by Prof. Habib-ur-Rahman, M.A., Model Town, Lahore, Pakistan
The Light (Pakistan), 24th April 1980 Issue (Vol. 60, No. 8, pp. 7–9)
When Satan brought to completion his luciferian tricks designed to outwit men, he was up to influence the pious men and religious leaders of the day. Though kept at bay he, somehow or other, created a high opinion of their personal qualities, attainments and knowledge in them. Lucifer declares in no ambiguous terms that he and his cliques have sown seeds of dissension among the Muslims and the Non-Muslims alike. Just consider, the whites and blacks are at daggers drawn by his successful stratagems. He talks boastfully that he would swagger the pious men into a dread of his power and make them arrogant. In Afghanistan the Devil has set in motion the nefarious offensive campaign of Daba tul-Arz (Beast of the Earth), who are freely killing and subjugating the patriotic Afghan mujahedins.
Types of Arrogance:
Arrogance aims at undue claims to dignity, authority, wealth, scholarship and artistic skill. There is no denying the fact that we have unfortunately developed imperialistic habits in our dealings with the common man. We see them, we meet them, but all the time we inwardly believe that they are bound to do obeisance to us. We never pause to think that, as human beings, we should have no hesitation in greeting them first, before the poor pay their respects to us. But we, out of our superiority and arrogance, shall seldom condescend to salaam (greet) those less favoured by fortune. We feel a sense of elation in saluting the far-famed persons, who are rich or occupy higher status.
We enter into a room where common men are sitting. We shall hardly greet them, but automatically feel that it is their duty to stand and salute us first. We pass by ordinary people though they are virtuous and are gifted with knowledge and skill, yet we do not feel inclined to pay them compliments — arrogance pure and simple.
We are invited to a party out of mere love and veneration. Since the invitation does not come from a wealthy man or from high official, we treat it indifferently and fail to attend the party, nothing short of arrogance.
On an invitation we arrive at the inviter’s residence. After the function tea or meals are served. If the invited person abstains from tea or meals, he is guilty of self-conceit and improper behaviour.
Somebody comes to give or seek information. We are engaged in conversation with influential persons. If we do not attend to the man because he is lower in dignity, we are, to all intents and purposes, arrogant. If we treat one with distance of manners or neglect him altogether, we are marked by an air of disdain.
If we do not greet persons with open arms, on the other hand, the expression of our face is rigid, we are naturally affected by arrogance. We are lying. A guest is allowed to enter in. If we do not receive him by getting up or are unmoved, we set much value upon our position, ranks, attainments or possessions. That we fail to treat a person who out of affliction calls on us, indicates our pride or arrogance.
It is not befitting an orator, or an author, or a poet, to plume himself and expect from others cordial welcome all the time.
Arrogance is a cancer, a malignant growth which eats up the jovial mood of a man. It exerts a baneful influence on man’s morals and through his inadvertence, develops in him disaffection and apathy. Such a man cannot court the favour of the people, nor can he organise communities and bring together men of conflicting opinions. A few may admire him due to his great qualities, but he is not generally known and liked by the populace.
Arrogance is a fruit of the Tree of Evil. Satan instigates men to taste this fruit. The supreme abettor of evil takes immense delight in inducing people to perversion and vituperation. Highly educated and cultured, zealously devoted to amass wealth, warmly glowing with health and beauty, cleverly skilled in arts and crafts — these categories of people fall an easy prey to arrogance. And Satan from his Olympian Heights dances and cuts capers and indulges in debaucheries to prove that he has won a signal victory over the forces of moral and spiritual tendencies.
Our Traditions Are Merely Oral and not Practical:
We Muslims are exhorted to read the Holy Quran, to listen to the sermons, but is there any individual who, imbued with Divine graces, advises men to lie prostrate before God and solicit His forgiveness. It is one’s action, one’s practice, one’s humble prayers that count the most. Mere attendance in meetings, wherein sermons are eloquently delivered, do not serve the real purpose. Sermons and religious lectures, no doubt, have their own peculiar values, for they enlighten men’s minds and inform them about God’s unity, His immensity, together with the necessity of maintaining moral and spiritual virtues for the attainment of man’s eternal salvation, and ultimately His good-will. But how much effort is made to induce the audience to bow submissively before the Lord of Creation in self-abasement and humiliation. Nay, our mosques are utilized more as preaching houses than giving ourselves up to Lord’s true worship, veneration, adoration and reverence.
Even the preachers take more interest in swaying the hearts of people by their eloquence than laying emphasis on submissive prayers offered to increase their fear and love for God and thus to defy manfully all evil propensities. They hardly carry out in action what they preach. These preachers say prayers, but not absorptive prayers, the practice of highly spiritual persons.
So far as my experience goes — I am speaking from personal observation — salat (prayers), in the sense to which our Promised Messiah (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian) has drawn our attention, is not offered either in mosques or other religious places. Our very faces show that we are secular people devoted to this world and its pursuits. There is scarcely any facial glory, and radiating light by which the faces of spiritual persons glow with charm and grace.
Despite all the virtues we practise, we are virtually not free from the traces of arrogance, because we, with a few exceptions, live in Devildom. We should have heaped thousand curses on the Devil, who incites us to bright and voluptuous temptations. But we surrender. As the flashing threads of false gaieties and glitter unravel before us, we are content to let things drift-on. We tempt the Devil to tempt us. May God rain down His Mercies upon us!