Humility – Ustadh Usama Canon

بسْم الله الرّحْمن الرحيْم
اللّهمّ صلّ على سيدّنا و حبيْبنا وشفيْعنا رسوْل الله محمّد ابْن عبْد الله و آله و صحْبه و سلّم

The following is a summary of the lecture delivered by Al-Faadhil Ustadh Usama Canon in Al-Falah Mosque on the night of 21 February 2011 after the Maghrib Prayers. I would like to apologize for any inaccuracies or inconsistencies. May we benefit from this, Amin.

Whenever a person feels a sense of pride or arrogance in his/her heart for any quality that he/she possess be it beauty or intelligence, the person should remember that the Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه و سلم has greater right/claim to that trait (beauty, intellgence etc.) and yet he was the most humble of mankind. In a narration, the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. entered a market with some coins in his possession whereupon he saw a servant-girl crying by the side of the path. The Messenger of Mercy s.a.w. out of concern, asked the girl why she was crying. The girl told him s.a.w. that she had lost the money that was given by her master to buy some provisions. The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. comforted her and offered her his money. She took it and the Messenger s.a.w. went his way. Later, the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. passed by the same area and saw the girl again, crying again. He s.a.w. again asked her and she said that she was already behind time and was supposed to return earlier to her master. She then requested the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. to accompany her back home and intercede on her behalf. He s.a.w. agreed (SubhanAllah! the Messenger of Allah s.a.w., an important man with so many concerns and responsibilities upon his noble back, could spare his time to fulfill the need of a simple servant, this is the peak of humility indeed!)

So the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. arrived at the doorstep of the house and greeted with Salaams. The first and second of which was answered by silence. Upon the third greeting did the inhabitants of the house return the greetings. The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. asked the reason for their delay in returning the greeting and they said that they knew he s.a.w. would often greet three times and therefore wanted to hear his voice thrice before returning the greeting. The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. then interceded for the servant girl and she was not only pardoned but was granted her freedom as well! The Messenger of Allah s.a.w. was active in helping out solve the daily problems of the society.

The deeper significance of humility is found in the hadith in which the Prophet s.a.w. said that “No one humbles himself before Allah but that He raises him.” (Al-Kashani 186). It is related that Hasan al-Basri r.a. whose very presence in the market would cause people around him to weep (due to his spiritual state), one day saw a man who was walking all puffed up with pride and arrogance. He approached the man and told him, “I know you!”, upon which the man replied, “You don’t know me.” Hasan al-Basri said again, “I know you!” The man gave the same reply. Upon which Hasan al-Basri r.a. said, “I know you! Your beginning is despised water (semen), your end is a stinking corpse and in between you have a belly full of waste.” The man was left astounded and repented.

The one who is conscious of his/her humility is not safe (from pride), the one who is conscious of Allah is safe...

Allah ta’ala call upon us to reflect upon everything around us, in Surah Al-Waq’iah He Exalted is He mentioned, “Is it ye who create it, or are We the Creators?” (56:59). Allah uses the “We” to emphasize the Greatness, Magnitude of His Creative Power. (His Names are Plural therefore We is used, but He is One, He is referring here to the effect/reflection of His Name the Creator).
“And ye certainly know already the first form of creation: why then do ye not celebrate His praises? See ye the seed that ye sow in the ground? Is it ye that cause it to grow, or are We the Cause?” (56:62-64)

The vegetables we get from the supermarket, do we take time to reflect upon its true origin? We usually stop before we finally think of Allah as the ultimate source…“See ye the water which ye drink?” Do ye bring it down (in rain) from the cloud or do We? (56:68-69) The water which we used to take wudhu’ earlier…do we stop to reflect upon Allah Who ceaselessly sends it down just for us? In a hadith, it is stated that as it nears the end of time, the heavens will retain a third of its water and the earth would retain a third of its growth, then two thirds and finally both heavens and earth would retain all of them and at that time the sustenance of the believer would be his/her tasbih, SubhanaAllah walHamdu Lillah wa Laailaaha IllaAllahu Allahu Akbar! We really hope we wouldn’t see that day.

In the same surah, Surah al-Waqi’ah, Allah ta’ala mentioned three categories of people, the Ashaabul Yamiin (companions of the Right), Ashaabul Shimaal (Companions of the Left) and the Muqarrabuun (Those who are brought Near). One day, ‘Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud heard a man express his desire to be among the Muqarrabuun. Upon which Abdullah ibn Masu’d (whom was among the close companions and a servant of the Prophet s.a.w.) said to that man, “You are looking at a man (referring to himself) who wouldn’t want to be resurrected (on the Day of Rising) at all!” Thus did the Messenger of Allah s.a.w. instill humility and taqwa in the hearts of his Companions! Sayyidina Abu Bakr r.a. on the other hand one day said to a small bird which landed on a twig near him, “O if only I could be as you, with nothing to account for before the Lord of the Worlds!” Such is the humility of Our Master Abu Bakr As-Siddiq, the one whom was said to have faith equal to none!

For one to develop humility, one should reflect upon his/her state. There are as many as 24,000 people in the world today that die of hunger everyday and 50% of the world population do not have enough water to drink. A practical advice, with regards to worldly affairs, one should always look upon those whom are less fortunate. This helps to cultivate humility and gratitude towards the favour one has been given. The worse type of arrogance is being proud of one’s religiosity, nau’zhubillahiminzaalik. One day a seeker of knowledge in Yemen walked along the streets, fully dressed, beautifully, with his shawl, turban and clean impeccable set of robes. The student passed by a man carrying a cart full of waste upon his shoulder and a thought of disgust occured in the mind of this student. The man turned to him and said, “Verily! this is nothing compared to that thought you harbor in your mind!” Let us reflect, what would it be like if whatever we harbor in our hearts, the sins, the evil and despicable thoughts are made manifest upon our faces. People would say, “Dude what did you do last night?!” and all sorts of questions will arise. The solution to dispel pride in one’s religiosity is to look upon those whom are better in their Religious duties. Those whom are more pious among us and also the stories of pious people we read in books etc. Thus do we measure ourselves, where do we stand.

To be continued InshaAllah, keep me in your Du’as 🙂