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Humbleness and Humility

Iqbal Ebrahim

The twins of humbleness and humility are very desirable characteristics and qualities in every human being because they add up to the personae of modesty; on the flip side is immodesty and arrogance. Modesty brings about humility which unfortunately in the world of today, some of us readily interpret it to mean subservience or shyness in a person.

On the contrary a modest person is a quietly confident person because deep down he knows that he does not have to put up a facade simply to impress people. This brings about sincerity and honesty in a person.

‘And swell not thy cheek (with pride) for men, nor walk in insolence through the earth; for Allah does not love the arrogant boaster’ (Quran 31:18)

You either have it or you don’t – modesty is a virtue that is linked to humility. Those that have it will act and behave in a manner that shows a balance and control in their actions, behaviour, dress, chastity, speech and consideration in their daily interaction with society at large – they usually prefer flying below the radar.

If we lack modesty there is always the possibility that we can do and say things just to make an impression on others, usually the impression is based on boasting of our achievements, wealth, material possessions, designer clothing and all the trappings of this world. This immodesty in most cases leads to arrogance, an inflated ego and is likely to make a person rude and insensitive to the feelings of others.

Those who are not modest usually are the ones who tend to do things or act in a manner that attracts the attention of those around them, they are the ‘look at me, look at me’ type more often than not they tend to be more self-centred. Lack of modesty often makes these people boastful loud mouths, arrogant, rude, and prone to use impolite language which is usually a dead giveaway of their immaturity, insecurity, low self-esteem and sense of self-worth.

Unfortunately some people believe that humbleness and humility are signs of weakness. Without having a sense of modesty or modest behaviour, can lead one to the slippery path of immoral behaviour.

The Quran has a list of 'Etiquettes' which we are advised to maintain in our dealings with each other on a daily basis. Islam teaches us and requires us to live a life of modesty – modesty in our lives, dress, speech, actions, behaviour, the manner in which we treat others – in fact it even goes as far as the manner in which we spend our money, we should do so without show and wastage. Islam does not prohibit us from owning legitimately earned wealth, however it has set limits to the manner in which we spend it, especially it discourages reckless wastage of it just to ‘show off’.

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:’ modesty is part of faith, and faith is in Paradise, but obscenity is part of hardness of the heart and hardness of the heart is in Hell’.

To inculcate the virtue of modesty, below is that list of recommendations for us to 'hear & obey', and this is bound lead to happiness for all involved.

Always Respond to a 'Greeting':

"When greeted with a greeting, you shall respond with a better greeting or at least an equal one. Allah reckons all things." (4:86)

Always Say 'Good' things:

‘Allah sets forth a parable a good word like a good tree, whose root is firmly fixed, and its branches reach to the heavens, it brings forth fruit at all times by the leave of Allah…………. Allah thus cites the examples for the people, that they may take heed.’ (Quran 14:24-25)

Be 'Humble', and speak 'Lightly':

‘Walk humbly and lower your voice, the harshest sound is that of a braying donkey.’ (31:19). The Bible also says: “Talk no more so exceedingly proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth (1 Samuel 2:3)

Invite people to the path of GOD with Wisdom and Kindness:

‘Invite to the path of your Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and debate with them in the ways that are best and most gracious. Your Lord knows best who has strayed from His path, and He knows best who receive guidance.’ (16:125)

Be Kind to your parents:

"Your Lord has decreed that you shall not worship except Him, and your parents shall be honoured. As long as one or both of them live, you shall never say to them, "Uff" (the slightest gesture of annoyance), nor shall you shout at them; you shall treat them amicably. And lower for them the wings of humility, and kindness, and say, "My Lord, have mercy on them, for they have raised me from infancy." (17:23-24)

Suppress Anger & Forgive People:

‘Those who give to charity during the good times, as well as the bad times: who restrain their anger, and pardon all men – for Allah loves those who do good’. (3:134)

Counter Evil with Good:

‘Nor can goodness and evil be equal. Repel evil with what is better, then between you and whom was hatred become as it were, your friend and intimate’ (41:34)

Do NOT Say 'Bad' things:

‘And the parable of an evil word is that of an evil tree; it has been torn off from its roots; it has no stability.’ (14:26)

Do NOT be 'Arrogant' or 'Carefree':

‘You shall not treat the people with arrogance, nor shall you roam the earth carefree. Allah does not love the arrogant boaster.’ (31:18)

Do NOT engage in 'ignorant' talk:

‘The servants of the Almighty are those who tread the earth in humility, and when the ignorant speak to them, they only utter ‘peace’.’ (25:63)

Do NOT make fun of others, or call them names:

‘O you who believe, let not some among you laugh at and ridicule others, for they may be better than they. Nor shall any women ridicule other women, for they may be better than they. Nor shall you defame nor be sarcastic to each other, or call each other by offensive nicknames……… Anyone who does not repent after this, are the transgressors." (49:11)

Do NOT be suspicious, or spy on one another, or backbite:

‘Avoid suspicion, for suspicion is in some cases a sin: and spy not on each other, nor speak ill of each other behind their backs, for this is as abominable as eating the flesh of your dead brother…..’ (49: 12)

Treat people equally

‘O people, We created you from a single pair, male and female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other (not that you despise each other). The best among you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous. Allah is All Seeing and All knowing.’ (49:13)

Therefore our humbleness, humility and modesty are the corner stones of manner we should behave: showing kindness, compassion and caring for others in the community.

Our modesty should be displayed in our words and actions that show our respect for the feelings of others. It is only then that we will reach into the sight of our Lord and Creator.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”


Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”


Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.


Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)


Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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