Allah (SwT) has said,
“He is Allah besides Whom there is no other god, the Sovereign, the Holy, the Source of peace (and perfection), the Guardian of the Faith, the Preserver of safety, the One Exalted in Might, Irresistible, Supreme; Glory to Allah! (High is He) above the partners they attribute to (Him)” (Qur’an, 59:23).
Understanding al-Mutakabbir requires a good deal of reasoning and insight. Its root word kibriya’ means greatness and sovereignty, and it incorporates the meanings of the perfection of one’s self and existence; nobody can be described as such except Allah (SwT). Greatness, as far as Allah (SwT) Almighty is concerned, is the loftiness of status:
“By His command does He send the spirit (of inspiration) to any of His servants He pleases so that it may warn (men) of the Day of mutual meeting” (Qur’an, 40:15).
Al-Mutakabbir is the One Who possesses all greatness, Who is above having any of the qualities of His creatures, Who is above being harmed by the oppressors among His creation, Whose greatness and pride are the super-most. He is too great to be deficient in anything or in need for anyone or anything, the One Who is above having any of the characteristics and attributes of His creatures, the One Who Alone has all greatness and pride.
None besides Him is justified when imagining himself as great, or as mighty, or as the sovereign. He is the One Who is too Holy to be afflicted by any calamity; so, no greatness is justified for anyone besides Him; He is the One Who has all might and kingdom. This Attribute means: the One Who has combined in Him, and who rightly deserves so, all the attributes of greatness, perfection, pride and glory, all at the same time.
He is too Great to submit to others; rather, submission is due to Him, and only to Him. The Holy Qur’an bestows the Attribute of greatness on the Almighty in Surah al-Jathiya:
“To Him be Glory throughout the heavens and the earth, and He is Exalted in Power, full of Wisdom” (Qur’an, 45:37).
Pride due to the sense of being great is of two kinds:
One is when actions of such a person are indeed great and better than those of anyone else’s; He is
“... the Source of peace (and perfection), the Guardian of Faith, the Preserver of security, the One Exalted in Might, the Irresistible, the Supreme” (Qur’an, 59:23).
The other is that one conceives himself artificially to be as such, and this applies to most people:
Thus does Allah set a seal over the heart of everyone who is proud, haughty. (Qur’an, 40:35)
Surely evil is the dwelling place of those who are proud. (Qur’an, 16:29)
Isn’t there in hell an abode for those who are proud? (Qur’an, 39:60)
Quoting the Lord of Greatness, the Almighty God, the Messenger of Allah (S) has said,”Pride is My cloak; Greatness is My garment; whoever disputes with Me regarding either, I shall surely hurl him into the fire.” Here the Almighty informs and admonishes us that greatness, might and pride are all His prerogatives, that none among His servants is worthy of claiming any of them for himself.
In one of his supplications, the Messenger of Allah (S) says,”I seek refuge with You, Lord, against the evil of pride.” He is also quoted as saying that pride is an indication of ingratitude towards the Truth, the Almighty. He has said,”Pride is ingratitude towards the Truth.” Imam Ali has said,”The son of Adam (‘a) is truly amazing! A wound can end his life, a bug can cause him pain, his sweat can make him stink, so how can he ever feel proud of himself?!”
The Messenger of Allah (S) has warned us against pride and being proud of ourselves, saying,”Nobody will enter Paradise if he has even the weight of a mustard seed of pride, and nobody will enter the fire if there is a likewise weight of conviction in his heart.” As the lucky1 ones enter Paradise, their hearts will be purged of any pride and jealousy:
“And we will root out whatever rancor there is in their hearts” (Qur’an, 15:47).
The Attribute al-Mutakabbir is mentioned only once in the text of the Holy Qur’an in 59:23, and Allah (SwT) knows best.