I was explaining about arrogance to my nephew a few weeks back. I realised how we all acknowledge arrogance by its definition, but not by its implications and what it entails.
Superficially, one doesn’t realise the significance of arrogance. After all, it’s just a greater amount of confidence in oneself, a little bit more than mere self-satisfaction…isn’t it?
One must remember that arrogance is not merely being satisfied with what one has, it is the self-perceived superiority over others.
Arrogance may be a single trait, but it was this trait that made Iblees (aka satan/the devil), a being who may well have worshipped Allah ta’ala much more than many of us, turn from pious to damned. The whole root of his evil arose from arrogance, leading him to devoting his respite to the misleading of an-Naas (mankind).
Was their any deficiency in his worship? Possibly not, only Allah knows. Yet this single trait of arrogance made him become from a being of high status to the lowest of the low. His hate, vengeance, jealousy, rebellion, denial, etc. all became consequent of this single trait. He isn’t a part-time hater, he hates and misleads time and time again, he is fully devoted to his efforts. And all because of that one thing – arrogance.
Then we see Fir’aun (Pharaoh). The root of his sin was also his arrogance. Such that he treated all others as lesser beings. Such that he had monuments built in his name. Such that he simply could not accept a God that would deny his divinity and infallibility. Such that despite the plagues that were brought upon him, he persevered in his denial of Allah ta’ala. Such that he lived his life as a kaafir, and despite the plagues of Egypt, he died still in arrogance.
Arrogance is the root of many ills of the nafs.
This is a reminder, firstly to myself, and then to everyone else.
May Allah subhaanahu wa ta’ala turn our hearts away from arrogance, as He is الرّشيد. May He not make us of those who are abased in this dunya and in the aakhirah, because He is المعزّ و المذلّ. May He not make us of those who follow in the footsteps of Fir’aun and the shaytaan.