| 2 Summary of Ethics


Overall Meaning: The Meaning of Humility

Tawadu` linguistically: is submissiveness and having awe of a thing. It is said: wada`a nafsahu if a man debases and lowers himself, and tawada`a al-rajul if he becomes submissive, or he becomes humble and revering. [129] al-Qamus al-Muhit, al-Fayruzabadi (p. 771, 772).

Tawadu` technically: is leaving off pretension, showing inertness, and hating adulation and abundant ennoblement. It is also that one keeps away from boasting about one’s virtue and showing off one’s wealth or status. It is being careful of ostentation and arrogance. [130] Tahdhib al-Akhlaq, al-Jahiz (p. 25). The Difference between Humility and Some Other Characteristics

● The Difference between Humility and Submissiveness (Tadhallul)

Submissiveness is showing inability to resist that which is being submitted to. Humility is showing the ability of that which one is being humble in front of, regardless whether it itself can be humble or not. Consider their saying: the king is humble towards his servants, meaning that he treats them as if they have some power over him. It cannot be said however that he is submissive to them, since that is showing one’s weakness in front of an overpowering entity, and this is not true of a king with his servants.

● The Difference between Humility and Abjectness (Khushu`)

Humility is through one’s character, as well as being in hidden and manifest actions. One’s abjectness is on the merit of one’s limbs and their reaction. This is why it is said: if the heart is humble, the limbs are abject.Commandments of Humility and Encouragement towards it in the Qur’an and Sunnah

❖ Allah, exalted, says: “The servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk humbly on the earth.” al-Furqan: 63. Meaning, they are modest, not evil, nor jovial or arrogant. [131] Madarij al-Salikin, Ibn al-Qayyim (3/108).
❖ He, sanctified, also says: “Lower your wing tenderly over the believers who follow you.” al-Shu`ara’: 215. Meaning, be soft and kind to those who believe, and be humble towards them. [132] Tafsir al-Qurtubi (10/56).
❖ The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: “Wealth does not decrease from charity, Allah does not pardon a slave but it increases him in honour, and no one is humble in front of Allah but He exalts him.” [133] Reported by Muslim (2588) from the narration of Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with him.
❖ He ﷺ also said: “Allah revealed to me for you to have humility, such that no one boasts to another nor transgresses against another.” [134] Reported by Muslim (2588) from the narration of `Ayyad ibn Himar, Allah be pleased with him. Quotes from the Predecessors and Scholars on Humility

❖ `A’ishah, Allah be pleased with her, said: “You overlook the best of worship: humility.” [135] Reported by al-Nasa’i in al-Sunan al-Kubra (11852) and this is his wording; al-Bayhaqi in Shu`ab al-Iman (8148) from the narration of al-Aswad ibn Yazid, Allah have mercy upon him. Abu Nu`aym said in Hilyat al-Awliya’ (7/282): “The only one who raised it to the Prophet ﷺ is Ibn al-Mubarak from Mu`sir.” Ibn Hajar al-`Asqalani said in al-Amali al-Mutlaqah (96): “It is sound but strange. It is disputed over due to Ibn al-Mubarak, as what is known from him is that his narrations are hated.”
❖ Mu`adh ibn Jabal, Allah be pleased with him, said: “The slave does not reach the epitome of faith unless humility is more beloved to him than nobility…” [136] Reported by Ibn al-Mubarak in al-Zuhd (2/52).
❖ Ibrahim ibn Shayban said: “Nobility is in humility, honour in piety, and liberty in contentment.” [137] Madarij al-Salikin, Ibn al-Qayyim (2/330). Categories of Humility

Humility is of two types, one praiseworthy and the other blameworthy. The praiseworthy type is when the slave of Allah is humble at the command of Allah, fulfilling it, and humble at His prohibition, keeping away from what is forbidden. It is humility in front of the greatness of the Lord and His majesty, and it is subordination to His honour and grandeur. It is also not being haughty with the slaves of Allah and belittling them. As for blameworthy humility, it is when a person humbles himself to one with a great share of the worldly life desiring what he has. It is weakness, baseness, and depravity. It is expending the self in pursuing its lowly whims and desires, such that every person seeking some portion of the worldly life lowers himself to he who has it. This is all humiliation, not humility. The intelligent one leaves off all forms of blameworthy humility in all cases, and always adheres to its praiseworthy form.Impacts of Humility
It elevates the status of a person, increasing him in nobility. It leads one to submit to truth and be attached to it. Humbleness is honour because it is obedience to Allah and returning to what is right. It suffices the humble one the love the slaves of Allah have for him, and Allah elevating him. In it is religious and worldly benefit. It removes animosity and uplifts the arduous efforts of boastfulness and pride. Forms of Humility
Personal humility, in that one does not have such a high opinion of oneself, that ‘I am more knowledgeable, or more pious, or more religious, or more God-fearing than so-and-so.’ Or that one thinks others lower than him, or that he has some guarantee of forgiveness from Allah. Humility in learning. Whoever seeks knowledge with humbleness, serving knowledge, he is the one who will be successful. Humility with other people. People do not accept the words of one who is grandiose and belittles them, elevating himself and putting them down, even if what he is saying is true. Humility with colleagues and peers. It is often the case that envy builds up between peers due to jealousy. Humility with those lower than one. Humility of the wealthy. He is the one most in need of humility, since him being blessed incites arrogance and pride. As such, humility is necessary for every endowed person. Humility in leadership. The more a leader is humble with those whom he leads, the closer they will be to him, and the more they will sincerely love him and love to follow his orders. Means to Acquiring Humility [138] al-Tawadu` fi Daw’ al-Qir’an wa al-Sunnah al-Sahihah, Salim al-Hilali (p. 31, 32); Durus Imaniyyah fi al-Akhlaq al-Islamiyyah, Khamis al-Sa`id (p. 57) - with adaptation.
Piety and God-consciousness. Arrogance is a major sin, and the pious can never be arrogant. Humility is a good moral, and necessarily one of the characteristics of the pious. Treat others as you like to be treated. Reflecting the origins of man. If man truly knows himself, he will realise he is lower than the lowest thing. Knowing one’s value. Allah, exalted, says: “Do not strut arrogantly about the earth: you cannot break it open, nor match the mountains in height.” al-Isra’: 37. Remembering illnesses, pains, and calamities. Purifying one’s heart. If the heart is right, all deeds will also be right by the permission of Allah. Examples of the Humility of the Prophet ﷺ, Companions, and Predecessors

❖ Abu Dharr and Abu Hurayrah, Allah be pleased with them, said: “When Allah’s Messenger ﷺ would sit among his companions, strangers seeking him would not know him until they ask. We sought permission that we make for him a distinct sitting arrangement which make him recognisable for strangers when they seek him out…” [139] Reported by Abu Dawud (4698) and this is his wording, and al-Nisa’i (4991). It is authenticated by al-Albani in Sahih Abi Dawud (4698).
❖ From his humility ﷺ is that when he would pass by children, he would greet them. Anas, Allah be pleased with him, narrates: “that he passed by some boys so greeted them, and he said: ‘The Prophet ﷺ used to do so.’” [140] Reported by al-Bukhari (6248) and this is his wording, and Muslim (2168) from the narration of Anas, Allah be pleased with him.
❖ Tariq ibn Shihab narrates, saying: “`Umar ibn al-Khattab went to the Levant and Abu `Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah was with us. They approached a ford whilst `Umar was on his camel. He descended from it, took off his sandals and carried them on his shoulders, and took his camel’s reins and walked with it through the ford. Abu `Ubaydah said: “Commander of the Faithful, you are doing this?! You take off your sandals and carry them on your shoulder, take your camel’s reins, and walk through the ford? It does not sit well with me that this is how the townsmen greet you for the first time.” `Umar replied: “Really? If someone said this other than you, Abu `Ubaydah, I would have made an example of him for the Ummah of Muhammad ﷺ! We used to be the most humiliated of people, then Allah gave us honour through Islam. As soon as we seek honour in other than what Allah honoured us through, He will humiliate us.” [141] Reported by al-Hakim (207). al-Hakim authenticated it according to the conditions of the Two Sheikhs, and al-Dhahabi agreed to this, as well as al-Albani in Silsilat al-Ahadith al-Sahihah (1/117).
❖ al-Hasan said: “I saw `Uthman ibn `Affan having a midday nap in the mosque, and he was caliph at the time. He would get up with the prints of pebbles and stones in his side and we would say: ‘This is the Commander of the Faithful, this is the Commander of the Faithful!’" [142] al-Tabsirah, Ibn al-Jawzi (p. 437).
❖ “There were men at the council of `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz, seeing to his needs. His lamp went out, so he got up to fix it. It was then said to him: ‘Commander of the Faithful, should we not suffice you?’ He replied: ‘What harm did it do to me? I got up as `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz and returned as `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz.’” [143] Sirat `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Aziz, Ibn `Abd al-Hakam (p. 46). Humility in Poetry

“Walk not upon the earth but humbly -
Many underneath it are higher than you.

If you are in a state of good abundance,
Many before you died with more than you.” [144] Rawdat al-`Uqala’, Ibn Hibban (p. 61).

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