Humility as an understudied virtue has been variously defined in recent years. This attribute is the opposite of arrogance and conceit.
Oxford Dictionary defines being humble as “having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s importance.”
According to the psychological perspectives of humbleness, key attributes of humble people includes accurate self-assessment of one’s abilities; ability to acknowledge one’s defects and limitations; openness to new ideas, advice from others and tolerating different types of attitudes; being other-oriented rather than self-focused and appreciative of the value of all creatures both human and non-human.
There are many types of practical benefits to humility. Namely, humble people suffer less from frustration, anxiety and depression. Because they aren’t continuously worried about being best at everything, or staying on top.
Humbleness decreases “prejudice, struggle, rage, aggression because humble people do not consider that every situation must have a winner and a loser. Therefore, this idea prevents person from strife and fighting.
Accordingly, when people remove anger and conflict from their daily lives, it obviously follows that there is more room for “thought, benignity, empathy and altruism”.
Also kindness, forgiveness, generosity and sympathy are affected by humility. As the psychologist Jordan La Bouff said, “Compassion is hard if you don’t have humility”.
On the other hand, trait of humility has also received important attention from spiritual and religious points of view. In accordance with Islamic viewpoint, humility has been divided into two types: humbleness before God and humility towards people.
Humility before God is related to recognition of self in relation to God and acknowledging this concept that all good qualities held by human are granted by God.
Humbleness towards people is praised and recommended by the Holy Quran and Prophet Muhammad (s). Islam seriously has deterred humans from arrogance, strut, swagger and haughtiness.
Following are some of the verses of the Holy Quran and Ahadith on subject of humility towards people:
“And turn not your face away from men with pride, nor walk in insolence through the earth. Verily, God likes not each arrogant boaster.” (Quran 31:18)
“And be moderate (with modesty) in your pace and lower your voice (talk with humility)…” (Quran 31:19)
“And God’s worshippers are those who walk on the earth in humility and calmness, and when the foolish address them (with bad words) they reply back with mild words of peace.” (Quran 25:63)
The Prophet (s) declared: “Verily, God has revealed to me that you must be humble towards one another, so that no one wrongs another or arrogantly boasts to another.” (Hadith: Muslim 2865)
He also said: “Humbleness adds nothing to human but elevation; so be humble (towards each other)”. (Hadit: Nahj al Fasaha 936)
Undoubtedly, in this arrogant and egotistical world, humbleness and its maintenance needs practice. This great strength aids us in our ability to be more content, more loving, and more loved in our life.
Ultimately, with these types of benefits perhaps it is time to bring out humility from the showcase of traits and make it practical in life.