As we have stressed throughout this book, the fundamental character trait of an arrogant person is his failure to remember that he is a weak and mortal being before Allah. Whatever the conditions and circumstances may be, he finds justification to become vainly proud. This supposed justification may be a beautiful house, expensive furniture, a sports car, clothes, his hair style, the colour of his eyes, physical beauty, status, fame, a prestigious family name...
However, never does he ponder over the significance of the verse, "Every self will taste death" (Surah Al ' Imran: 185) and remember that he will die and be reduced to dust. Everything he once valued will meet the same end; his body, to which he was fondly attached, will first decay, and then be reduced to bones. His new car will become a heap of metal in only a few decades. Probably, in a few years time, no one will remember his enviable fame or status. Moreover, in a hundred years or more, not a soul will remain on earth that will have known him. His failure to grasp these facts, and, moreover, his refusal to contemplate them, is, in actuality, a clear sign of his being one of the people who does not use his intellect.
However, failure to use one' s intellect is not a reason to exonerate a person. That is because, Allah created every soul and shown him the two highways, two goals; a soul can either wholeheartedly submit to his Lord and spend his entire life to earn the rewards of Paradise, or follow his whims and desires and grow arrogant towards Him. Allah increases one' s wisdom if he adheres to the first way; the second way, on the other hand, deprives him of wisdom. As was the case with Iblis, those who grow arrogant have always adopted the second way. Moreover, each warning they receive proves merely to be a further reason for their persistence in denial. One verse follows:
When Our Signs are recited to such a person, he turns away arrogantly as if he had not heard, as if there was a great weight in his ears. So give him news of a painful punishment. (Surah Luqman: 7)
These people, who grow arrogant towards Allah, and turn their faces away from Him because of their arrogance, will receive punishment both in this world and beyond. They will not gain any advantage from this reprehensible attitude. Moreover, it will be a reason for which to be driven to Hell:
Say to those who are disbelievers: "You will be overwhelmed and crowded into Hell. What an evil resting-place!" (Surah Al ' Imran: 12)
Those who are herded headlong into Hell, such people are in the worst position. They are the most misguided from the way. (Surat al-Furqan: 34)
Believers, on the other hand, adhere to the first way. They are respectful and submissive to their Lord. They conduct themselves modestly towards other believers, since they recognise their own weaknesses and insignificance in the face of Allah' s infinite might, and know that "Modesty is part of faith and faith is in Paradise" (Ahmad, Tirmidhi) as the Prophet (saas) has stated. As well, aware that their wealth and qualities are given to them only as a test in this world, never do they dare to regard them as a basis to suppose their superiority over others. The modest are aware of their own shortcomings, weaknesses, their vulnerability even to a microbe otherwise invisible to the naked eye, and their mortality. They also recognise the fact that, like themselves, others are also subjects of Allah. They know that in Allah' s sight, only fear of Allah is the criteria for superiority, and accept no other criteria.
These are the "people of intelligence," as referred in the Qur' an. Allah has granted them "the ability to discern between right and wrong" (Surat al-Anfal: 29) and thus, they have grasped that this world is temporary, and that they need to prepare for the eventuality of Paradise. To this end, they purify their lower-selves of all forms of arrogance.
This, indeed, is the only way to salvation.