Humility and its Virtues
Abdullah ibn Amr said: “The Prophet (Pbuh) once visited me, so I gave him a pillow (to sit on) made out of skin and filled with date palm fibers. The Prophet refused to sit on it and he chose to sit on the bare ground, and he left the cushion between him and myself.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
By Abu Usama Ath-Thahabi
Humility is when a person does not see himself as being better or above other people because of frivolous reasons like social standing, education, citizenship, or even color.
Being humble and having humility is opposite of being arrogant and having arrogance (kibr). Humility leads one to the pleasure of Allah and it causes one to enter into the paradise, whereas arrogance leads to the displeasure of Allah. Allah has ordered the Prophet (peace be upon him) to adorn himself with this noble characteristic in many verses of the Qur’an. The Prophet was ordered, “And lower your wing (i.e., be humble and show kindness) to those who follow you from the believers.” (Qur’an, 26:215).
Allah said, “And don’t turn you cheek (in contempt) towards people and don’t walk through the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah doesn’t like every self-deluded and boastful person.” (Qur’an, 31:18)
One of the clearest examples of his humility, is that the Messenger of Allah would sit in the mosque with his companions and if a stranger or visitor came to the mosque, he wouldn’t know who the Prophet was until he asked, “Which one of you is Muhammad?”
This is because he would not sit, dress, or be treated in a way that distinguished him from the people. Unlike the way, leaders and famous people are treated today when they are with the people. Whenever a stranger enters into their group, it becomes quite clear to the stranger that this person is noteworthy amongst the people as so much attention is being showered on him.
Anas Ibn Maalik would pass by a group of young boys playing and he would extend to them warm, gracious greetings (salams). When he was asked, “Why do you do this?” He replied, “The Prophet used to do it.” (Bukhari & Muslim).
Abdullah ibn Amr said: “The Prophet once visited me, so I gave him a pillow (to sit on) made out of skin and filled with date palm fibers. The Prophet refused to sit on it and he chose to sit on the bare ground, and he left the cushion between him and myself.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
Abu Saeed Al-Khudri said, “I visited the Messenger of Allah, and I found him praying on a (normal) mat, and he was making Sajdah on it.” (Muslim)
Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her) was asked, “What did the Prophet do when he was in the privacy of his home?” She replied, “He used to be in the service of his family.” He used to repair his sandals and sew/patch his own robe and he would milk the sheep. (Bukhari)
Abu Masood said, “A man came to the Prophet and he began to speak to him, and he was seized by fear (of the Prophet). Upon witnessing his demeanor the Prophet said to him: “Take it easy and calm down, for verily I am not a king, but instead I am only the son of a Quraishi woman who used to eat dried salted meat strips.” (Ibn Majah)
From the clearest and most manifest examples of his humility is when he entered Makkah as a conqueror. It is a well-known historical fact that the Prophet escaped from Makkah as the disbelievers of Quraish were after him with the intention to kill him.
Ten years later, when he returned to Makkah, triumphant, instead of entering the sacred precincts of Makkah with his head high with any pride of victory, his head was bowed in humility, barely touching the neck of his camel and glorifying Allah by saying Allah Akbar, for the victory that he was given.
Abu Hurayrah narrated that the Prophet said: “…and no one will exercise humility for Allah’s sake, except that Allah will raise him up.” (Muslim)
The Prophet said: “Whoever possesses an atom’s weight of ‘kibr’ will not enter paradise.” (Muslim)
He also said, “It is a right on Allah, that nothing is raised in the world (in stature or esteem), except that Allah will bring it down.” (Bukhari)
If we are trying to seek the benefits of the world or the Hereafter, then part of our success lies within our ability to humble ourselves in our quest. For instance, if a person is searching for knowledge, he must humble himself in his struggle and efforts towards that goal.
Abdullah ibn Mu’tazz said, “The humble student is the one who gets the most knowledge, just as the lowest places on earth collect the most water.”
As for the Hereafter, Allah says, “That is the home of the Hereafter, We assign (it) to those who do not desire exaltedness upon the earth or corruption. And the (best) outcome is for the righteous.” (Qur’an, 28:83).