In this short video we’ll be discussing how to achieve humility in Islam.
In chapter Al-Furqan, Allah Almighty said:
And the servants of the Most Merciful are those who walk upon the earth with humility, and when the ignorant address them [harshly], they say peace. (25:63)
If we analyze this verse, it gives us a lot of information and a lot of things to take away to help you and me gain more humility.
If we look at the beginning of the verse, Allah Almighty mentions “the worshipers of Ar-Rahman” the Most Merciful. We know Allah Almighty has many names, but He chose to use Ar-Rahman in this verse.
If we think about the name Ar-Rahman, what it means is not only intensely merciful, it refers to the mercy that Allah Almighty bestows on all of His creation; it includes our food, our eyesight, our bodies, the guidance that we’ve gotten. Everything that He has given to us is included in His name Ar-Rahman.
So when we ponder over these things, we’ll realize that we are incapable of achieving any of it on our own. And then when we see that Allah has provided it to us freely, He’s giving it to us free of charge, and at the same time we can take advantage of it and take it for a granted on a daily basis.
Our Precious Blessings
If you’ve ever seen someone who has been unable to hear for their entire life and they get a cochlear implant, which is an implant which allows them to hear, and there are actually videos showing people getting this implant and hearing for the first time that you can find online, you’ll see the moving reaction, the tears, the emotion, the astonishment.
Children hearing their mothers’ voice for the first time, or husbands hearing their wives’ voice for the first time, and vice versa, or just people hearing their loved ones speak and speech for the first time in their entire lives, and how grateful they are. You can see gratitude on their faces in that moment, they’re just awe-stricken and moved to tears.
And if you think about something that’s even, we’ll considerate it more simple than an actual sense being added or removed like hearing, think about the sight of color, there are people who are colorblind.
I watched a video about a man who received a gift from his wife, and they were glasses which enabled him to see color for the very first time.
He put the glasses on and it was as if the entire, everything else going around him just sort of fell away, and he was so focused on looking at the world… And when he looked at flowers, and saw the color of flowers for the first time he couldn’t stand on his own two legs anymore, he fell to the ground. That’s just color.
The majority of us see color every day and to us we think it’s normal we take it for granted, but these things are signs for us – they’re gifts from Allah, they’re abilities that He has given us and He’s given them to us freely and we are incapable of reproducing them.
If He took away our eyesight we would not be able to see. If He took away our hearing, if He took away our ability to speak, to understand, to look at symbols and read, to feel compassion for one another, to feel love, to receive love… all of these things are gifts from Allah Almighty that He’s given us and we’re incapable of that on our own.
So just like how parents provide for their children, and naturally the children are in a humble position where they’re incapable of many things and they rely upon their parents. Likewise we rely upon Allah Almighty and the meaning of that is embodied in His name Ar-Rahman.
So when we ponder over this name, that should help us start to attain some level of humility and appreciation for Allah Almighty and our reliance and dependence on Him while He is free of need and independent.
Walk in Humility
If we look at the next part of the verse, He said that “they are the ones who walk upon the earth in humility,” so this reminds me of the verse in chapter Al-Isra’ where Allah Almighty said:
And do not walk upon the earth exultantly. Indeed, you will never tear the earth [apart], and you will never reach the mountains in height. (17:37)
If you’ve ever flown in an airplane, you know very well that humanity is extremely minuscule, we’re really insignificant, even just in the face of the planet of earth. You can’t even see human beings or our structures from an airplane or from outer space and if you zoom further out in the galaxy, the planet earth is insignificant, it’s not even a speck of dust…
If you’ve seen images from satellites, you can see the earth itself is just a tiny, tiny little piece, almost like a germ or even less than that. Then how we treat germs?
We completely disregard them, we don’t care for them, we don’t appreciate them, we don’t even acknowledge their existence unless they’re going to affect us and make us sick.
So Allah has brought our attention to that, that we are small, we are powerless, we are minuscule… yet Allah Almighty has all Power, power of all things. He can create just by saying “Be” and it is, that’s it. He created all of this and He is in control of all of it and He knows even a leaf falling from a tree, yet we don’t know what’s on the other side of a closed door.
So realizing our smallness, and if you know this in the chapter of Al-Furqan, the verse about those who walk in humility is found, you will notice that Allah is bringing examples of people who have scorned the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the revelation of Allah (SWT) and they are saying “it should be like this… it should be like that…” “why didn’t he come with angels?” “why wasn’t it revealed this way?”… they are acting as if they know better than the creator of the heavens and the earth.
Submit to Him
And that is true arrogance and of course we’re going to avoid saying why do we have to do this… why do we have to do that… why didn’t Allah do it this way? And making assumptions and statements and judgments about things where we have no knowledge, where Allah Almighty has the ultimate and complete knowledge of all things.
So we want to be the opposite of that by obeying Allah’s guidance and realizing that He is the One who knows best. And when we submit ourselves to Him and to the worship of Him, and the service of Him and we follow His guidance, that is a part of humility as well.
When we’re doing our five daily prayers, we are submitting to Him, we’re acknowledging that He knows better than we do; we’re submitting to His law, His rules, His guidance and that is the exact opposite of arrogance where we would be instead saying “why do we have to do this” “it should be like this” “we should have only one prayer per day”… etc.
When we submit to Allah’s will, this is part of humility. Following the guidance of Allah Almighty is the first way where we should begin to attain humility.
In the end of the verse, Allah mentioned another characteristic of “ibadu Ar-Rahman”, those who are the servants of the Most Merciful, and that is that when the ignorant address them, they reply salama (peace).
Who is the Ignorant?
So you notice here that there is a distinction between ibadu Ar-Rahman (Servants of the Most Merciful) and Jahiloon (the ones who are ignorant). It implies that there is a level of knowledge that Ibadu Ar-Rahman possess and that is the knowledge of Allah Almighty and their obedience to Him.
The Jahiloun (ignorant) it’s very general, it could be the ones that He’s referring to who are scorning and questioning the revelation of Allah; and it could be anyone who is addressing us in a harsh way.
So if we truly want to be ibadu Ar-Rahman, then we have to try to embody this characteristic as well, that when we are addressed in an ignorant way, in a negative way, harshly, then we do not stupe down to the level of those addressing us and we do not reply with harshness, we do not argue…
It’s a very simple thing, you try to establish peace between you and the person, and Allah Almighty has said in the other parts of the Quran that they leave the companion of those who are speaking wrongly.
So we have choices, we can try to make peace with that person or we can remove ourselves from that situation but in general “salama” is the way to go or establishing peace between us and those and this requires humility and it also induces humility.
So if we force ourselves to behave in this way, then we will become more humble; and if we are humble, then we will act in this way because we won’t feel our egos are bruised by the people who acknowledge us in a harsh manner or who address us with their ignorance.
We won’t feel the need to prove ourselves, but instead we’ll be able to defuse the situation and remove ourselves from it.
And we know that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) encouraged this and he told us that we should be calming people and not turning people away and repelling them.
(From Discovering Islam’s archive)