>> Monday, July 26, 2010
I think I have a problem with arrogance. I try to do everything I'm supposed to, and my family usually compliment me as a result. I know they are just trying to be supportive but my head gets big!! I really want to work on it, because I know that you can't enter heaven with "an atom's weight of pride". What can I do?
You've asked a really great question! That's Little Auntie's way of saying "You've asked a really tough question", lol. I'll try to answer you but it's something that I need to work on myself.
Before I start, though, I want to congratulate you! You took the knowledge you had learned (that particular hadith) and you evaluated yourself. You checked yourself and you found that maybe you were a little lacking. And you decided that you needed to do something about it! Acknowledging that you have a problem is a really enormigantic (enormous + gigantic) step. Especially with the issue of arrogance!
See, really arrogant people believe that they deserve compliments and in fact, they don't even see them as compliments. They see them as 'realities'. They see those that don't compliment them as not giving them their due. The fact that you realize that maybe you're 'taking these compliments to the point of arrogance' tells me that you're not really that 'far along', inshaAllah.
So what to do?
1. When you wake up in the morning and you look yourself in the mirror, instead of thinking, "Dang, girl, you're one gorgeous Mama," say, “O, Allah, as you have perfected my creation, perfect my manners”. Even if 'beauty' isn't the area where you 'are arrogant', saying it every time you look at yourself will hopefully remind you that you didn't create yourself or your capabilities. You are actually a slave and it is Allah who created you. You know what else you can say? The dhikr were supposed to say when we put on our clothes- (actually we should all say this anyways): Praise is to Allah Who has clothed me with this (garment) and provided it for me, though I was powerless myself and incapable.
Again, you're reminding yourself that you wouldn't have gotten even these clothes on your own...stuff like that, inshaAllah. I know that you said that you get compliments for doing things your family tells you to do and maybe you’re thinking what does wearing clothes have to do with this, but this dhikr will hopefully keep you in guard…
Most important though is to say the dhikr we’re supposed to say when we get compliments: O Allah , do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine]. Saying this will hopefully remind you that they don't know your faults, but Allah does!
Btw, you can see more of these supplications Here
2. I know that if you're the 'smartest' student in your class (or heck even school) and your family keeps ranting about how amazing you are, it can be pretty easy to 'start' seeing yourself as some sorta big shot. The way to cure this is to stop comparing yourself to those who maybe aren't as skilled as you academically/sportally (haha, just making it go with the flow here), etc. Think about signing up to some 'hobby' that you really know nothing about whether its sewing, crocheting, swimming, baking, etc. If you haven't studied tajweed, try joining a tajweed halaqah and if possible, seeing the 'advanced students' (attending one of their classes). Boy, that can really be humbling! The point is for you to see how it 'feels' to be a 'beginner' and to remind yourself that none of us can do everything and that everyone is actually good at something!
3. Write your will/wasiya. Sounds morbid? It really isn't. By writing your will, you are acknowledging that you are nothing more than a mortal, a traveler passing through, and all that you own will be passed around, and you will be put into the ground. When I say 'write your will', I mean really take the time to write it though. Don't just be like 'Yeah, do it the Islamic way and that's that". Write down if you have wronged anyone, write any last words of advice and apologies...
4. Read more about Allah so you realize just how powerful and amazing He is and how 'insignificant' we 'actually' are.
In a hadith qudsi, Allah Subhanoo Wa' Tala says: ......
My servants, all of you are astray except for those I have guided, so seek guidance of Me and I shall guide you, O My servants, all of you are hungry except for those I have fed, so seek food of Me and I shall feed you. O My servants, all of you are naked except for those I have clothed, so seek clothing of Me and I shall clothe you. O My servants, you sin by night and by day, and I forgive all sins, so seek forgiveness of Me and I shall forgive you. O My servants, you will not attain harming Me so as to harm Me, and will not attain benefitting Me so as to benefit Me. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as pious as the most pious heart of any one man of you, that would not increase My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to be as wicked as the most wicked heart of any one man of you, that would not decrease My kingdom in anything. O My servants, were the first of you and the last of you, the human of you and the jinn of you to rise up in one place and make a request of Me, and were I to give everyone what he requested, that would not decrease what I have, any more that a needle decreases the sea if put into it. O My servants, it is but your deeds that I reckon up for you and then recompense you for, so let him finds good praise Allah and let him who finds other that blame no one but himself.
It was related by Muslim (also by at-Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah).
More importantly! Realize that it doesn't matter what others think of you and that their approval, compliments, etc. don't prove your worth in Allah's eyes. Allah Subhanoo Wa' Tala judges us by what is in our hearts and He alone sees the reality--
Let's take the story of the companion of the Prophet Ibn Masoud. (I mean let's literally take it because I am copy pasting it from: Here)
Ibn Masoud was not distinguished because of his social status for he was a poor shepherd with no wealth, or because of his physical strength, for he was thin and frail. Yet he was dear and beloved by the Prophet, peace be upon him, who appreciated his sincere devotion and his eagerness for the knowledge of Islam. He once climbed a tree to get a twig for the Prophet, peace be upon him, to use as a miswak. When the Prophet's companions saw his thin legs, they laughed..
The Prophet, peace be upon him, said, "You laugh at ibn Masoud's legs! They are in the sight of Allah heavier in the Scale than the mountain of Uhud!"
You see, what mattersisn't whether the people around you think you're amazing. What matters is what Allah's thinks. So instead of letting anyone's complimentsink in too 'deeply', just ask yourself, 'but does Allah think I am good?" What can I do to improve? Am I among those He loves?
5. Sharing that story about Ibn Masoud takes me to 'read more about the Companions", May Allah be pleased with them. Now they did some pretty incredible things....reading about them may help you put yourself a little bit more into perspective. You can also read about other people who lived amazing lives.
6. Think about what it is that really makes you 'a little too proud'. Is it your intelligence? Is it your looks? Whatever it is-- is it permanent? I doubt it. There is nothing permanent here. I know a wonderful elderly woman who now needs someone to escort her to the bathroom. You see what I am saying?
7. Dua, dua, dua! Ask Allah to guide you and clear you heart of any atom of arrogance you have!
And inshaAllah, my dear, inshaAllah you will overcome any arrogance you have. Please do keep me updated and let me know how it goes :D