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Our Leaders and Modesty

Adopted from the Book : Youth and Morals

One of the excellent morals which can be considered as a symbol of love and the best path of achieving it is modesty. By performing their duties towards their societies by practicing good manners, modest individuals promote their social dignity and extend the amount of their love in people's hearts.

Nevertheless, we must recognize the vast difference between modesty and self-abasement, for modesty is a manifestation of a noble trait of a great and self-confident character, while self-abasement arises from moral lowliness and loss of self-confidence.

Luqman (A.S.) as the Quran says, warned his son against conceit:

"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".

Quran 18:18

Imam Ali (A.S.) said:

"Had Allah permitted conceit for any of His worshippers, He would have permitted it to His nearest Prophets and Awlia; but He, Glory be to Him, made them resent conceit and accepted modesty for them. They, therefore, cast their cheeks to the ground, threw dust on their faces (in prostration), and were modest with the believers."

The Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.) used to say:

"Avoid conceit, for a worshipper insists on conceit until Allah, Glory be to Him, says write My worshipper among the arrogant".

Nahj al-Fasahah p. 12

Imam Sadiq (A.S.) pointed out the spiritual root of conceit in a short statement when he said:

"There is not a man who goes astray save as a result of the lowliness he finds in himself."

Al-Kafi v.3, p. 461

According to Dr. M. Brid:

"The arrogance of an individual or a nation over another equals the humiliation of that individual or nation. Most of the arguments and disagreements which take place today arise from the feeling of lowliness. Hence, adopting the idea of conceit is not but an attempt to fulfill the space which a conceited individual feels in his life. There is not a man, a nation, a class, a race, a people, or otherwise with clear conscience that feel distinction between themselves and others."

Uqdae Hiqarat

Conceited and arrogant persons always look at their words and actions with exaltation and acceptance. Furthermore, they consider their shortcomings as good deeds. Imam Musa ibn Ja'far (A.S.) explains this:

"Conceit is on several degrees among which is the evil actions of a man are embellished to him so that he sees them as good, hence he believes that he does good."

Wasa'il ash-Shia v. I, p.74

Also according to a psychologist:

"Conceited individuals consider their shortcomings as virtues and their flaws as merits. For example, they consider their sudden anger with others as proof of their forceful personalities, their weakness as manifestation of their excellent and sensitive spirituality, their overweight ness as a sign of health. Actually healthy reasons lie in healthy bodies, and dependence on the weak is an idea for they are easily irritated and are unpredictable."


Let us now review some of the Guardian of the Faithful's (A.S.) statements in this regard:

"Avoid conceit or the number of those who resent you will increase."

Ghu'rar al-Hikam p. 147

"Conceit ruins the mind."

Ghurar al-Hikam p. 28

According to psychologists, conceited people suffer from weakness of the mind.

Imam Ali (A.S.) also said:

"He whose mind is weakened, his pride is strengthened."

Ghurar al-Hikam, p. 651

"Modesty is the ultimate of reasoning; and conceit is the peak of ignorance."

Ghurar al-Hikam p. 102

He also said:

"Conceit is a concentrated illness."

Ghurar al-Hikam p. 678


"He who admires his condition comes short of cursing his abilities."

Ghurar al-Hikam p. 678

Dr. H. Shakhter said:

"One of the methods of attracting people's attention to us when we are feeling disappointed or unsuccessful is to glorify and exalt ourselves, and imagine the things which we hope for as already occurring and giving ourselves by bragging about the times at which we were successful in the past or by exaggerating to others.

"Conceited people lure themselves into accepting the false embellishments of their fabrications, thus depriving themselves of any opportunity for change."

Rushde Shakhsiyyat

Such people are unable trealize that there are flaws in them and perfection or a success in others.

Imam Ali (A.S.) said:

One who is satisfied with himself, his shortcomings are concealed from him: and had he recognized other's precedence it would suffice for his flaws and failure.

Ghurar al-Hikam p. 95

Islam, which calls for an exalted human civilization and that which allows man to live an honorable life, invalidated all abnormal distinctions. Islam recognizes the trait of purity and piety.

Imam Ali (A.S.) said:

Seek refuge in Allah from the intoxication of wealth, for surely it has a distant solemnity."

Ghurar aI-Hikam p. 138

One day wealthy man came to visit the Messenger of' Allah (S.A.W.). While the wealthy man was there, a poor man entered and sat near him; upon this the wealthy man collected his clothes and moved away from the poor man. The Prophet (S.A.W.) noticed this and said:

"What! Do you fear that his poverty will spread to you?"

In conclusion, if conceited persons seek happiness, they are to rid themselves of this illness and liberate themselves from such a trait which violates their realistic character; otherwise they will face an inevitable disappointment and deprivation which are matters to be avoided.

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