Self-righteousness—be it among individuals or communities—is disastrous. It is a deadly affliction if it affects a person. It turns into a
scourge if it takes a community into its grip. It is a trait of personality that the victim is hardly able to distinguish, hence has to be made evident to him or her by a variety of means. In simple words, selfrighteousness is self-love and in more complex terms it is egotism, vanity, elitism and the habit of being selfish in righteousness. Such people are least amenable to correction and conversation with them could reach a dead end very soon. Preachers often fall into this trap because they labour under an overbearing sense of moral superiority of their own faith and ideology. They tend to see all other faiths morally inferior, odious and vicious. It is why preachers do not see beyond their own nose. Doctrines other than their own appear to them bereft of virtue, illegitimate and lacking in logic and reason.
Nobody is without imperfections. But a self-righteous person feels no scope for any input into his life from others. For him, he is hundred percent perfect, smarter than all and virtuous to the core. It is only the other person who can see an individual’s blind spots. It is where one has to give up his vanity and be open to criticism and introspection. A self-righteous person is immune to such criticism and is lost in his own vainglorious world, thumb-nosing what others say or do, heaping scorn on likes and dislikes of others.
Sanctimoniounsess or what is called in common parlance ‘holier than thou’ attitude flows directly from self-righteousness in people practicing a religion. The innate feeling of superiority cocoons them into a shell, convincing them of there being no need for them to
look anywhere other than their own doctrines, practices and traditions. Sufferers of this complex thus do not usually concern themselves with proving their superiority to others and take it for granted that it is too manifest to be ignored. We the Muslims need to introspect, if we are being or have been led on this path.