A seeker wrote, ‘In addition to other blameworthy moral traits I have this one also, that is, I consider, individuals who are either secularly educated, or are scholars (ulema) that are not into (Sufi ways of) remembrance (dhikr o shugal), or are associated with innovator (bidati) Shaikh, or are associated with a Sunna following Shaikh who does not know the ways of treating (spiritual diseases) and does not instruct his disciple like you, to be deficient.
I do not have any reverence for them in my heart.
This conveys in a sense an idea of my superiority and perfection and their inferiority.
However, on reflection I find this thought without any proof in my heart that what do we know about the status of anyone’s proximity to Allah? I keep in sight my own deficiencies and contemplate about the virtuous actions they perform. Moreover, (I contemplate that) they might have qualities that I am unaware and Allah is pleased with them. And I have deficiencies that I may be questioned about.
After these reflections it can not be ascertained (about myself) that I am superior or accepted (by Allah). However, even then their reverence does not develop in my heart.
Similarly, regarding tutorials and discourses, I like my own. Those delivered by others, especially of few individuals, I find them extremely deficient.
In summary, is this arrogance (kibr)?
Please, help me in getting rid of it.’
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘This is not arrogance (kibr).
The reflection of all the possibilities (as mentioned) is enough in getting rid of arrogance. However, this is the treatment of belief (‘etiqad) of arrogance. There remains a need of treatment of practice of arrogance in addition.
The practice of arrogance is to deal with them in a derogatory manner.
It’s treatment is that, from these individuals
(1) for the people of truth (ahl-e-haqq) praise them verbally and deal with them with respect.
(2) for the people of fallacy (ahl-e-batil) do not backbite them, etc. (or sabotage their other rights as fellow human being) at all, as a pastime , (or) without a genuine reason.’
Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 98