Tawadhu - (humbleness and humility) is of three kinds:
1- Towards Allah (s.w.t.)
2- Towards the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) and Imams (A.S.)
3- Towards the people
All these are ways of showing humbleness and humility towards Allah (s.w.t.)
TAWADHU TOWARDS THE HOLY PROPHET (peace be upon him and his household) AND THE IMAMS (A.S.)
Showing humbleness towards the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) and, (A.S.) is as good as showing humbleness and humility towards Allah (s.w.t.). This is because the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and the Imams (A.S.) are the greatest signs of Allah (s.w.t.) and His representatives to us on this earth.
We have show humbleness towards them by:
- Undermining their status and position amongst us.
- Not touching their respected names without Taharat.
- Mentioning their names with great respect and sending praises and greetings over them whenever we remember them.
It is said that some great people had the habit of mentioning the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his household), and the Imams (A.S.) only in the state of Taharat.
It is also reported that whenever Imam Jafar as Sadiq (A.S.) used to mention the name of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.), he used to bow down in respect and send praises and salaams.
And amongst the other ways of showing humbleness towards Prophet (peace be upon him and his household) and the Imams (A.S.) is to show humbleness towards the Ulema (religious scholars and authorities) and the sadaat (children of the Holy Prophet’s progeny).
TAWADHU to the PEOPLE
It is important to note that man is the best of all creatures. After his creation, Allah (s.w.t.) gave him the honour and respect which He did not give to any other creature.
And in order to preserve and secure man’s dignity, Allah (s.w.t.) sent His Sharia (the divine law) to which He bound the entire mankind. People who deviated from these laws lost their honour and dignity.
The following verse discusses the honour and dignity bestowed upon man:
﴾And surely we have honoured the children of Adam, And We carry them in land and the sea, and We have given them of the good things, and We have made them to excel by an appropriate excellence over the most of those whom We have created.﴿1
Once Imam Jaffer as-Sadiq (A.S.) along with his companions was performing a mustahab Tawaf of the Holy Kaaba when an outsider came and called for one of the companions.
Since they were all in Tawaf, the companion who had been called ignored the caller and continued with Tawaf. Imam (A.S.) had observed the situation, and he went and asked his companion why he was ignoring the caller?
The companion asked:
"Should I break my Tawaf and respond to him."
The Imam (A.S.) said:
"Yes! Verily, the respect of a believer is more dear to Allah than the sanctity of the Kaaba."
Therefore, man who is so much exalted and bestowed with such great honour and dignity deserves to be respected and not to be disregarded or considered inferior.
Imam Muhammad Al-Baqir (A.S.) once came near the Holy Kaaba and said:
"By Allah, the sanctity of a believer is greater yours".
There are various narration through which the experts in the science to ethics "IImul Akhlaq" prove that pride is a kind oppression "Dhulm ". The proud one is a snatcher of rights from others as he demands their humiliation before himself.
PEOPLE WHO DO NOT DESERVE TO BE SHOWN HUMILITY
Humility cannot be shown to all the people. Here are some categories of people who do not deserve to be shown humility. Most of us fail to distinguish these people and many a time we honour them while on the other hand forget the deserving ones.
This category of people are the following:
1- NON BELIEVERS AND SINNERS
There is no doubt that a believer irrespective of his colour, caste or status is better than a disbeliever or a sinful person.
Allah (s.w.t.) says:
﴾Is he then who is a believer like him who is a transgressor? They at not equal.﴿2
In another place the Almighty Allah says:
﴾And do not marry the idolatrous until they believe, and certainly a believing maid is better than an idolatous woman even though she may allure you.﴿3
So one cannot compare a believer with any disbeliever or even with a transgressor. A believer has an exceptional dignity bestowed upon him by Allah (s.w.t.). He achieved this dignity because of his belief in Allah (s.w.t.) and therefore showing humbleness and humility to a disbeliever is belittling Imaan (Belief) before Kufr (Disbelief) thus disgracing the Imaan.
2- THE RICH FOR THEIR WEALTH.
The Holy Quran and the narration have both strongly protested against showing humility towards rich people their wealth.
Almighty Allah says:
﴾And do not stretch your eyes after that with which we have provided different classes of them (of) the splendour of this world’s life that we may therefore try them.﴿4
Imam Ali (A.S.) has said:
"Whoever comes to a rich person and expresses humility for his wealth, Allah snatches two thirds of his religion."
Ayatlullah Dasti Ghayb explains the above hadith beautifully in his book ‘Adh-Dhunooh al Kabeera’ (The major Sins). He writes that Imaam is made up of three things.
a- Conviction at heart,
b- Admission by tongue: and
c- Action by parts of the body.
Since showing humility to the rich for their wealth is expressed by the first two i.e. the heart and tongue, therefore two thirds of one’s faith goes away.
TO THE PROUD ONES
Avoid showing humility and being humble before the proud ones. This is because showing humility to such kind of people firstly, brings self-humiliation and disgrace and secondly, it will encourage the proud ones to continue with pride and disregard the rights of others.
Moreover, by not showing humility to a proud one, there are chances that he might acknowledge his grave mistake.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) has said:
"If you notice the humble ones in my nation, then show humility towards them and if you see the proud ones, then show (your) pride over them for verily for them in that is humiliation and lowliness."5
Finally, we pray to the Almighty Allah (s.w.t.) to guide us and save us from Kibr of all kinds.
* Mujahidali A.R. Sheriff
1- Bani Israel: 70
2- Sajdah: 18
3- Al-Baqarah: 221
4- Taha: 131
5- Jami’us saadaat