Humbleness and Humility: Examples of the Salaf

I was at a halaqa recently and we were being taught the most Beautiful Names of Allah, Subhaanahu wa Ta’ala, and we discussed the names Al Qadir, Al Qadeer, and Al Muqtadir, and all these names had one thing in common which was that Allah was All-Capable and All-Powerful as the basis of understanding these names. And from a proper understanding of these Names we get or should get the feeling of humility in within ourselves. It is based on our fear and hope which in turn brings about a feeling of humility and humbleness within us. So the second part of this halaqa focused on this issue. We started with the hadeeth of the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) when he saw Aboo Mas’ood hitting his slave and he (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said “Allah has more power over you Oh Aboo Mas’ood! than you have over your own slave!”

We discussed the many ayaat and ahadeeth that encouraged humbleness and those ayaat and ahadeeth that showed us that this is from the characteristics of the believer. Some of these ayaat that we discussed were the ayaat in Surat An Najm from V. 42 onward to he end, and indeed these were such powerful verses that when the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) recited these, even the mushrikeen of Makkah fell into prostration when hearing them.

Then we moved onto excerpts from Imaam Ibn Al Qayyim’s book Madaarij As Salikeen where he discusses these matters and brings examples of the sahaaba and the salaf and their humility and humbleness. First he bring the ahadeeth of the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) on the dangers of Kibr or arrogance. And as our teacher mentioned to us there are very few people in this world that are naturally humble, most of us have to work on this and some of us have to work on this very hard. Most of us have this thought that we are right and everyone else is wrong. It is alright for us to think that we are right because if we didn’t then we wouldn’t believe or do the things that we do, only a mentally deranged person would believe in things that he doesn’t know to be the truth. But boasting about oneself being on the truth or looking down upon people based on this might be a sign of arrogance and haughtiness.

Some of the stories mentioned in class that I really like was the story of ‘Umar ibn Abdul Azeez (d. 101 AH) (Rahimullah). He heard form someone that his son bought a ring for a thousand dirhams. At that time it was a very expensive ring. So he wrote to his son advising him, “It has reached me that you bought a ring for 1000 dirhams. Sell the ring and feed a 1000 people. And buy another ring for 2 dirhams and inscribe on it ‘May Allah have Mercy on the one who knows his own limits!'”

And Fudayl Ibn Iyaad (d. 187 AH) (Rahimullah) once said, “Tawaada’ (humility/humbleness) is to humble yourself to the truth irrespective of where it comes from. It is to see no worth in yourself. If one sees it in himself, there is no tawaada’.”

Meaning that to see yourself as something or being worth something is to not have achieved a high status of tawaada’. One statement comes to mind every time I think about the issue of humility. I was told that this was a statement of one of the salaf that he (Rahimullah) said, “How can a human being have arrogance when he knows that he came from the private parts of his parents.” If you think about it, this is very deep MashaAllah. Compared to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) and his Power and Ability, truly we are nothing and for us to even look up with our head high and walk is in actuality our stupidity, because at that time we don’t realize that we are actually nothing, and when one acts that way he is probably nothing pondering over Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala)’s Majesty and Dignity and Power! Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’ala) says in a translation of His words,

“The (faithful) slaves of the Beneficent are they who walk upon the earth modestly, and when the foolish ones address them answer: Peace;” [Surat Al Furqan (25) V. 63]

Ibraheem Ash Shaybanee (Rahimullah) used to say,

“Honor is in Humbleness

Dignity is in Taqwa

Freedom is in Contentment”

which is so true. And another story that was mentioned was the one narrated to us by Urwa ibn Az Zubayr (Rahimullah), the son of Zubayr ibn Al Awwam (Radi Allahu Anhu) and Asmaa bint Abee Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu), the Grandson of Aboo Bakr (Radi Allahu Anhu), the student of Aisha (Radi Allahu Anhu), who once saw Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) carrying with him a container of water on his shoulders. So Urwa (Rahimullah) said to Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu), “It desnt seem befitting got the Ameer ul Mu’mineen to do this.” and Umar (Radi Allahu Anhu) replied, “When I saw the people listening to me and obeying me and doing as I told them, honor entered me. I wanted to break this feeling and thus I am doing this”

And finally one of the most amazing stories of the sahaaba that I heard in the halaqa was that of Aboo Dharr Al Ghifaaree (Radi Allahu Anhu) which is very popular and has been narrated many times. but the relevant part of it is that once Aboo Dharr (Radi Allahu Anhu) said to Bilal (Radi Allahu Anhu), who was a black man, in a negative connotation, “Oh you son of a black woman!” which offended Bilal (Radi Allahu Anhu) and when Aboo Dharr (Radi Allahu Anhu) was chastised by the Prophet (Sal Allahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) he wanted to remove this feeling of arrogance from himself. So he went to Bilal (Radi Allahu Anhu) and put his head on the floor and asked Bilal (Radi Allahu Anhu) to put his foot on his head, and he tried to force Bilal (Radi Allahu Anhu) to do this as Bilal (Radi Allahu Anhu) refused.

These were the salaf and this is how they portrayed themselves and this was their character. And if anyone of us claims to even follow the salaf and be upon the way of the salaf then we need to ask ourselves are we like these people. Can we do this in our daily lives? Can we ask someone to step on our head because we offended them?? The answer is a resounding NO because if we did this the world would be a better place and the Muslims would be in a better position than they are now because we would all be humble and be careful as to what to say to our brothers and others.

InshaAllah in a follow-up to this post I will try to list some of the contemporary issues and day to day issues that we might face in our environment relating to kibr and its removal to attain tawaada’.

Allah Knows Best.

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Nederigheid en Ootmoed by Umm Anas Ayman

2 Responses to “Humbleness and Humility: Examples of the Salaf”


  1. 1 sleeplesslonging September 13, 2006 at 4:35 am

    jzak Allahu khair; a timely reminder!


  1. 1 Humbleness and Humility: Examples from the Salaf (Dutch) « IBN AL HYDERABADEE Trackback on October 8, 2006 at 10:15 pm

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Fiqh As Sawm

Islamic Rulings Surrounding Ramadhan and Fasting. Based on “Manar As Sabeel Fi Sharh Ad Daleel” Of Shaykh Ibraheem ibn Duwaiyan (d. 1353 AH) as explained by Br. Salim Morgan. Transcribed and Edited By Ibn Al Hyderabadee

Prologue Introduction

Chapter 1: Fasting in Ramadhaan
1. A pillar of Islam 2. Obligation of Fasting 3. Sighting of the Moon for start of Ramadhaan 4. One reliable witness' presence is sufficient 5. Conditions that make Ramadhan Obligatory for an Individual 6. Expiation for the inability to fast due to age or illness 7. Requirements of a valid fast 8. Obligations to fulfill during fasting 9. Recommended acts of fasting

Chapter 2: Permissions and Prohibitions

1. Impermissible to break fast during Ramadhan 2. Prohibited to fast for a woman in her menstrual or post-partum bleedin 3. Obligatory to break it when it is required to save a person’s life 4. Recommended to break fast for one who is ill and fears harm from fasting. 5. Recommended to break fast when one is traveling 6. Permissible for one to break fast who begins a journey while fasting 7. Permissible for a pregnant or nursing (breast feeding) woman 8. Change of condition of a person doesn’t obligate one to refrain from eating and drinking the rest of the day. 9. Prohibited to fast a voluntary fast instead of an obligatory one.

Chapter 3: That which Invalidates Your Fast

1. Intentional Intake of anything into the abdomen 2. Intention to break fast 3. Fluctuating Intention to fast 4. Vomiting intentionally 5. Menstruation or Post Partum Bleeding 6. Masturbation 7. Marital Relations 8. Cupping for both parties 9. Death 10. Apostasy 11. Above are Exempted in some cases

Chapter 4: Repayment
1. Missing a day of fast in Ramadhan
2. When does one make up a missed fast
3. If missed fast are not made up until few dats before next Ramadhan
4. Missed fasts first or voluntary?

Chapter 5: Recommended, Disliked, and Impermissible Days of Fasting
1. Recommended Every Other Day Sawn Dawood
2. The three white days of every Islamic month
3. Six days of Shawwaal
4. Month of Muharram and the 10th
5. Ten days of Dhil Hijja and that of Arafat
6. Disliking of the month of Rajab
7. Disliking of the day of Friday
8. Disliking of the 30th of Shabaan
9. Impermissibility of fasting on the two Eids
10. Completing of a voluntary fast is not Wajib

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