Humility

Behaving humbly towards others and distancing oneself from arrogance and conceitedness are some of the greatest human attributes. The Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) possessed these attributes to a high degree and it can be said with certainty that one of the reasons this spiritual role model was so beloved was the humility he displayed in dealing with others. To give the reader a deeper appreciation of this, some examples of such behavior will be mentioned:

1. "When the Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would enter a social gathering, he would sit in the nearest place possible upon entering [the would not give importance to sitting in a particular place]."1

2. "He disliked for others to stand up for him, so people [his companions] would not stand up when he would arrive since they knew he did not like them to do so. Then, when he would stand up (to leave) they would get up and accompany him until he entered his house."2

3. Abu Dharr al-Ghaffari (one of the Prophet's greatest companions) said, "The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would sit amongst his companions and when a stranger entered, the stranger would not know which of these men was the Prophet and would have to ask. We requested the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) to arrange the seating in our gatherings in such a way that a stranger would be able to tell which one is the Prophet. So, we built a bench out of clay and he (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would sit on it and we would sit around him."3

4. Just as the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would show humility towards God's servants, he would also show the highest form of humility in God's presence so that, God forbid, even the smallest amount of pride would not enter his blessed heart: Abu 'Abdullah (Imam as Sadiq, peace be upon him) said, "From the day he was sent by God, Mighty and Sublime is He, until the day He took his soul, The Messenger of God (peace and blessings be upon him and his family) would never lean back while eating. He would eat like a slave and sit like a slave." The narrator of this tradition asked the reason behind it. He replied, "Out of humility towards God, the Mighty and Sublime."4

  • 1. Makarim al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, p. 25.
  • 2. Mustadrak al-Wasa'il, vol. 2, p. 113.
  • 3. Makarim al-Akhlaq, vol. 1, p. 15.
  • 4. Da‘a’im al-Islam, vol. 2, p. 119.