The Significance and Virtue of Humility and Submission8 min read

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The Significance and Virtue of Humility and Submission

The Significance and Virtue of Humility and Submission

Human, whose creation began with a single drop and whose ultimate destination is departure from this world. The realm of his control and helplessness is such that he has no control over his hunger, thirst, sleep, happiness, sorrow, memory, illness, or death. Therefore, he should not forget his true essence and times, even if he achieves great success and reaches high ranks in this world. In the presence of Allah, there is no distinction in his status, regardless of who he is or where he stands. A person of intellect adopts humility and submission. This very approach grants him greatness in this world; otherwise, whenever a human being has followed the path of Pharaoh, Qarun, and Nimrod in this world, Allah has humiliated him to such an extent that his name is not taken with praise but with condemnation. Therefore, the demand of intellect and understanding is that in this world, a person should live as if he is on a high flight and turn his helplessness and submission into his strength. Then see how Allah, the Lord of Majesty, honors him and grants him a position of love and popularity in this world, which is impossible to attain without His grace and kindness. We pray that one day, the Messenger of Allah () delivered a sermon to us, in which he said:

وَعَنْ عِيَاضِ بْنِ حِمَارٍ ‏- رضى الله عنه ‏- قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اَللَّهِ ‏- صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏-{ إِنَّ اَللَّهَ أَوْحَى إِلَيَّ أَنْ تَوَاضَعُوا, حَتَّى لَا يَبْغِيَ أَحَدٌ عَلَى أَحَدٍ, وَلَا يَفْخَرَ أَحَدٌ عَلَى أَحَدٍ } أَخْرَجَهُ مُسْلِمٌ .‏‏

’Iyad bin Himar (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Allah, the Most High has revealed to me that you (people) should be humble, so that no one transgresses another, or boasts to the other.” (Bulugh al-Maram)

There is contentment in helplessness

Saidna Abu Huraira (رضي الله عنه) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

مَنْ تَوَاضَعَ لِأَخِيهِ الْمُسْلِمِ رَفَعَهُ اللَّهُ وَمَنِ ارْتَفَعَ عَلَيْهِ وَضَعَهُ اللَّهُ صحیح مسلم: 2865

Whoever humbles themselves for the sake of their Muslim brother, Allah (ﷺ) exalts them, and whoever seeks to assert their superiority, Allah (ﷺ) abases them.

وَعَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ‏- رضى الله عنه ‏- قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اَللَّهِ ‏- صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏-{ مَا نَقَصَتْ صَدَقَةٌ مِنْ مَالٍ, وَمَا زَادَ اَللَّهُ عَبْدًا بِعَفْوٍ إِلَّا عِزًّا, وَمَا تَوَاضَعَ أَحَدٌ لِلَّهِ إِلَّا رَفَعَهُ } أَخْرَجَهُ مُسْلِم.

Abu Hurairah (RAA) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “Sadaqah does not decrease property and Allah increases the honor of him who forgives and no one will humble himself for Allah’s sake except that Allah raises his status.” (Bulugh al-Maram)

This narration has rectified three concepts in our lives. Firstly, we understand that spending on others and giving charity will not decrease our wealth; rather, the act of giving charity increases it. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) has advised that charity does not decrease wealth; instead, it grows.

Secondly, we recognize that forgiving someone reflects our nobility and humility. Similarly, when we make a mistake, accepting it with humility is a sign of honor. Forgiving is dignity, seeking forgiveness is remorse, and being dishonored is disgraceful. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) emphasized that forgiveness and seeking forgiveness elevate a person’s dignity.

Thirdly, due to our elevated status, we will not display any helplessness or submissiveness. Such behavior and attitude will tarnish our dignity. Helplessness will bring humiliation, and submissiveness will lower our status. Therefore, we will maintain our stature to prevent any reduction in our honor and virtue. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) stated that humility and submissiveness not only elevate a person’s status and position in the presence of Allah but also increase respect and honor in the hearts of people, something one cannot comprehend previously.

In helplessness, I attained the scent of the moon

In human life, there are certain factors and causes that come forward, which strip a person of their helplessness and humility, and in them, arrogance, pride, and insolence are born. Below, a mention is being made of some of these factors.

Happiness and Abundance in the World

In the path of helplessness and submission, the greatest factor for a person to become content is the contentment of oneself. This contentment takes away the description of submission from a person. But in front of us is the life of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ), who guides us, supports us at every turn and in every aspect of life. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) preferred a life of humility and submission over a life of royalty. If you want to make your life happy, then it is important to know that the Mother of the Believers, Aisha (رضي الله عنها), narrates that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said:

فَوَاللهِ لَوْ شِئْتُ لأَجْرَى اللهُ مَعِي جِبَالَ الذَّهَبِ وَالْفِضَّةِ

I swear by Allah, if I wish, Allah the Almighty can make mountains of gold and silver for me.

Victory and Success

The second major factor that becomes an attacking element on our vulnerability and helplessness within us is the attitude that follows the conquest and dominance. After achieving victory and prosperity, this attitude is what leads a person to oppress and mistreat their subordinates and the weak. In ordinary circumstances, a person may be submissive and humble, but when they achieve success over an adversary, their thinking is influenced, and at such times, they abandon helplessness and submission. Instead, they tread the path of arrogance, defiance, and the pursuit of power and strength. They subject their enemies and opposing parties to extreme oppression and rebellion. The Wise Quran expresses this regal and authoritative disposition and behavior of humans as follows:

قَالَتْ إِنَّ ٱلْمُلُوكَ إِذَا دَخَلُوا۟ قَرْيَةً أَفْسَدُوهَا وَجَعَلُوٓا۟ أَعِزَّةَ أَهْلِهَآ أَذِلَّةًۭ ۖ وَكَذَٰلِكَ يَفْعَلُونَ ٣٤

She said, “In fact when the kings enter a town, they put it to disorder, and put its honorable citizens to disgrace, and this is how they normally do. (27:34)

The human history bears witness to the fact that kings, in the intoxication of conquest and dominance, have built towering monuments from the toil of people’s labor. They reached the extreme of killing and plundering, piling up heaps of corpses everywhere. However, even in such moments, the life and teachings of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) conveyed a message of humility and submission to humanity. It urged people to be grateful to Allah for their victories and not to boast over others, but to live their lives in fullness through gratitude. For it is through gratitude that human nature finds humility and submission. Conquest and dominance occur in human life when individuals succumb to arrogance and begin oppressing others.

Blind Love and Devotion

Another thing that can strip human existence of helplessness and humility is blind love and faith. Based on any aspect of a person, others shower them with boundless love and unparalleled faith. As a result, a person begins to perceive themselves as worthy of respect and deserving of honor. Conversely, when someone’s connection with other people is limited to those who love and have faith in them, they do not show the same appreciation and do not reciprocate the same faith and love. Their disposition is not inclined to accept different perspectives. The nature of such individuals becomes similar to that of a child.

Travel on public transportation

In the aspects of helplessness and humility, one should strive to be humble. It is not necessary that an elaborate journey be undertaken, for the journey cannot be made until there is a worthy vehicle. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) used to undertake journeys even on a humble mount, as mentioned by Sayyidina Abu Musa (رضي الله عنه).

كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَرْكَبُ الْحِمَارَ، وَيَلْبَسُ الصُّوفَ، وَيَعْتَقِلُ الشَّاةَ، وَيَأْتِي مُرَاعَاةَ الضَّيْفِ

Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) used to ride a donkey, wear simple clothing, milk goats with his own hands, and show great respect to guests.

To praise oneself

If someone doesn’t find revolutions in our praise, we might become dissatisfied, while simplicity and humility are contrary to it. If we look at the life of the Noble Prophet (ﷺ), he used to dislike excessive praise and discourage exaggeration in praise.

حَدَّثَنَا الْحُمَيْدِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا سُفْيَانُ، قَالَ سَمِعْتُ الزُّهْرِيَّ، يَقُولُ أَخْبَرَنِي عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، سَمِعَ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ يَقُولُ عَلَى الْمِنْبَرِ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ لاَ تُطْرُونِي كَمَا أَطْرَتِ النَّصَارَى ابْنَ مَرْيَمَ، فَإِنَّمَا أَنَا عَبْدُهُ، فَقُولُوا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولُهُ ‏”‏‏.‏

Narrated `Umar: I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “Do not exaggerate in praising me as the Christians praised the son of Mary, for I am only a Slave. So, call me the Slave of Allah and His Apostle.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

The biography of the Prophet teaches us the lesson that even after accomplishing great deeds, one should still maintain humility within themselves. As Abdullah bin Abu Bakr narrates, when the conquest of Mecca occurred, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) entered it with the Muslim army.

وَإِنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ لِيَضَعَ رَأْسَهُ تَوَاضُعًا لِلَّهِ حِينَ رَأَى مَا أَكْرَمَهُ اللَّهُ بِهِ مِنْ الْفَتْحِ، حَتَّى إِنْ عُثْنُونَهُ لَيَكَادُ يَمَسُّ وَاسِطَةَ الرَّحْلِ. سرة ابن هشام

Many of us have the habit of searching for a special and prominent seat to sit in gatherings, striving to find a seat where we stand out, not just for the sake of arrogance.

Many people are troubled by hunger; they have nothing to eat, yet they are not prepared to do any labor or work that might affect their status. However, this is not a new phenomenon. Even our Prophet Ali (ﷺ) used to graze goats. So, Jabir (رضي الله عنه) expressed:

أَكُنْتَ تَرْعَى الغَلَمَ؟

Have you grazed goats

وَعَنْ جَابِرٍ قَالَ: كُنَّا مَعَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ بِمَرِّ الظَّهْرَانِ نَجْنِي الْكَبَاثَ فَقَالَ: «عَلَيْكُم بالأسْوَدِ مِنْهُ فإِنَّه أَطْيَبُ» فَقِيلَ: أَكُنْتَ تَرْعَى الْغَنَمَ؟ قَالَ: «نَعَمْ وهلْ منْ نبيٍّ إِلاَّ رعاها؟»

Jabir told that when they were with God’s messenger at Marr az-Zahran and were plucking the fruit of the arak tree he said, “Keep to its black ones, for they are the most pleasant.” He was asked if he had shepherded sheep and replied, “Yes; has there been a prophet who did not shepherd them?” (Bukhari and Muslim.)

Compassion for those younger than oneself

It is also humility that a person meets with those who are less fortunate than themselves, talks about their level. It is also your humility that when you pass by children, you greet them with great kindness and grace, and with great humility, you pay attention to them. Thus, our beloved Prophet (ﷺ) said:

حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ الْجَعْدِ، أَخْبَرَنَا شُعْبَةُ، عَنْ سَيَّارٍ، عَنْ ثَابِتٍ الْبُنَانِيِّ، عَنْ أَنَسِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ ـ رضى الله عنه أَنَّهُ مَرَّ عَلَى صِبْيَانٍ فَسَلَّمَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَقَالَ كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَفْعَلُهُ‏.‏

Narrated Anas bin Malik: that he passed by a group of boys and greeted them and said, “The Prophet (ﷺ) used to do so.” (Sahih al-Bukhari)

Anas (رضي الله عنه) said:

كَانَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَفْعَلُهُ

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) used to do such things. Sahih al-Bukhari

Instead, you (ﷺ) used to play and have fun with us, the children. A little child used to come to you (ﷺ), and he had a small bird with him. You (ﷺ) used to show affection and play with it, and you (ﷺ) never separated from it. The Prophet (ﷺ) had a very broad forehead, a smiling face, and humility when meeting him.” – Sahih al-Bukhari

عاجزی و انکساری کی اہمیت وفضیلت


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Umme Muhammad

I am an Islamic Scholar. I have expertise in Ahadith, Fiqh, Logics, and the Arabic language. I have a specialty in Translation, Tafseer, Arabic Language, and Ahadith learning. To get started with me, Book Now one-to-one Session, or let us know what do you like in the contact form.

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