Humility in Islam


Muslims constantly strive to remember and practice Islamic virtues, and put them into practice throughout their daily lives. Among these great Islamic virtues are submission to Allah, self-restraint, discipline, sacrifice, patience, brotherhood, generosity, and humility.
In English, the word “humility” comes from the Latin root word which means “ground.” Humility, or being humble, means that one is modest, submissive and respectful, not proud and arrogant. You lower yourself to the ground, not elevate yourself above others.
In prayer, Muslims prostrate themselves to the ground, acknowledging human beings’ humbleness before the Lord of the Worlds.
In the Quran, Allah uses several Arabic words which convey the meaning of “humility.” Among these are tada’a and khasha’a. For example: Tad’a; “Before thee We sent messengers to many nations, and We afflicted the nations with suffering and adversity, that they call Allah in humility . When the suffering reached them from Us, why then did they not call Allah in humility? On the contrary, their hearts became hardened, and Satan made their sinful acts seem alluring to them. -Qur’an 6:42-43
“Call on your Lord with humility and in private, for Allah loves not those who transgress beyond bounds. Do not mischief on the earth, after it has been set in order, but call on Him with fear and longing in your hearts, for the Mercy of Allah is always near to those who do good.” –Qura’an 7:55-56
Khasha’a; “Successful indeed are the believers, those who humble themselves in their prayers…” – Qur’an 23:1-2. “Has not the time arrived for the believers that their hearts in all humility should engage in the remembrance of Allah and of the Truth which has been revealed to them… – Qur’an 57:16
Therefore, humility is equivalent to submission to Allah. We should abandon all selfishness and pride in our human power, and stand humbled, meek, and submissive as servants of Allah.
In Arabs history before Islam, they followed the rules of no one except themselves, and preserved their personal honor above anything else. They would humble themselves to no one, neither a man nor a God. They were proud of their absolute independence, their human power; they had limitless self-confidence and refused to bow down to any authority. A man was lord of himself. Indeed, these qualities are what made someone a “real man.” Humility and submissiveness were considered weak – not a quality of a noble man. The Arabs had a fierce, passionate nature and would scorn anything which might make them humbled, humiliated in any way, or feel like their personal dignity and status were being degraded.
Islam came and demanded of them, before anything else, to submit themselves wholly to the one and only Creator, and abandon all pride, arrogance, and feelings of self-sufficiency. Many among the pagan Arabs felt that this was an outrageous demand – to stand as equals with each other, in submission to Allah alone.
Human insolence, arrogance, elevated self-worth, is around us everywhere. We have to fight in our own hearts against any form of pride.
Indeed, the sin of Iblis (Satan) was his arrogant refusal to humble himself to the will of Allah. We must always remember that we are nothing – we have nothing – except what Allah blesses us with. We can do nothing of our own power.
If we are arrogant and proud in this life, Allah will put us in our place and teach us humility in the next life, by giving us a humiliating punishment. Better that we practice humility now, before Allah alone and among our fellow human beings.

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