Greek mythology has the most peculiar of legends and folklore to diagnose the sicknesses of the human mind. One such legend is that of Narcissus — the hunter who fell in love with his own reflection, he happened to see in a pond. Thus, the term “Narcissism — excessive admiration for oneself or one’s physical attributes” was coined. Narcissist tendency to a minute degree is a part and parcel of the human nature. Who does not like to look and to feel beautiful, to be known for their intellectual qualities or to be famous for some particular talent?. But if this trivial quality of self-love and self-importance exceeds the prescribed limits, it tends to step up a bit further entering the realms of Obsession, Pride, Ego and Arrogance.
Ujub, Kibr and Takkabur are the three words that describe the process of the evolution of self-love, arrogance and pride.
Ujub — basically means vanity and undue pride in oneself.
Kibr — means arrogance and a feeling of superiority.
Takkabur — is acting as per the feelings of kibr. Behaving in a superior or high-handed manner.
Pride and arrogance are the qualities that are detested and loathed by Allah(swt) and also by other fellow humans. Pride makes one to reject the truth and to despise people. The more one feeds the ego, the more proud one becomes.
Iblees is the best example to be mentioned when the topic of arrogance comes up. He was arrogant and denied the command of his Lord, when he was asked to prostrate unto Adam (A.S).
And when we said to the angels, “Prostrate before Adam”;
so they prostrated, except for Iblees(Satan),
he refused, was arrogant and became of the disbelievers.
The feeling of Kibr makes one develop a haughty and snobbish character. The person consumed by arrogance tends to look down upon others. Was it not the same thing Iblees did?
Allah said, “What prevented you from prostrating when I commanded you?”.
Ibless (Satan) said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay”.
~ Quran (7:12)
Human beings are often victims of these vices of arrogance and pride. Prophet Muhammad(pbuh), the man whom all the believers look up to as an example of good character and conduct, was undoubtedly the most modest and humble soul to have walked the earth. We as Muslims are obliged to follow in the footsteps of the Prophet(pbuh).
Looking at the present scenario, a great number of Muslims have hearts and heads that serve as an abode to their ego, pride and arrogance. People are ever ready to blow their own trumpets of beauty, wealth, knowledge and what not. Bragging and boastful talk are things that reveal a weak self-esteem. If one is really worth the praise, one need not applaud for themselves. Pride in one’s own abilities is a despicable quality. Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) warned the self-conceited ones of its consequences.
Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:
“He who has in his heart, the weight of a mustard seed off pride shall not enter paradise”.
~ Sahih Muslim
The above hadith is proof enough, that the quality of kibr is one which shall prevent a believer from entering jannah. Allah (swt) hates pride and arrogance to such an extent that he destroyed communities, clans and tribes who were arrogant and proud. History has numerous accounts of the downfall of arrogant rulers and tribes crushed under the wrath of Allah. Who can forget the most notorious ruler of Egypt — the Pharaoh, an embodiment of pride, vanity and condescension. And remember the Tribe of Thammud unto whom Allah(swt) sent Prophet Saleh (A.S) to bring them to believe in the creator. Haughty people they were, proud of their construction abilities. Allah (swt) sent a wrath upon the tribe and wiped them away from this earth during a single night of his anger.
History is the best teacher. There are numerous lessons to be learnt from its pages. Pride, arrogance, self-admiration, egoism are all qualities of Satan. This life is temporary — our wealth, beauty, knowledge, abilities are all temporary as per the wish and will of Allah(swt).
- Arrogance and pride are the qualities of Satan. You adopt these qualities, Satan adopts you for life.
- Never despise or look down upon your fellow beings. If Allah (swt) despises you, remember no one shall ever respect you.
- Every quality we possess is because Allah(swt) us endowed us with it. It is just a matter of a second for the creator to snatch away what he has bestowed.
- Walk humbly, talk softly and live a simple life with not much pomp and splendor.
- The tongue is the root cause of all evil. It is the one that blurts out a lengthy speech in awe of your abilities and riches. So put it in a check.
- Learn from life. If you are good, there is always someone better.
- Do not be proud of your faith and never look down upon anyone in matters of faith and belief in Islam. It is an individual affair between Allah (swt) and his slave.
- Allah (swt) has created everyone with a different purpose in life. Do not detest anyone based on color, creed, wealth, stature or any other physical feature. And learn not to sing praises of self.
- Every human is equal in the eyes of the creator. If anything pleases the creator, then it is the quality of humility and kindness.
Has not Allah (swt) forewarned mankind in the holy Quran about staying away from ujub, kibr and takkabur???. So it is best to remain humble slaves unto or creator.
And walk not with arrogance,
Indeed you can never tear the earth apart,
Nor can you surpass the mountains in height.
~ Quran (17:37)
Ending on a lighter note…
Do you know what finally happened to Narcissus?
He could not stop admiring his reflection. He lost his will to live. And died staring at his own reflection in the pond. 😀 .Poor fellow self-love led him to self-destruction. Anything in excess is surely harmful!!!