My thoughts on "Islam and Ego"

{ Wednesday, February 15, 2012 }
Assalaamu aleykum w rahmatullahi w barakaatuhu :)

I watched this really amazing lecture called "Islam and Ego" by Nouman Ali Khan.
It's about how we Muslims often have an ego problem without us even realizing it. When we think Islam needs us, we have an ego problem. When we think we are on the right path and someone else is not, we have an ego problem. When we think someone else should watch this lecture, not us, we have an ego problem. He gives many great examples that made me feel very uneasy at times.

The truth is, we all have an ego. We all get offended by criticism. We all tend to think we are on the right path and others need our advise. We all want praise and to feel like we are good in what we do. But in the end, it's God that deserves our praise. If you are successful, it's thanks to Him. If you are good in what you do, it's thanks to Him. So you should be quick to divert the praise from yourself to God.

Our Intention

As a Muslim, we should always seek to do everything we do for the sake of Allah swt. It's the only way to absolute contentment and inner peace. If we sincerely do something for Allah, no matter how it turns out, we have already succeeded, because we will receive our reward from Him. No matter how few people respond to what we do. It doesn't matter. Your intention was sincere and your effort has not gone to waste.

“[And it will be said], ‘Indeed, this is for you a reward, and your effort has been appreciated.’” (Qur’an,76:22)

But if we are honest with ourselves, we find that we often have a mixed intention. Yes, we want to do a good deed, to do something selfless, but why? Is it for the sake of Allah or because of the praise we will get? Even if your first reaction would be: "for Allah of course!" you should stop and think again. If I think about my intentions when I do something good, then yes, I want to do it for God, but also there is this small hope that people will appreciate it, that people will see what I do. 

We should always take care to check our intentions and our thoughts. If we detect some arrogance, some pride, some ego, we should strive to rid our hearts of it, because only those with sound hearts will be granted Paradise. 

Ask for forgiveness

I think it's very important to contemplate our actions often and to always humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness. 

“O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great as it.” (Tirmidhi)

To be conscious of our actions and thoughts is the best way to nip arrogance and hardness of the heart in the bud. If we catch ourselves thinking something bad about a person, we can correct ourselves immediately by saying things like "May God forgive me, and bless the person I thought bad of"

The best cure against hardness of the heart is regular prayer and remembrance of God. In my experience, that's the best way to make you sensitive to the beauty of the Quran. 

I have not much to say that Nouman Ali Khan didn't say in his lecture. I think the message he wants to convey is very important. 

Remain humble, because all praise belongs to Allah Subhanna w Ta'ala. 


Candice said...

Amazing post. I feel very concerned by this advice that I need to take and implement in my life to a much higher degree.

Safiyah said...

Thanks, Candice :) As long as we work on ourselves and don't stagnate, there is always hope :)

MarieHarmony said...

Very Interesting Safiyah. There is a lot of ideas to remember here and a lot of things to improve in ourselves. But once we know where our ego is taking the first place, we can start working on it.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, they are very inspiring. Stay well.

SS said...

thank you for post and link.

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