'Ujb or self-conceit (Arabic: العُجب) , which is among moral vices, means being pleased of one's own good deeds and considering them great, and knowing them merits of his own, not from God. In ethics, issues such as power, beauty, lineage and multitude of children have been mentioned as the causes of self-conceit, development of arrogance, the spoilage of good deeds and wisdom are mentioned among its consequences.
Scholars of ethics consider 'ujb caused by ignorance and believe that it is cured by awareness and knowledge. They also believe that this moral vice should be cured by curing its causes and origins.
'Ujb (self-conceit) means being pleased of one's own good deeds when the person considers them merits of his own, and forgets their bestowal by God and does not fear their spoilage. However, Mulla Ahmad Naraqi considered 'ujb, caused by assuming a merit to have in one's self.
Connection with Takabbur (Arrogance) and Idlal
'Ujb has a meaning close to takabbur (arrogance), different from that regarding the formation of 'ujb, one does not compare himself with others, but in takabbur, the person considers himself superior to others.
The difference between "'Ujb" and "Idlal", it has been said that 'ujb is considering one's own deeds great and themselves obliging God by doing some deeds and acts of worship; however, in idlal, in addition to all the mentioned, the person considers himself rightful, which makes him fearless and brazen.
Scholars of ethics have mentioned different causes and motives leading to 'ujb. In al-Mahajjat al-bayda, Fayd Kashani mentioned the causes 'ujb to be, beauty and attractiveness, power and competence, cleverness and intelligence, lineage and family origin, relationship with kings and men of power, multitude of children, wealth and property and power of thought. They also considered verse 26 of Sura al-Tawba, verse 2 of Sura al-Hashr and verse 140 of Sura al-Kahf related with 'ujb. al-Naraqi said that 'ujb in the acts of worship disagrees with their philosophy which is demonstration of humility before God.
Some consequences have been mentioned for 'ujb in hadiths:
- Spoilage of good deeds: It is transmitted from the Prophet (s) that 'ujb spoils one's 70 years of good deeds. Also, according to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), two people entered a mosque, one of them was a wicked person and the other was a worshipper; but when they were coming out of the mosque, the wicked person had turned into a worshipper and the worshipper had turned into a wicked person, because the worshipper was plagued with 'ujb and was proud of his worships, but the wicked person had thought about repentance and repented.
- Arrogance: 'ujb is considered among the cause of arrogance.
- Forgetting sins or considering them unimportant
- Considering good deeds and acts of worship too great and obliging God by them.
In hadiths, spoilage of wisdom, destruction and loneliness are mentioned among the consequences of 'ujb. Also, 'ujb is introduced as an obstacle for acquiring knowledge and reaching perfections.
According to a hadith in Nahj al-balagha, a sin which makes human being sad or makes him apologize for it is better than a good deed which leads him to self-conceit.
Fayd Kashani knew 'ujb a disease caused by ignorance and foolishness and since every disease can be cured by its antidote, he believed that 'ujb can be cured by knowledge and awareness. Fayd and some other scholars of ethics believe that to cure 'ujb, one must pay attention to its causes, because the cause of 'ujb is a blessing of God such as beauty, power or multitude of children; so, human being should observe that God Who has given him these blessings can take them back from him in a blink of an eye and takes lesson from those who had such blessings during the history, but did not use them in a proper way. For example, the cure for a kind of 'ujb caused by power and competence is observing the Glory of God's power and also caring about the stages of human being's creation to see from what he has been created. Also, if one's 'ujb is because of one's power of thought, the cure would be that the person always gives a possibility for inaccuracy of his opinions, unless he has a definite proof for their validity from the Qur'an or hadiths and also presents them to prominent thinkers.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from عجب in Farsi WikiShia.