Whoever Humbles Himself, Allah Exalts Him

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By: Rafiq Ahmad Magray

What is humility? Keeping an open heart, adopting humility, loving the servants of Allah, helping them and treating them kindly, etc. This word is full of many precious attributes. Allah gives exaltation to those who are humble.

Humility is a virtue Islam wants its followers to practice as a distinguishing feature of their moral and spiritual behaviour. It does not become a Muslim to be haughty or vainglorious.

Imam Raghib writes in the meaning of Humility, “Humility means to be satisfied with one’s heart for a status that’s less than one’s right.”

Allah says in the Quran:

“And be kind with humbleness to the believers who followed you.” Ash-Shaura: 215

Mula Ali Qaari says that this verse includes all kinds of the rulers, therefore it’s mandatory for every ruler and leader to show humility and gentleness to his subordinates because it’s reported by Abu sa’id al-Khudri that Prophet Muhammad said, “Whoever humbles himself by a degree for Allah, glory be to him, Allah will raise him by a degree. Whoever is arrogant to Allah by a degree, Allah will lower him by a degree until he is made ‘the lowest of the low.”

Sunan Ibn Majah 4176

Humility is a high human value. Allah loves this quality of his servant. Abu Huraira reported that Messenger of Allah said, “Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives another but that Allah increases his Honour, and no one humbles for the Sake of Allah but that Allah raises his status.”

Muslim: 2588

It is clear from the hadith that a person who believes in humility has an open heart and he feels relieved in forgiving the mistakes of others. Humility is a reflex, the result of coercion. The reality of the humility is that one should in reality consider himself as inferior, one should not boast any of perfections or virtues nor should he become arrogant instead he should consider it as a divine reward and always thanks Allah for these attributes.

Hazrat Abu Huraira narrates that Prophet Muhamamd Said,” Glad tidings for those who accept humiliation with humility.”

Al Manawi writes in the summary of this Hadith,” Humility is not about humiliating oneself or by adopting humility one deprives the rightful owner of his right. Rather, humility is to lower one’s shoulders for the believers and treat them with kindness and good manners.

Wealth and responsibility create pride in man, so the leader should choose humility and modesty, if the leader adopts humility in this situation, then in fact this is the real humility. Humility, modesty, and forbearance are essential for the leader because the eyes of the people (subordinates) are on him and his subordinates gather on his decisions. Now, if the leader treats his subordinates immorally and harshly, then this behavior of the leader will deter people from entreating their concerns and needs, which will create difficulties and when difficulties arise, then it’ll be difficult for the leader to subsist with his subordinates and which will ultimately break their unity and when unity breaks it breeds animosity, enmity, jealousy, leg pulling, etc.

Ibn Hibban says:

“Humility is of two kinds, one is Good Humility and the other is bad Humility. The Good Humility is that one should not consider himself better than others and the worst humility is to humble oneself in front of a rich person just to get some worldly favours from him.”

The Benefits of Humilty:

1)            When Leader humbles himself for public, then it embeds the love for the leader in the hearts of people.

2)            One who observes Humility for Allah’s sake, Allah raises and loves him.

3)            Allah’s help is with those who’re humble.

4)            Wealth and age are blessed by Allah through humility.

Humilityand the Pious-Predecessors:

Allah says in the Quran,” And do not turn your cheek away from the people, and do not walk on the haughtily. Surely, Allah does not like anyone who is arrogant, proud ;( Q 31:18).

Being humble as a leader is essentially not being arrogant. According to Arab Proverb, “Arrogance diminishes Wisdom.” A humble person, one who lacks all signs of pride both in spirit and outward show, is walking on a path that leads to practical wisdom. Humility not only inoculates leaders against that the Greeks called hubris, the insolent pride that outrages heaven. It’s also an antidote against the lesser but far more common forms of pride; arrogance and haughtiness.

Umar Bin Khattab: Umar Bin Khattab considered himself as an ordinary Muslim but history has recorded that he was anything but ordinary. It was umars modesty and humility that he considered himself as an ordinary mortal, Umar followed in the footsteps of his beloved Prophet Muhammad; he followed his example and upheld his traditions.

Urwah Ibn Zubair said, “I saw Umar carrying a large leather water canteen on his shoulder. I said to him, ‘Oh Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen, you shudnt be carrying that, ‘Umar replied by saying, ‘A Delegation came to Madinah and I saw their obedience to me, and some nakwah(pride) entered into my heart and I wanted to destroy.”

The Humility of the Beloved Prophet ﷺ

HazratAnas says that no one was dearer to the Companions than the Beloved Prophet, but when he visited them, they did not stand in reverence because they knew that the Holy Prophet is unhappy with this act.

The good manners were common to all people. He was like a father to all people in showing compassion and all people were equal before him in rights. His council was of knowledge, modesty and patience.  No voice was raised in beloved Prophet’s assembly and no one was disrespected.  If anyone slipped in his meeting, it was not advertised.  Everyone was given equal status.  Virtue over one another was based solely on piety and religion.Everyone treated each other with humility.  Respected the elders, had compassion on the younger ones, gavepriority to the needy (ie catered to the needs of the needy) and cared for the traveler.

Raja Ibn Hayat once said to Abdul Aziz, the son of Amir al-Mumineen Umar Bin Abdul Aziz that, “I have not seen a person with more perfect intellect than yours respected father.” One night he had a guest. We were just talking when the lamp went out. His servant was sleeping there. I wanted to wake him up but he forbade me. Then I said, “OK, let me go and fix it.” So he said that it’s against nobility and decency to take service from ones guest. Then he got up himself and fixed the light of the lamp and put oil in it and burned it. Then he said, “When I went up to fix the lamp I was Umar Bin Abdul Aziz and when I came back I was still Umar Bin Abdul Aziz. That is, lighting the lamp did not change my status. From this it’s clear that by doing menial jobs doesn’t affect the status or position of a person both in religious and the worldly affairs.

Hazrat Aisha (RA) says that you are unaware about the best worship and that worship is humility.

Hazrat Qatadah says that whoever is given wealth, beauty, good clothes and knowledge by Allah Almighty and then he does not humble himself, then on the Day of Resurrection all these blessings will be a great burden for him.

Umar bin Qais says that three things are important for humility:

1)            When you met someone be the first to greet him.

2)            Be willing to sit with the poor rather than the rich and the glorious.

3)            And the third is to dislike the duplicity and praise in the religious matters.

Conclusion: The wise man adopts the way of humility and this is the way that makes him great in this world. Whenever a person in this world takes the path of arrogance and follows the footsteps of the Pharoah, Allah sometimes humiliates him in this world.  And its name and position is not taken in praise but as a condemnation. Therefore, it is appropriate that man should make humility the sole interest of his life, than see how Allah Almighty bestows honor and greatness on him in this world, gives him the high position of popularity that no one can get without Almighty’s grace.”

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