The effects of arrogance on the soul
Arrogance leads people to sickness of mind and incorrect behavior. People who live in a state of pride and deception inhabit a dark internal world.
A pitch black world full of a sincere dread of losing, making a mistake, being disgraced or humiliated, stress, doubt, hatred, anger and passion…This state of mind wears people down and ages them; it has a severe impact on their psychological and physical well-being. These people, who are spiritually weaker than others, are cold. It is barely possible to expect a pleasant gesture, a sign of love or appreciation, or an encouraging word from them. It is hard to laugh or enjoy oneself in their presence. Sudden outbursts are common wherever such people are present. Arrogant people’s behavior is always intended to make them appear more valuable and superior in the eyes of other people.
For this reason, they have an excessive fear of making mistakes. They seek to ingratiate themselves with others for which reason they keep every moment under control and are careful to behave in a determined manner at all times.
Whenever they attend a meeting they try to be the most impressive speakers, the best dressed, to come up with the most intelligent solutions, and to draw the most attention to themselves. They are therefore constantly “on tenterhooks.” Their behavior is never sincere and genuine. They always dread the prospect of behaving incorrectly. They think they will never make a mistake. When told that they have made an error, they immediately try to absolve themselves of any blame. The situation of such people is described in these terms in these verses:
Do not be like those who left their homes in arrogance, showing off to people and barring them from the way of Allah–Allah encompasses what they do. (Surat al-Anfal:47)
Being subject to criticism is something an arrogant person dislikes immensely. When criticized, their facial muscles tense up, and their expression dulls. They are dismayed by concern about damage to their prestige. They assume that, if they are criticized, they will be ridiculed or humiliated by others. Their gestures are no longer natural, and sudden rises and falls can be heard in their tone of voice. They therefore live in a constant state of discomfort. Ultimately, they never find peace and contentment. Arrogant people engage in exaggerated and attention-seeking behavior in the way they walk, talk and look. In the Qur’an Allah has stated that arrogance is a great failing:
As for those who believe and do right actions, He will pay them their wages in full and will give them increase from His favour. As for those who show disdain and grow arrogant, He will punish them with a painful punishment. They will not find any protector or helper for themselves besides Allah. (Surat al-Nisa:173)
As for those who deny Our Signs and are arrogant regarding them, the Gates of Heaven will not be opened for them, and they will not enter the Garden until a camel goes through a needle’s eye. That is how We repay the evildoers. (7:40)
Arrogant people imagine that every characteristic they possess belongs to themselves. For example, they imagine that their intelligence stems from themselves. Instead of realizing that it is a blessing bestowed on them by Allah and giving thanks for it, they regard it as something to be proud of.
By overestimating this attribute in their own eyes they belittle and disparage those around them. As a result of this behavior, their associates find them unattractive and repellent. That means that arrogant people never have true, honest friends who feel a genuine affection for them. They also find it difficult to demonstrate affection for others.
They always want to be the object of love and affection, because in their own eyes they are superior to everybody else. This state of mind leads to another behavior defect: envy. They envy the beauty, intelligence, reason, moral values or worldly goods of others.
They regard everything those people possess with a jealous eye. If someone with superior features to their own is present, they immediately want to leave. Their envy means they are invariably unable to get along with others.
Allah has given a troublesome mood to these people who are grabbed by the sickness of pride. In the same way that arrogant people gain nothing but trouble, sorrow and unhappiness in the life of this world, they also forego the Hereafter and, most important of all, the love of Allah. Allah has revealed in one verse that He does not love the arrogant:
Do not avert your face from people out of haughtiness and do not strut about arrogantly on the Earth. Allah does not love anyone who is vain or boastful. (Surah Luqman: 18)