Arrogance and Vanity

  • Allah SWT has given us a quality and we have been taught to not think of that quality as something good within us.  Is this being ungrateful to a blessing from Allah?

o   We should think of the attribute/quality as a gift that Allah has placed within us and not be boastful about it.  In this way we will be grateful and we will not have vanity

o   We should continue to fear Allah that we don’t know what action or sin of ours might cause this attribute/quality to be taken away from us

  • Maulana Ashraf Thanvi (RAH) states the cure for pride:

o   When we are thinking of someone to be less than us, how do we know that the same positive quality Allah (SWT) has blessed us with is not present in that person?  Or that Allah may take it away and give it to the other person?  Or give the other person that same quality but to a more superior level?

o   On the Day of Judgment, we will be resurrected according to our rank.  How do we know that the person we are being arrogant towards will not be resurrected before us?

o   If we feel we are better than someone, we should do plenty of favors on them and make plenty of dua for them

  • Islam wants us to be the best and excel at what we do, but we should not look down on others who are not at the same level

o   We may be better than someone at one specific thing, but are we better than them in all ways?

o   When we are being arrogant, how do we know the person who we are thinking less than us is not performing an act much greater than what we do (e.g.  praying Tahajjud, making abundant dhikr)?

o   We should find qualities in others that are better than the qualities we have within ourselves and think that others are better than us because of those qualities we find in them

o   To be individually unique is a blessing from Allah

  • Riyah (showing off) is always used with ibada
  • Ujub (vanity) and takabbur (arrogance) can be in deen and dunya

o   When a person is arrogant, he thinks of another person as inferior

o   In ujub (vanity), he thinks of himself as better than another person

o   A person with takabbur will also have ujub.  A person with ujub doesn’t necessarily have takabbur, but ujub leads to takabbur


  • When somebody says we are better than them, we should think in our hearts their statement is untrue

o   We should lower our gaze in shame because Allah has done a great favor upon us by concealing our faults

o   Maulana Ashraf Thanvi (RAH) said: If Allah SWT was to open my faults to my students, I would not even have a single student sitting before me

  • When somebody praises us for a trait we have, we should immediately say ‘Alhamdulillah’ because Allah is the one who placed the trait within us. Even if we don’t believe the good thing that was said, we should still say Alhamdulillah for putting that good thought in that person’s heart
  • The proper etiquette of praising someone is to say ‘Alhamdulillah’ and then praise them so that they do not fall prey to evil eye

Nurturing Leaders:

  • Sometimes when nurturing people towards a certain level, to hold back things until they are ready is the key to the teacher’s teaching.  The teacher will hold back the student until he is ready so that he doesn’t take on a position too early
  • Omar (RA) removed Khalid bin Walid (RA) from his position as general of the army because Omar (RA) perceived certain changes in the hearts of the believers, not necessarily in the heart of Khalid bin Walid (RA)
  • Somebody once asked Omar (RA): You’ve made these small people into governors, mayors, heads, and chiefs but why don’t you look at Ali, Uthman, Talha, and Zubair?  Omar (RA) responded: Let them be in their state because if I was to give them office, it would pollute their personalities and Allah has kept for them a greater task than just taking office

o   Omar (RA) knew they were going to become Amir ul-Mumineen/Khulafaa

o   Because of that office of being Khalifa, he didn’t’ want their reputations to be tarnished or anything of the dunya to enter their hearts before they took that office

  • Imam Abu Yusuf, one of the greatest students of Imam Abu Hanfia (RAH), started giving dars in a locality that had no scholars to teach them.  Imam Abu Hanifa (RAH) found out and mentioned in his next lesson, “I don’t know about students of this time.  They want to become shuyukh before their time.  Their teacher is alive and they start giving lessons, teaching people already.”  Imam Abu Yusuf understood he was talking about him and only taught after his teacher passed away