Boastful Believers?

Pride is a sin in world religions, to varying degrees.

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One who does not focus on oneself sheds all pride and is able to understand ultimate reality. Krishna says later in the Bhagavad Gita, "Living beyond the reach of




and of pleasure and pain, patient, contented, self-controlled, firm in faith, with his heart and all his mind given to me-with such a one I am in love."

But in Hinduism, pride is not always bad. The Tirukkural explains: "Not all pride is bad: "Just as wise men know the goodness of non-coveting, so Fortune herself knows their goodness and draws near. There is a desire for another's possessions which is thoughtlessly destructive. There is a pride which, refusing to covet, is mindfully triumphant (Tirukkural 18:179-180)." If one has enough pride in oneself, one won't covet the possessions of someone else.


Islam teaches that pride is what caused the downfall of Iblis, the devil in Islam, when he refused to obey God's commandment to prostrate himself before Adam. This kind of pride, pride against Allah, is considered the worst type of pride, because it is essentially a rejection of faith. Islam also warns of the sin of pride against others, or arrogance.

Many verses from Islamic texts demonstrate these Muslim beliefs about pride. The Qur'an explains in several verses that Allah disapproves of arrogance. "And swell not thy cheek (for pride) at men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah loveth not any arrogant boaster (Surah 31:18)," it states. The Qur'an later says that proper belief is only possible without pride. " Only those believe in Our Signs, who, when they are recited to them, fall down in adoration, and celebrate the praises of their Lord, nor are they (ever) puffed up with pride (Surah 32:15)." Pride in Islam is seen as thinking one can live independently of Allah, as the text says, "Nay, but verily man is rebellious For he thinks himself independent. Lo! unto thy Lord is the return (Surah 96:6-8)."


Several hadith, sayings of the Prophet, teach that pride is wrong. As Sahih Muslim reports, the Prophet said, "God has revealed to me that you must be humble, so that no one boasts over another, or oppresses another." Another hadith, in al-Tirmidhi, says, "He is a bad man who is proud and puts on airs and forgets the Most Great and Sublime One."

But the hadith also teach that prideful arrogance is different than having pride in one's appearance, as Allah loves beauty, but not causing injury to others. As Sahih Muslim reports, the Prophet said: "'No one will enter Paradise in whose heart there is a single grain of arrogance.' A man said: 'But one likes his clothing to be nice and his shoes to be nice.' He said: 'Verily Allah is beautiful and He loves beauty. Arrogance is disregard for the truth and contempt for people.'"

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