What Is the Best Way to Put the Ego in Check?

What is the best way to attain beneficial knowledge in such a way that puts the ego in check?

Answered by  Habib Umar bin Hafiz

Seeking Knowledge With Excellence

The best way to attain beneficial knowledge that puts the ego in check is: sincere focus, with humility, attentive listening, and concentration upon what is imparted to one, of the words of Allah or the words of the Chosen One (may Allah peace and blessings be upon him and his folk), assuming you find a teacher who is a “possessor of heart,” i.e. one who imparts this knowledge from his heart and soul.

Connecting to the Inheritors of Prophetic Guidance

This, along with connecting oneself to a chain of transmission that goes back to the Prophet and observing good manners, is the way we are familiar with from the Successors of the Companions (tabi’in), those who followed them, and those who followed them, until this day and age.

Knowledge is the Prayer of the Soul

For knowledge is not perfected with caprice or pride. Nor is the reality of knowledge acquired by studying, “so and so said”, or mastering legal scenarios. It is rather acquired through sincerity to the Most Great and Most High, and through approaching this endeavor with veneration, love, and longing to draw close to Allah (Mighty and Majestic) thereby, while also connecting one’s self to a chain of transmission to the Chosen One, Muhammad (may Allah peace and blessings be upon him and his folk). This is indeed the way to acquire beneficial knowledge that puts the ego in check and elevates it to high stations.

Translated by: Abdullah Alrajhy. (Link to the original answer)


Habib Umar bin Hafiz is a descendant of the Prophet (upon him be Allah’s peace and blessings). Born into a family of scholars, Habib Umar, pursued the sacred sciences from a young age, including Quran, Hadith, Fiqh, ‘Aqeedah, Arabic, and Spirituality. In 1994, he established Dar al-Mustafa, an educational institute in Tarim, Yemem.

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Our religion is a religion of LOVE….

“Our religion is a religion of LOVE in the first place. Love of Allah Ta’ala, Love of Rasoolulllah, sallallahu Ta’ala alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam, love of doing good, love of people, love of parents, love of children, love of neighbors, etc..love, love, love. No love = No Deen, as simple as that. Being a good Muslim doesn’t depend on knowledge you amass -as much-, race, color, culture, “holy” clothing you wear, “holy” self-proclaimed titles, or political views. It depends on how YOU treat OTHER than you; The Creator and the creation. Also if you don’t love for other human beings (regardless of creed, political view and background) what you love for yourself, then there is an essential problem in your very Iman. The merchants of hate and violence, even when they portray themselves as the “official and exclusive” spokespeople of Islam or “Sunnah”, dish out poison, not Deen. Islam is not a Deen of hate but of Love, mercy and unconditional compassion. Rest assured; Allah Ta’ala is much more compassionate, forgiving & merciful than all the “experts” in or “scholars” of the Deen (religion) put together. Today we have clerics -instantly- and without any experience or track record, turned into politicians as well, and started issuing Fatwa’s of violence against their political enemies. Our religion was always about giving life, not death to others. It was never about “Fatwa”, but was and is always about “Taqwa”.

The Religion itself is much easier and simpler than the strict rituals of the “religious”. The “official” spokesmen of the Deen are plenty!! making you feel as if Malik (Hellfire gatekeeper) is their employee, and Ridwan (Jannah gatekeeper) is them in person. Those who call you to hate or violate, are callers of Satan and to him, not to Allah Ta’ala or Islam. The term “Ulama-u-Su’ ” or (Errant Scholars) is a term usually used to describe scholars keen to please powerful governments/regimes and give them what they’d like to hear on the account of principles of Haqq, but equally so includes scholars/ preachers keen to please the populous and masses, cater to them, mobilize and ride on the wave of their innocent Deeni emotions of he masses on account of principles of Haqq.

I call you to search for the truths and question truths offered to you, for no truth can contradict the Wahi (Qur’an and authentic Sunnah). I call you to Love; for love heals.

Treat yourself and others with knowledge, humility and love. But Love itself is also a form of Rizq (sustenance from heavens/provisions granted by Allah). Don’t you see the Prophet -Sallallahu Ta’ala alayhi wa aalihi wa sallam- saying about Sayyidatuna Khadija al-Kubra: “I was granted the Rizq of her love” . So seek love just like you seek other forms of Rizq. Learn how to, aspire to, dream of, and be with those who love. The enemy of Islam is: ignorance and the culture and cults of hate.

The Saved Sect (al-Firqah al-Najiyah) Hadith -which is less than Sahih in my view- does not in anyway give any one group/cult the exclusive keys to Jannah, The Qur’an & authentic Sunnah do. The Saved Sect (al-Firqah al-Najiyah) is not the one seeking to lock up all other sects in Hell fire, but the one struggling to save them and all others. Such claims of guaranteed exclusivity to the right of salvation is nothing new, see Surah Al-Ma’ida #18, and the answer to it is beautiful and simple in Surah Al-Nis’a #124.

A good Muslim is a good human being in the first place. In summary; The Beloved sent the beloved out of love to teach love with love for the sake of love. And love does not have limits, for true love collapses all limits, not establishes them. O’Allah; empty my heart from all distractions taking me away from You, forgive me and fill my heart with Your Love.”
-Sayyidi Shaykh Dr. Muhammad bin Yahya al-Husayni al-Ninowy الشيخ د. محمد النينوي (May 2014)

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Servitude to Allah the Almighty

Servitude to Allah the Almighty is first of all an act of consciousness. Servitude means to be able to see our weak state before the Divine Kingdom and to know our place. When a person properly recognizes his place, there would be no strength left in him to claim arrogance, egoism and even his very own existence.

The real modesty makes the servant confess his nothingness and nonexistence before the Divine Majesty and bow his head, like in the following supplication of Mawlānā Jalal al-Dīn Rumī (Alaihi Al Rahma):

“I have become a servant, I have become a servant, I have become a servant. I, humble servant, have ashamed of not fulfilling my servitude properly and bowed my head down (in shame). Every slave becomes happy when he is emancipated. Dear Lord! I have become happy for being Your slave.”

As a matter of fact, Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings be upon him) grandson Hazrat Hasan’s (May Allah be pleased with him) supplication after circumambulating the Kaaba and performing two rak’ahs of prayer at the quarter of Ibrāhīm (Upon him be prayer and peace) is one of the best examples of manners of servitude:

“Dear Lord! Your little and weak servant came to Your door. O Allah! Your weak servant came to your door. Dear Lord! Your beggar came to your door, Your poor came to Your door…”

After this touching supplication, Hasan (May Allah be pleased with him) met on his way with some poor people, who were sharing a dry piece of bread. He greeted them, and they invited him to their modest table. Prophet’s grandson Hasan (May Allah be pleased with him) sat with them and said:

“If I knew that this bread did not come from charity, I would eat with you.” Then he said:

“Let’s go to my home.” After serving them a nice meal, he clothed the poor people with nice clothes and gave them considerable amount of money and then sent them back in a very happy state.” (Abshihī, Al-Mustatraf, Beirut, 1986, I, 31)

This is the state of real modesty and an eminent manner of servitude, which makes a believer live in deep sensitivity towards his Lord and Creation. Those who adorn their souls with this exclusive manners act prudently in their acts and behaviors. This manner manifests itself in their sitting, standing, walking, choosing their clothes, speaking, walking, and, in short, in all of their actions.

Allah the Almighty states:

“And the servants of the Beneficent Allah are they who walk on the earth in humbleness, and when the ignorant address them, they say: Peace.” (25; 63)

“And do not go about in the land exultingly, for you cannot cut through the earth nor reach the mountains in height.” (17; 37)

“And do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting over much; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;” (31; 18)

In these verses, walking arrogantly and swaggering is clearly prohibited. The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) always walked fast and his eyes fixed on the ground like going down a hill. This was a manifestation of his humility. In fact, this good behavior has become one of the principles of the Sufis, in which they referred to as “nazar ber qadem – one’s eyes fixed on his feet.”