Encouraging Self-Love and Discouraging Arrogance (Qiyamul-Layl)

Self-love and self-confidence are two ideas whose practices must be balanced. A lack of self-love or self-confidence is as equally devastating as an excess of self-love or self-confidence. When we forget to love ourselves, we diminish our potential to achieve great things, damage our physical and mental health, and halt our ability to help others. When we care for ourselves too much, we become selfish, forget to care for others, and worst of all, indulge in arrogance.

Arrogance is considered one of the heaviest sins in Islam, and is also considered a disease of the heart. An arrogant heart is full of pride, conceit, and looks down on others. Arrogance causes a person to become enclosed within himself, shutting out care for the well-being of others and remembrance of God. Too often, self-love and self-confidence are confused with arrogance. A person who is confident may be perceived as arrogant by others and a person who is arrogant may simply think he or she is confident.

As I learned during Qiyamul-Layl, the line between the two ideas is thin, but if we keep that line in mind, we can stop ourselves from participating in arrogant behavior. How does one remember to differentiate between self-love and arrogance? The first has to do with comparison. To acknowledge that you’re a good writer, as an example, would be much better than stating you’re a greater writer than others. Another piece of advice specifically brought up by Imam Hendi was to clean after others when you feel your ego building up too much. Cleaning after others makes you humble, and humility is one of the most influential ways to combat arrogance.

It is very easy for us to become too invested in ourselves, but when we remember the line between self-love and arrogance and try to be humble every once in a while, we can save ourselves from potentially destructive behavior and care for ourselves in a way that will help us reach our highest potential.

Written by Nena Beecham (new window), F’18