Excellence of Simplicity, Dispraise of Self-Pride and Love for Position

Said Al-Imaam Yoosuf bn Abdillaah bn Muhammad bn ‘AbdilBarr An-Namree Al-Qur’tubee Al-Maalikee, Aboo Umar, Haafidh Al-Maghrib; in his book: ‘Jaamiu Bayaanil’Ilm Wa Fadlu-hu [A Comprehensive Explanation of Knowledge and Its Excellence], Chapter 43: Virtue of Simplicity, Dispraise of Self-Conceitedness and Quest for Position.

‘Among the best etiquette of a scholar is his simplicity and shunning self-conceitedness with what he possesses of knowledge, and that he should do away from love of fame…

On the authority of Aboo Hurairah – may Allaah be pleased with him – the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu alahyi wa sallam) said: ‘Alms will not reduce wealth, Allaah will not increase a slave’s sense of pardon except that he attains more honour, and none willhumble himself before Allaah except that He will raise him.’ [Recorded by Muslim and others].

It was also variously reported from ‘Umar bn Al-Khattaab (radiyaLlahu an’hu) that he used to say: ‘When a slave humbles himself before Allaah, He will raise him with His Wisdom.’

It was said to him: ‘Freshen up, Allaah will brighten you; yet he was very lowly to himself while magnificent with Allaah.’

He would also say: ‘When a person’sknowledge is more than his intellect, that will soon give him light to see.’

‘Anas bn Maalik (radiyaLlahu an’hu) reported that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu alahyi wa sallam) said: ‘Verily Allaah – the Mighty ad Most Sublime – commands you to be humble to one another; none should pride himself over the other.’ [In Maajah recorded it]

Ayyooub as-Sakhtiyaanee (rahimahuLlaah) used to say: ‘It is essential that a scholar inculcates the habit of pouring sand over his head as a sign of humility before Allaah.’

Scholar used to say: Those who are humble among the students of knowledge will possess more knowledge than others because lowlands take more water than the highlands.

It was said to Bazrjumhur: What favour is bestowed on a person while nobody envies him about it? He said: Humility!

It was also said to him: What affliction can come a person’s way while people will not pity him? He replied: Pride!

He said: ‘That one is humble while stingy is better than being prideful with other good manners; the first good act obliterates its partner while the second evil act destroys its partner.’

Al-Bahtaree said in a line of poetry:

‘When a chief is not humble/before his friends he is the actual waste.’

Wahb bn Munabbah (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘There were some men among the Children of Israel, they learnt books and taught knowledge but they only learnt what they learnt and taught what they taught to earn praise and wealth. They thereafter innovated some practices with which they attained their coveted wealth and praise so they became lost and caused others astray.’

In ‘Abdoos (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘Every time a scholar humbles himself and that brings him honour, self-conceitedness will quickly come his way except those protected by Allaah by His Guidance by throwing away love for fame from their souls,’

Saeed bn Al-Musayyab (rahimahuLlaah) said ‘Umar (radiyaLlahu an’hu) said: ‘What I fear most for you as your destruction is when you are into these three acts: Obedience to miserliness, obedience to base-desires and self-pride.’

Ibraahim bn Al-‘Ash’ath (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘I asked Al-Fudayl bn Iyaad about humility, he said: That you surrender to the truth and accept it from whomever it comes from, even if such were the most ignorant of the people, you must accept it from him.’

Masrooq (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘It is enough to say a person is knowledgeable when he fears Allaah; and it is enough to say he is ignorant when he takes pride in his knowledge.’

Aboo Ad-Dar’daa (radiyaLlahu an’hu) said: ‘Traits of ignorance are three: Self-pride, talking much in what does not concern one, and that he forbids from an (evil) act while he does it (in secret).’

Scholars do say: Self-pride destroys all good manners.

‘Alee bn Abee Taalib (radiyaLlahu an’hu) said: ‘Self-pride is a bane of the knowledgeable.’

Another person said: ‘That a person takes pride in himself is an indicator that he is weak in intellect.’

‘Alee bn Thaabit said in a couplet:

‘The bane of wealth is wastefulness and pillage/while the bane of knowledge is self-pride and anger.’

Scholars do say: ‘Whoever takes pride in his views will go astray, whoever feels sufficed with his intellect will transgress, whoever prides himself over the people will fall, whoever mixes with ushers will be dsigraced and whoever sits with the scholars will attain humility.’

Al-Fudayl bn Iyaad (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘None will love fame except that he will envy others and thereafter transgress; he will find faults in people and will dislike mentioning anybody with goodness.’

Aboo Nuaym (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘Those who got destroyed never did so except due to their love for fame.’

Aboo AL-‘Itaahiyyah composed:

‘Oh my brother who loves fame I fear/lest you transgress and innovate a bid’ah and misguidance.’

He also composed:

‘Love for fame makes those on earth to transgress/until they act unjustly against one another.’

I (Abu Umar) also have thiscomposition:

‘Love for fame is a disease that can destroy the world/such that it will make love a war betweenlovers.’

Ishaaq bn Khalaf (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘I swear by He Whom there is none worthy of worship beside, to remove the mountains is easier than removing sense of love for fame in a person.’

Ath-Thauree (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘Whoever loves fame should get his head ready for a mallet.’

Al-Ma’moon (rahimahuLlaah) said: ‘Whoever seeks fame with the little knowledge he has, a lot of knowledge will elude him.’

Mansoor bn Ismaeel (rahimahuLlaah) composed:

‘The dog is better as a companion/even though it is a master of dirt Than he who brings forth himself for fame/before he attains leadership.’

It was reported from ‘Alee (radiyaLlahu an’hu) that he came out of the Masjid one day while some people followed him (out of respect for him); he looked back and saw them. He then said: ‘What heart will be better with this thing you do? The sound of shoes (for a purpose like this) destroys the hearts of best of men.’

Umar bn Al-Khattaab (radiyaLlahu an’hu) said about it: ‘It corrupts the one being followed and belittles the follower.’

Zayd bn AL-Habbaab (rahimahuLlaah) said: I heard Maalik bn Deenaar said:

‘Whoever learns to work with his knowledge will be humble with it but whoeverlearns for other than that will be pompous.’

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