One of the malady of the heart is conceit. Conceit is one’s holding or deeming one’s self to be superior to others. A person with this malady feels complacency in his heart when he thinks himself to be superior to others. ’Ujb (self-love) also is a feeling of superiority. In this case one does not think of oneself as superior to a specific person or persons but in a generalized sense sees one’s self and deeds as superior. Conceit is a very disagreeable trait and is prohibited (harâm). It is a sign of forgetting one’s Creator, Rabb. Many religious men suffer from this malady. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “A person who has an atom’s weight of conceit in his heart will not enter Paradise.” The opposite of conceit is tawâdu’, which is a feeling of equality. A humble person holds himself equal with others. He does not hold himself to be either superior or inferior to others. Humility is a very valuable trait for a human being. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “How lucky for humble people.” A humble person does not think of himself as inferior to others. He is neither a base nor a lazy person. He earns his living by permissible (halâl) means and gives much to charity or as a gift to others. He establishes acquaintances with scholars or scientists. He also feels compassion toward poor people. In the following hadîths Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states: “A humble person who earns his living by permissible (halâl) means, who has an agreeable nature, who is very mild towards others, and who does not harm anyone else is a very beautiful person,” and “A person who humbles himself for the sake of Allâhu ta’âlâ will be raised to superior ranks by Allâhu ta’âlâ.” Treating a conceited person with equal conceited behavior is permissible (jâiz). Allâhu ta’âlâ is proud (Mutakabbir) toward His creatures. Allâhu ta’âlâ has pride (Kibr). A person will earn rewards (thawâb) when he treats a conceited person with equally conceited behavior. Anyone who treats a conceited person humbly has done injustice to himself (by doing so). It is also permissible to be conceited towards those who have deviated from the right path and towards rich people. Responding with conceited behavior towards them is not for the purpose of showing one’s superiority but for waking them up to reality. Being proud and haughty against the enemy during a war is very rewarding. This type of haughtiness is called “huyalâ.” A person giving alms should have a sort of conceit mixed with cheer and joy. His conceit is not directed toward the receiver but instead it is intended to despise the given property or money. It indicates that one is not a slave of property or money. Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in a hadîth-i-sherîf: “The giving hand is superior to the receiving one.” Being proud towards hypocrites or those who behave ostentatiously is also permissible. It is permissible to be humble towards those who are below one’s rank or position but one should be careful to avoid extremes. Excessive humility is called “tamalluk”. Excessive humility is only permissible toward one’s spiritual master or toward an Islamic scholar. Excessive humility (tamalluk) is not permissible toward anybody else. It is reported in a hadîth-i-sherîf, “Tamalluk is not a part of Islamic ethics.”
Among the various conceited behaviors, the worst kind is to be conceited toward Allâhu ta’âlâ. Nimrod was an example for this type of conceit. He declared himself to be God. He threw the prophet into fire because he had been sent by Allâhu ta’âlâ to counsel him. Pharaoh was another one of these fools. He declared his deity in Egypt and said that he was the powerful god of Egypt. Allâhu ta’âlâ sent prophet Moses (Mûsâ) ‘alaihis-salâm’ to advise him but he refused to believe and thereafter he was drowned by Allâhu ta’âlâ in the Suez Sea. People who are similar in nature, i.e., who do not believe in the Creator of the universe, are called atheists (dahris). [People with similar atheistic attitude appear in almost every century. For example, Mao and Stalin killed and tortured millions of people and destroyed religious men, Islamic scholars and books and inflicted terror and horror upon their nations. They imposed their desires by using force, which gave them a smug satisfaction. They began to have delusions that they possessed the superior qualities possessed by the Creator and said so to others. They banned importing of Islamic literature into their country and banned reading them. They executed those who talked about religion or Allâhu ta’âlâ. And finally, they could not protect themselves from the Wrath of Allâhu ta’âlâ and became destroyed and annihilated. They are remembered with damnation and disgust like their historical peers who were also remembered with hatred. Some people who were brainwashed and poisoned with the harmful atheistic propaganda of Mao and Stalin assumed power in some Arab countries through trickery. These people started to imitate those communist leaders and became cruel dictators and started to practise a regime which is harmful to Islam. They did not take a lesson from history, i.e., how the lives of those tyrants had ended with great tragedy. They do not think about the great disasters awaiting them in this world or the punishments in the next world.]
Many people also looked down on our Prophet Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ and said, “Is this the Prophet that is sent by Allâhu ta’âlâ?” The unbelievers of Mecca said, “It would have been better if this Qur’ân had descended to one of the leaders of Mecca.” This conceited behavior of unbelievers toward great men of religion has taken place throughout the Islamic history. Such behavior by these powerless creatures, who are unaware even about the construction of their own bodies, is a declaration of war against their Owner and Creator, who is the most powerful in all respects. Once, the devil also behaved with conceit and said that he was created out of fire and Adam was created out of clay, therefore, he was superior when Allâhu ta’âlâ ordered the angels to prostrate themselves before Adam ‘alaihis-salâm’ and thus the devil rebelled toward Allâhu ta’âlâ. When the devil observed that the fire was giving light and was very sublime, it thought that it was superior to water and soil. In reality the real superiority is through humility, not through conceit. There will be soil in Paradise and it will smell like musk. There is no fire in Paradise. Fire is a means of punishment in Hell. Fire in this world destroys whatever it touches but on the other hand soil is useful as a building material. Creatures live on the soil (earth). Treasures are buried under the soil. Ka’ba was built from the soil. Whereas the light of fire ends the darkness of the night and brings light unto earth, the soil causes flowers and fruits to grow. Hadrat Muhammad ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’, the most superior of all created beings, resides in the soil.
Rasûlullah ‘sall-Allâhu ’alaihi wa sal-lam’ states in the following hadîth-i-sherîfs: “Allâhu ta’âlâ declares to us: ‘Kibriyâ (Almightiness), Superiority and ’Azamat (Greatness) are My Attributes. Shouldst there be anyone to try to share these Attributes with Me, I shall throw them into Hell without showing them any mercy.” and “Any Believer (Mu’min) who was not a conceited person, who was not a traitor, and who did not violate others’ rights will enter Paradise without questioning;” and “On the Day of Gathering (Qiyamat), the people who were conceited in the world will be raised from their graves like small ants, lowly and disgraced. They will be small like an ant but they will be in the form of a human being. Everyone will look down upon them as lowly creatures. They will be thrown into the “Bolis” canyon of Hell which is the deepest canyon of Hell and which has the severest punishment of all. This canyon is called “Bolis” because the people who are thrown there will lose all their hope for ever getting out. They will be lost within the fire. When they ask for water, they will be served the pus of the residents of Hell.”
Conceit is caused by the following seven reasons: Knowledge or religious knowledge, performing good deeds or worships, lineage, beauty, strength, property and rank. Existence of these attributes with ignorant people causes conceit in them.
 Ref: This paragraphes are quoted from the book “Ethics of Islam” page 65, which is the translation of the book Berîka written by Abû Sa’îd Muhammad bin MustafâHâdimî ‘rahima hullâhu ta’âlâ’, who passed away in 1176 Hijrî, 1762 A.D. in Konya / Turkey and the book Akhlâq-i-Alâî written in Turkish by Alî bin Amrullah ‘rahimahullâhu ta’âlâ,’ who passed away in 979 Hijrî, 1572 A.D. in Edirne / Turkey. You can find the whole book and the other valuable books in the web site www.hakikatkitabevi.com.tr and download in PDF format for Adobe Acrobat Reader, EPUB format for iPhone-iPad-Mac devices and MOBI format for Amazon Kindle device.