It is a natural desire of human beings to want their achievements and good qualities to be recognized. We can inside ourselves privately be quite insecure and vulnerable and we desire validation from the outside world, from others, to make us feel good about ourselves and so raise our self-esteem and feeling of self-worth.
Whilst feeling worthless and having low self-esteem can be detrimental to mental health and general wellbeing, arrogance and over confidence can also be detrimental to ones character and more importantly, ones standing before Allah(swt).
Allah(swt) gives the example of Luqman(as) in the Quran when he told his son:
“do not turn your face away from people in contempt, nor go about in the land exulting overmuch; surely Allah does not love any self-conceited boaster;” Quran 31:18
In our desire to be commended or recognized and admired in the world we can fall into the trap of drawing peoples attention to ourselves and attempting to gain the praise of admiration of others. We can start displaying traits that are arrogant and boastful and in gaining peoples pleasure, add more and more pride to our egos.
Ibrahim at-Taymi reported that his father said, "We were sitting with 'Umar and one man praised another man to his face." He said, "You have wounded the man. May Allah wound you." (Bukhari: Al-Abad Al Mufrad)
If we believe peoples praise it may be detrimental to our character, not only can it make us complacent to our faults and stunt our character development as a result, but it can also make us believe things about ourselves that are not true.
Allah(swt) will judge us and we may think we are good Muslims because we hear praise from others whom we try to impress, but in reality we have no right to hold such an opinion as Allah(swt) tells us Himself in the Quran:
So do not claim purity for yourselves. He knows best those who have fear of Him (Quran 53:32)
Humility is highly valued virtue in Islam, it is something that is encouraged in every facet of our life. Islam prescribes humble clothing, men roll up their trousers so as to be humble rather than prideful, women cover their bodies and even their faces out of humility.
The prophet(saw) set forth for us an example of pure humility in character and action, from the home he lived in, the food he ate and the state of poverty in which he left this world, despite being a powerful statesman and of noble lineage and status.
People attempt to use their arrogance and boastfulness to get themselves a higher status in this world, when in reality it is humility with elevates your status in the manner that is most important:
Abu Hurayra reported that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Sadaqa does not decrease property and Allah only increases a slave in might by forgiveness and no one is humble for the sake of Allah without Allah elevating him." (Muslim)
It is essential to bear in mind that it is Allah(swt) who bestows honour on people, it is Allah(swt) who gives people wealth or high status in this world, it is He who makes people loved in this world and it is He who will hold us to account in the next.
Allah(swt) instructs us to be humble, so if we truly want success we should take heed of the words of Allah(swt) and the example of his messenger rather than chase worldly recognition and allow that pursuit to ruin our character by staining it with pride and arrogance.
Instead we should do our very best to develop humility in our character and try to be humble.