In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.

The Difference Between High Aspiration and Excessive Self-importance

Imaam Muhammad Bin Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said in Sharh Hilyati Taalibal Ilm: “High aspiration is that a person preserves his time, knows how to utilize it and does not waste time instead of utilizing it in something beneficial. And when (another) person comes to him and he sees that sitting with such person will distract (or divert him from what is more beneficial, befitting etc), he knows how to act. As for pride (or having an excessive sense of one’s own importance), it is the behaviour of that one who belittles others and does not consider people to be anything else other than frogs. It may be that he would turn his face away whilst speaking to the people, just as the author said that there is a difference between the two affairs similar to (the difference) between the sky having rain clouds which gives rain, again and again and the earth which splits with the growth of trees and plants”. (1)

Opinionated – [I Am Never Wrong]

Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saaleh Al-Uthaymeen [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “O student of knowledge! Likewise, it is obligated on you to abandon (blameworthy) debate and argumentation, because indeed (blameworthy) debate and argumentation is a means to cutting off the path (that will lead to) what is correct, because (blameworthy) debate and argumentation makes a person speak to give the upper hand to himself. Even if the truth is made clear to him, you will find him either rejecting it or misconstruing the truth -out of disliking it- to give himself the upper hand and to compel his opponent to accept his statement. Therefore, if you notice (blameworthy) debate and argumentation from your brother when the truth is very clear, but he does not follow it, flee from him like you would flee from a lion, and say, ‘I do not have anything other than the truth I have mentioned to you’”. (2)

Beware! Excessive self-importance manifests the most subtle defects in the eyes of people who have lived to witness some of its different manifestations. One of these manifestations witnessed during the years is that a person is given clear evidence – by those who trust and love him – to show him that his decisions or judgements in some specific Dawah or Masjid Committee affairs has been erroneous on many occasions, therefore, he should step back a little bit and reflect, and cannot be given an independent role in that task; rather he should observe and learn from his mistakes; however, excessive self-importance manifests, so seeks another company where he hopes to be mentioned and given some of the importance or influence that he feels was lost elsewhere. Very few people can notice the reason behind this manoeuvre, except those who are well-acquainted with the history and behaviour of this person. A person among us – who was highly valued – fell into this trap in 2004 until it led him to a greater calamity, so beware of this behaviour, whose root cause is that subtle desire for control, recognition and excessive self-importance that makes a person feel that either he is considered worthy of something in a specific place or affair, otherwise he seeks it elsewhere, even if the observers are oblivious of this behaviour. So, he gradually moves from one place to another with such a trait, looks for those who hold a good opinion about him and conceals his behaviour from those who do not truly know his history as one who is difficult to deal with, whilst never accepting his mistakes – whether big or small – due to being unwillingly to humble himself, but rather desiring a distinguished position or public mention in the gatherings and decisions. Yahya Ibn Abee Katheer [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The pinnacle of humility are three: to be pleased with a status of lesser honor in a gathering, to give Salaams first to the one you meet, hate praise, the desire to be heard and praised, and showoff due to an act of righteousness”. (3) Imaam Ibnul Qayyim [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “The truthful servant of Allaah does not see himself, except as one falling short. And what necessitates such view is due to considering the magnitude of what he seeks after (i.e. Allaah’s Pleasure), (truthful or genuine) self-deprecation, being well-acquainted with the faults of his soul and the little he has sent forth of good deeds for the Hereafter. Whoever truly knows Allaah and truly knows himself, he will not look at himself except as one who is always falling short”. (4)

To be continued…InShaaAllaah


[Ref 1: An Excerpt from ‘Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm’. page 163. Slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 2: Sharh Hilyati Taalibil Ilm. page 26. slightly paraphrased]

[Ref 3: At-Tawaadu Wal-Khumool. By Ibn Abee Dunyaa. Page 155

[Ref 4: Madaarij As-Saalikeen 2/293]

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