Kibr (Pride) and it's dangers
Imam Uthman dan Fodio
Translated by A`isha `Abd ar-Rahman at-Tarjumana
The name pride (kibr) is more appropriate for the inward quality. As for action, it is the result of that quality, and you must know that the quality of pride demands action. When it appears on the limbs, it is called arrogance (takabbur), and when it does not manifest itself, it is called pride (kibr). Its root is the quality in the self which is satisfaction and confidence at seeing the self above anyone towards whom he is overbearing. Mere self-exaltation does not make someone arrogant. He might well exalt himself while seeing that another person is greater than him or his equal. In this case, he is not overbearing toward him. It is not enough merely to disdain others. In spite of his disdain, a person might see himself as more despicable and therefore, he would not be considered arrogant. If someone sees the other as his equal, he is not considered arrogant. He must see that he has a rank and someone else has a rank, and then see his rank as above the other's rank. When he exalts his own value in relationship to someone else, he despises the one below him and puts himself above the other's company and confidence. If it is very extreme, he may spurn the other's service and not consider him worthy to stand in his presence. If it is less extreme, he may reject his basic equality, and put himself above this other in assemblies, wait for him to begin the greeting, think that it is unlikely that he will be able to fulfill his demands and be amazed at him. If he objects, the proud man scorns to answer him. If he warns him, he refuses to accept it. If he answers him back, he is angry. When the proud man teaches, he is not courteous to his students. He looks down upon them and rebuffs them. He is very condescending toward them and exploits them. He looks at the common people as if he were looking at asses. He thinks that they are ignorant and despicable.
The dangers of Kibr-
There are many actions which come from the quality of pride. They are too many to be numbered. This is the reality of pride.
The harm it does is immense. The 'ulama' can help you but little against it, let alone the common people. How could its harm be other than great when it comes between a man and all the qualities of the mu'minun? Those qualities are the doors to the Garden. Pride locks all those doors because it is impossible for him to want for the mu'minun what he wants for himself while there is anything of self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to have humility - and humility is beginning of the qualities of those who guard themselves out of fear of Allah - while there is any self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to remain truthful while there is self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to abandon anger while there is self-importance in him. It is impossible for him to offer friendly good counsel while there is self importance in him. It is impossible for him to accept good counsel while there is self-importance in him. He is not safe from the contempt and slander of others while there is self-importance. There is no praiseworthy quality but he is incapable of it from the fear that his self-importance will slip away from him.