How Can We Become More Humble?

A'udhu bil-Laah al-Sami' al-Alim, min al-shaytaan al rajim. Bismillah Al-Rahman Al-Rahim wa Salla-Llahu 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa 'ala 'aalihi, at-tayyibin, at-tahirin.

And so the question is, how do we increase our humbleness?

And this is important for us because as we know, humbleness is one of the key qualities that a believing person should have. And increasing in our humbleness is measured against our arrogance. So as we increase in our humbleness, we decrease in our arrogance and vice versa, as well. As we decrease in our humbleness, we increase in arrogance. And as we know, arrogance was the attribute that caused shaytaan himself to fall from a high position in the eyes of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, where he saw himself as greater than Adam, even though Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala had bestowed Adam with certain things that made him superior to all of the beings and had made him the vicegerent of Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala on the Earth.

So it is important for us to increase our humbleness. And the journey of humbleness has two aspects to it. The first is a aspect of humbleness which is linked to knowledge, and the second is the aspect of humbleness which is linked to action.

So that which is linked to knowledge is to comprehend our situation as we face Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala. And one of the ways or good ways to understand this is to understand what we really mean when we say Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is the cause of creation.

Sometimes when we think of cause and effect, we think of the cause as being something detached from the effect and this is generally how causes and effects how causes and effects work in the physical world.

So, for example, if I turn sideways and knock over a glass and the glass falls on the floor and breaks, shatters, then what I will say is that the cause of the glass shattering was that I knocked it over, and knocking it over happens at one point and it falling and breaking, happens at another point and these are two separate things. There is a cause and there is an effect, they are separated.

But when we talk about Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala and Him being a cause for creation, it is not a detached cause like this. These types of causes and effects are to do with the material world but the type of cause, that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala is, is that He is the cause of our existence.

In the material world, both I and the vase exist, so between existence, if you like, there is a system of cause and effect.

But actually giving existence is a different type of causal relation. It is the causal relation, a real causal relation, where Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala gives us existence and that giving of existence is not a detached thing, it is not a detached process, where Allah gives us existence, and then we become an independent existence.

Rather, our existence is completely poor to Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala's continual bestowal of that existence and indeed all perfections that we might witness within ourselves, those perfections are also something that is completely dependent on Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala's own qualities.

So the human being that realizes this poverty through intellectual understanding and then also moves to understand that in a existential way as well, understands their existential poverty towards Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala through a process of self purification and knowledge. And then also battles with their feelings or their ego as it flares up within them, will slowly slowly move towards a situation of humbleness. And that is exactly what we mean when we talk about increasing our humbleness.

If we are able to overcome the ego, that is when we have really become humble and we are able to overcome the ego if we understand the way that the world works through knowledge as well.

So the more we increase in that knowledge of our relationship with Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala, the more we understand this hadith: "Man 'arafa nafsahu fa qad 'arafa Rabbahu", as it has been attributed to Amir al-Mu'minin 'alayhi as-salaam, "That whoever knows himself knows his Lord knows themselves." One of the aspects of knowing yourself is knowing your own poverty and once you know your own poverty, then you will know Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala.

It is like, for example, us when we look at our bank accounts and we see the balance of zero, if we were to all of a sudden look at our bank account to check that it has not fallen into the minus, then, as we check that bank account, we see there is all of a sudden, 20 million pounds or 20 million dollars or whatever currency inside the account. Then we will clearly look for the benefactor, who was it that gave us this 20 million pounds?

So in the same way, when the human being realizes that they are zero, when they see any kind of perfection, including their very existence in front of them, then they wonder to themselves, what is the reason? And can I survive without this benefactor?

And the answer is, of course, that Allah Subhana wa Ta'ala as the cause of existence and the continual provider of existence, is such that we are never independent of Him, we are never independent existences.

Inshallah, I hope this goes some way to give us some things to think about in how to increase our humbleness.

Wa Salla-Llahu 'ala Sayyidina Muhammad wa 'ala 'aalihi, at-tayyibin, at-tahirin.