Islamic Value – Humility

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Taken from the book American Muslim Agenda by Dr. Mike Ghouse

Chapter 16: Islamic Value No. 8


Humility is one of the twelve values of Islam that contribute toward a better world, a world of harmony, peace, and respect for the other. It frees the individual’s time and efforts in proving to others that he or she is better than others. Who cares?

This value of humility is inculcated among Muslims through social norms and rituals of Islam. Humility is an integral part of teaching Islam. Of course, you will always find the arrogant ones in every group of people, and they are exceptions and not a rule.

Humility is the panacea to conflicts, it builds relationships, brings peace to individuals, families, and nations. Whereas arrogance is the root cause of all evil, it kills relationships, breaks marriages, sows’ discord, starts wars and brings destruction to all.

God loves us all, we are his production, and he wants us to live in harmony, and for that, he consistently delivers messages through reflections or religions o learn to be humble. There is not a religious tradition where one does not bow, lean, kneel or prostrate to express one’s humility.

Humility and Arrogance are two sides of each individual. We are born with it, and the choice is ours to be arrogant or humble. The Zoroastrian faith sees both good and evil residing in us, and we have a decision to employ either one with the rewards of humility or the consequences of arrogance respectively.

We have had a display of arrogance throughout the history from Lucifer to Nimrod to Pharaohs, and from Hitler down to Bin Laden and a whole lot more including democratically elected leaders who were a cause of deaths of thousands of humans. All of them are gone and remembered as bad guys. Why live such a life?

It started somewhere or the other, the Quran offers this beginning;

Quran 7:12, God said: “What has kept thee from prostrating thyself when I commanded thee?” Answered [Satan]: “I am better than he: Thou hast created me out of the fire, whereas him Thou hast built out of clay. *Chapter on Freewill.

As usual, this verse can be taken in two ways – a real physical act or a story to tell the consequences of arrogance. Muslims and Christians have always gone with the physical action, whereas I propose to also think of it as a narrative to explain what arrogance does.

When Islam insists on submitting to the one and only creator or causer of the universe, it just means acknowledging that there is a power higher than us, been there before we were born, and will be there after we are gone. So, abandon all pride and arrogance and live in peace with others.

Arrogance in Religion

In April 2009, I gave a short speech at the annual Religious Communicators Council’s meeting in Dallas, Texas.

” I am a Muslim and Islam works for me, just as Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism or other faiths work for you. I am further humbled to say that; my religion is not superior to other faiths, nor any faith is superior to Islam.” The next recipient of the award was Pastor John Lovelace, president of Federation of churches in Dallas, he met me on my way back to my seat, and said, “Mike, you made it difficult, and I cannot say the same thing.” To which I responded, John, the next generation would be able to say that, and we had better get ready for such a change.

That statement created an uproar among a few Muslims, and I was called in by Imam Zia Shaikh to discuss this with him. My question to him was, tell me from the Quran (not subsequent books) who God loves most and the least. He was straight – God loves those individuals who forgive often, and of course, the arrogant person is the one God likes the least. We understood each other and respected each other’s take quietly, he was the Imam, and he has to follow the tradition.

In July the Center for Pluralism organized a seminar at Capitol Hill with a Rabbi, Imam, Pastor and a Pundit to discuss the interpretation of particular verses. It was a joy to see a different point of view emerging than the traditional one, which strips arrogances and highlights the humility. The sentences like Jews are the chosen people, Jesus is the only way, Islam is the only religion acceptable to God, Hinduism is the oldest and wisest religion. God does not make deals with anyone behind other’s back. God wants all of us to be humble and get along with each other.

Thus, Humility is one of the values Islam teaches to build peaceful societies. Many verses are calling for humility in between individuals as well as towards the higher power, the kinder God.

Quran Verses on Humility

Quran 23:1 – 23:5
TRULY, to a happy state shall attain the believers:
those who humble themselves in their prayer,
and who turn away from all that is frivolous,
and who are intent on inner purity;
and who are mindful of their integrity,
Such people are free from blame.

Quran 6:42,” And, indeed, we sent Our messages unto people before thy time, [O Prophet,] and visited them with misfortune and hardship so that they might humble themselves.”

Quran 6:43, “yet when the misfortune decreed by Us befell them, they did not humble themselves, but rather their hearts grew hard, for Satan had made all their doings seem goodly to them.”

Quran 26:4, “Had We so willed, We could have sent down unto them a message from the skies, so that their necks would [be forced to] bow down before it in humility [Inasmuch as the spiritual value of man’s faith depends on it is being an outcome of free choice and not of compulsion].”

Quran 11:23, “Behold, [only] those who attain to faith and do righteous deeds and humble themselves before their Sustainer – [only] they are destined for paradise, and there shall they abide.”

The Quran advises against conceit. People with inflated egos tend to be divisive, always believe in an imaginary enemy that is fighting their insecure self. To feel secure, they idolize themselves and live in the imaginary world. I hope President Trump realizes this and becomes humble.

Quran 31:18, “And turn not thy cheek away from people in [false] pride, and walk not haughtily on earth: for, behold, God does not love anyone who, out of self- conceit, acts in a boastful manner.”

Humility is one of the greatest blessings God can bestow on a human being.

Quran 25:63, “For, [true] servants of the Most Gracious are [only] they who walk gently on earth, and who, whenever the foolish address them, with the aim to ridicule them or to argue against their beliefs, reply with [words of] peace;”

Quran 23:2, “Those who humble themselves in their prayer, Successful indeed are the believers who humble themselves in their prayers.”

Quran 2:54, “And when Moses said unto his people: “O my people! Verily, you have sinned against yourselves by worshipping the calf; turn, then in repentance to your Maker and mortify yourselves; this will be the best for you in your Maker’s sight”. And thereupon He accepted your repentance: for, behold, He alone is the Acceptor of Repentance, the Dispenser of Grace.

Quran 17:37, “And walk not on earth with haughty self-conceit: for, verily, thou canst never rend the earth asunder, nor canst thou ever grows as tall as the mountains!

Quran 77:20, “Did We not create you out of a humble fluid


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