Humility

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What is humility? What does humility means in islam?

The word, ‘dutiful humility’ (khushūʿ), means, ‘quietly standing still with sobriety and submission’; it refers to being humble before Allah and, being respectful and loyal to Him with one’s mind, body and spirit. In the Qurʾan, the term is mentioned as one of the essential characteristics of a believer. It is used with the connotation of humility,[1] respect,[2] submission,[3] dependence,[4] and lowering the gaze.[5] These are physical manifestations of one’s deep belief and respect to Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. Allah says; “Is it not time for believers to humble their hearts to the remembrance of Allah and the Truth that has been revealed, and not to be like those who received the Scripture before them, whose time was extended but whose hearts hardened and many of whom were lawbreakers?”[6] Concerning this the Prophet said; “God looks at people’s hearts and deeds, not at their physical appearance and properties.[7] According to Ibn Abbas, when the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), went out for a ritual rain prayer during the time of draught, he dressed humbly and modestly. He continued his supplication and chanted the takbīr with the greatest of humility.[8]  A human being needs to be aware of the fact that he or she needs to display the greatest of humbleness before their Creator. The feeling of humility is the essence of a genuine prayer.[9]

The locus of khushūʿ is the heart. Once this state is born in the heart, it manifests itself through the entire being of the person; it shapes all of the character and behavior of the believer, such as, speaking, eating, walking, and clothing. However, even at the time of the Prophet it was known that sometimes people may pretend that they are humble in their deeds in order to gain recognition in the eyes of others. Abu al-Darda, the Companion of the Prophet (may Allah be pleased with him) said; “I take refuge from such sedition towards God.” When he was asked what false humility and modesty entailed, he replied;It is a state of being where the heart does not feel anything, but the body pretends that it is humble.”

The virtue of khushūʿ should not be limited to religious rituals only, but rather it must be present in every sphere of one’s life. In order to sustain this mode of behavior, the Muslim needs to have the awareness that he or she is present before Allah at all times; he or she needs to make sure to implement ‘iḥsān’ (i.e. the awareness that God sees you all the time even if you do not see Him).[10] The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessing be upon him), supplicated to Allah by saying; “O Allah, to You I have bowed, and in You I believe, and to You have I submitted. My hearing, my sight, my brain, my bones and my strength are humbled in front of You.”[11]

[1]. Q. 33:35.[2].Q. 21:90.[3]. Q. 3:199.[4]. Q. 68:43.[5]. Q. 54:7.[6].Q. 57:16.[7]. Sahih Muslim, al-Birr, 34.[8].    Sunan al-Tirmidhī, al-Jum’a, [9].Q. 7:55.[10] Sahih Muslim, al-Iman, 1.[11]. Sunan al-Tirmidhī, al-Davat, 32.

Source: Islam For New Muslims An Educational Guide,Assoc. Prof. Amjad M. Hussain, Erkam Publications

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