Humility is key to winning Allah’s favors


Greatness belongs to Allah alone. He is in control of all the affairs of every single thing created. He commands and prohibits, creates and provides, gives and takes. He raises and lowers people’s status, alternates night and day, causes nations to rise and fall, so that one nation vanishes and another emerges. His command and decree are carried out throughout the heavens and on earth, in the oceans and in the air. Human beings are just a creation of Allah — a creation which is pretty insignificant in comparison to the unimaginably vast universe. In a hadith qudsi, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah the Almighty said: ‘Pride is My cloak and greatness is My garment, so whoever competes with Me regarding these two will be thrown into the Hellfire.’” (Abu Dawud 4090)

Anyone who understands this will realize that our real status in the life of this world is only that of servants of Allah and this understanding gives root to the beautiful quality of humility which is one of the greatest blessings that Allah could bestow upon His servant because when a person becomes humble, he acknowledges his weaknesses and defects and submits wholeheartedly to the rulings of Allah and Allah in turn raises his status in both worlds.

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The prophet (peace be upon him) said: “…No one humbles himself before Allah but Allah will raise him (in status).” [Muslim]

Humility makes a believer accept and believe in the greatness of Allah and makes him turn to Him sincerely by submitting to His commands, by taking care of His rights and also His servants’ rights. When Allah raises him in worldly status, the characteristic of humility protects a believer from self praise, pride and feelings of superiority over others. It makes him an individual whose only concern is the pleasure of Allah and not the approval and recognition of those around him

Even though being humble and confident are characteristics that we should acquire, we must be careful not to cross the line and trip into the sins of arrogance and self praise which are from the evil traits of the people who preceded us. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “No one who has an atom’s-weight of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, what if a man likes his clothes and his shoes to look good?” He said, “Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” [Muslim]

The story of Qarun is worth mentioning here. Qarun was a man of great wealth and the owner of great possessions. It is said that when he rode anywhere, the keys to his treasures would be carried on sixty mules. But his great fortune and status had made him haughty towards his own people and towards the truth. He refused to accept the message of Allah and instead, boasted about his possessions, while looking down at the common folk around him. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that when the knowledgeable ones around him advised him: “Do not exult. Indeed, Allah does not like the exultant. But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.” (Qur’an 28:76-77) He replied: “This has been given to me only because of the knowledge I possess.” (Qur’an 28:78) Instead of submitting to the One who gave him all that he possessed with humble gratefulness, Qarun totally ignored the favor of Allah on him and was defiantly arrogant. His arrogance brought him nothing but severe torment from the Almighty. Allah says: “And We caused the earth to swallow him and his home. And there was for him no company to aid him other than Allah, nor was he of those who [could] defend themselves.” [Qur’an 28:81]

Allah Ta’ala also tells us the story of Iblees in the Qur’an to warn us about this disease of arrogance and notion of superiority. Iblis was ordered by Allah to prostrate to Adam and he rejected because of his arrogance and envy towards Adam. Allah says in the Qur’an: “(Iblees said)  “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.” [Qur’an 7:12]

The stories of Iblis and Qarun are somewhat similar and both teach us that we need to adopt the qualities of humility and submissiveness and avoid the destructive sins of arrogance and self praise as both would lead us to destruction in both worlds. The Prophet (peace be upon him) also said, “Shall I tell you about the people of Hellfire? They are every haughty, mean, and arrogant person.” (Bukhari 4634)

This hadeeth is enough to make a believer know his limits and guides him to never lose sight of his status as a humble servant of Allah. He knows that whatever Allah has given him by favoring him over others, is purely from His grace and mercy. Feeling proud and praising oneself is totally disliked by Allah. In fact it is a characteristic of those who rejected their scriptures and made changes in them. Allah says: “So do not claim yourselves to be pure; He is most knowing of who fears Him.” [Qur’an 53:32]

The Prophet (peace be upon him) even prohibited praising a person, especially while he can hear his praise. This is because such praise may encourage the praised person to overestimate himself and may lead him to be arrogant and overconfident regarding his status and deeds.

A believer possessing humility knows that his knowledge, talents and abilities are all from Allah and this keeps his feet on the ground, grateful to Allah and always kind to his servants. Humility increases a believer’s self confidence which motivates him to race to all that is good without putting others down.

Let’s take account of ourselves, strive to fix our attitudes and be of those who humble themselves for the sake of Allah, for if we do that then Allah will raise us in status in this world and in the Hereafter, Insha Allah.

 -Written by Mariam Anwer

Originally posted at Arab News

 

Intense du’a: Your Savior


dua humility

“Allah says that the purpose of the affliction is for you and I to reach a state of tadarra’u [ تَضَرُّعًا ]. Tadarr’u is humility before Allah – but it is not just humility. To understand the concept of tadarr’u, imagine yourself in the middle of an ocean. Imagine that you are all alone on a boat. Imagine that a huge storm comes and the waves become mountains surrounding you. Now imagine turning to Allah at that point and asking for His help. In what state of need, awe, dependency and utter humility would you be in? That is tadarr’u. Allah says that He creates conditions of hardship in order to grant us that gift. Allah does not need to make things hard for us. He creates those situations in order to allow us to reach a state of closeness to Him, which otherwise we’d be unlikely to reach.”

-Yasmin Mogahed,

“Reclaim Your Heart”

 

Lessons from the attitude of Namrud (The king where Prophet Ibrahim was born)


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Like Prophet Muhammad (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam), Ibrahim (alayhissalam) was born at a time when ignorance was at its peak, at Babylon in Iraq during the reign of a tyrant disbeliever Namrud. Namrud was a ruler who was filled with misguidance…he used to term himself as lord of everything. Allah tells us in the third juz of the Qur’an, how Prophet Ibrahim [‘alayhissalam] debated with this ignorant ruler to explain that Allah is the Lord of everything that exists. Allah says: “Have you not considered the one who argued with Abraham about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship? When Abraham said, “My Lord is the one who gives life and causes death,” he said, “I give life and cause death….” [Al Baqarah 2:258]

SubhanAllah! Notice how Allah says “..the one who argued with Ibrahim about his Lord [merely] because Allah had given him kingship..” showing us that Allah had blessed Namrud with kingdom and power and this blessing was what had made him arrogantly deny the favors of Allah instead of being humbly grateful for them. He was deceived by this gift to such an extent that it had made him compete with the One who had given him the gift!

SubhanAllah! This should actually make us fearful, as when Allah gives us and gives us without account we usually tend to take His favors for granted, while the attitude that Allah wants from us is that whenever we are blessed with gifts from Him, it should be a reason for us to contemplate over His Generosity and His Mercy and never let it be a case where we ungratefully engage in sins and turn to disbelief and misguidance. Never let it be a case where we feel safe from the punishment of Allah just because He has kept us blessed, thriving and secure. Allah says about some tyrants and arrogant disbelievers: “So when they forgot that by which they had been reminded, We opened to them the doors of every [good] thing until, when they rejoiced in that which they were given, We seized them suddenly, and they were [then] in despair.” (Al An’aam 6:44)

We have to know and understand that Allah always tests people with either one of the two conditions:
First, with hardship to see if they humble themselves and turn to Him by increasing in du’aa to Him but when they don’t do that, He tries them with ease, sends them His blessings so that they might turn to Him in gratefulness and submission. But when they still remain arrogant and oblivious to the signs sent by Him, He punishes them in ways they never imagined! Allah says: “And We sent to no city a prophet [who was denied] except that We seized its people with poverty and hardship that they might humble themselves [to Allah]. Then We exchanged in place of the bad [condition], good, until they increased [and prospered] and said, “Our fathers [also] were touched with hardship and ease.” So We seized them suddenly while they did not perceive.” (Al A’raf 7:95)

Allahu Akbar! So let’s always take account of ourselves.., keep a check on our reactions to the numerous gifts and blessings coming from Allah. Let’s ask ourselves: ‘Have we thanked him for the food we enjoy daily, the security of our homes, our loving families, our five senses that work perfectly…? Hasan Al Basri said: “Verily, Allah lets [a person] enjoy a blessing for as long as He wills. But when He is no longer thanked for it, He turns it into a punishment.” 
Let’s not take our blessings for granted. Let’s thank Him and humbly submit to Him so that these blessings do not turn into a means of increased punishment.

Namrud was given a kingdom and he disbelieved but on the other hand we have lessons from Prophet Suleiman (‘alayhissalam) who was given such a kingdom where almost all the creation of Allah was placed under his control. He had men, jinn, animals, birds and the wind submitting to his commands and totally in his power but was his attitude like that of Namrud? No! Allah tells us in the Qur’an, about how he reacted to his Lord’s favors: “He (Suleiman) said: ‘This is from the favor of my Lord to test me whether I will be grateful or ungrateful. And whoever is grateful – his gratitude is only for [the benefit of] himself. And whoever is ungrateful – then indeed, my Lord is Free of need and Generous.’ ” (Al Naml 27:40)

Allah also says: “And We had certainly given to David and Solomon knowledge, and they said, “Alhamdulillah – Praise [is due] to Allah , who has favored us over many of His believing servants.” (Al Naml 27:15)

This is the attitude of the righteous servants of Allah. This amazing behaviour of Allah’s beloved prophets is what we need to emulate in our daily lives! Plus Allah says: لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ
‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]…” (Surah Ibrahim 14:7)

So let’s be grateful for the numerous favors and blessings that keep being showered on us and let’s believe in the promise of Allah that He will increase His blessings on us if we keep thanking Him by submitting to His commands and His decree for us. Let’s be grateful and hope, expect and pray for increase in favors from Him…but let’s make sure we pray for increase in good in Dunya as well as increase in good in the Hereafter. Let’s pray not be of the unfortunate ones who receive the result of their good deeds in dunya and then find nothing but scattered dust in the Hereafter.

Alhamdulillah! We praise You and thank You ya Allah for your infinite blessings! Indeed we can never enumerate your favors on us! Ya Allah! Forgive us for our shortcomings and make us of Your grateful and humble servants! Aameen!

– Compiled after listening to: Lessons from the Life of Ibrahim (AS) – by Shaikh Sajid Umar

Published in Arab News in October 2015