May 16, 2014

Intellectual Pride Part 1

By Bint Zahid


I recently attended a lecture by Sheikh Omar Suleiman, organized through HabibiHalaqas. It was an outstanding lecture that dealt with a problem we face on a daily basis, the problem of arrogance. Out of the many subparts of arrogance that Sheikh Omar Suleiman talked about, intellectual pride was one that jolted at me the most. It is, as he described it, the “worst kind of pride.”

Some of the common characteristics of intellectual pride are:

1. We are not able to take criticism well, and feel resentful towards anyone giving it

2. We think that what “I” am doing is better.
a. For example, “My course is better than yours.” Or “My approach to Islamic Studies is better than yours”.

3. Love for leadership increases.

4. We talk about our accomplishments a lot.

5. We argue a lot and do not stop if the argument turns ugly.

6. We find it difficult to compliment others.

It is very important to understand that we all are faced with this kind of pride. What matters is that we recognize the signs and deal with them immediately. Delaying the cure for this kind of disease of the heart has dire consequences, as the Messenger of Allah (sala Allahu alayhi wa salam) said , “….None shall enter paradise who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of a pride” (Sahih Muslim).

Allah (subhana hu wa ta’aala) says in the Quran: “I will turn away from My signs those who are arrogant upon the earth without right” (7:146).

Think of the moment when man asked Musa (alayhi salam) who was the most knowledgeable person and Musa (alayhi salam) answered “me.” Allah (subhana hu wa ta’aala) did not like this “logical” bereft of any prideful answer, and immediately told Musa (alayhi salam) about the man who had more than him.

Examples from our pious predecessors, may Allah (subhana hu wa ta’aala) be pleased with them, indicate:

Umar (radiAllahu anhu) said, “May Allah have mercy on the one who gives me the gift of showing me my defects and weaknesses!!”

Hasan Al-Basri used to say,” I will not leave a room until I’m the worst person in it.”

Stay tuned for more in Part 2.


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