Three Peculiar Phenomena of Humans – A Reflection

Has anyone noticed the strange peculiarity, that when you treat some people, exactly as they treat you (and others), they get angry and accuse you of committing an outrage.

Likewise, have you also noticed, that some people attack others for doing/not doing something – yet are fine with those they like, doing/not doing the same thing.

Isn’t it also true, that much of what other people accuse others of, it is really they themselves that are guilty of it?

What are the reasons for these three peculiar phenomena?

The first is arrogance. Arrogant people do not perceive themselves as arrogant. They have subconsciously made themselves the number one concern, and have given permission to do whatever is necessary to others, regardless of the right of respect due to all humans. Of course, they detest it when someone does not respect them – as they feel the affront of what being disrespected feels like. However, their lack of concern or empathy to the equal right of respect due to others, causes them to justify why they should be affronted by personal disrespect, but deny the truth that what they do to others is unjust if it gets them their ‘rights’ from others. This is arrogance.

Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “No one who has the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance in his heart will enter Paradise.” Someone said, “Indeed, a man loves to have beautiful clothes and shoes.” So the Prophet said, “Verily, Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance means rejecting the truth and looking down on people.”

[Sahih Muslim 91]

The second is due to partiality borne of partisanship (asabiyyah) or due to a tie of friendship or kinship. Defending the bad actions of a friend – while vigorously pursuing others for the same infraction, means that that person either is arrogant in their group (of comrades), or puts ties of friendship/love above justice. This person puts their interests in others first, then the requirements of justice. This is the disease of partiality.

O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah , even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.

[Quran 4:135]

The reason for the last phenomena, is because people generally project their own motivations and thinking onto others. Good intentioned people, generally trust others and think good of people and make excuses for them, until proven wrong. People who are selfish, self-centred and conceited, will assume that seemly bad actions done by others must be due to the same motivations they themselves possess – such that they judge them even though they may be worse than those they judge.

“O ye who believe! Let not some men among you laugh at others: It may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): Nor let some women laugh at others: It may be that the (latter are better than the (former): Nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames: Ill-seeming is a name connoting wickedness, (to be used of one) after he has believed: And those who do not desist are (indeed) doing wrong.

[Quran 49:11]

Indeed, those that committed crimes used to laugh at those who believed

[Quran 83/29-30].

The Hypocrites (amongst the Muslims) were once sitting back watching the charity that the believers were giving. To those that gave much, they said, “He only gave it to show off.” For those that gave little, they said, “Verily, Allah has no need for this petty offering.”

“Those who criticize the contributors among the believers concerning their charities and (criticize) the ones who find nothing (to spend) except their effort, Allah will ridicule them and they will have a painful punishment” (Sura Al Tauba 9/79).

As reported in Tafsir Al Tabari (commentary of sura Tauba:79)

The only way to avoid these misdeeds in conduct, is to live by a firm code (revealed by God), and apply it consistently on friend and foe, family or stranger. If we call to justice, we call to justice equally, and if we show mercy, we show mercy equally. This is the way we can avoid arrogance, partiality and hypocrisy.

Categories: Reflections, Revival Thought (Al Nahda), The Muslim Debate Initiative, WRITINGS

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