Among the vices, the fourteenth one is self love. Self love is one’s liking his worships and good deeds and his taking pride in them. One’s appreciating the value of one’s performed worships and good deeds and worrying and fearing lest they should be lost would not be self love. Nor would it be self love to rejoice with the realization that these acts of worship are blessings performed owing to the Grace of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Yet it would be self love to rejoice with a narcissistic delight that you have accomplished a good deal of worship, without thinking of the Kindness that Allâhu ta’âlâ has bestowed on you. The opposite of self love is ‘minnat’, which is the realization that you did not obtain the blessings with your own working and sweating but they are the blessings bestowed by Allâhu ta’âlâ. Thinking in this manner is obligatory (fard) when there is the danger of self love, and permissible (mustahab) otherwise. The dominant factor that leads human beings into self love is ignorance and unawareness (ghaflat). Since self love is a vice, we must get rid of it. In order to get rid of self love, one should ponder that all kinds of good and useful deeds and faculties, e.g., intellect, mind, and knowledge were given to him so that he should do good deeds or worships with them. Property and ranks are all given to us out of the Decree and Will of Allâhu ta’âlâ and owing to His creation according to His Decree. ‘Blessings’ means things that are beneficial to human beings. Human beings experience sweetness by possessing them. All types of blessings are sent only by Allâhu ta’âlâ. There is none besides Him who creates and sends them. When the Sahâba ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ’alaihim ajma’în’ saw the huge number of warriors fighting along the Islamic front during the Holy War called ‘Hunayn’, some of them said that they will never lose another war. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ became very upset upon hearing what they had said. At the beginning of the war the help of Allâhu ta’âlâ did not come to the warriors of the Islamic front and they started to lose the war. But later on, Allâhu ta’âlâ pitied them and granted them victory. Prophet David (Dâwûd) ‘alaihis-salâm’ was praying as follows, “O my Lord! There is no night that some of our children do not pray to you and there is no day that some of our children do not fast for you.” Allâhu ta’âlâ replied, “If I would not decree and give strength and opportunity, none of those could be accomplished.” This statement of David (Dâwûd) ‘alaihis-salâm’ offended Allâhu ta’âlâ and he suffered all of those undesirable things that are written in the history books. We have already informed things that cause conceit (kibr). They are also the cause of self love (’ujb). Thanking for the blessings of Allâhu ta’âlâ is also a great blessing.
Self love entails a myriad of perils and harms. First of all it causes conceit and also it causes us to forget about our sins. Sinning darkens our hearts. Anyone who ponders about his sins would not be able to see his worships as worthy and would also think that being able to do the worships is a blessing and favor of Allâhu ta’âlâ. Those who have self love also forget about the punishment of Allâhu ta’âlâ and, to the bargain, they do not ask anyone for advice and thus they lose the chance to get useful help from others.
Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “Three things drag a person into disasters: Buhl, hawâ, and ’ujb.” A person who has “buhl”, i.e., a stingy person gets deprived of performing necessary actions that must be performed for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ or duties to be performed toward others. A person who follows the desires (hawâ) of his nafs and who has self love, i.e. who admires his “nafs” will certainly fall into some abyss and disaster. Imâm-i Muhammad al-Ghazâlî ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’ said, “All sorts of evils originate from three sources: jealousy, hypocrisy and self love. Try to clear your heart of these!” A person who has self love always says me, me! He always wants to be in the leading position in any gathering. He always wants his words to be accepted by others.
Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “I am afraid, being sinless may beguile you into an even graver sin: ’ujb (self-love)!” A sinner will show humility and feel guilty and therefore ask for repentance. A person besotted with self love will be proud of his knowledge or doings and will be conceited and egoistical and therefore it will be very difficult for him to repent. Allâhu ta’âlâ will favor the stressful moaning of sinners to the boastful voices of worshippers. The worst kind of self love is to like or admire one’s own mistakes and desires (hawâ) of one’s nafs. A person who has spoiled himself with this complacency always follows the desires of his nafs; in other words he becomes a slave to his nafs and never accepts any advice because he thinks that all others are a bunch of ignoramuses. But in reality he himself is very ignorant. Deviated people (ahl al-bid’at) and those who do not follow any Madhhab, i.e., “lâ-madhhabîyya people,” are in this category. They are attached to their deviated beliefs and to their corrupt worships by supposing themselves in the correct path. It is very difficult to obtain cure for this type of self love. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ was requested to explain the meaning of the hundred and fifth âyat of Sûra Mâida, which reads, in English: “O ye who believe! Guard your own selves: if you follow (true) guidance, no hurt can come to you from those who stray. …” (5-105) Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ answered, “Inform others of the commandments of Islam and explain to them Islam’s prohibitions! If a person shows self love and does not listen to you, you correct your own deficiencies.” The scholars who prepare curative medicine for the malady “Self love” are the Ahl as-sunnat scholars. Since these diseased people do not know about their own maladies and assume themselves as healthy, they will not accept advice and knowledge of these doctors, i.e., Islamic scholars, and hence continue with these disastrous maladies. In reality, these scholars offer the curative medicine they have gathered from our Prophet Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ without altering anything. Ignorant and stupid people suppose that these scholars prepare this medicine on their own. They admire themselves by thinking that they are the ones who are in the right path.