Olympics and Humility
Assalamu Alaikum wa-Rakhmatullah hi wa-Barakatahu (May peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be on you),
All great religions of the world have taught its followers the excellences of humility. Surely the most elevated in status should also be the most humble before Allah (God) and should shun any fabric of haughtiness, arrogance and pride that might exist deep in, in order to become truly worthy of their status.
It was Iblis’ (Satan) pride that made him fall in the Eyes of Allah (God):
وَ اِذۡ قُلۡنَا لِلۡمَلٰٓئِکَۃِ اسۡجُدُوۡا لِاٰدَمَ فَسَجَدُوۡۤا اِلَّاۤ اِبۡلِیۡسَ ؕ اَبٰی وَ اسۡتَکۡبَرَ ٭۫ وَ کَانَ مِنَ الۡکٰفِرِیۡنَ ﴿۳۴﴾
And when We said to the angels, Be submissive to Adam, they submitted, but Iblis (did not). He refused and was proud, and he was one of the disbelievers (The Holy Quran, 2:34).
The humble ones, on the contrary, are described as follows in the Holy Quran:
اِنَّ الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا وَ عَمِلُوا الصّٰلِحٰتِ وَ اَخۡبَتُوۡۤا اِلٰی رَبِّہِمۡ ۙ اُولٰٓئِکَ اَصۡحٰبُ الۡجَنَّۃِ ۚ ہُمۡ فِیۡہَا خٰلِدُوۡنَ ﴿۲۳﴾
Surely those who believe and do good and humble themselves before their Lord, these are the owners of the Garden; therein they will abide. (11:23)
In relation to pride, the Holy Quran also mentions:
وَ لَا تَمۡشِ فِی الۡاَرۡضِ مَرَحًا ۚ اِنَّکَ لَنۡ تَخۡرِقَ الۡاَرۡضَ وَ لَنۡ تَبۡلُغَ الۡجِبَالَ طُوۡلًا ﴿۳۷﴾
کُلُّ ذٰلِکَ کَانَ سَیِّئُہٗ عِنۡدَ رَبِّکَ مَکۡرُوۡہًا ﴿۳۸﴾
And go not about in the land exultingly, for thou canst not rend the earth, nor reach the mountains in height.
And this, the evil thereof, is hateful in the sight of thy Lord. (17:37-38)
Elsewhere, Allah has said:
یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوۡا لَا یَسۡخَرۡ قَوۡمٌ مِّنۡ قَوۡمٍ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّکُوۡنُوۡا خَیۡرًا مِّنۡہُمۡ وَ لَا نِسَآءٌ مِّنۡ نِّسَآءٍ عَسٰۤی اَنۡ یَّکُنَّ خَیۡرًا مِّنۡہُنَّ ۚ وَ لَا تَلۡمِزُوۡۤا اَنۡفُسَکُمۡ وَ لَا تَنَابَزُوۡا بِالۡاَلۡقَابِ ؕ بِئۡسَ الِاسۡمُ الۡفُسُوۡقُ بَعۡدَ الۡاِیۡمَانِ ۚ وَ مَنۡ لَّمۡ یَتُبۡ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ ہُمُ الظّٰلِمُوۡنَ ﴿۱۱﴾
O you who believe, let not people laugh at people, perchance they may be better than they; nor let women (laugh) at women, perchance they may be better than they. Neither find fault with your own people, nor call one another by nick-names. Evil is a bad name after faith; and whoso turns not, these it is that are the iniquitous. (49:11)
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is reported to have said in the Hadith:
Your pedigree should not make you look down on others; all of you are the children of Adam. No one has any superiority over another except by the righteousness he has attained.
In his Last Sermon, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) laid the basic charter of equality of Mankind, i.e., Human Rights, over 1400 years ago:
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
It was interesting to observe that during the London 2012 Olympics, the gold medalists (the ones with the most elevated status) were the ones who were conferred the highest position on the medals podium stand, yet, they had to bend down the most (a symbolisation of humility) in order to accept their gold medals. In contrast, the silver and bronze medalists were also a symbol of humility as demonstrated by their inability to reach the coveted spot of being the gold medalist.
I leave you in Peace and please find time to read this lovely article on Pride by Imam Kalamazad Mohammed of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Literary Trust, Trinidad.