So How Can We Compare – A sermon/Khutbah on the dangers of arrogance and judging others

Salam All, here is a khutbah/sermon that I gave last Friday. I honestly was not planning to publish it, but was recommended to do so by some of my friends.


Prophet Muhammad (sala Allah alaihi wa salam) was sitting with a group of his companions one day when he said: “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance will not enter Paradise.”

Mustard Seeds

The hadith continues on describing what arrogance is but I want to stop here for a moment. What does it mean to us that just a mustard seed of arrogance can take us to hell? Why is it so dangerous to be arrogant?

To answer these questions one must start with looking at the classic story of Adam (alaihi assalam) and Shaitan

[ Allah ] said, “O Iblees, what prevented you from prostrating to that which I created with My hands? Were you arrogant [then], or were you [already] among the haughty?” (38,76)

He said, “I am better than him. You created me from fire and created him from clay.” (38,77)

[ Allah ] said, “Then get out of Paradise, for indeed, you are expelled. (38,78)

And indeed, upon you is My curse until the Day of Recompense.” (38,79)

He said, “My Lord, then reprieve me until the Day they are resurrected.” (38,80)

[ Allah ] said, “So indeed, you are of those reprieved(38,81)

Until the Day of the time well-known.” (38,82)

[Iblees] said, “By your might, I will surely mislead them all(38,83)

Except, among them, Your chosen servants.” (38,84)

[ Allah ] said, “The truth [is My oath], and the truth I say -(38,85)

[That] I will surely fill Hell with you and those of them that follow you all together.” (38,86)

As we review the above verses, we should remember that these stories were not given for our entertainment. These stories were given to us to teach us, to warn us and to guide us.

In this story we can clearly tell first and foremost that arrogance blinds!!! Shaitan didn’t just “think” he was better than Adam; he believed it and was certain of the fact. He must be better than man, because he was created from fire and we were created from clay.

Allah (swt) starts with a warning, are you arrogant, are you from the haughty. However, Shaitan could not see the writing in the wall and dug himself deeper by declaring I am better than him.

Allah (swt) then expelled Shaitan from heaven. By this time Shaitan probably could see his error in judgment and he could have asked Allah to let him live till the day of judgment so he can seek his forgiveness. Instead he asked for Allah to let him live till the day of judgment so can try and bring man down with him.

O’ Muslims be careful for pride and arrogance can blind us. It can start as a small and minor sin and quickly expand beyond our scope. Be careful of falling into the error of focusing on protecting your honor or your reputation.  Instead try to follow the example of the prophet (sala Allah alaihi wa salam):
Aa’ishah (may Allah accept her deeds) said “The Prophet never struck any person, woman or servant with his hand, except when he was fighting in the way of Allah, and he never took offense at anything and sought revenge for it, except when one of the laws of Allah had been violated and then he would take revenge for the sake of Allah.” (Muslim)

Arrogance and Pride was how Shaitan was able to Trapconvince humans to disbelieve in Allah. The Quran and Sunnah are full of stories of disbelievers showing their arrogance by disbelieving that they are accountable for their deeds or by believing their lineage and honor is more important than faith and so on.  While, all thanks due to Allah, we have not reached that level of arrogance to disbelieve in him remember the Prophet (sala Allah alaihi wa salam) warned us to be careful of getting lost in the small things so beware my fellow Muslims, beware of falling into the trap of arrogance which can come in many forms.

But at the same time do not fall into the fallacy of ‘O my God I should not buy nice cloth and cars for myself, otherwise I will become arrogant’ for here is the full text of the hadith we started out with.

Prophet Muhammad (sala Allah alaihi wa salam) was sitting with a group of his companions one day when he said: “He who has in his heart the weight of a mustard seed of arrogance will not enter Paradise.” A person (amongst the companions) asked: “What if a man likes for his clothes to look good and for is shoes to look good?”

The Prophet (sala Allah alaihi wa salam) said: “Verily, Allah is Al-Jameel (The Most Beautiful) and He loves beauty. Arrogance means denying the truth and looking down upon people.” (Sahih Muslim, The Book of Faith, Number 164)
As we can clearly see in this hadith arrogance is not about taking care of oneself and trying to look good or performing well, it is all about denying the truth which we discussed earlier and looking down upon people.
We usually base our self-esteem on how others around us are doing. So if we see a brother get 88 in an exam and we get 95; then yes we are clearly the better students. Or if I memorized 5 juzz and the brother next to me memorized only one surah, then I must be better Muslim.

Be careful and realize something very carefully and make sure you take this message home with you today. Allah has given each one of us our physical bodies, our minds, our wealth, our hearts and our characters. For each one he gave different levels of these either directly such as larger lung capacity for running or indirectly by the family and mentors Allah provided us. One can easily see that some people find it easy and fun to run, while others struggle with the mere concept of it. Some find it easy to read, others cannot understand how they can survive reading. Some people find it easy to wear hijab, others find it suffocating. Some find it easier to pray, others find it difficult. I could go on and on, but I think we all get the hint that we are not created equally. Each one of us has their own weaknesses and strengths. If you have any doubts just look to your neighbors on your right or left. Each one has a different education and family background. Some are good at basketball, others at chess and some at none.

When you come to the realization that each one of us is created different, how can one even begin to compare whether they do more good deeds than another? You know what, even if one know all the good deeds a person has done during his lifetime one still would not know how much he struggled, what were his intentions and what is in his heart. The Prophet (sala Allah alaihi wa salam) said:
“One Dirham was worth more than 100,000 Dirhams”, so a man said “and how is that O’ Messenger of Allah?” He replied “A man that has bountiful wealth takes from his belongings 100,000 and donated it and a man that only has two dirhams, so he took one dirham and donated it” (Reported in Nsa/ee (5/59) and others)

We can clearly tell from the above hadith, that there is more to it than the absolute amount one gives or does. In the same way that these two people were given different levels of wealth, we are given different levels of character, health and mind and one does not know how much each one was given, so how can you compare

How can you compare

I would like to remind you my dear brothers and sisters that we must not compare ourselves with others, or judge others. We must work hard to clean and purge our hearts from every small ounce of evil and negativity–no matter what it is, and I leave you with a hadith from the prophet (SAW)
“Shall I not tell you who will be forbidden from the Fire, or from whom the Fire will be forbidden? It will be forbidden for every gentle, soft-hearted and kind person.” (Tirmidhi )

So let’s treat each other kindly and gently and avoid comparisons and judging and hope that Allah will seal the gates of Hell for us all.


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