Pride consists of conceit based on selfish desires and fancies, and it may be in regard to the affairs of this world or that of the next. One may become proud of one's worship, or one's sons, wealth, position and power, or something else. All of these may lead to pride, and consequently to the spiritual and moral fall of man. And thus we see that the Holy Quran warns man against all forms of pride, which is a kind of illusion and self-deception:
... Let not the life of the world beguile you, nor let the Deceiver (Devil) deceive you in regard to God. (31:33)
People from all walks of life may fall prey to the vice of pride. They may be believers or infidels, scholars, pious people, mystics, and so on, and each of them may be proud of some particular thing. Thus we see that pride can take numerous forms. Pride may be caused by the Power of Intellect, the Power of Passion, the Power of Anger, or all three of them together.
The opposite of pride-which as mentioned is a kind of self deception-is knowledge, wisdom, awareness, and zuhd; because the more a man is aware of reality the less he is likely to fall prey to pride. The following tradition of Imam al-Sadiq (A) suggests the true remedy to the vice of pride:
Know that you shall not be freed from the darkness of pride and desire unless you truly return to God in humility and penitence, and become aware of your faults and shortcomings-that is, those things which do not agree with reason and intelligence, and are not upheld by religion, Divine Law, and the tradition of the leaders of guidance. And if you are satisfied with the condition you are in, be certain that no one is more callous and wicked in regard to your own acts and none more indifferent to the wastage of your years of life than yourself, and this attitude will ultimately leave you with the inheritance of bitter despair on the Day of Resurrection (Misbah al-Shariah, chapter 36.)
Adapted from: "Jami' al-Sa'adat" by: "Muhammad Mahdi al-Naraqi"
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