The Signs Of Conceit -1-
Most people are not aware of their conceited behavior. Therefore, it is necessary for one to know the signs of conceit. When a conceited person enters a new place, he wants everyone there to stand up. This does not apply to a scholar who goes to some place to preach and knows that people there respect him. If he wishes for those people to stand up, that would not be conceit. In general, if a person wants himself to sit and others to stand, that would be conceit. Hadrat Alî ‘radiy-Allâhu ta’âlâ ‘anh’ stated, “Anyone who wants to see what a person of Hell looks like should look at the person who himself sits but wishes others to stand.” The Ashâb-i-kirâm ‘ridwânullâhi ta’âlâ ‘alaihim ajma’în’ loved Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ‘alaihi wa sal-lam’ more than anything else in the world but they would not stand up when he joined them because they knew that Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ‘alaihi wa sal-lam’ would not want them to stand up for him. However, when an Islamic scholar (‘âlim) joins a group of Muslims, they should stand up in order to show respect for his knowledge. Yahyâ bin Qattân ‘rahima-hullâhu ta’âlâ’ had just completed the performance of a late afternoon (‘asr) prayer and was sitting with his back against the minaret of the mosque, when some of the famous scholars of his time came along. One of them was Imâm Ahmad bin Hanbal ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ’. They asked him questions about knowledge of Hadîth. He answered all their questions. They were all standing as he himself was sitting. He did not tell any of them to sit down, and none of them dared to sit down. Their conversation continued until the time of sunset. The general custom is that a younger scholar will be seated in a higher seat than an older ignorant man. A student should not start to speak before his teacher does, should not sit in his seat in his absence, and should not walk ahead of him on the street. If a person likes others to get up and stand up for him but knows that this wish and desire is not proper and wants to get rid of this wish, then his wish is considered a natural tendency, or it is a false sense inculcated by the devil. In either case, it is not a sin because the control is not in his hands. It happens despite his will.