The Worst of Human Failing: PrideThe very first known act of rebellion against the command of Allah was Shaytan’s refusal to prostrate before Adam u. He refused to prostrate because he regarded himself as superior and because it was below his dignity to do so. He said: “I am better than Him – You created me from fire and you created him from clay.” (7:12)Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam stated that: “A person will not enter Paradise, if he has an atom’s weight of arrogance in his heart.” A man then asked, “What if a man loves to wear good clothes and good shoes (Is this a sign of pride)?” Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam replied, “Allah is beautiful and loves beauty. Pride is rejecting the truth and looking down on people.” (Bayhaqi) This hadith draws the distinction between self esteem and pride. Self esteem flows from self dignity, self respect and self confidence. It does not drive you to compare yourself with others. Pride is a negative trait in which one thinks highly of oneself, compares oneself with others and believes he/she is better than others. It is a false sense of superiority which if threatened, drives a person to deny the truth or view people with contempt. Pride makes you impervious to the truth“From my messages shall I cause to turn away all those who, without any right, behave arrogantly on earth: though they may see every sign (of the truth) they do not believe in it, and though they may see the path of rectitude they do not choose to follow it – whereas if they see the path of error they tread on it.” (7:146) This verse states that Allah does not make the proud and arrogant receptive to the truth. When people think that their own judgement is sufficient to determine what constitutes right and wrong, they become resistant to the truth to the extent that they are unable to choose the path of rectitude and instead tread the path of evil, even at great personal cost. Shaytan refused to prostrate before Adam Alayhis Salaam at the cost of expulsion from Jannah and at the cost of an accursed life which will ultimately condemn him to the fire of Hell. Likewise, the Jews and Christians refused to accept the prophethood of Nabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam because of their racial arrogance. “And they say be Jews or Christians and you shall be on the right path.” (2:135) The Jews believed that prophethood was a privilege granted to them exclusively, while the Christians maintained that Jesus Isa Alayhis Salaam was God’s final manifestation on earth and therefore salvation is reserved for them only. Pride drives you to blame others for your weaknessesWhen Allah asked Shaytan why he refused to prostrate before Adam Alayhis Salaam, he said: “O my Sustainer, since you led me astray.” (15:39) He blamed Allah for his downfall and absolved himself of all blame. When Allah asked Adam u why he ate from the forbidden tree, his reply was: “O our Sustainer we have sinned against ourselves.” (7:23) Satanic arrogance is when we blame others for our shortcomings whilst prophetic humility is to declare that we are wrong and accept responsibility for our actions. Pride gives you joy in mocking others“O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them; nor let women ridicule [other] women; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith. And whoever does not repent – then it is those who are the wrongdoers.” (49:11) We may laugh with people to share in their joy or happiness. We must however never laugh at people in contempt and ridicule!The worst of all human failingsNabi Sallallahu alayhi wasallam has said, “There are three saviours and three destroyers. As for the saviours, they are: – The consciousness of Allah in private and public,- Speaking the truth when happy and when angry,- Moderation in times of prosperity and povertyAs for the destroyers, they are:- Passion that you yield to,- Greed that you submit to,- Self conceit which is the worst of all. (Bayhaqi)May Allah protect us from pride, arrogance and self conceit.