Many people in the world are very haughty and conceited and they should know that the Holy Prophet (may God bless him and give him peace) is reported to have said;
Whoever is humble before his Lord will be raised by Him on high.
He (the humble one) may think little of himself,
but he will be great in the eyes of men.
(Ibn Kathir, Tafsir).
After the Holy Prophet Muhammad (may God bless him and give him peace) passed away wise Caliph Abu Bakr (raa) became the leader of Arabia, but he still continued to do chores and milk the goats for certain old ladies of Madinah, whilst his successor Caliph Umar bin Khattab (raa) would become the leader of a great kingdom of belief, yet he lived in the humblest of ways that one could imagine, so much so that foreign emissaries would sometimes have difficulty in believing that they were talking to a great ruler.
The Companion of the Prophet (may God bless him and give him peace) Saad ibn abi Waqqas (raa) was a noble and important figure in the society of Madinah, but he would spend much of his time as a goat herd out in the desert. One day his son criticized him for his choice of goat herding as a job, by chiding him that he had turned himself into a Bedouin whilst important matters were being discussed in Madinah. Saad (raa) responded; ‘Be quiet for I have heard the words of the Prophet (may God bless him and give him peace),
“God loves such of His servants who are God -fearing,
detached and retiring.”’
It is recorded in the biography of the wise Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz (ra) that he was once talking with a companion late into the night, until the lamp that lit the room started to flicker with lack of oil. His companion suggested that he would wake the servant to refill the lamp, but the wise Caliph told him not to do so and then he proceeded to complete this most menial task himself, explaining to his companion that he was Umar bin Abdul Aziz before he put the oil in the lamp and that he was still Umar bin Abdul Aziz after having done so (i.e. that menial tasks were not below the station of the leader of the Muslims). The Companion Ayaad ibn Himar (raa) recorded that the Holy Prophet (may God bless him and give him peace) once said;
God has revealed it unto me that one should be humble
(and) one should refrain from oppressing others.
A sin enacted is less harmful to a person
than is looking down upon one’s fellow Children of Adam.
(Sheikh Mu’inuddin Chisti (ra)
It is recounted in the Acts of the Adepts that…
One day, in lecturing
on self-abasement and humility,
Rumi spoke a parable
from the trees of the field, and said:
“Every tree that yields no fruit,
as the pine, the cypress, the box,
grows tall and straight,
lifting up its head on high,
and sending all its branches upwards;
whereas all the fruit-bearing trees
droop their heads,
and trail their branches.
In like manner, the Apostle of God
was the most humble of men.
though he carried within himself
all the virtues and excellencies of the ancients and of the moderns,
he, like a fruitful tree,
was more humble, and more of a Sufi, than any other prophet.
He is related to have said:
I am commanded to show consideration to all men,
to be kind to them;
no prophet was ever so ill-treated
by men as I have been.’
We know that he had his head broken,
and his some of teeth knocked out.
Still he prayed: ‘
O our Lord God,
guide you my people aright;
for they know not what they do.’
Other prophets have launched denunciations against the people
to whom they were sent;
none have had greater cause to do so, than Muhammad.”
(Acts of the Adepts)