Keeping unity through avoiding rage

Ego in Islam

Ego tells us that “we” matter whereas the soul provides us with the reason to live and strive for happiness. Live your life impressing yourself. In the end, people will judge you anyway. Don’t live your life impressing others. Live your life impressing yourself. Ego and soul are two of the attributes that comprise the distinction in a particular person. Ego is the main obstacle in acquiring good in our lives because it forces us to be selfish and allow us to think for ourselves merely. Allah says:

وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ

“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive to Allah.” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Islam teaches to be kind to all and sacrifice one’s ego in order to remain humble as with gross ego, one cannot achieve what Allah and Quran have commanded. Praise is the most dangerous food for your ego. If you take it to the heart, your ego can fly you higher and you forget how to step on the ground. Learn to be uncomfortable when you hear people praise you. The ego destroys our family relationships, our friendships, our lives, and our spiritual well being. It stops us from forgiving, loving and working together. Showing off can be belittling others and even increasing our ego. Allah says:

لَا جَرَمَ أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا يُسِرُّونَ وَمَا يُعْلِنُونَ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْتَكْبِرِينَ

“No doubt that Allah knows what they conceal and what they reveal. Indeed, He (does) not love arrogant ones.” (Surah An-Nahl 16:23)

Islam is a perfect religion. Muslim is not. Day by day while they still living in this world, Muslims have to learn more and more about how to be good people. We can’t learn anything unless we lower the go and live humbly. Muslims are also one of the main pillars in Islam, and they have an obligation to one another and also a duty to live. It is to remind and willingly be reminded. Stop playing the image game — focus on a higher purpose.

Here are some ways to kill the toxic ego that will ruin your life:

  1. Keep your mouth from saying unnecessary words
  2. Company of people who are better than yourself
  3. Shun the comfort of talking and facing the work
  4. Connect with nature and the universe at large
  5. Alhumdulillah- Thank Allah and praise him
  6. Kill your pride before you lose your head
  7. Learn to be Uncomfortable with Praise
  8. Focus on the effort — not the outcome
  9. Surround yourself with good people
  10. Remind ourselves to stay humble
  11. Choose alive time over dead time
  12. Choose purpose over passion
  13. Forget credit and recognition
  14. Always remember Allah SWT
  15. Keep an inner scorecard
  16. Avoid pride and arrogance
  17. We are nothing without God
  18. Forgiveness is the highest virtue
  19. Leave your entitlement at the door
  20. Remember everything that you have
  21. Pursue mastery in your chosen craft
  22. Focus on the effort — not the results
  23. You have the same weaknesses as others
  24. Place the mission and purpose above you
  25. Learn to serve people for the sake of Allah
  26. Change your attitude, change your intention
  27. When you find yourself in a hole — stop digging
  28. Everything that you are is due to God’s blessings
  29. Dreaming of the future of the things that will happen
  30. Don’t be deceived by recognition, money, and success

The source of the sin we commit is none other than our mouth. In fact, it was where our biggest sin come from and become the beginning of other sins as well. It’s important to keep our mouths shut from saying unnecessary words, especially when it’s going to cause harm to others. Say things only when they are useful or praising Allah SWT. Riya’ or showing off is one form of the unnecessary word. Allah says:

أَوَلَمْ يَرَ الْإِنسَانُ أَنَّا خَلَقْنَاهُ مِن نُّطْفَةٍ فَإِذَا هُوَ خَصِيمٌ مُّبِينٌ

“Does not man see that We have created him from the small seed? Then lo! he is an open disputant.” (Surah Ya-Sin 36:77)

Humans must not forget that the reason why they exist in this world is that Allah wants them to. So that as long as humans live, they have to continue to worship Allah and believe in Him. Our fate is in Allah’s hand after all. Just like how Allah SWT wanted us to exist, He can take our lives anytime he wants. Moreover, we will reap what we sow in the world. We are nothing without Allah and we have no value at all. Everything is from Allah and belongs to Allah SWT. We don’t know when and where will we meet our ends. All we have and all we are is all because of Allah.

The common term for ego used in the Quran Allah Almighty says:

  • “And strive with your wealth and lives in the path of Allah.”  (Al-Tawba:9)
  • “The constant commanding soul (commanding the self to evil).” (Quran 12:53)
  • “O thou human being that has attained to inner peace! (Mutmainna).” (Quran 87:27)
  • “So let man consider what he is created. He is created of water pouring forth, coming from between the back and the ribs. Most surely He is able to return him (to life).” (Quran 86:5-8)
  • “Fasting is enjoined on you, as it was enjoined on those before you, that you may perhaps become God-conscious.” (Quran 2:183)
  • “…And to parents do good, and to relatives, orphans, the needy, the near neighbour, the neighbour farther away, the companion at your side, the traveller, and those whom your right hands possess….” (Quran 4:36)
  • “and I swear by the constant reproachful soul (the person who is correcting himself after his mistakes.” (Quran 75:2)
  • “There surely came over man a period of time when he was a thing not worth mentioning.” (Quran 76:1)

Don’t be so proud of yourself and got carried away by worldly matters. Just because we are rich, wealthy, and have all the good things in the world means we are above people who don’t have it all. Never credit the achievement we have to us because without Allah everything is not going to happen. But arrogance often wins, and we tend to look down on others just because they have less than us. In this state, Shaytaan will be easily entering our hearts and give us the evil whispers to drive ourselves away from Allah. Allah has warned us not to fall into the Shaytaan traps of arrogance. Allah says:

وَلَا تُصَعِّرْ خَدَّكَ لِلنَّاسِ وَلَا تَمْشِ فِي الْأَرْضِ مَرَحًا إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخْتَالٍ فَخُورٍ

“And (do) not turn your cheek from men and (do) not walk in the earth exultantly. Indeed, Allah (does) not like every self-conceited boaster.” (Surah Luqman 31:18)

Islam is a perfect religion.  Praise is the most dangerous food for your ego. If you take it to the heart, your ego can fly you higher and you forget how to step on the ground. Learn to be uncomfortable when you hear people praise you. Put Allah’s name into your words and learn to be humble. When somebody said bad things about you, consider it as a gift from Allah, as He wants you to be more humble. Allah says:

وَجَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا فَمَنْ عَفَا وَأَصْلَحَ فَأَجْرُهُ عَلَى اللَّهِ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الظَّالِمِينَ

“(The) recompense (of) an evil (is) an evil like it. But whoever pardons and makes reconciliation, then his reward (is) on Allah. Indeed, He (does) not like the wrongdoers.” (Surah Ash-Shura 42:40)

We, humans, are dependent entirely upon our souls because feeding them with the right content nurture them and in return allows us to do productive deeds. Feeding toxic and illegal things makes it rusted and despondent which eventually trap us in the tribulations of Satan. On the contrary, feeding it with positive food turns it into an enlivened soul keeping the faith of a person alive. We can hold ego development in the context of the spiritual. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لَا يَسْخَرْ قَوْمٌ مِّن قَوْمٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُونُوا خَيْرًا مِّنْهُمْ وَلَا نِسَاءٌ مِّن نِّسَاءٍ عَسَىٰ أَن يَكُنَّ خَيْرًا مِّنْهُنَّ وَلَا تَلْمِزُوا أَنفُسَكُمْ وَلَا تَنَابَزُوا بِالْأَلْقَابِ بِئْسَ الِاسْمُ الْفُسُوقُ بَعْدَ الْإِيمَانِ وَمَن لَّمْ يَتُبْ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الظَّالِمُونَ

“O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former.” (Surah Al-Hujurat 49:11)

After reading how to deal with ego in Islam, you will find it no longer hard to hold it down. Living humbly will not cause harm to us. It will make us a better person instead. Allah loves His humble servants and He will give that servant big rewards upon holding his ego in. So may Allah help us see our own shortcomings and enable us to work on them. And may Allah not make us like him who sees a splinter in his brother’s eye and fails to see a tree branch sticking out of his own eye.