After the boy killed the lion, news spread fast–news arrives like an ant and leaves like an elephant. Sensationalism.
The boy meets the scholar and informs him of what occurred. The scholar replied with: “O my boy, today you are better then me. You will be tested, so when it happens, do not reveal me (don’t rat me out).”
How was the boy better? He gained knowledge and implemented it, and increased in humility.
Of the types of humility, one is humility with arrogance. What is humility with arrogance? When you intentionally act humble so people will take you as a humble person and, because of that, follow you–to say the words of humility with the intention to get the same end-result that arrogance brings.
The scholars say “perhaps an act of obediance to Allah can bring pride an arrogance”. It happens all the time with Hajjis (those who survived Hajj). They presume themselves to be paradise-bound, and the next thing you know, they’re laughing it up in the club–DJ Hajji.
They act as if good deeds are a favour to Allah, and that Allah owes them something, wa iyyadubillah.
In the time of the Prophet (صلي الله عليه وسلم), bedouins took the same attitudes. They performed good deeds, then asked the Prophet, peace be upon him, for wealth and such. They argued, “didn’t we accept Islam for you?” and Allah (سبحانه وتعالى) replies in the Qur’an: “Tell them: do not consider your Islam as a favour to me, but Allah gave you a favour when he guided you to faith.”
Indeed, the more you increase in piety, the more you should increase in thankfulness.
After all, if not for the mercy and guidance of Allah, where would you be?
May Allah guide us all to the truth and allow us to live and die on Islam.
Ibrahim Hindy. “People of the Ditch.” UTM MSA. University of Toronto At Mississauga, Mississauga.