It was narrated that Imam Al-Shafei (RAA) was asked: “How did you reach this level of humbleness?” He said: “I never met a believer but I felt he was better than me.”

Every one of us is trying to build some sort of establishment in life. When seeking such a status, people with no consciousness of God sometimes become full of conceit, not caring if others identify them as arrogant as long as they obtain what they desire. People of Taqwa seek their establishments in life with self-confidence, enjoying their achievements while maintaining their humbleness to please their Lord because of the faith and truth they carry within themselves.

The most important factor that allows a person to enjoy self-confidence and avoid arrogance is to hold onto Al-Haq, the truth. The more you have Al-Haq on your side the more you should feel confident of who you are, what you represent, and firm in what you do.

I also believe that the best way to protect yourself from arrogance and enjoy self-confidence is to know your Lord Allah (SW). If you know God, then you truly know, for example, what the term (La hawla wala qouata illa billah) means: That there is no plan or power except what is related to Allah, and that you are not able to act on anything unless God has decreed it.

Only those who are ignorant of God fall into the deception of depending on themselves, thus growing arrogant because they credit their establishments to themselves. There is a line of poetry in Arabic that says:

إذا لم يكن للعبد عون من ربه فأول ما يجني عليه اجتهاده

It means if there is no help or support to the individual from his Lord then the first thing that will cause him to cultivate failure is his own self effort or judgment.

In the Quran, Allah (SW) spoke about people who were arrogant and deceived by their power in a way that they felt they were in control even of earth! At the end of the verse, Allah (SW) spoke about how He prevailed in setting things back to show Who is really in charge!

{Then when the earth assumes its floridness and becomes adorned, and its inhabitants think they have power over it, Our command

[of doom] comes upon it, by night or by day, and so we turn it into stubble, as if it had never flourished just the day before.} 10:24

People of arrogance see themselves superior to others, and they see others merely as a means of whatever benefits them. People of self-confidence see themselves as servants to others through the gifts given to them by God. Al-Waleed, son of Al-Mughira, complained about the Quran being revealed to Mohammad (SAAW) because he saw himself as a better recipient, but it was obvious that he only wanted the fame, for his own benefit or gain. Prophet Mohammad (SAAW) saw himself as the Messenger, confident of who he was, but with the purpose of bringing people out from darkness into light.

One should be confident of the truth carried within, and defend it. When people questioned the Quranic knowledge of Ibn Masoud he did not hesitate to say: “There has never been a verse revealed that I didn’t know the reason behind its revelation, where it was revealed, and if it was revealed during the day or night.” When the thugs came to kill Othman (RAA) claiming he changed things from the way they were at the time of Abu Bakr and Omar, Othman replied by mentioning all his contributions in Islam, from marrying the two daughters of the Prophet, to donating the well of Ma’ounah free to Muslims, to equipping the army of U’srah!

Let me conclude by saying that people of self-confidence are those who rely on their Lord but also utilize means. Being self-confident is not a claim that just because you are a believer that God should come to your help and support just like that! Take the trip of Al-Hijrah for example. The Prophet (SAAW) was confident of God’s support of him for this Deen to triumph, but he still planned carefully every single idea to make his trip safe.

Beware of the time you start feeling so pleased with yourself rather than the values and truth you carry. This disease of being delighted with yourself (U’jb) must be checked before it grows into arrogance. There is a very beautiful and humbling story about the late Sh. Sha’rawi.  After being honored by the president with a commemorative plaque, he left feeling very pleased with himself. Being a man of wisdom and humility, he immediately recognized this. He asked the cab driver on his way home to stop by the Masjid where he went inside and cleaned all the washrooms to remind himself to always be humble and grateful to Allah.  We can learn a great lesson from this.  May Allah protect us from falling into the sin of arrogance.  Ameen.

By Sh. Kifah Mustapha