KIBR- A Barrier for the Student of Knowledge
Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Refined manners suit a student of knowledge. Etiquette of a student of knowledge includes :
- Forbearance: that he is not reckless or quick to retaliate
- Patience with common folk
- Submission to truth and
- Expecting reward from Allah alone (Ibn Uthaymeen).
Whoever Allah wishes good for, He gives him knowledge of deen. Therefore, students of knowledge must acknowledge this blessing (Muhammady, 2015)
Lower your wing of humility to Allah
A person setting out to gain knowledge should know that it is a form of worship. His heart must be flood with desire of gaining Allah’s pleasure and humble submission towards Him. This, will make him amongst the honorable ones in both worlds (bin-Baaz, 2014). Slightest pride leads to rejection of worship (Ibn-Hanbal, 2014).
In a narration of Abu Dawood, Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) states that a person who seeks knowledge for materialism rather than to see the face of Allah shall not smell the fragrance of paradise.
Kibr that openly opposes and negates Eemaan results in the banishment of the one who holds it from entering al-Jannah as is found in Allaah’s statement:
“And your Lord said: “Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn (yastakbiroon – Have kibr) My worship, they will surely enter Hell in humiliation!” [Surah Ghaafir: 60]
A form of humility before Allah is to fear him and establish Tawheed. Allah promises the muttaqeen forgiveness and great reward. Some salafs termed fear of Allah as absolute knowledge. Ibn Masood (radiallahu anhu) stated that fear of Allah suffices as ilm whereas absence is sufficient ignorance. Possession of ilm is proportional to taqwa. Indeed, Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was the most fearful of Allah with the maximum taqwa (Bukhari).
Make du’aa for ‘ilm:
Allah promises that He will respond to calls of his servant. To the lowest heaven He comes each night in the last one-third to respond to our supplications (Bukhari)
Ibn Tayyimah used to supplicate by pleading, ““O teacher of Ibraaheem, teach me! O educator of Sulaymaan, grant me understanding!”.
Allah commanded Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam): “…and say:, ‘My Lord! Increase me in knowledge’” (TaHa, 114). Even Ibrahim (alayhis salam) made dua for ilm and righteousness (Ash-shuara, 83).
Lower the wing of humility to creation
The ulama are the inheritors of knowledge from Prophets. Humility before them is essential. Allah warns us how Shaytaan works from all directions to make us amongst the thankless (Al-Araf, 17).
Kibr is a disease of tyrants (Ibn Uthaymeen). Arrogance and tawheed cannot harvest in the same soul. Feeling superior for performance of any act of worship represents lack of taqwa and understanding of Allah’s asma was-sifaat. We are reminded of how Qarun, when boasted about being wealthy owing to his ilm, was swallowed by the earth under Allah’s command (Al-Qasas, 76-78).
A kind of kibr is to despise the people, and to look down upon them. This attitude arises when a person is amazed with his own self, thinks highly of himself, and thinks he is better than others. So this causes him to have kibr towards the creation, despise them, mock them, and to degrade them through both speech and action (As-Sa’di). Allaah’s Messenger sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam said:
“It is enough evil for a person to despise his brother Muslim.” (Sahih Muslim)
A true student of knowledge has reverence of Allah’s greatness and knows nobody can match it. Thus, he mellows down knowing that our esteem comes from none than other Allah(Ibn-Khamis).
Humility of Scholars
Abu Bakr (radiallahu anhu), the best man after Prophets, made du’aa that Allah makes him better than what people perceive him to be, that Allah does not make him accountable for their words and that he is forgiven for things they are not aware of. This du’aa swelled Shaikh Albanee when he was praised by a brother and he broke down saying that he was merely a student of knowledge (Abu Yahyaa).
Abdullah ibn-Umar (Radiallahu anhu) was renowned for his knowledge and piety. He was always cautious of what came out of his tongue. He narrated hadiths of Rusool Allah only if he was confident of remembering every bit of it
Musab bin Umayr (radiallahu-anhu), was from an affluent family but his humility reflects when he chose to give up his wealth for imaan. The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) chose him to be the first ambassador of Islam, to Yathrib. When the chief of the tribe came with fury to shoo them away, Musab instead of retaliating, humbly offered him to listen. He suggested that he may leave if he does not like what Musab and the Prophet had to say. It was a result of this poise, that the chief along with Sa’ad bin Muad and the entire tribe accepted Islam
The four imaams have been known to not treat their words are the final line. Imam Hanifa, did not allow his students to write down his teachings lest he may change his opinion in future. Imam Malik was wary of making his jurisprudence the law of the state during Umayyid dynasty. Nor did he ever haste to speak on matters he had no knowledge of. Imam Sha’fie also gave in to the fact that there will be many hadith that will be known after him. Thus, he gave preference to the word of Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) as well.
The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam)
Allah (azza wajal) commanded Prophet (Salallahu alayhi wasallam) to lower his wings and show his gentleness to the believers (Ash-Shuara, 215).
The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wasallam) was an epitome of humility. We have narrations where he would sit on the ground, lick his fingers after eating and ride donkeys. He established being humble as his sunnah and who is a better muslim than he who follows the sunnah of Rusool Allah.
He (salallahu alayhi wasallam) would walk down to meet those who were sick. His heart would melt to see the impoverished in distress. So much that he addressed to treat slaves as brothers put under our control by Allah. Kids would climb upon him when he would pray and he would be patient. When he sat with his companions, he looked like a commoner such by-passers had to inquire who Muhammad was from amongst them.
He (salallahu alayhi wasallam) prayed the salah of janazah for a destitute black woman who looked after the mosque. He would accept the most meager invitations and would greet children. A freed slave-woman wanted to divorce her slave-husband trespassing the Prophet’s advice and Rusool-Allah accepted her choice.
He would not hesitate to move dust and do works of labour with those lesser in status so as to help them. He (salallahu alayhi wasallam) ate as the servant ate, he sat as the servant sat. That was how he address himself as- a servant.
CONCLUSION (Kibr- A barrier to Paradise)
From ‘Abdullaah Ibn Mas’ood radi-Allaahu ‘anhu who related that Allaah’s Messenger sal-Allaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam said:
“Whoever has an atoms worth of kibr (pride) in his heart will not enter Paradise.” So a man said: What about a person who loves (i.e. takes pride in) wearing beautiful clothes and beautiful shoes? So he replied: “Indeed Allaah is beautiful and loves beauty. Kibr (pride) is to reject the truth, and to despise the people.”