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Warning against Obstinacy and Arrogance


By Sheikh Saud al-Shuraim – 09 Jumaadal Ukhra

His Eminence Sheikh Saud al-Shuraim – May Allah protect him – delivered this Friday Khutbah titled “Warning against Obstinacy and Arrogance” in which he warned against one of the worst forms of moral baseness and human nature: obstinacy and arrogance. He explained that he who adopts such behaviour is using as model the first obstinate creature –the accursed Iblis (Satan or Lucifer) and his followers from among the infidels and the criminals, such as Pharaoh, Abu Lahab, and the like.

Praise be to Allah, “… the (only) Originator [or the (only) Creator] of the heavens and the earth, Who made the angels messengers with wings, – two or three or four.” [Fatir: 1]! I praise Him – May He be extolled – I thank Him, repent unto Him from sins and misdeeds and ask Him for forgiveness! All praise is duly His in a way that befits His Glorious Face and His Great Reign! I bear witness that there is no deity except Allah alone with no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is the Servant and Messenger of Allah, the unlettered Prophet, who believed in Allah and His words, who conveyed the Message, delivered the Trust, and counselled the Ummah. May Allah send His profuse Salat (Graces, Honours, Mercy) and Peace upon him, his noble and immaculate family, and his wives –the Mothers of the believers– as He did upon Ibrahim (Abraham) and his family in the Worlds!

Now then, O People!

Taqwa (fear of disobeying Allah) is indeed the best provision. It is consolation in the Herein and gain in the Hereafter.

“So fear Allâh much [(abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allâh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)], O men of understanding in order that you may be successful.” [Al-Ma’idah: 100]

O Servants of Allah!

All humans are fallible. Perfection is the exclusive attribute of Allah ‒Glory be to Him. Only the messengers and prophets of Allah –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon them– are infallible. Humans become sinful and wrong-doers when they deviate from the natural predisposition which Allah has endowed them with.

However, to insist on wrongdoing and to go too far in it, making all sorts of excuses and concocting pretexts to maintain sinful acts instead of going back to what is right is indeed disgraceful. It is a characteristic despised by the cogent and the virtuous. For the wise, this behaviour is nothing short of intransigence and arrogance. Indeed, it is very much so, since the offender who is cognizant of his sin, and yet insists on upholding the same attitude in defiance of irrefutably clear truth, has fallen victim to his own insolence and pride that make him responsive neither to plain truth nor to a good lesson.

If such a sinner were not obstinate, who is then the obstinate? If he were not arrogant, who is then the arrogant?

“And when Our Verses (of the Qur’ân) are recited to such a one, he turns away in pride , as if he heard them not, as if there were deafness in his ear. So announce to him a painful torment.” [Luqman: 7]

It was reported in Muslim’s Sahih that a man was eating with his left hand at the Prophet’s –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– so the Prophet told him: “Use your right hand!” “I can’t,” the man replied. “May you not be able to! Nothing but arrogance has kept him!” the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– said. The narrator said that the man never raised his hand to his mouth ever since. [Narrated by Imam Muslim]

Obstinacy – O Servants of Allah – is the nature of the depraved. It is not found in the behaviour of anyone whose heart Allah has filled with belief, wisdom and knowledge.

Obstinacy and arrogance are the attributes of arrogant, envious and scornful hearts; hearts that are not wont to acknowledge their own faults and be satisfied with truth; hearts that see nothing but humiliation, degradation and belittlement in reverting to truth. Nay! It is the obstinate who will fall victim to humility, degradation and belittlement! Mincing their words and forging their deeds will do them no good.

“And of mankind there is he whose speech may please you (O Muhammad SAW), in this worldly life, and he calls Allâh to witness as to that which is in his heart, yet he is the most quarrelsome of the opponents. And when he turns away (from you “O Muhammad SAW “), his effort in the land is to make mischief therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle, and Allâh likes not mischief. And when it is said to him, “Fear Allâh”, he is led by arrogance to (more) crime. So enough for him is Hell, and worst indeed is that place to rest!” [Al-Baqarah: 204-206]

Any obstinate and arrogant person has no model but the accursed Iblis who was the first to dispute the truth though he knew it.

“(Allâh) said: “O Iblîs (Satan)! What prevents you from prostrating yourself to one whom I have created with Both My Hands. Are you too proud (to fall prostrate to Adam) or are you one of the high exalted?”” [Sad: 75]

Those who exalted themselves and felt arrogant never see eye-to-eye with truth. Obstinacy –O servants of Allah– manifests itself in refusing to do anything, even if it were a duty, and in refraining from doing anything, even if it were prohibited, with unwavering insistence and no change of mind.

Hence came the meaning of baseness in obstinacy! It runs counter to the straight human nature that is backed by our magnanimous Sharia. Therefore, when obstinacy and arrogance took the better of the enemies of religion, they became the most mean and arrogant people. They would not budge to convincing arguments and foolproof evidence and would not soften to preaching, inducement or intimidation.

“And they belied them (those Ayât) wrongfully and arrogantly” [Al-Naml: 14]

That is why some religious scholars said: “The least achievable wish is eliciting leniency from the obstinate. That is because obstinacy covers the heart with a stain which makes it resistant to anything except what it sees albeit it is manifestly wrong, and rejects what others see albeit it is clearly right.”

No matter how numerous and diverse the arguments are, the obstinate will not change and neither will obstinacy. Nothing will make the obstinate person, whose heart is blind and whose logic is Byzantine, budge off his position even if you read some verses from the Qur’an to him or if Luqman counsels him.

The likes of such people ‒O servants of Allah‒ will spoil and burrow into everything they come in touch with in Muslim communities, like woodworms. With their obstinacy, they combine three sins: committing errors, insisting on their errors, and harming the Ummah with their insistence on committing errors.

What a pity on those people whom the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– meant in his Hadith: “Woe to those who knowingly insist on the wrong they have done.” [Narrated by Imam Ahmad and others]

Quoting biographers and scholars of prophethood signs, Ibn al-Qayyim –May Allah bless his soul– said: “When Quraish saw that the status of the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– was on the ascent and things were gathering momentum, they unanimously agreed to enter into a pact against Bani Hashim, Bani Abdulmuttalib and Bani Abd Manaf: they would not do business with them, enter into marital relations with them, talk to them or sit with them until they turn in the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– to them. To this effect, they scribed a document and hung it on the ceiling of the Ka’bah.

Banu Hashim and Banu Abdulmuttalib –believers and nonbelievers– all sided with the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– except Abu Lahab, who allied himself with Quraish against the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– as well as Bani Hashim and Bani Abdulmuttalib. The Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– and his Companions were besieged in the Gorge of Abi Talib the night of the crescent of Muharram, in the seventh year of the Prophet’s bi’thah. They consequently experienced considerable hardship with no wheat and no provisions for three years until they were utterly exhausted.

Then, Allah revealed to His Messenger –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– what happened to their document, and that He had sent to it a moth that ate all that existed in it concerning injustice, severing blood ties, and oppression, except the scribed Name of Allah –May He be exalted. The Messenger, then, told his uncle about that; and the latter informed them that his nephew said such and such and that if he were lying, they would hand him over to them, but if he were telling the truth, they should renounce treating them unjustly.

They said that it was fair enough. So they brought down the document and found out that the case was exactly as the Prophet –May Allah’s Salat and Peace be upon him– said. However, this increased them in disbelief and stubbornness.”

It is obstinacy – O Servants of Allah – that controlled their hearts; so they became as Allah said:

“And they swore by Allâh their most binding oath, that if a warner came to them, they would be more guided than any of the nations (before them), yet when a warner (Muhammad SAW) came to them, it increased in them nothing but flight (from the truth), (42) (They took to flight because of their) arrogance in the land and their plotting of evil. But the evil plot encompasses only him who makes it. Then, can they expect anything (else), but the Sunnah (way of dealing) of the peoples of old? So no change will you find in Allâh’s Sunnah (way of dealing), and no turning off will you find in Allâh’s Sunnah (way of dealing) [Fatir: 42-43]

May Allah protect us and you against obstinacy! For it is indeed the worst companion. May He protect us against arrogance! For it is the worst associate!

This being said, I ask Allah to forgive me, you, and all Muslims, males and females, for every sin and wrong doing! So ask him for forgiveness and repent unto Him, for my Lord is Forgiving and Merciful.


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