The Evil of Pride and Self-Admiration

Imam Ali (a) said: “The one into whose heart 'ujb (self-admiration) permeates is destined to be destroyed.” [Al‑Saduq, al-‘Amali, p. 447]

Everything in this world is but a test of Allah Subhana-wa-ta’ala. Self-admiration is one of the hardest tests on a person. We all have our faults and make mistakes every other minute of our lives, indeed the perfect of the humans was the Prophet Muhammad Sallalhu-alaihi-wasalam.

Whenever a person admires his virtues and cannot find any faults in his conduct and personality, he must think once again. The problem and the disease is too chronic. He is the most imperfect man. When a person is tested with self-admiration he must look at his faults.

An ignorant and a foolish person will not find any of his faults whereas a wise person is constantly in search of his faults and tries to rectify them. This is the person who is always repenting and seeking Allah’s forgiveness. A foolish man thinks too high of himself and regards himself to be the most perfect and wise.

If you admire your looks, think that with time this youthful look will vanish and will be replaced by old age. If your looks are making you arrogant think that it is a blessing from Allah ta’aala and He has the power to take it away just like he gave it to you without you deserving.
If you admire your opinions, remember the times when your opinions turned out wrong. Remember the time when your decisions bought you trouble.

If you are impressed by your work, thank Allah, for it is Him who helped you through this. One must not think of himself as the most powerful and perfect.

If you admire your knowledge, then remember that it is a gift from Allah to you. And you must use it in his way rather than belittling every other person who is not bestowed with such knowledge. This leads him to forget humanity and makes him cruel and destructive.

Do you like to get praised and do the praises of others give you contentment? Remember that it is the perception of Allah that matters not how world perceive you? As Imam Ali (a) said: “The person who imagines himself to be great, in the eyes of God is worthless.” [Al-Amidi, Ghurar ul-Hikam wa Durar ul-Kalim, hadith # 8609]

If you consider faults of others greater than yours and believe that you are free form any sins, you must think again and start repenting to Allah azawajal. All the good comes from Allah and is a blessing from Him. We must always be in shukur and humble our ways and ourselves. We must ask Allah subhana-wa-ta’aala to hide our sins from the people in this Duniya and in Hereafter.

Allah loves the person who is humble. Self-admiration leads to pride and arrogance. Allah says in glorious Quran

“Say: Shall We inform you who will be the greatest losers in their deeds? Those whose efforts are wasted away in the life of the world, while they think that they are doing something good. (Qur'an, 18: 103-4)”
Self-admiration is a destructive and dangerous evil that spoils the imaan of a person. According to Ahlul Bayt “ujb is worse than sin, so much so that God makes a believer commit a sin so that he may be saved from 'ujb. It must be noted that Allah loves us so much that in order to save us from the evils of self-admiration he makes us to sin so that we keep in check with ourselves.

After the death and in the purgatory (barzakh), the possessor of this evil disease experiences a frightful loneliness.

Self-admiration leads to shirk. A person is too filled with himself to acknowledge the goodness of Allah. He considers himself to be pious and virtuous and never rectifies himself. His heart is corrupt.

Self-admiration leads to riyaa i.e. showing off and nifaq i.e. hypocrisy.

Imam al‑Sadiq (a) said, "The Devil says, `If I subdue the son of Adam in three things, I do not care whatever he may do (from then on), as his good deeds will not be accepted: (1) When he overestimates his good deeds, (2) When he is forgetful about his sins, and (3) When 'ujb permeates him.'" [Al‑Saduq al‑Khisal, vol. 1, p. 112, hadith # 86]

May Allah protect and guide us.

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