Is Loving Oneself and the Blessings One Possesses Considered Self-Centeredness?

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel

Question

Is loving yourself and the blessings you also have arrogance? I heard in many lectures that one should think they are less than other humans and animals. This is taking a toll on my nafs, and I’m finding it difficult to follow this. I can’t do this at all. Constantly, my nafs is pulling me towards love for itself. Please reply with evidence from any scholars of fiqh.

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

I pray you are well.

This is a good question. It would help if you did not worry; asking and seeking guidance is a step towards rectifying how you feel about yourself and finding a cure.

Pride (Kibr)

The reality of pride (kibr) is that a person sees himself above another regarding an attribute of perfection, which causes an inflated pride and pleasure in him.

Allah (Most High) said, “like this, Allah seals the heart of every conceited, haughty person.” [Quran, 40:35]

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Whoever has a particle’s weight of pride in his heart will not enter Paradise.” [Muslim]

Self-Admiration (Al-‘Ujb)

Allah (Most High) says, “do not claim yourselves to be pure. He is more Knowledgeable of whoever is God-fearing.” [Quran, 53:32]

There are three destructive characteristics: stinginess that is obeyed, caprice that is followed, and a person’s self-admiration. [Bayhaqi, Shu’ab; Abdur Razzaq, Musannaf]

The reality of self-admiration is to magnify the self and its characteristics, which are blessings; and to rely on them-forgetting the Bestower of blessing and feeling secure about not losing them. Self-admiration is a cause of pride. However, pride requires someone else to be arrogant towards, while self-admiration is conceivable individually.
[Al-Ghazali’s adapted summary of ‘Ihya Ulum al-Din]

You have to ask yourself, after reading the above, reflect and see for yourself. Is it that you have self-respect and not arrogance? We magnify what Allah (Most High) has magnified, like knowledge and good character, etc., and be thankful of ourselves, our possessions, family, what surrounds us, and the state Allah (Most High) has put us in.

Be Grateful

Allah (Most High) says, “if you give thanks, I will surely increase you.” [Quran, 14:7]

Acknowledge what Allah (Most High) has given you, everything being from Him, no one else, this will produce a state in you, and it will be shown in your action, too, once you acknowledge all that you have is from Him.

Speak to a local spiritual guide/scholar—ideally, someone who is a complete spiritual mentor who will guide you in every way. I recommend you read Al-Ghazali’s adapted summary of ‘Ibhya Ulum al-Din and “Purification of the Heart” by Hamza Yusuf.

Why not signup for a SeekerGuidance course, a record number of New Classes in English and Arabic Launching from Monday, October 10th

May Allah (Most High) purify and rectify our hearts, give us success to take the means to, so we can meet Him (Most High) with a sound, purified heart.

Recommended Reading

Al-Ghazali’s Adapted Summary of Ihya Ulum al-Din – Turath Publishing

Check these links as well:
Arrogance Archives – SeekersGuidance
What is the Difference Between Self Respect and Arrogance? – SeekersGuidance

I pray this helps with your question.

[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied within UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan and Turkey.

He started his early education in UK. He went onto complete hifz of Qur’an in India, then enrolled into an Islamic seminary in UK where he studied the secular and Alimiyyah sciences. He then travelled to Karachi, Pakistan.

He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for a number of years. He has taught hifz of the Qur’an, Tajwid, Fiqh and many other Islamic sciences to both children and adults onsite and online extensively in UK and Ireland. He was teaching at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences.

He currently resides in UK with his wife. His personal interest is love of books and gardening.