Treating the Conceit (Ujb) Sickness
By: Sayyid Ahmad al-Fahri
Be informed, dear one, that the physical doctors, while treating the physical sicknesses, exert their effort first to find out the cause of the sickness, trying to find out its causing germ. Once they have succeeded in this stage, they treat the sickness by eradicating the germ with the use of a counter-germ. The patient will then recover his health and safety.
Likewise, the scientists of manners and the spiritual doctors have also used this method in treating the spiritual and psychological sicknesses. Yes, there is a difference between this and that, which is: In the spiritual and psychological sicknesses, the knowledge of the cause of the sickness may itself be its treatment without the need to another process. In other words, in the spiritual sicknesses, the cause of which is ignorance.
There is no factor in causing the sickness save ignorance. In this case, if the causes and factors based on ignorance are identified, their structure will collapse and be replaced with knowledge. The sickness that was rendered to ignorance disappears, and there is no need for a practical treatment program. For example, when someone is afflicted with fear, and he fears isolation and the dark place, if this person directs his attention to the fact that the origin of his fear is his imagination and whim, and that there is nothing outside his mind at all, and he does not make sure about the harm that he may receive by the outside dark and the isolation…, so if he realizes this meaning, this knowledge itself suffices in the dissipation of his fear from isolation and the dark without the need for a practical treatment.
The sickness, which is the subject of our discussion, I mean conceit, belongs also to this same type of spiritual sicknesses. If one does not entirely lean on ignorance, definitely an important portion of it is based on ignorance [i.e. he must leave no share for ignorance to dictate to him what he should or should not do]. It is hoped that this dangerous sickness will disappear by paying attention to what we have stated, to the practical reminders. If some of it remains in the soul, its owner derives divine niceties and is thus successful in eradicating the substance of this sickness completely, by the will of Allāh. In this field, we would like to briefly quote what some scholars of the hereafter have said so the benefit may thereby be complete: As we stated before, the origin of conceit in man is his seeing the attribute of perfection in his nafs even if it is not a real perfection but an imagined one. It is known that perfection is of many types and is divided from one standpoint into two kinds:
First: The perfections that come to be through the choice of the individual and are optional,
Second: The perfections that do not fall under his choice; rather, he is awarded them without his having had a say in their regard, such as beauty, lineage, and the like. Since conceit penetrates the heart mostly by way of optional perfections, we would like to tackle them and say the following: If we suppose there is someone who is pious and God-fearing, and he performs many acts of adoration. If he admires them because these attributes and righteous deeds rest in him, being the one who undertakes them, believing that the origin of a righteous deed comes from Allāh, Praise to Him, and that He is the One Who bestows this attribute on him and enables him to undertake this deed, yet he, despite this [sound] belief, still feels conceited…, this is nothing but ignorance because this individual to whom reference is made is being utilized, and he has nothing to do with originating; so, how can he admire a deed with which he has nothing to do?
But if he is conceited because this attribute or that deed comes out of him rather than anyone else, and it takes place through his choice, his ability, let him think about the ability, the will, his physical parts and the rest of causes that have a role in completing carrying out the good deed: Where did he get them from?
If he gets to know that all this comes from Allāh, the most Praised One, from His boons which He granted him without his being requiring them, without a precedence or a means…, in this portrait, he ought to admire the Truthful One, the Almighty, and admire His generosity and favor which He bestowed upon him these boons without being worthy of them, preferring him over others, rather than admiring himself. In order to explain this minute Gnostic quest, let us state an example: Let us suppose that a king reviews his troops. He looks at them and promotes one of them, not for a particular merit in him, nor beauty, nor service, to receive a promotion. This soldier ought to admire the favor of the king, his looking after him and preferring him over others without his being worthy of it, and he ought not admire his own self.
Yes, this soldier may admire himself and say, "The king is wise, fair, and does not do injustice to anyone, nor does he oppress, advance or delay except for a reason, nor does he grant a rank to someone nor extract it out of him without a cause. So, the king must have noticed in me a commendable innate attribute, so he thus preferred me over others for the promotion. Had it not been for that attribute, he would not have preferred me."
But he has to remember, at the same time, who gave him this attribute, too. Is it one of the boons of the king, the rank with which he specifically gave him rather than anyone else? Or did someone else give it to him? If it is a gift from the king, too, he is not justified for admiring himself. If we suppose that the king had given him a horse as a gift, then he gave him a servant, too, he ought not feel conceited because just as he was not being worthy of possessing the horse, he likewise did not deserve to get the servant.
Likewise, there is no difference between the king giving him the horse and the servant together and giving him the horse first then the servant. If all comes from him, this recipient ought to admire the king and his generosity unless we suppose he obtained the horse, for example, on his own and the king gave him the servant specifically. But this supposition applies to great men, to worldly kings.
As regarding the King of Kings, the originator of existence and of its requirements and consequences, such as His generosity and outgiving, the only One Who originates the being and the attribute…, such a supposition does not hold any water at all. This is so because if one, for example, is enabled to admire, and conceit finds its way to him from the venue that Allāh, the most Praised One, was the One Who enabled him to undertake such adoration, but he thinks that this ability is due to his love for Him, that such love is the reason for success of this adoration…, yet in this case he must ask himself this question: Who cast this love in my heart?
The soul will definitely answer him saying, "Surely it is Allāh Who honored me with this love." So, let him tell himself that both the love and the adoration are blessings from Allāh which He gave him without being worthy of them. So, your admiration must be of His generosity and open-handedness, for He has blessed you with existence, granted you your attributes, prepared for you the means to undertake acts of righteousness…; therefore, there is no sense for a worshipper to admire his worship, nor a scholar to admire his knowledge, nor a beautiful person to admire his beauty, nor a wealthy person to admire his wealth, for all these are due to the favor of Allāh Almighty, and their recipient is the object of the outpouring favors and generosity of Allāh. The individual himself coming into being is also a sign of His generosity and favor.
Dear kind reader: You may not have arrived at the root of the pursuit, although this pursuit is apt to win your acceptance, but there may be some insinuation in the heart that stops one from believing in it.
Unless there is belief in something, the mere knowing of it does not bear much impact. We have already stated, while discussing pretension, that conviction is not the same as knowledge. Some people may have knowledge, but since they have no conviction about what they do, this knowledge does not benefit them in anything. The cursed Eblis had the knowledge about the beginning and the return, so he said,
"You created me from fire…" (Qur'ān, 7:12),
"Grant me a respite till the Day they are raised up" (Qur'ān, 7:14),
but since he had no conviction in what he knew, he got out of the band of believers and entered into that of the unbelievers as the Holy Qur'ān clearly states: "… he refused and was haughty; he was of those who reject faith" (Qur'ān, 2:34).
Attention ought to be given to the phrase "… and was of those who reject faith". Refusal and haughtiness about prostrating to Adam were the result of his being an already rejecter of the faith in the past. It is not just because he merely did not prostrate to Adam that he became a rejecter of the faith.
Anyhow, we submit a query in order to remove the hissing from the heart and hope after getting the answer for this question that the cursed Satan will lose hope and the heart will be ready for the light of conviction to shine in it. The question is this: Although we know that success and blessings are from Allāh, how can we ignore our good deeds which we did and for which we anticipate to be rewarded? Had they not been our own doing, we would not have hoped for rewards for them because we do not expect to be rewarded for deeds done by others. So, if the deeds are not truly from us, what is this reward which Allāh, Praised is He, promised to grant us? And if the deeds are ours, how can we ignore them and not admire them?
This question has two answers: a real answer and a compromising one. The real answer is that since realizing it is based on witnessing those who have hearts and holding counsel with those who are adorned with good conduct and not specifically according to the understanding of most people, we do not mention it and contend ourselves with the second answer: Let us suppose that your claim about your deed is accurate, that you did the deed through your ability, although your very existence and the requirements to maintain your existence all come from Allāh, the most Praised One, yet, at the same time, had you not been in existence, your deed, will and ability would not have existed, either, nor would this deed have been done. Thereupon, if the deed comes as a result of your ability, such ability is the key to doing this deed, and this key is in the hands of Allāh Almighty.
Let us suppose the world's treasures are placed in a secure fort and its keys are in the hands of the guard. If we try for thousands of years to enter the fort by climbing over its wall, or find a way to get inside it, you will not be able to do that, nor can you fare with one dinar of the funds deposited in it. But if the guard gives you the key and grants you authority over the funds and precious stones in the fort, you will easily be able to take from them whatever you wish. Be fair and answer this question: Will you admire the guard who gave you this key, or will you admire stretching your hand and taking the money and the jewels from the safe?
There is no doubt that you see it as a blessing from the guard and a boon on you, and you do not see your taking the money as having any credit for yourself because all the role in the guard giving you the key lied in his own presence there and then. He was present, so he gave you the key. If Allāh, Praise to Him, grants the ability in you and gives you power over your will, mobilizing the incentives and prompting you, removing the obstacles and diversions from your path and facilitating for you the doing of the deed…, is it not odd if you overlook the admiration of the One Who gave you all these things and not admire His presence, favor and generosity and admire, thus, the little motion that we suppose comes out of you?!
So, open your heart's eyes, my dear one, observe the One Who really causes things, and witness with piercing eyes the very cause. Do not be deceived by Satan and by the nafs, for they both are your enemies. Their ability is only to make your false beliefs, contemptible characteristics and wrongdoings look good in your eyes. Instead of lowering your head with these matters and making you feel shy about them, they force you to admire them.
So, how can you feel secure and be indifferent if they decorate your acts of worship for you and push you towards being proud of them till all your acts of worship are rendered void, rendering your deeds in Sijjeen after you hoped it would be in 'Illiyyeen?!
Dear one, consider the conditions of those who are loved by and close to Allāh, Praise to Him, and you will see how they used to see themselves as bankrupt of good deeds towards Allāh, Praise to Him. The Commander of the Faithful, Ali (Ú), wrote the following verse of poetry on the shroud of Salman, despite his acts of adoration, asceticism and the arrival at the tenth degree of conviction: I am coming to the Generous One without rations Of good deeds and the heart is sound.
One of the great men used to say the following whenever a storm blew out or saw thunder and lightning in the sky: "No ill befalls people except it is on my own account; had Atā' died, people would have been relieved."
After his return from `Arafāt, one of these great men was asked how he saw the standing there. He said, "I was hopeful they would all receive mercy had I only not been among them."
So, dear one, beware lest you should doubt these Islamic branches of knowledge which are supported by verses and narratives relying on witnesses about those who ruled over their hearts, for it [conceit] is the greatest veil against realizing the truth. This sickness, conceit, when coupled with this veil, God forbid, will be chronic and incurable.
Yes, my dear one, Allāh Almighty fares with the hearts of His servants, and they have conditions with which we are not familiar. We, the poor ones who are unaware of all matters, never realize the state of submission in the heart of the friends of Allāh in all our lifetime, not even for a moment, and we are justified if we do not see them because they are the outcome of the manifestation of the Greatness of the Truthful One, the most Exalted One, to the heart. It is then that the mountain of egotism and selfishness is crushed: "When his Lord manifested His glory on the mount, He made it like dust" (Qur'ān, 7:143).
If the power of truth rests in a heart and takes its seat in it, there will be no effect in that heart for seeing the nafs and admiring it: "When kings enter a town, they ruin it, and make the noblest of its people the meanest" (Qur'ān, 27:34).
We, the folks who are immersed in desires and afflicted with the wishes of the nafs, have no acquaintance with such worlds.
So, Praise be to Allāh! What a difference it is between the pious hearts and submissive souls [and others], between the individuals who are drowned in conceit and haughtiness, so much so that if one of them is insulted, or taken lightly, or harmed, he will think it far-fetched that Allāh, Praise to Him, will include the doer in His forgiveness, nor does he doubt that he became cursed by Allāh because of this insult. This is so although if someone harmed a Muslim, he would not denounce it as such and hope for Allāh's forgiveness for his sin.
This is due to holding himself great, to his admiration of his own self, which is ignorance, the combination of conceit, pride and taking Allāh lightly. Ignorance, foolishness and stupidity may cause some people to be defiant and say, "You will see what will happen to him because of what he did to me."
If he is accidentally afflicted with a setback, he renders it to his own self and claim it is due to his own status of goodness, and that Allāh Almighty wanted thus to cure his ailment, please his conscience and seek revenge on his behalf although this poor person sees classes of the unbelievers cursing Allāh and the Messenger and knows a group that harmed the prophets, peace be with them. Some beat those prophets and others killed them.
Yet, despite all of this, Allāh gave a respite to most of them and did not outright punish them for their actions in the life of this world, nor did He torment them on their account. Rather, some of them may have believed, so no harm touched them, neither in the life of this world nor in the hereafter. Even Wahshi, the man who killed Hamzah, the master of martyrs, the one [uncle] who was the dearest to the Messenger of Allāh (Õ), harming his revered heart, was enabled to repent and to believe.
But this ignorant conceited person claims he is dearer to Allāh than the Messenger of Allāh (Õ), and insulting him is more serious than killing the master of martyrs Hamzah, for Allāh, Praise to Him, sought revenge on his behalf against those who insulted him while not seeking revenge against the killers of prophets. He thus thinks he has a greater status with Allāh than that of His prophets.
In thus admiring himself and being conceited, he may have incurred the contempt of Allāh while being unaware of his own annihilation. He and his deeds are in Sijjeen. One who commits more sins than others may be nearer to Allāh Almighty than he is according to the sacred narrative in Al-Kāfi from Abū Abdullāh (Ú) who says, "Allāh knows that sins are better for the believer than conceit. Had it not been so, He would not have afflicted a believer with a sin at all."
Great Benefit Provided by Khomeini in Treating Conceit:
We would like to conclude this research with something useful provided to us by our greatest mentor, imām Khomeini, may his blessings last, in the field of treating the conceit sickness. It is hoped that those who seek it will arrive at the anticipated result with precision according to the useful statement of our mentor and of those stated by great scholars of ethics, and surely Allāh grants success and helps.
Imām Khomeini, may his shade last, says the following: "Be informed that the contemptible sin of conceit is created by loving the nafs. This is so because man by nature loves it, and loving the nafs is the source of every human sin and the origin of all moral vices. Because of this love, man sees his insignificant deeds as looking great in his eyes, seeing himself as a benevolent person when doing these deeds and one of those who enjoy a special status with the Truthful One, the Almighty.
He sees himself, because of these insignificant deeds, worthy of praise and lauding. His ugly deeds may be decorated for him. When he sees others doing better and greater deeds than his own, he is not concerned about them. He often interprets people's good deeds in a bad way while interpreting his ugly deeds and wrongdoings as good according to a level of interpretation. He thus thinks ill of Allāh's manner while thinking well of his own self.
He, through this love, sees himself as crediting the Truthful One, the Almighty, obligating Him to be merciful to him through an insignificant deed which is mixed with a thousand filths and with everything that distances one from his Lord. We ought to think for a short while of the good deeds and the acts of adoration which come out of us in order to see if we deserve to be praised and lauded on their account and be worthy of rewards and mercy, or should we be blamed, penalized and receive the wrath on their account?
If the Truthful One burnt us with the fire of His subduing and wrath because of these deeds which we consider to be good, it would have been truthful and just.
"I now would like to seek your own judgment, reader, with regard to the question which I am going to submit to you and ask you to confirm, after thinking and considering with the eyes of fairness; the question is: "Had the glorious Prophet, peace of Allāh be with him and his progeny, who is truthful and trustworthy, informed you that if you worshipped Allāh Almighty and obeyed His commandments as long as you live, abandoning illicit desires and wishes throughout your life, or if you disobeyed His commandments all your life and acted according to the dictates of your own self and illicit desires, it will not make a difference in the degrees of your hereafter and you will be saved anyhow and enter Paradise and be secure against the torment without a difference between your performance of the prayers or your committing adultery, but the pleasure of Allāh Almighty is in keeping yourself busy worshipping Him, praising and lauding Him, abandoning your illicit desires and inclinations in this world, and that Allāh, Praised is He, does not grant you rewards in exchange for this action in the first place…, will you be in this supposition among the sinners, or would you be among those who adore?
Would you abandon the illicit desires and deprive yourself of pleasures in order to earn His Pleasure, the most Praised One, and out of your love for Him, or would you not? Would you be regular in doing what is commendable, in observing Friday congregational prayers, mass acts of worship, or would you immerse yourself in illicit desires, merriment, play, singing, etc.? Answer while eying equity and without pretending.
"As for me, I can tell you about myself and about those who are like me. We used to be in that condition, among the people of transgression, leaving acts of obedience behind our backs, following our illicit desires, and the result of all of our deeds was for the sake of personal pleasures and to look after the stomach and private part!
We were those with bellies, worshippers of their desires. But we abandoned such pleasures for the sake of a much greater pleasure. Our full attention and hopes rested on making the desires easily accessible to us. The prayers, which are the ascending ladder to nearness to Allāh, we prayed so we could be close to the women of Paradise and not connected to nearness to the Truly Almighty nor connected to obedience to the command of Allāh: The prayer was distant by thousands of parasangs from Allāh, Praise to Him.
"O poor soul ignorant of the divine knowledge who knows nothing but taking care of your desire and anger! And you, holy man, who is regular in performing his rituals and optional acts of worship as well as obligations, who abandons what is hated and prohibitive, who is adorned with good manners and who avoids bad conduct!
Weigh your deeds with the scales of equity so you may see that all these deeds to reach the selfish desires, to sit on a bench of emeralds, to sleep with the huris having large lovely eyes, to wear silk and brocade, to live in high mansions and to achieve the wishes! Can all these deeds, which are all for the sake of worshipping and loving the self, be attributed to Allāh and to the worship of the Truthful One?
What is the difference between you and the one who works for a wage? If the worker tells his boss that he has done his job purely for his own sake, you will call him a liar. Are you not a liar when you say that your prayers are for seeking nearness to Allāh or to be close to the women of Paradise and achieve what you desire? Let me say the following frankly: All our acts of worship, in the eyes of those who know Allāh and who are friends of Allāh, are themselves major transgressions.
"So, poor soul, you act before the Truthful One, the most Great, and before His angels who are close to Him contrarily to the pleasure of the Almighty, while adoration is the ascension ladder for nearness to Him which is performed by the nafs that quite often commands the doing of wrongdoing and by Satan while, at the same time, you have no shame but lie in every act of worship many times before the Almighty and the angels close to Him!
You invent claims, thinking you are doing Him a favor, feeling proud of what you are doing, acting like a spoiled child, having no shame! What is the difference between my worship and yours coupled with the transgressions of the transgressors the strongest of which is pretension, for pretension is shirk; its ugliness and seriousness are due to worship not done for the sake of the Almighty. All our acts of worship are shirk, and there is no tint of loyalty and sincerity in them. Rather, the pleasure of Allāh Almighty does not find its way to them due also to shirk.
Rather, they are for the sake of attaining pleasures, for satisfying the stomach and the private part. So, dear one, a prayer service aiming at achieving the love of a woman, be she one of the women of this life or of the hereafter, is not for the sake of Allāh. A prayer service undertaken for the sake of reaching the hopes of this life or the aspirations of the hereafter is not connected with Allāh; so, why such flirtation and indulgence?! You look down at the servants of Allāh, thinking that you are one of those chosen by the Truthful One!
O poor soul! You, through such a prayer service deserves to be tormented and are worthy of a chain the length of which is seventy yards. So, why do you see yourself as having credit with Allāh, preparing for yourself through this flirtation and conceit an additional torment? You are supposed to perform the deeds which you are ordered to perform and pay attention to their being for the sake of Allāh. Be informed that Allāh Almighty permits you to enter Paradise through His favor and mercy.
The most Praised One has lightened some shirk for His servants due to their weakness, throwing on them the covering veil through His forgiveness. Do not violate the sanctity of this covering, and leave the covering of forgiveness of the Truthful One placed on the bad deeds which we called "acts of worship" for, God forbid, if the pages are turned and the pages of justice are brought, the stink of our worship will be no less than that of our transgressions, the sins of transgressors.
"Thiqatul-Islam [the one trusted by the Muslims], al-Kulaini, has narrated in Al-Kāfi, through isnād to Imām al-Sādiq (Ú) who cites the Messenger of Allāh (Õ) saying, "Allāh, the most Exalted and Great, said to Dawud [David]: 'Give the glad tidings to the sinners and warn the truthful ones.' Dawud said, 'How do I give glad tidings to the sinners and warn the truthful ones?'
The Almighty said, 'O Dawud! Give the glad tiding to the sinners that I accept the repentance and forgive the sin, and warn the truthful ones against admiring their deeds, for I do not let a servant of Mine stand for judgment except that he perishes.'" So, since the truthful ones perish in the process of the judgment, although they are pure of sins and transgressions, what I can say, and what can you?!
"All this is as such if our deeds and yours are indicative of purely worldly pretension which is one of the abominations and prohibitions, and seldom does it coincide that we do a good deed which is free of pretension and hypocrisy. Leave this subject alone; we shall not talk about it.
"Now, if there is room for conceit, flirtation and indulgence, do it. And if fairness places one in a position where he feels ashamed, lowering his head, admitting his shortcoming, then seek Allāh's forgiveness and repent to Him with seriousness. In all reality clear each act of worship which you undertake from the lies which you pronounced in the presence of the Truthful One, the most Exalted, and about the titles which you bestowed upon yourself without any right.
Should you not repent about saying, while facing the Truthful One, the most Exalted One, prior to performing your prayer, "I have directed my face towards the One Who created the heavens and the earth, submissive, believing, and I am not among the polytheist; surely my prayers, asceticism, life and death are for the sake of Allāh, Lord of the Worlds"?
Did you really submit your heart to the One Who created the heavens and the earth? Are you really a Muslim? Are you pure of shirk? Are your prayers, adoration, life and death for the sake of Allāh? Should you not feel ashamed when you say in your prayer, "Praise to Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds"? Do you really see all praise being due to the Truthful One, the Almighty, or do you see it fitting His servants, even praise due for the enemies of Allāh?
Is this not lying when you say, "Praise to Allāh, the Lord of the Worlds", although you fix lordship in this world for others? Is repentance not required when you say, "Thee do we worship, and from Thee do we seek help"? Do you worship Allāh, or do you really worship your appetite for food and lust for sex? Do you seek Allāh or do you want the huris with large lovely eyes? Do you really seek help only from Allāh, and does every matter in your eyes seem to be rendered to only Allāh? Is your pursuit and goal is Allāh when you go to visit the House of Allāh? Is your pursuit and goal the Owner of the House?
And does your heart act upon the statement of the poet who says, "It is not love for the abodes that occupies my heart [but it is the love for those that live therein]"? Do you seek Allāh? Do you seek the manifestations of the Greatness and Beauty of the Truthful One? Do you hold commemorative gatherings for the sake of the master of the oppressed?
Do you beat your chest and head for his sake, or is it to reach your wealth and wishes, and the catalyst for your holding commemorative gatherings is the craving of the stomach? What pushes you towards the congregational prayers is the craving for the sexual intercourse [with the huris of Paradise], and what prompts you to keep you busy with the rituals and acts of adoration is love for your own self.
"Brother! Discern the traps of the nafs and of Satan, and be informed that Satan does not let you undertake a single sincere act [of worship], and these insincere deeds which were accepted by Allāh, Glory to Him, only out of His favor, Satan does not let you get them to reach home; so, he fares with you, and with them, rendering them as nil through conceit and indulgence.
Thus, this gain, too, passes you by, for you have distanced yourself from Allāh and from His Pleasure, and you did not reach Paradise or the huris with large lovely eyes. This is not all. You became eternally lodged in the torment, tortured in the subduing fire of Allāh.
Did you claim that through these worn out deeds, the stinking and shaky ones, the ones mixed with pretension and desire for fame, with a thousand calamities each one of which bans the acceptance of your deeds, that you indeed have done Allāh Almighty a favor, or you joined the company of those who love or who are loved?
O poor soul! Who is unaware of the condition of those who [truly] love, and the wretch who is ignorant of the hearts of the lovers wherein fire burns, the poor soul that is unaware of the burning of the sincere ones, of the noor of their deeds…, did you think that their deeds, too, were like my deeds and ours?
Did you imagine the prayers of the Commander of the Faithful (Ú) as having distinguished itself from our prayers because a phrase in it was recited with prolongation or the recitation was more accurate than ours, or the bowing and prostrating were longer, or the praises and pleas were more numerous than ours, or that he, peace be with him, distinguished himself from us by praying during every night many prostrations, or that the silent supplication [munajat] of the master of those who prostrate was like mine and yours, and that he shed his tears and cried for the sake of the huris with large lovely eyes and for the plums and pomegranates of Paradise?!
"By their lives, and it surely is a great oath, if all humans pretended and wanted to utter a single "La ilaha illa Allāh!" [There is no god except Allāh] a single time just it was uttered by the Commander of the Faithful (Ú), they would never be able to do that. So, woe unto me for thus knowing the status of the authority of Ali, peace be with him!
I swear by the status of Ali ibn Abū Talib (Ú) that had the angels close to Allāh and the messengers, aside from the Seal of Messengers, who is the master of Ali and of everyone else, that had they wanted to make a single takbīr like that of Ali, they would never be able to do it; the condition of their hearts is known only by themselves.
"So, dear one! Lessen your claim that you love Allāh.
"O you man of knowledge, the ascetic one, the judge, the one who performs jihad, who subjects his heart to exercise, the faqīh, the believer, the holy one! O poor souls, the wretches who are afflicted by the traps and desires of the nafs! O helpless folks who are afflicted by the hopes, wishes and love for their own selves! Since we all are incapable, and we all worship while being distant by many parasangs from sincerity and from loving Allāh…, do not think well of yourselves, and do not act like the spoiled ones, and ask your hearts if they truly seek Allāh or seek their own selves.
Does the heart believe in the Unity of Allāh and seek the One and Only God, or is it polytheistic? What is this conceit, and what is the meaning of such pointing out to the deeds? If the value of a good deed, taking for granted it is complete in all its parts and conditions and is free of pretension, shirk, conceit and all destructive elements, is to reach the satisfying of the craving of the stomach and of the private part, what value is attached to it, since all these deeds are shown to the angels of Allāh?
So, they have to be hidden from the visions [of humans]. These deeds are among the ugly and calamitous ones. One must be ashamed of them and must cover them up. Lord! We seek refuge with You, we the poor ones, from the mischief of Satan, the evil of Satan and the evil-insinuating self [nafs]. Do protect us, Lord, from their traps by the status with You reserved for Muhammad and the Progeny of Muhammad, Allāh blesses him and his Progeny."
This is the end of his statement, may his shadow prolong, about those who are conceited and who brag about their good deeds.
Inclusive Statement by Imam-Al-Sadiq
We would like to beautify this dissertation with an inclusive statement by Imām al-Sādiq (Ú) so its seal may be musk: In Misbāh al-Sharī`a, Imām al-Sādiq (Ú) is quoted as having said the following: "I am surprised, utterly surprised, about one who admires his deed while not knowing how it will be sealed for him. One who admires himself and his deed strays from the path of guidance and claims what does not belong to him. One who makes a false claim is a liar even if his claim is hidden [not articulated], even if he lives long, for the first that a conceited person undergoes is being stripped of that which he admired so he would know that he is helplessly poor, so he may testify against his own self, so the argument against him will be stronger, just as it was done to Eblis. Conceit is a seed loving which is apostasy; its ground is hypocrisy, its water is oppression, its branches are ignorance, its leaves are misguidance, its fruit is a curse and an everlasting abode in the Fire. So, one who opts to be conceited sows the seeds of disbelief, plants hypocrisy, and it has to bear fruit."
Surely the servant of Allāh has said the truth.
All Praise belongs to Allāh in the beginning and in the end; His is the favor manifestly and innately.
These pages have been written by the one who is in need of the mercy of Allāh: Sayyid Ahmed al-Fahri.