Will you give information about conceit?

Details of the Question

Will you give information about conceit?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

CONCEIT

It means to regard oneself great, to act arrogantly, to claim to be lofty. To regard oneself superior to others and to despise them. 

Conceit, which is a characteristic of Satan, prevented him from bowing down to Hz. Adam. Allah Almighty narrates it in the Quran as follows:  

"We said to the angels: ‘Bow down to Adam’ and they bowed down. Not so Iblis: he refused and was haughty: He was of those who reject Faith." (al-Baqara, 2/34)

The most important cause of unbelief and denial is conceit/arrogance/haughtiness. It is possible to see it in the story of Hz. Adam. As a matter of fact, after the rebellion of Satan due to his conceit, most of the people who denied and rebelled did so due to their conceit. Pharaoh denied despite the clear evidences shown by Hz. Musa.

"Then after them sent We Moses and Aaron to Pharaoh and his chiefs with Our Signs. But they were arrogant: they were a people in sin." (Yunus 10/75).

The rich and notable people who denied during the period of the Prophet also denied due to conceit/haughtiness. This issue is narrated in the Quran as follows:

"Then he turned back and was haughty; Then said he: "This is nothing but magic, derived from of old." (al-Muddaththir, 74/23-24)

The close relationship between richness, loftiness and having a high position and conceit is seen in Allah’s addressing Satan:

"Art thou haughty? Or art thou one of the high (and mighty) ones?" (Sad, 38/75),

Conceit plays an important role in denial; therefore, Allah often mentions conceit and similar words like haughtiness, arrogance and vanity.

Hz. Nuh gave his son the following advice:

"I prohibit you from two things: one of them is shirk (polytheism) and the other is conceit." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, I, 170)

Abu Rayhana reports the following from the Prophet (pbuh):

"Nothing from conceit can enter Paradise." Somebody who was present there said,

"O Messenger of Allah! I like the snap of my whip, the soundness and beauty of my shoes. Is it conceit?" Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said,

"No. It is not conceit. Allah is beautiful; He loves beautiful things. Conceit means to despise the truth and make fun of people by gestures." (Muslim, Iman, 47; Ahmad b Hanbal, lV / 133-134)

This hadith states that mocking and denial in the face of the truth is conceit and indicates that making fun of people originates from conceit. Hz. Prophet (pbuh) said to a man who was eating with his left hand, "Eat with your right hand." The man said, "I cannot eat with my right hand." The Prophet (pbuh) said, "May you not be able to do that! This man says he cannot eat with his right hand due to conceit." (Muslim, Ashriba, 107)

The Prophet (pbuh) said,

"None who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of belief shall enter Hell and none who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of conceit shall enter Paradise." (Muslim, Iman, 147, 148, 149; Abu Dawud, Libas, 26; Tirmidhi, Birr, 610; Ibn Majah Muqaddima, 9; Zuhd, 16).

The title of the sub-chapter of this hadith in Muslim's as-Sahih is "conceit being haram and its explanation". As it is understood from it, conceit is one of the bad characteristics that are haram. The expression in the hadith states that a conceited man cannot enter Paradise. However, the conceit mentioned here is conceit toward Allah and the Prophet (pbuh). If conceit, as an ethical characteristic, is considered in terms of despising others and making fun of them, it does not make a person exit the religion of Islam. However, it is haram and it can cause a person to commit the deeds that can make him exit the religion of Islam. A person with such a characteristic will enter Paradise with Allah’s pardoning and forgiveness after he is punished in Hell for his conceit. As a matter of fact, Allah states the following in a verse:

"And We shall remove from their hearts any lurking sense of injury." (al-Hijr, 15/47)

Thus, he states that the hearts of people who enter Paradise will be removed from their ethical faults in the world.

Another hadith regarding the issue is as follows:

"A person who regards himself superior or who walks arrogantly will enter into the presence of Allah by facing the wrath of Allah." (Ahmad b. Hanbal, II / 118).

This hadith shows the state of a conceited person in the hereafter. The Prophet (pbuh) shows the reason for such divine wrath as a person’s trailing his lower, showing off and acting arrogantly. He said,  

"Allah will not look with mercy to a person who trails his lower garment out of conceit." (Muslim, Libas, 42)

Those hadiths show how bad conceit, which is an ethical fault, is regarded by Allah. Regarding oneself superior in the presence of Allah, which is another form of conceit, is regarded as the same as unbelief and is damned. The Prophet (pbuh) states the following:

"People who regard themselves superior will be revived as people in the form of small ants on the Day of Judgment. They will be surrounded by abasement." (Tirmidhi, Qiyamah, 47; Ahmad b Hanbal, II / 179).

The Prophet (pbuh) narrates how conceited people will enter Hell as follows:

"Paradise and Hell discussed. Hell said, "Cruel and conceited people will come to me." Paradise said, "Weak and poor people will come to me." Thereupon, Allah said to the former, "You are My punishment; I will punish whomever I wish with you." He said to the latter, "You are My mercy. I will show mercy on whomever I wish with you. There are a lot of people for both of you." (Muslim, Jannah, 34, 35, 36)

Allah states the following in a sacred hadith regarding the issue:  

"Pride is my cloak and majesty is my lower garment, and I shall throw anyone who dares to compete with me regarding one of them into Hell." (Abu Dawud, Libas, 25; Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 16).

Hz. Prophet criticized conceit and praised modesty, which is the opposite of conceit. The Prophet (pbuh) stated the following in a sermon:

"Allah revealed me as follows: Be modest. Be so modest that do not boast to anyone." (Ibn Majah, Zuhd, 16)

Islam prohibits conceit, which is an ethical fault. Such a conceit is haram; it is a cause of being expelled from Allah's mercy. However, there is another kind of conceit. The Quran used the word "mustakbir" for it. Mustakbirs are persecutors and tyrants who try to establish their sovereignty on Allah’s earth. They regard themselves superior to Allah’s religion in order to enslave Allah’s slaves. Allah states the following for this kind of people:

"That Home of the Hereafter We shall give to those who intend not high-handedness or mischief on earth: and the end is (best) for the righteous." (al-Qasas, 28/83).

(see Ş. İslam Ans., KİBİR Item)

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