Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Cost of Arrogance

There's arrogance in all of us. We were created that way, so it's in our nature and it'll never change. However, some can control their arrogance and some cannot. Most people, including myself, fall into the second category, the ones who have a hard time controlling their arrogance.

The cost of letting our arrogance take control can sometimes be devastating. It can ruin friendships, destroy marriages, lead into war and killings, and worse, it can inflict the wrath of the All Mighty. An arrogant person will often hurt his/her friends feelings, an arrogant husband who disregards his wife will be the source of a bad marriage, the arrogance of Hitler lead to the massacre of millions of Jews in World War 2, and the arrogance of Satan who refused to bow to Adam lead to the wrath of Allah The All Mighty.

The arrogance of Satan is the worst. Because he knew that he was facing The Sustainer of All Things, The Most Knowledgable of All, yet he still maintained his arrogance and disobeyed. This event is recorded in the Holy Qur'an in Al Hijr verse 31-43

which has approximate meaning:
31: Not so Iblis: he refused to be among those who prostrated themselves.
32: (Allah) said: "O Iblis! what is your reason for not being among those who prostrated themselves?"
33: (Iblis) said: "I am not one to prostrate myself to man, whom Thou didst create from sounding clay, from mud moulded into shape."
34: (Allah) said: "Then get thee out from here; for thou art rejected, accursed.
35: "And the curse shall be on thee till the day of Judgment."
36: (Iblis) said: "O my Lord! give me then respite till the Day the (dead) are raised."
37: (Allah) said: "Respite is granted thee
38: "Till the Day of the Time appointed."
39: (Iblis) said: "O my Lord! because Thou hast put me in the wrong, I will make (wrong) fair-seeming to them on the earth, and I will put them all in the wrong,-
40: "Except Thy servants among them, sincere and purified (by Thy Grace)."
41: (Allah) said: "This (way of My sincere servants) is indeed a way that leads straight to Me.
42: "For over My servants no authority shalt thou have, except such as put themselves in the wrong and follow thee."
43: And verily, Hell is the promised abode for them all!

By the order of Allah, all creatures but Satan bowed to Adam, the first human being. Satan's arguments were based upon the nature of his creation (fire) versus the nature of Adam’s creation (soil/clay). This inflicted the wrath of Allah, and Satan was cursed for eternity. His one promise was to do his best to misguide all of Adam's descendants but a few. The only ones who can avoid Satan's misguidance are the ones who uphold justice and perform good deeds.

Satan's arrogant view on who is more superior is a materialistic view which is actually already widespread and common in our civilization, where one is deemed superior based upon ones ancestral background, nationality, race, richness, etc. This is a view that we need to eradicate if we truly want to uphold equity and justice throughout the human race. Islam teaches us that human beings only differ according to the good they bring for other people.

Arrogance is a dangerous attitude, and it will eventually destroy the person who commits it. The common sense is that arrogant people should have few or no friends. Unfortunately in real life, we often find that people with the most arrogant attitude are the ones who are most popular and liked. The civilization we live in has already become so twisted and has been turned upside down, that many things contradict common sense. I guess Satan has succeeded in his promise to misguide all of Adam's offspring and descendants but only a few.

May we be able to avoid, or at least control our arrogance and be among the guided ones…

keywords: al hijr, 31-43, satan, human nature