Disobedience To Allah (s.w.t.) Is Kibr

Disobedience to Allah (s.w.t.) i.e. disobeying His commandments or discontinuing His worship is also a kind of Kibr (Pride). However; people who disobey Allah (s.w.t.) fall in one of the following two categories :

(a) those who disobey the commands of Allah (s.w.t.) and do not fulfill their obligation intentionally. Such kind of people are not only proud but also considered as "Kafirs" i.e. disbelievers.

Referring to Iblees who went against the command of Allah (s.w.t.) and did not prostrate before Adam (a.s.), Allah (s.w.t.) says : "He (Shaytan) refused and was proud, and he was one of the Unbelievers" (Al-Baqarah/34)

(b) Those who disobey the commands of Allah (s.w.t.) and do not fulfill their obligation unintentionally.

Such people do not deny or refute the commands of Allah (s.w.t.) but sin against Him, either due to ignorance or are otherwise captives of their desires and lusts. This category cannot be branded as disbelievers but are sinners. Imam Ali Bin Hussein (a.s.) says in his Du'a well known as "Du'a-e-Abi Hamza Thimali" : "O my Lord ! I did not defy You when I disobeyed You wanting to reject Your Lordship. I did neither undermine Your command, and nor disregard Your threats and nor challenge Your punishment. But it was a mistake which occurred accidentally. I let myself be seduced (by shaytan) and my lust overcame me ..."

To avoid Supplication (Du'a) is Kibr

There are people who do not supplicate to Allah (s.w.t.). The reason could be either ignorance about the importance of supplication or a sense of sufficiency with their material benefits and thus finding it unnecessary to supplicate. It should always be that however much a person considers himself to be fulfilled, he still continuously requires the favors of Allah (s.w.t.). When the children of Israel (Bani Israel) were suffering due to a severe drought and parts of the river Nile had dried up, they came to Firoun, who was not only the ruler of Egypt but also claimed to be God.

For sometime, Firoun was confused and acknowledged that despite vast wealth and claim to being god, it was not within his capacity to provide water for Bani Israel. The only alternative for him was to sincerely supplicate and as a result his wish was granted. However, the story does not end here.

Immediately after the heavy rains, Firoun forgot this special favor of Allah and claimed that it was him who had restored the water. Again they were afflicted with the same curse and again Firoun had to pray. This way, it continued thrice until Iblees suggested to Firoun to stop his false claims. It is accepted by all that wealth, fame and power is not everything we require in this world. Those who thought so, led miserable lives and history is full of such examples.

There are other aspects in our lives which can be fulfilled if only Allah (s.w.t.) wishes. For instance our health. Inspite of the medical progress, we human beings can not fully have control over our health. Some or the other sickness takes us with surprise in our day to day lives. In order to save ourselves from such sickness and other disasters, we need the help of Allah (S.W.T.) which can only be granted through supplication.

Imam Ali bin Hussein (a.s.) says : If you want Allah to converse with you then recite Qur'an and if you wish to converse with Allah then supplicate.

In another place, addressing Allah (s.w.t.) in one of his supplications, Imam (a.s.) says : "... so you named your du'a a worship and abandoning it, a pride."

Therefore in conclusion, to avoid supplication is also Kibr.

2. Kibr on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and Imams (a.s.)

Kibr on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and Imams (a.s.) mean to consider oneself equal or better than them and not be prepared to follow their teachings or obey their commands.

There are several verses in the Holy Qur'an which discuss how some arrogant people undermined the Prophets of their time. A few of such verses are quoted below : When Prophet Musa (a.s.), accompanied with his brother Haroon (a.s.) went to the court of Firoun to proclaim his prophethood and invite him to believe in one God, Firoun and his people mocked him by saying : "And they said : what ! shall we believe in two men like our-selves whose people are to us servants" (Al-Mo'minoon/47)

And Firoun also said : "Why have not angels been sent down upon us or (why) do we not see our Lord ? Now certainly they are too proud of themselves and have revolted in great revolted in great revolt." (Al-Furqan/21)

Prophet Nooh (a.s.) complained to Allah (s.w.t.) saying : "And whenever I have called them that Thy majesty forgive them, they put their garments and persists and are puffed up with pride." (Nooh/7)

In the early days of Islam, the Quraysh also ill-treated the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and insulted him. It is mentioned in the Holy Qur'an that the Quraysh used to say : "And they say: Why was not Qur'an revealed to a man of importance in the two towns ?" (Zukhruf/31)

Kibr on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and/or on his successors i.e. the Imams (a.s.) is actually Kibr in Allah (s.w.t.). It is because the power and authority the Holy Prophet and Imams (a.s.) were given over mankind, was directly from Allah (s.w.t.)

In Suratul Hashr, verse 7 of the Holy Qur'an, Allah (s.w.t.) says : "Whatever the Prophet gives you, accept it and whatever he forbids you, stay away from it."

The Infallible Imams (a.s.) being the true successors of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) after his death, enjoy the same power as well to continue his mission.

Kibr on Ulema is Kibr on the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.)

During the occultation period of our twelfth Imam, Imam Muhammad bin Hassan al-Askari (a.s.), this power can exercised by the most learned Faqeeh and religious scholars of our time. There are various traditions from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and the Aim'ah (a.s.) which describe the powerful position and leadership of religious scholars. A few of these narrations are mentioned below :

(a) The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said : "The scholars of my nation are like the Prophets of Bani Israel."

(b) Again, it has also been reported from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) that : "The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets."

c) Imam Hassan al-Askari (a.s.) has said : "And if there are amongst the scholars, one who :

  • safeguards himself,
  • protects his religion;
  • goes against his (illegitimate) desire;
  • is obedient to the command of his Lord; Then it is the duty of the people to follow him."

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said : "Nay! Do not refute an Aalim, and do not go against him and do not hate him but instead love him, for surely loving them is sincerity and hating them is hypocrisy. Whoever insults an Aalim is as if he has insulted me, and whoever insults an me is as if he has insulted Allah and whoever insults Allah then his path is towards hell. Whoever honours an Aalim is as if he has honoured me and whoever honours me is as if he has honoured Allah and whoever honours Allah, then his path is towards paradise." (Adh-dhunoob al-kabeera)

Many of us today do not honour Aalims and give them the respect which they deserve. It is sad to note that we consider ourselves equal to them. Furthermore, we do not value their guidance and thus consider it sufficient that we know our religious obligations. However much we know the basic requirements of Islam, we still cannot deny the fact that the presence of religious scholars is important and necessary. If not for material benefits,

we at least require the religious scholars for our spiritual benefits and to solve our common social problems as and when required. It is for this reason that most of us, inspite of our material gains and power, still seek comfort and mental ease from religious scholars. Therefore, being proud to the scholars is not only a sin but logically an injustice towards them and a hypocrisy.

3. Kibr on People

This is the third kind of Kibr i.e. to consider oneself greater and superior than other fellow human beings. The scholars of 'llmul-Akhlaq ' (Science of Ethics) describe a proud one as thus : He will consider himself great but will value and honour others less. He will consider himself better in all respect and will never agree to be compared to other human beings.

He will always want to be ahead whilst walking with people and choose for himself a special position in the hearts of gathering so as to be easily distinguished. He will always expect others to greet him first and show humility to him. If advised, he will be irritated and refuse lo acknowledge the advice and when refuted in a matter, he will not accept it but will instead express his anger.

If anyone else besides him is praised, he will not tolerate it, instead he will always expect people to praise him and make themselves available to serve him at all times. And if he is wealthy, he will avoid association with the poor even at congregational prayers and religious functions.

Kibr on People in Qur'an

"And when it is said to him: guard against (the punishment of Allah, pride carries him off to sins therefore hell is sufficient for him, and certainly it is in an evil resting place" (Al Baqarah/206)

"And do not turn your face away from people in contempt nor go about in the land exulting over much; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boasters." (Luqman/18)

Kibr on People in Hadith

Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (a.s.) has said : "Kibr is to belittle the people and give them less than their right." (Al Kafi)

It has also been reported from the same Imam (a.s.) that : "Whoever degrades people and shows his might over them is a tyrant." (Al Kafi)

To show-off Wealth is Kibr

Many wealthy people love to show-off and boast their wealth. Islam considers the rich as trustees and depositories of wealth bestowed upon them by Allah (s.w.t.). Instead of earning unnecessary fame and pomp, they are required to utilize their wealth for betterment of the deprived classes.

In Hadith al-Qudsi, Almighty Allah says : "The rich are my agents and the poor are my family. Therefore whoever act miserly with them I shall put them into a burning fire and will care not about them." (Kalimatullah)

Many scholars of Ilmul-Akhlaq agree that wealth is the prime cause of evils such as pride, egotism, selfness, greed and injustice. It is for this reason that Islam has made it incumbent good ways of giving sadaqah (charity). Had it not made obligatory, the poor would continue to remain deprived. The Holy Qur'an relates the incident of Qaroun as a lesson for the rich and warns them of a similar fate.

Qaroun belonged to the tribe of Prophet Musa (a.s.) and was also his close relative. In the Beginning he was pious but after accumulating wealth and treasures of gold in Tiyah, a desert in the Sinai Peninsula, where he engaged in alchemy and gold, Qaroun became proud and upon the believers. The following verses of Surat-ul Qases (76 to 81) describes Qaroun's wealth, Arrogance and the manner in which he met his fate.

"The rich are my agents and the poor are my family. Therefore whoever act miserly with them I shall put them into a burning fire and will care not about them.' (Kalimatullah)

Many scholars of Ilmul Akhlaq agree that wealth is the prime cause of evils such as pride, egotism selfishness greed and injustice. It is for this reason that Islam has made it incumbent upon Muslims to pay Khums, Zakat, Fitra and recommended good ways of giving sadaqah (charity). Had it not been made obligatory, the poor would continue to remain deprived. The Holy Qur'an relates the incident of Qaroun as a lesson for the rich and warns them of a similar fate.

Qaroun belonged to the tribe of Prophet Musa (a.s.) and was also his close relative. In the beginning he was pious but after accumulating wealth and treasures of gold in Tiyah, a desert in the Sinai Peninsula, where he engaged in alchemy and gold, Qaroun became proud and looked down upon the believers. The following verses of Surat-ul-Qasas (76 to 81) describes Qaroun's wealth, arrogance and the manner in which he met his fate.

"Surely, Qaroun was of the people of Musa, but he rebelled against them and we had given him a treasure, so much so that his hoards of wealth would certainly weigh down a company of men possessed of great strength. When his people said to him :do not exult, surely Allah does not like the exultant. And seek by means of what Allah has given you the future abode, and do not neglect your portion of this world, and do good (to others) as Allah has done good to you and do not seek to make mischief in the land, surely Allah does not love mischief makers.

He said : I have been given this only on account of the knowledge I have. Did he not know that Allah had destroyed before him of the generation those who were mightier in strength than he and greater assemblage? And the guilty shall not be asked about their faults. So he went forth to his people in his finery.

Those who desire this world's life said :O would that we had the like of what Qaroun is given: most surely he is possessed of mighty good fortune. And those who were given the knowledge said :Woe to you. Allah's reward is better for him who believes and does good, and none is made to receive this except the patient. Thus we made the earth to swallow up him and his abode : so he had nobody of helpers to assist him against Allah nor was he of those who can defend themselves.

The lesson which one learns from the incident of Qaroun is that his ingratitude and pride led to the punishment of Allah (S.W.T.)

Human beings, irrespective of their colour, language, culture or social position have one or the other praiseworthy quality hidden in them. Just as some shortcomings are common in human beings, in the same way some good qualities are also inherent in them. Moreover, these qualities would differ from person to person. For instance, if one is rich it does not mean he is better and superior than a poor man. Who knows that the poor man would possess qualities superior to the rich man e.g. in knowledge, piety or Courage.