Imam Muslim reports in his Sahih that the Messenger of God—God’s blessing and peace on him—said, “God revealed to me [the commandment], ‘Practice humility until no one oppresses or belittles another.’”1 The opposite of humility is pride. And pride, according to the Qur’an, was Satan’s most salient vice. The counsel of Al-Hasan Al-Basri was to “entertain hope for repentance from those whose sins are from passion. And entertain no hope for repentance from those whose sins are from pride.” When Adam sinned, he asked God for forgiveness. When Satan sinned, he asked God for respite.
In a time when perversion and vice are proudly celebrated, such words are stark reminders of the latent dangers of pride. We learn from our spiritual masters that anger emerges from egoism; we get angry because we see ourselves. Things are even worse when we seek the attention of others. Every person is infected with the innate desire for importance and superiority. Despite it being a vice, in certain ways it seems to be an important part of psychological well-being.