SYED E. HASAN, chairman, Shawnee Mission Islamic Education Center: Of the various moral values that have been emphasized in Islam, none has received greater importance than humility.
Both the Qur’an and Hadith — the primary sources of Islamic teachings — implore Muslims to inculcate humility in their character. The Qur’an says, “Do not speak to the people with your face turned away, nor walk proudly on the earth, for Allah does not love any self-conceited, boastful person. Be moderate in your gait, and lower your voice …” (31:18).
Wealth, authority, knowledge, power and social status generally cause people to become proud and arrogant. That is reflected in their gait and style of walking. On the other hand, in a certain state of mind caused, for example, by frustrations in life, some individuals assume the gait of an emaciated person.
This verse reminds Muslims to avoid these extreme states of mind and walk with the gait of a simple, honest and noble person without showing any sign either of haughtiness or weakness. Because humility is so important, Allah has repeated this guidance by saying: “And walk not on earth with haughty self-conceit: for, verily, you can neither cleave the earth, nor can you ever grow as tall as the mountains!” (Qur’an, 17:37).
Prophet Muhammad (peace be on him) was a model of humility and despite attaining the status of Allah’s prophet and messenger and becoming the head of the first Islamic state, remained humble and continued to carry out the basic chores of his household and interact with everyone, including the poor and destitute, with utmost humility.
THE REV. DUKE TUFTY, pastor, Unity Temple on the Plaza: I am a humble person. The path I follow through life is one of humility, for that is what I was taught by my childhood religion.
I learned the prayer of humiliation in Sunday school and it reads: “O thou great God, who art just and holy, I thy sinful, unclean creature come before Thee in deep humility confessing my many sins and my total unworthiness.”
I believe it to be true and as a result I feel like a disappointment and failure who is less than others. My path of life is a sad and demoralizing one, void of purpose and joy.
I am a conceited person. The path I follow through life is one of arrogance. I need to convince others I am better than them to get their admiration and respect. I need to be right. I need to be best.
It’s a never-ending battle to get others to see me as “better,” and I dislike those who don’t. My path is a lonely embittered one because I don’t believe that which I expect others to believe about me.
I am a human being no better or worse than any other person. The path I follow through life is one of inspiration and admiration for those who are a beneficial presence to this Earth and one of compassion and caring for those whose value and achievements aren’t evident by riches, power or fame. My path of life feels like home, with all people being a part of my spiritual family. It is peaceful. It is pleasant.
My faith believes these three paths exist, and every person can choose one for their life path.
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