The Excellance of Humbleness
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and thanks is due to Allāh, the Lord of al-‘ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam is His Messenger.
Humbleness is one of the Muslim basic creed. It is the opposite of arrogance, and is an attitude and behaviour that Allah and His Messenger have commanded us to have. It is also a great tool used to spread Islam to others.
The best way to achieve humbleness in the heart is contained in the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam), who prescribed many methods to teach his companions how to be humble. We seek for Allah's blessing to help us all to become humble and stay firm on the right path. Following are some of the methods and ways of achieving humbleness:
1. Extending the greeting of As-Salam (saying as-salamu-'alaykum, peace be unto you).
Abdullah ibn ‘Amir said that a man asked the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam), “Which part of Islam is the best?” He said, “To feed the food (to the poor), and to extend As-Salam to those whom you know and whom you do not know.” [Al-Bukhari; Muslim]
Therefore, extending As-Salam to the old, young, rich, poor, noble, common folk, stranger and relative, will open one’s heart to achieve humbleness, harmony, good relations and will shut the door closed for arrogance and tyranny.
2. Muslims should not allow that people stand up for them when they pass by them or enter their homes or businesses.
Mu’awiyah bin Abi Sufyan once entered a house where Abdullah ibn Az-Zubair and Abdullah ibn ‘Amir were sitting. Abdullah ibn ‘Amir stood up while Ibn Az-Zubair did not. Mu’awiyah said, “O ibn ‘Amir! Sit down, for I heard the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam), say: ‘Let those who like for people to stand up for them take their seats in the Fire.’” [At-Tirmidzi]
This Hadith prohibits the Muslim to like that people stand up for him when he meets with or passes by them. Furthermore, this Hadith teaches Muslims to enjoin righteousness and forbid evil, for Mu’awiyah criticized Abdullah ibn ‘Amir for standing up for him.
3. Sitting wherever one finds space.
Jabir bin Samurah said, “When we used to come to the Prophet (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),, we would sit wherever we find space.” Also, Ibn Umar narrated that the Prophet (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),said: “One of you must not remove a man from his place and sit in it. However, (those already sitting should) make space and spread up (leaving adequate space for newcomers).” [Al-Bukhari; Muslim]
4. Prohibiting the Muslim from claiming purity for himself.
Allah Says:"So ascribe not purity to yourselves. He knows best him who fears Allah and keeps his duty to Him." [Surah 53:32]
Mohammad ibn ‘Amr ibn Ataa’ said that he named his daughter Barrah (the righteous one). However, Zainab binti Abi Salamah said that the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),prohibited using this name when she was called “Barrah.” He said, “Do not ascribe purity to yourselves. Allah knows the righteous ones among you.” The companions asked, “What should we call her?” He said, “Zainab.”[Muslim]
5. Prohibiting praising people in their presence.
Abdul Rahman bin Abi Bakrah said that a man was once mentioned in the presence of the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam). Another man said good words of praise about him. The Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam) then said, “Woe unto you! You have beheaded your friend. If one of you has to praise, let him say, ‘I think this and that’ (about the praised man), if he thinks that he deserves it, ‘And his reckoning is with Allah,’ and let him not ascribe purity (to anyone).” [Al-Bukhari; Muslim]
Also, Ibrahim At-Taymi said that his father said, “We were sitting in the presence of Umar when a man praised another man to his face. Umar said, ‘You ‘Aqartahu (crippled him), may Allah do the same to you.’” Furthermore, Abu Ma’mar said that a man stood up and praised one of the leaders, then Al-Miqdad started throwing sand in his face, and saying, “The Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),ordered us to throw sand in the faces of the praisers.” [Muslim, At-Tirmidzi, Abu Dawud; ibn Majah]
From these Hadiths and stories, we conclude that the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),prohibited praising others, especially while they can hear their praise. This is because such praise may encourage the praised persons to overestimate themselves, especially if they were people of position or wealth. Also, such praise may lead the praised person to be arrogant, who may lead to laziness and a lower number of good deeds, for one will depend on what he heard of praise and ignore acquiring more good deeds.
6. Shortening the Length of the Clothes.
Ibn Juray bin Sulaim (radiyallahu'anhu)said that the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),said: “Lower your dress to half the leg. If you do not prefer that, then to the ankles. However, do not increase the length of the dress (lower than the ankles), for it is arrogance, and Allah does not like arrogance.” [Abu Dawud, At-Tirmidzi ; Al- Hakim]
Abu Musa Ash'ari (radiyallahu'anhu)said, “The Prophet (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam), heard a man praising another man and saying good words about him while he was present with them. He (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam), said, ‘You have destroyed - or broke the back of the man!’” [Al- Bukhari; Muslim]
Also, Ibn Umar (radiyallahu'anhu)used to avoid the place which a man vacated to make space for him. Therefore, one should sit wherever he finds space, whether in the center of the audience or not. Also, those who accept it those first-comers have the right to the best seats, because all Muslims whether rich or poor are equal, will achieve humbleness in their hearts and deed, Allah willing.
In this Hadith, the Messenger of Allah (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),considered extending the length of the dress to cover the ankles an act of arrogance and pride, even if those who do this claim otherwise.
Abu Hurairah (radiyallahu'anhu)said that the Prophet (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam),said: “Whatever is below the ankles will be in the Fire.” [Al-Bukhari]
Furthermore, Abu Hurairah (radiyallahu'anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Sallahu'alayhi wasallam), said, “On the Day of Resurrection, Allah will not look at he who used to drag his dress behind him (because it is too long below the ankles) out of arrogance.” [Al-Bukhari; Muslim]
These Hadiths above state that wearing long dresses which cover the ankles is a type of arrogance, or at least leads to such behaviour. Therefore, shortening the length of the dress is a type of humbleness and leads to such behaviour, Allah willing.
These are some of the ways with which one can attain the characteristic of humbleness, Allah willing. We ask Allah that He help us attain this attribute, He is the All-Hearer, and the One Who can answer the supplication.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.