Humility in the Quran and Sunnah

January 9, 2014

Allah revealed we must be humble

By Abu Amina Elias

In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Allah the Exalted said:

وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا

The servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, they say words of peace.

Surah Al-Furqan 25:63

And Allah said:

ادْعُوا رَبَّكُمْ تَضَرُّعًا وَخُفْيَةً إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُعْتَدِينَ

Call upon your Lord with humility and in private. Verily, He does not love transgressors.

Surah Al-A’raf 7:55

And Allah said:

وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ فِي نَفْسِكَ تَضَرُّعًا وَخِيفَةً وَدُونَ الْجَهْرِ مِنَ الْقَوْلِ بِالْغُدُوِّ وَالْآصَالِ وَلَا تَكُن مِّنَ الْغَافِلِينَ

Remember your Lord in yourselves with humility and in private without announcing it in the mornings and evenings, and do not be among the heedless.

Surah Al-A’raf 7:205

And Allah said:

وَاخْفِضْ لَهُمَا جَنَاحَ الذُّلِّ مِنَ الرَّحْمَةِ وَقُل رَّبِّ ارْحَمْهُمَا كَمَا رَبَّيَانِي صَغِيرًا

Lower to your parents the wing of humility out of mercy and say: My Lord, have mercy upon them as they brought me up when I was small.

Surah Al-Isra 17:24

And Allah said:

فَلَوْلَا إِذْ جَاءَهُم بَأْسُنَا تَضَرَّعُوا

When Our punishment reached them, why did they not humble themselves?

Surah Al-An’am 6:43

Haritha ibn Wahb reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

أَلَا أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِأَهْلِ الْجَنَّةِ كُلُّ ضَعِيفٍ مُتَضَعِّفٍ لَوْ أَقْسَمَ عَلَى اللَّهِ لَأَبَرَّهُ أَلَا أُخْبِرُكُمْ بِأَهْلِ النَّارِ كُلُّ عُتُلٍّ جَوَّاظٍ مُسْتَكْبِرٍ

Shall I not tell you about the companions of Paradise? They are every humble person considered weak, but if they gave an oath by Allah it would be fulfilled. Shall I not tell you about the companions of Hellfire? They are every harsh, haughty, and arrogant person.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 4634, Grade: Muttafaqun Alayhi 

Iyad ibn Himar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ أَوْحَى إِلَيَّ أَنْ تَوَاضَعُوا حَتَّى لَا يَبْغِيَ أَحَدٌ عَلَى أَحَدٍ وَلَا يَفْخَرَ أَحَدٌ عَلَى أَحَدٍ

Verily, Allah has revealed to me that you must be humble towards one another, so that no one wrongs another or boasts to another.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2865, Grade: Sahih

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ وَمَا زَادَ اللَّهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلاَّ عِزًّا وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ لِلَّهِ إِلاَّ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ

Charity does not decrease wealth, no one forgives except that Allah increases his honor, and no one humbles himself for the sake of Allah except that Allah raises his status.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2588, Grade: Sahih

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

لَا يَدْخُلُ الْجَنَّةَ مَنْ كَانَ فِي قَلْبِهِ مِثْقَالُ ذَرَّةٍ مِنْ كِبْرٍ

No one who has the weight of a seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.

Someone said, “Indeed, a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” So the Prophet said:

إِنَّ اللَّهَ جَمِيلٌ يُحِبُّ الْجَمَالَ الْكِبْرُ بَطَرُ الْحَقِّ وَغَمْطُ النَّاسِ

Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.

Source: Sahih Muslim 91, Grade: Sahih

Jundab reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

رَجُلاً قَالَ وَاللَّهِ لاَ يَغْفِرُ اللَّهُ لِفُلاَنٍ وَإِنَّ اللَّهَ تَعَالَى قَالَ مَنْ ذَا الَّذِي يَتَأَلَّى عَلَىَّ أَنْ لاَ أَغْفِرَ لِفُلاَنٍ فَإِنِّي قَدْ غَفَرْتُ لِفُلاَنٍ وَأَحْبَطْتُ عَمَلَكَ

A man said: By Allah! Allah will not forgive so-and-so! Allah Almighty said: Who is he who swore by Me that I will not forgive so-and-so? I have forgiven him and nullified your good deeds.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2621, Grade: Sahih

Al-Mughira bin Shu’ba reported: On the day the Prophet’s son Abraham died, the sun eclipsed and the people said the eclipse was because of the death of Abraham. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

إِنَّ الشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ آيَتَانِ مِنْ آيَاتِ اللَّهِ لاَ يَنْكَسِفَانِ لِمَوْتِ أَحَدٍ وَلاَ لِحَيَاتِهِ فَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمُوهُمَا فَادْعُوا اللَّهَ وَصَلُّوا حَتَّى يَنْجَلِيَ

Verily, the sun and the moon are two signs among the signs of Allah and they do not eclipse because of the death or birth of any person. So when you see them, call upon Allah and pray until the eclipse is clear.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 1012, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported:

إِنْ كَانَتْ الْأَمَةُ مِنْ إِمَاءِ أَهْلِ الْمَدِينَةِ لَتَأْخُذُ بِيَدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَتَنْطَلِقُ بِهِ حَيْثُ شَاءَتْ

Any of the young servant girls among the people of Medina would take the hand of the Messenger of Allah and lead him wherever she wished.

Source: Sahih Bukhari 5724, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported:

رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَرَّ عَلَى غِلْمَانٍ فَسَلَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ

The Messenger of Allah would pass by young boys and greet them with peace.

Source: Sahih Muslim 2168, Grade: Sahih 

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: On the day of Badr, we were three men with one camel. Abu Lubabah and Ali ibn Abu Talib were the two who rode with the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him. It was time for the Messenger of Allah to walk, but they said, “We will walk and let you ride.” The Prophet said:

مَا أَنْتُمَا بِأَقْوَى مِنِّي وَلَا أَنَا بِأَغْنَى عَنْ الْأَجْرِ مِنْكُمَا

You are not stronger than me and I am not in less need of rewards than you.

Source: Musnad Ahmad 3891, Grade: Sahih

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَنْ تَرَكَ اللِّبَاسَ تَوَاضُعًا لِلَّهِ وَهُوَ يَقْدِرُ عَلَيْهِ دَعَاهُ اللَّهُ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عَلَى رُءُوسِ الْخَلَائِقِ حَتَّى يُخَيِّرَهُ مِنْ أَيِّ حُلَلِ الْإِيمَانِ شَاءَ يَلْبَسُهَا

Whoever gives up fine clothing out of humility for Allah while he is able to wear them, then Allah will call him on the Day of Resurrection in front of all His creation and He will allow him to choose whichever garment of faith he desires.

Source: Sunan At-Tirmidhi 2481, Grade: Hasan

Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said:

مَا مِنْ آدَمِيٍّ إِلا فِي رَأْسِهِ حِكْمَةٌ بِيَدِ مَلَكٍ فَإِذَا تَوَاضَعَ قِيلَ لِلْمَلَكِ ارْفَعْ حِكْمَتَهُ وَإِذَا تَكَبَّرَ قِيلَ لِلْمَلَكِ ضَعْ حِكْمَتَهُ

There is no human being except that the wisdom of his mind is in the hands of an angel. When he shows humility, the angel is ordered to increase his wisdom. When he shows arrogance, the angel is ordered to decrease his wisdom.

Source: Mu’jam Al-Kabeer 12771, Grade: Hasan

Mujahid reported: Ibn Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

‏ إِذَا أَرَدْتَ أَنْ تَذْكُرَ عُيُوبَ صَاحِبِكَ فَاذْكُرْ عُيُوبَ نَفْسِكَ

When you think to mention the faults of your companion, then remember your own faults.

Source: Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 328, Grade: Hasan

Ibn Rajab reported: Some of the righteous predecessors (salaf as-salih) said:

التَّوَاضُعُ أَنَّ تَقْبَلَ الْحَقَّ مِنْ كُلِّ مَنْ جَاءَ بِهِ وَإِنْ كَانَ صَغِيرًا فَمَنْ قَبِلَ الْحَقَّ مِمَّنْ جَاءَ بِهِ سَوَاءً كَانَ صَغِيرًا أَوْ كَبِيرًا وَسَوَاءً كَانَ يُحِبُّهُ أَوْ لَا يُحِبُّهُ ، فَهُوَ مُتَوَاضِعٌ وَمَنْ أَبَى قَبُولَ الْحَقِّ تَعَاظُمًا عَلَيْهِ فَهُوَ مُتَكَبِّرٌ

Humility is that you accept the truth from anyone who brings it, even if they are young. Whoever accepts the truth from whoever brings it to him, whether they are young or old, whether he loves them or not, then he is humble. Whoever refuses to accept the truth because he regards himself as too important beside it, or as compared to the person who speaks it to him, then he is arrogantly proud.

Source: Jami’ al-Ulum al-Hikam 13

Success comes from Allah, and Allah knows best.