase himself in it, rather he advances to find faults in others.

The cure for conceit is to know one’s faults, to ask other people about one’s flaws, to reflect on the state of those who preceded him, and had what he has.  Therefore, when a scholar has conceit regarding his knowledge, he should read the biographies of scholars who preceded him, or when one has conceit regarding his asceticism, then he should read the biographies of ascetics, for this is when he shall not be proud of himself.  Imam Ahmad knew one million ahadits by heart, and Kahmas ibn al-Hasan used to recite the whole Qur'an three times a day, and Salman at-Taymi prayed fajr with the same wudhu’ of ‘isha’ for forty years.  Whoever reflects on the lives of other people would know that he, compared to them, is like a man who has a dinar, he is so happy with it, yet he does not know that there are people who have thousands and thousands of danari.

Ibrahim al-Khawwasw said, ‘Conceit prevents from knowing one’s capabilities and limits.’

A wise man said, ‘A man's conceit of himself is an enemy of his mental capacities, and how harmful is conceit to the merits.’”


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