Praise Getting to Your Head?

Maulana Saharanpuri (rahmatullahi alaihi) writes in Tabweebil Hikam:

“People praise you on account of such Ausaaf-e-Hameedah (Praiseworthy attributes) which they believe are imbued within you. You should revile your nafs for the evil attributes in you.

Man is deceived by the praises which people laud on him on account of some attribute of excellence. Such praise produces ujub (vanity, self-conceit) in him. He then tends to forget his reality.

It is for this reason that the Shaikh (rahmatullahi alaihi) says that people praise you for virtuous attributes which they imagine are in you. But, they in fact do not know if these imagined lofty attributes actually exist in you or not. If you are intelligent, you will not be deceived by their plots.

Attribute their praises to their imagination while you should criticize and revile your nafs on account of the presence of evil attributes and bad habits. You do have irrefutable evidence, knowledge and experience of you own short-comings and evil qualities. Your knowledge of your evil attributes, therefore, is certain while of your good qualities, your knowledge is doubtful.

When the true Mu’min is praised, he feels embarrassed in front of Allah Ta’ala because he is being praised for an attribute which he cannot perceive with certitude in his nafs.

At all times the close servants of Allah have the perception of Allah Ta’ala. His Beauty, Excellence, Perfection and Grandeur are perpetually in view. In the presence of Allah, they have absolutely no existence. They believe themselves to be embodiments of deficiencies and evils. In relation to the Divine Presence they regard themselves to be non-existent.

In view of this conception, they feel highly embarrassed if praised, since they are aware of the non-existence of the attributes for which they are praised. However, the man who is ghaafil becomes puffed up with vanity believing that the praise is on account of some excellence which he most certainly possesses.

The greatest fool is the man who forgets his proven evil attributes on account of the good qualities which people imagine to be in him.

Generally, people entertain a good opinion of a man and praise him. They conclude the existence of lofty attributes in a man from his behaviour, states and actions, e.g. when they see a man performing Namaaz with great care, they infer that he is a pious man, even if all the attributes of piety are not found in him and even if his Namaaz abounds with satanic and nafsaani thoughts.

Thus, the person who is delighted with the praise of imagined virtues in him while being blind to the certain defects in him, is the greatest fool.

The stench of baatini evils is worse than the stench of physical putrefied matter. O Jaahil! How can you be pleased with such stench?

When your Maula (Master) activates the tongues of people with such praises which you do not deserve, then moisten your tongue with such praise which He deserves.

When people praise you, it in reality is the effect of Allah Ta’ala activating their tongues. If Allah Ta’ala employs the tongues of people to laud on you praises which you do not deserve, then it behoves you to offer such praise to That Pure Being, which is befitting to Him. Do not praise those who are praising you.

Their praise in reality is Allah’s veil of concealment (Sattaari) which hides your defects from others. Therefore, do not become trapped by the praises of people.

(Extracted from An-Nahjul Atam Fi Tabweebil Hikam, a preferred book of Hazrat Sayyiduna Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki (rahmatullah alaihi) who instructed Hazrat Maulana Khalil Ahmad Sahib Saharanpuri to translate it.

This translation was named Itmaamun-Ni’am tarjumah, Tabweebul Hikam by Hakimul Ummah Thanwi. It is also known as Ikhmalush Shiyam.)

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9 Comments on “Praise Getting to Your Head?”


  1. […] Man is deceived by the praises which people laud on him on account of some attribute of excellence. Such praise produces ujub (vanity, self-conceit) in him. He then tends to forget his reality…read more […]

  2. taalibah Says:

    JazakAllah, may Allah Subhaanuhuwata’aal grant us sincerity in all our intentions, and bless us with His closeness. Aameen

  3. Abu Yahya Says:

    If you do good deeds and don’t get praised then this is not a sign of rejection. Rather praise is just a bonus you get.

    Hazrat Shah Abdul Ghani Phulpuri (rahimahullah)said:

    “A sign that your deeds are being accepted is you increase in uboodiyyat.”

    In other words your deeds should bring you closer to Allah. Then you know that they are being accepted.

    Wallahu A’lam

  4. taalibah Says:

    Assalamualaikum.w.w.

    from Abu Yahya’s explanation:
    This is because a believer who only performs good deeds for the sake of Allah and gets praised for this, this is actually Allah Ta`ala’s way of informing him that his deed was accepted.

    if one performs good deeds for the sake of Allah Subhaanuhuwata’aala, and does not receive any sign of praise, does this mean the good deeds of a person has not been accepted?

    how does one know if ones good deeds are being accepted?

  5. Abu Yahya Says:

    It is narrated by Abu Zar (radhiallahu anhu) that it was asked from the Messenger (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) about that individual who performs good deeds and people praise him for it.

    He (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam ) answered: “This is the immediate glad-tidings of a believer.” (SAHIH MUSLIM)

    In other words, this is actually a sign of its acceptance in thus world and now just the reward of it in the hereafter is left. This is because a beliver who only performs good deeds for the sake of Allah and gets praised for this, this is actually Allah Ta`ala’s way of informing him that his deed was accepted.

    As for that person who performs deeds for the sake of people, then their praises are nothing but a curse for that person, and an increase in his pride and arrogance.

    And on the Day of Judgement Allah Ta’ala will absolve Himself from rewarding him saying: “Go and get your rewards from the one you did these actions for, because you did not perform them for me.”

    May Allah Ta`ala grant us true sincerity. Ameen,

  6. taalibah Says:

    Assalamualaikum

    excellent reading, jazakAllah for the explanation and insight on this issue, very beneficial and appreciated.

  7. Abu Yahya Says:

    Brother Osama:

    This question of yours is actually the answer to your question. When a person knows for a fact that he has a corrupt heart and still people praise him on account of his external actions which they perceive, then this itself is a cure for this disease. When you know yourself and your relationship with Allah Ta`ala, then don’t worry abou what other people say.

    But praise of people in general is not necessarily negative. In one Hadith mentioned in the Mustadrak of Hakim, narrated by Usama bin Zaid (radhiallahu anhu) Rasulullah sallallahu alaihi wa sallam said: “When a beleiver is praised in his face, then he increases in Imaan.”

    This is because a true believer knows and recognizes where all blessings and taufeeq comes from. He knows that he is not the one who is doing these good actions but rather it is Allah Ta`ala who has granted him the ability to perform these actions (for which he is getting praised and respected for).

    So when he hears someone praising him, he gets closer and more connected to Allah, because Allah Ta`ala has made him the manifestation of His blessings and bestowals.

    On the other hand, a naive person will think (when being praised) that I AM THE ONE DOING ALL OF THESE THINGS, THUS I AM DESERVING OF THIS PRAISE. Therefore when this person hears praise, he goes away from Allah and is increased in self-conceit, instead of drawing nearer to Him.

    So if people continue to praise you, you should merely say to them: Alhamdu-lillah, all praises are for Allah alone. If it wasn’t for the taufeeq of Allah, I would not have been able to do this (for what you are praising me for).

    Inshallah, we will soon post our beloved sahikh Hazrat Maulana Hakim Akhtar’s muraqabah and cure of pride and praise, if we haven’t already posted it that is. It is very beneficial and should be performed every day. May Allah Ta`ala allow us to benefit from it and grant us all purification of the nafs and rectification of the character.

    was salaam

    Tameem

  8. mkz Says:

    Ikhmalush Shiyam with commentary by Maulana Muhammad Abdullah Gangohi is available online:
    http://books.themajlis.net/node/647

  9. Osama Says:

    So what should one do if they are being praised even though the person being praised knows he has a corrupt heart which no one else can see.


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