Saturday, 2 November 2013

Stubborn as a Mule, Proud as a Peacock.........

“Declare your jihad on thirteen enemies you cannot see -egoism, arrogance, conceit, selfishness, greed, lust, intolerance, anger, lying, cheating, gossiping and slandering. If you can master and destroy them, then you will be read to fight the enemy you can see.” ― Al-Ghazali

“Proud people breed sad sorrows for themselves.” Emily Brontë

I think one of the diseases of the heart that plagues mankind is arrogance or pride. This sickness can easily creep up without us realising and stake a place in the heart. It starts with a small dot that later spreads like cancer. 

            Sometimes, we don’t even realise that we are being arrogant or have pride in our hearts. Did you know that the Muslim scholars in the olden times used to wash the toilets in the Masjid whenever they feel an iota of pride or arrogance crept into their hearts? Imagine that! 

            Arrogance can take many forms. It can be arrogance to the vast of knowledge one posses or wealth that one owns or even what one expects one deserves. Some expects that they only deserve the best and anything that fall short is not good enough.

“Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbours who are near, neighbours who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hands possess: For Allah loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious;-“
Surah An-Nisa 4:37

Arrogance is one of the traits of satan. It is because of arrogance satan got kicked out of Jannah. Remember what happened?

“And behold, We said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith.”
Surah Al Baqara 2:34

“So the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together:
 Not so Iblis: he refused to be among those who prostrated themselves.
(Allah)) said: "O Iblis! what is your reason for not being among those who prostrated themselves?"
(Iblis) said: "I am not one to prostrate myself to man, whom Thou didst create from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape."
(Allah)) said: "Then get thee out from here; for thou art rejected, accursed.”
Surah Al Hijr 15:30-34

It is narrated on the authority of 'Abdullah b.  Mas'ud that the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) observed: None shall enter the Fire (of Hell) who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of Iman and none shall enter Paradise who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of pride.  (Sahih Muslim Book 001, Number 0165)

I used to be very arrogant. Astagfirullah…may God forgive me for that period of ignorance. Anyway, I used to be very arrogant until I got few lessons in humility. Those lessons were painful to learn but necessary to knock me off my high horses. Of course my ego suffered some bantering and bruising at that time but the lessons that I learnt are firmly etched in my head.

            The danger with arrogance is, sometimes we don’t realise its presence in our hearts. The most common case of arrogance is we feel that we are better than others. We refuse to learn from people who we think are less qualified than us. Some of us insist on a Phd or Master qualified teacher to teach before we are willing to listen, let alone learn. We look down on anyone who we think is less worthy to teach us. Now, that is pure arrogance. 

            Are we forgetting that our beloved Prophet Muhammad SAW was illiterate? He didn’t have a degree from any university but yet he was the best teacher. Of course, he was created special from any one of us. If God wanted, God could have bestowed upon Prophet Muhammad SAW with recognition from respected learning institutions of that time, which may earned Prophet SAW, respect from fellow men but He didn’t. I do believe that the point that God wanted make is knowledge and understanding will be given to whom He wishes and it can also be to a poor orphan boy.

             Do not belittle a person who is trying to share their knowledge; after all they are following the teachings of Prophet SAW.

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: "Do you know who is most generous? ... God is the Most Generous, then I am most generous to humankind, and the most generous people after me will be those who will acquire knowledge and then disseminate it. (They) will come on the Day of Resurrection singly, like a ruler." Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 93

             Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that you can’t learn from the best teachers who are highly qualified but the point I’m trying to make is not to look down on someone who is not. Do not limit your education to a certain group only. Sometimes paper qualification does not mean that person has understanding. A person can memorize everything and pass the exam with flying colours but it does not mean that he understands what he memorised. A good teacher is someone who can make his students to understand the lessons that he is teaching and leaves a mark in their hearts.

            Don’t be too quick to judge that a poor man would not be able to teach you anything. A poor fisherman can teach you how to fish and perhaps be the best fisherman. He didn’t acquire that knowledge in any university but that knowledge was obtained through years of experience.

            Some of the lessons that I learned about life was taught to me by the less unfortunate people. They may be lacking in worldly wealth but they are rich in knowledge and they are generous in sharing.

             For some of you who are fortunate enough to be granted knowledge from God Al Mighty and respect from peers do not forget your obligation to share. Do not turn anyone away just because he or she could not afford to pay you, especially those with knowledge in Syariah. I personally feel that to share knowledge on Islam is compulsory to ALL Muslims.  I have a very vivid imagination and that scenario that I imagined on Judgment day when my time comes…

God: I bestowed upon you knowledge of Syariah. Did you share among your brothers and sisters about My rules and commands?
            Me: (quivering like mad and squeaked) No!
            God: WHY???
            Me: They couldn’t afford my fees….
Roar!!! The fiery Hell swings open its door and I am tossed in to stoke the fire that is raging within! 

Aarrgghhhh! I very much prefer another scenario to imagine please! So…I don’t have Phd or Masters to my name but I am going to continue sharing whatever knowledge that I have. If anyone thinks that I’m not worthy to share my knowledge with them, please walk away quietly. Do not pass any comment unless you want to hear me roar. I have a better control of my anger most of the time but I can’t vouch for the occasional loss of insanity. I really don’t mind if they do not want to listen but do not belittle my efforts or anyone else for that matter, who is merely trying to uphold the sunnah of our beloved Prophet SAW. If you are not going help us share, do not hinder us. I do apologise if this posting sounds very harsh but I do feel that it needed to be said…….

 The Prophet SAW said: "Acquire knowledge and impart it to the people." - Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 107

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