Everyone enjoys the attention and compassion of others towards him/herself. Humbleness is one of the most recommended virtues by our leaders, which brings people closer to one another. Conceit or self-centricity, on the contrary is a direct antonym to humbleness, which causes dispersing of surrounding people. But how is it possible be and remain humble while living among people, and refrain from becoming arrogant?
The following story portrays the suggestions of Imam Sajjad (PBUH) about the importance of humility and how to prevent from being conceited in relation to people.
Imam Baqir (PBUH) narrates:
Ibn Shahab Zuhri entered the presence of my father while looking very sad and distressed. My father said to him, “Why are you so sad?”
Zuhri answered, “O grandson of the Messenger of Allah, I am burdened and bothered by people who are jealous of my blessings and situation. Moreover those whom I had hope in, those whom I have helped throughout, do not help me.”
Imam Sajjad (PBUH) said, “Control your tongue so you can keep your friends.”
Zuhri said, “O grandson of the Messenger of Allah, but I have treated them with the utmost kind words.”
The Imam said, “Woe! Woe! Be careful not to become too conceited and self-centered of yourself for your eloquent speaking. Be careful of saying a word that you are sure with that word they will deny you, even if your word may seem logical in your eyes. So it is not that you will be able to convince and explain your excuses and explanations to everyone who considers your word unacceptable.
Zuhri! Why do you not see the Muslims as your own family, in which their elders are like your fathers and their young as your children, and the Muslims with the same ages of you as your brothers? In this case, which of them are you willing to hurt, wish ill, or embarrass?
So if Satan is able to seduce you to think that you are better than others, see if the person (that you feel is inferior to you) is older than you say, ‘to me he is a believer and his good deeds are more than mine’, and if he is younger than you say, ‘I have committed more sins than him so he is better than me,’ and if he is the same age as you say, ‘I am sure of my own sin, but doubtful about his, so why shall I change my certainty to doubt?’
If you see a Muslim bowing to you an paying you respects, say that ‘this is a blessing of them to me’, and if they ignore or hurt you, say ‘perhaps this is the result of a sin or error that I have one.’
If you act in such a way, Allah will take life easy on you and will increase your friends, and you will become happy of their good deeds and will not feel sorrow from their wrongdoings.
So know that the most benevolent for people is he/she who does good without having a need from them, and one who does not have a request from them. In another level, the most benevolent of people is he/she who takes care of him/herself and no matter how in need he is, does not ask help from others. For, the people of the world are intrigued by their own properties. Thus anyone who does not bother them in what they seek has helped them, and whoever in addition to not bothering them adds to their wealth is considered much more loved and respected by them.”(1)
(The above is a selection taken from “Ihtijaj”, by Shaikh Tabarsi (with minor summarization))
The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 5th of Sha’ban, the birthday anniversary of the adornment of worshipers, and the Leader of prostration, Imam Ali ibn Hussain (PBUH).
1. Ihtijaj, vol. 2, p. 320.