Monday, 20 June 2011

Humility and its virtues

Humility and its virtues

By Abu Usama Ath-Thahabi

Humility is when a person does not see himself
as being better or above other people because of frivolous
reasons like social standing, education, citizenship, or even color.

As for believing one is better than another person
due to religious reasons, then in some cases this is permissible,
and in other cases, it's an obligation. For instance, the Muslim
should believe Allah has given him 'Izza over the Kaafir. This has
been established in the Quran in many places:

Allah says, "...and to Allah belongs all honor
(I'zzah), and to His Messenger, and to the believers…." Sura
63 Ayat 8

And in another ayat He says, "Oh you who believe,
whoever of you should revert (apostate) from his religion, Allah
will bring forth a people He will love, and who will love Him, (who
are) humble towards the believers, and powerful (I'zzah)
against the disbelievers…" Sura Maidah Ayat 54

He also says, "Not equal are the blind and the
. Nor are the darknesses and the light. Nor are the shade
and the heat". Sura 35 Ayat 19-21

Being humble and having humility is opposite of
being arrogant and having arrogance (kibr). Humility leads one to
the pleasure of Allah and it causes one to enter into the paradise,
whereas arrogance leads to the displeasure of Allah and it leads
one to the Hellfire.

Allah has ordered the Prophet صلي
الله عليه و
سلم ) to adorn himself with this noble characteristic
in many verses of the Quran.

The Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) was
ordered, "And lower your wing (i.e., be humble and show kindness
) to those who follow you from the believers". Sura Shu'araa Ayat

And He Allah said, "And don't turn you cheek (in
contempt) towards people and don't walk through the earth exultantly.
Indeed, Allah doesn't like every self-deluded and boastful person".
Sura Luqman Ayat 18

Some examples of the Prophet's humility:

One of the clearest examples of his humility, is
that the Messenger of Allah (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) would
sit in the Masjid with his companions and if a stranger or visitor
came to the Masjid he wouldn't know who the Prophet was until he
asked, "Which one of you is Muhammad"?

This is because he would not sit, dress, or be
treated in a way that distinguished him from the people. Unlike
the way leaders and famous people are treated when they're with
the people. Whenever a stranger enters into their majlis, it becomes
quite clear to the stranger this person is noteworthy amongst the

Anas Ibn Maalik would pass by a group of young
boys playing and he would extend to them a warm and gracious greeting
(salaams). When he was asked, "Why do you do this"? He replied,
'The Prophet ( صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) use
to do it'. Bukhari/Muslim

Abdullah ibn Amr ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه )said:
'The Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) entered
upon me so I gave him a pillow (to sit on) made out of skin and
filled with date palm fibers. The Prophet ( صلي
الله عليه و
سلم ) (refused to sit on it) and he choose to
sit on the (bare) ground, and he left the cushion between him and
myself'. Bukhari/Muslim

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) said;
'I entered upon the Messenger of Allah (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) and
I found him praying on a (normal) mat, and he was making Sajdah
on it'. Muslim

Aisha ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) was
asked, 'What did the Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم) use
to do when he was in the privacy of his home'? She replied, 'He
use to be in the service of his family'. He used to repair his sandals
and sew/patch his own thobe and he would milk the sheep. Bukhari

Anas ibn Maalik ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) said
the Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) performed
the Hajj upon an old camel that had a saddle that cost about four
dirhams or less, and then he said, "Oh Allah, this is a Hajj (that
I'm performing) wherein there is no showing off nor notoriety sought".
Tirmizi/Ibn Majah

Anas ibn Maalik ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ): 'I
never saw a man seeking the ear of the Prophet (صلي
الله عليه و
سلم ) except that the Messenger of Allah would
never turn his head from him, until the man turned his head first.
Nor did I ever see a man take the hand of the Prophet, except that
the Messenger of Allah would never let his hand go, until the man
was the first to let the Prophet's hand go'. Bukhari

Abu Masood ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) said:
'A man came to the Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) and
he began to speak to him, and he was seized by fear (of the Prophet).
Upon witnessing his demeanor the Prophet (صلي
الله عليه و
سلم ) said to him: "Take it easy and calm down,
for verily I am not a king, but instead I am only the son of a Quraishy
women who use to eat dried salted meat strips". Ibn Majah

From the clearest and most manifest examples of
his humility is when he entered Mecca as a conqueror. It is a well
known historical fact the Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) escaped
from Mecca fearful for his life, as the disbeliever's of Quraish
were hot on his trail in pursuit of him to do away with him once
and for all.

Ten years later when he returned to Mecca as a
conqueror and triumphant, he had every right to enter the sacred
precincts of Mecca with his head held high as he had been given
victory over his enemies, and they were totally defeated and subdued.
Had he entered into Mecca in this way, he would not have been blamed!
But instead, he entered into Mecca with his head held down, barely
touching the neck of his camel and glorifying Allah by saying Allah
Akbar, for the victory that he was given.

Prophetic Hadith about humility:

Abu Hurayrah ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) narrated
that the Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) said:
"…and no one will exercise humility for Allah's sake, except that
Allah will raise him up". Muslim

He also said, "Verily Allah loves the servant who
has Taqwah, and he's rich (content), and he's hidden (i.e. not known
by the people because of his humility)". Muslim

Abdullah Ibn Abbas ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) said:
I heard Umar Ibn Khattab ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) say
on the minbar, the Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) said:
"Don't over exaggerate with me as the Christians over exaggerated
with Ibn Maryam (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ). Verily
I am His slave, therefore say, 'Abdullah' and the Messenger of Allah".

A lesson from Umar Ibn Khattab ( رضي
الله تعا لي
عنه ):

'Urwah ibn Zubair ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) said:
'I saw Umar carrying a large leather water canteen on his shoulder.
I said to him, 'Oh Amir-ul-Mu'mineen, you shouldn't be carrying
that'. Umar replied by saying, 'A delegation came to Medina and
I saw their obedience to me, and some 'nakwah' entered into my heart
and I wanted to destroy it'.

Everyone knows the strong personality of Umar (
رضي الله تعا
لي عنه ) and how he instilled fear
in the hearts of men. And yet, when a small and minute amount of
pride (nakwah) entered into his heart, he hurried in an attempt
to destroy it before it destroyed him.

This is the way of the righteous people. Those
who know the virtues and importance of humility, and at the same
time they know the danger of falling into 'kibr'.

The Prophet (صلي الله
عليه و سلم ) said:
"Whoever possesses an atom's weight of 'kibr' will not enter
into the paradise
". Muslim

He also said, "It is a right on Allah, that nothing
is raised in the Dunyah (in stature or esteem), except that
Allah will bring it down". Bukhari

If we're trying to seek the benefits of the Dunyah
or the Hereafter, then part of our success lies within our ability
to humble ourselves in our quest. For instance, if a person is searching
for knowledge, he must humble himself in his struggle and efforts
towards that goal.

Abdullah ibn Mu'tazz ( رضي الله
تعا لي عنه ) said:
'The humble student is the one who gets the most knowledge, just
as the lowest places on earth collect the most water'

As for the Hereafter, Allah says, "That is the
home of the Hereafter, We assign (it) to those who do not desire
exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the (best) outcome
is for the righteous". Al-Qassas Ayat 83.

May Allah grant us the Tawfeeq to humble ourselves
and may He protect us from the fitnah of 'kibr' and it's evil results.

Abu Usamah At-Thahabi


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