Human nature is complex and imperfect. It’s easy for me to feel on top of the world whenever I am feeling good about myself and my state of being, but with that ease comes the difficulty of not being able to get a hold of my ego. As humans, it is natural to be faced with short moments of pride that fill up our psyche with a sense of temporary ecstasy.
Like many faiths, Islam warns us against being prideful. The notion that we are better than someone else is often very subconsciously hidden within our nafs (inner self or ego). This can take many forms. For example, a person might roll their eyes at someone they perceive as a non-practicing Muslim or a hijabi who doesn’t adhere to that person’s idea of what the hijab is. This is a manifestation of the nafs. Although this behavior may seem to that person like it is coming from a place of righteousness, it is actually coming from a place of arrogance and pride. It is most definitely Shaytan whispering to them with a mask of religiosity.
Treating others with kindness and love is the way of God.
The Prophet (PBUH) once remarked: “If you see those who (excessively) praise people in their presence, then throw dirt in their faces [Sahih Muslim]”. This was because he knew that praising a person too much in their presence would certainly feed the ego of even the humblest of believers. Similarly, it is okay and absolutely necessary to love who you are but it’s important to remember that loving yourself should also allow you the ability to shower others with love unconditionally regardless of their attributes (both good and bad).
Treating others with kindness and love is the way of God; when the skies open up to shower the earth with rain, we should remind ourselves of Allah’s mercy. It should remind us to be kind to another because Allah is kind to you. The creation of the Heavens, The Earth, and all that inhabit it is an outpouring of complete love. Allah created every being upon this earth from clay. Whether they be a King or a peasant, we all are destined to return to our true form.
Through self-reflection and getting to know ourselves, we can truly expose the light that Allah has adorned our hearts with.
Imam Al-Ghazali said, “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 ready to fight the enemy you can see.” Before we can challenge the issues that plague our lives outwardly, we have to be able destroy everything that stops us from budding into our true potential. If we can’t pinpoint issues within ourselves and efficiently tackle them, how can we ever think that we’ll be truly successful?
Through self-reflection and getting to know ourselves, we can truly expose the light that Allah has adorned our hearts with. With that said, remember to treat others in the manner that you want to be treated, shower others with love, and always remind yourself that Allah only honors those who humbles themselves before Him.
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