He who yields to the negative quality of arrogance thinks of himself as a person more important and higher than anybody else, and tries, in his speech, deeds and attitudes to degrade other people.
To differentiate arrogance from conceit (to be discussed later on), we must remember that when a man is arrogant, he compares himself to other individuals; but if he is conceited, he has just an exaggerated opinion of his own positive qualities. The moral trait contrary to arrogance is humility, which is a virtue in the spirit of man.
Allah the Most High said: “And do not go about in the land exultingly, for you can not cut through the earth nor reach the mountains in height.”
Quoting Luqman the Wise, He says: “And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster. And pursue the right course in your going about and lower your voice; surely the most hateful of voices is braying of the ass.”
Addressing the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) He says: “And make yourself humble to the believers,”
He also said: “And be humble to him who follows you from among the believers.”
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (S) said: “Indeed, humility increases the dignity of one endowed with it. Be humble, and Allah will exalt you.”
He (S) also said: “Most of those who go to hell are the arrogant.”
He (S) also said: “Indeed, the most beloved of you to me and the nearest of you to my position on the Day of Judgement are the best of you in nature and in humility; and the furthest of you from me are the vainglorious, that is the arrogant.”
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) the Commander of the Faithful said: “The ugliest of vices is arrogance.”
He (a.s.) also said: “The most harmful disaster for the intellect is arrogance.”
He (a.s.) also said: “Beware of having arrogance; because it is the greatest sin and the basest deficiency; it is also the ornament of Satan.”
He (a.s.) also said: “Humility exalts you and arrogance makes you despised.”
He (a.s.) advised a governor general he had appointed to rule Egypt as: “Be humble to people, meet them gently and receive them with a cheerful face.”
Imam Ja’far al-Sadiq (a.s.) said: “It is of humility to be pleased with sitting in a lower place, to greet everybody encountered, to give up contending even when one is truthful, and to be unhappy of people’s praise for one’s piety.”
He (a.s.) also said: “Beware of being haughty and arrogant; because arrogance is like a garment for the majesty of Allah. He who competes with Allah in His majestic garment, Allah will break and disgrace him on the Day of Judgement.”
He (a.s.) also said: “Keep on having love for poor Muslims; anyone who despises them and shows arrogance to them, he has slipped away from Allah’s religion; Allah will despise him and send His wrath upon him.”
In another saying he (a.s.) listed the practice of arrogance and haughtiness among grave (mortal) sins; the same thing being found in an epistle of Imam ‘Ali al-Rida (a.s.) to the caliph al-Ma’mun.
Imam Musa al-Kazim (a.s.) said: “Humility means that your behaviour to people must be in the same way as you expect of their behaviour.”
He (a.s.) also said: “There are degrees for humility. One of them is to understand one’s merits and capabilities, and to use them duly, with a pure heart. A man like this should not behave with people in a manner, which he dislikes for himself. He will repay bad deeds with good deeds, restrain his anger and pardon men; and Allah loves the doers of good (to others).”
Imam ‘Ali al-Rida (a.s.) said: “Anyone who greets a poor Muslim in a manner different from his greeting a rich one, Allah will be wroth with him on the Day of Judgement.”