Takabbur, which is the opposite of humbleness, is one of the bad internal traits that has outward manifestations and causes others to be offended.
There are two kinds of Takabbur: one having Takabbur before God and the other having Takabbur before people. Having Takabbur before God would have dire consequences and severe punishment. An example of it is what Iblis (Satan) did. He disobeyed God and considered himself to be superior (to Adam). That is why God punished him and expelled him from paradise: “When We told the angels to prostrate before Adam, they all obeyed except Iblis (Satan) who abstained out of pride and so he became one of those who deny the truth.” (Surah Al-Baqarah, verse 34)
In another verse of the Quran, God says: “The Lord said, ‘Iblis, what prevented you from prostrating before what I have created with My own hands? Was it because of your pride or are you truly exalted?’” (Surah Sad, verse 75)
Takabbur before God is among the worst kinds of arrogance which is rooted in ignorance and going astray. It sometimes reaches a level in which one sees himself in the position of God. That is what Nimrod and pharaoh, the kings who were contemporaries of prophets Abraham (AS) and Moses (AS), did. They claimed to be divine and both were severely punished.
Takabbur before people is also unacceptable and wrong because, among other things, sets the ground for having Takabbur before God. Any bad trait and any wrongdoing can pave the way for bigger wrongdoings. One who considers himself to be superior to others and lets it manifest in his words and deeds has Kibr (arrogance). This trait sometimes enters one’s heart so stealthily that he himself may not notice it at first.
The real causes of Takabbur are said to be two things: First a feeling of humiliation and second a feeling of superiority that has harmful consequences for one’s heart and soul and conduct. One of them is preventing one from moving toward perfection. For instance, one who is too proud of his knowledge, this pride prevents him from making efforts to gain more knowledge.
The Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) said, “What a bad servant of God is one who acts arrogantly and seeks superiority. He has forgotten God, the Almighty. What a bad servant is one who has arrogance and conceit. He has forgotten God, the Almighty. What a bad servant of God is one who lives in ignorance and forgetfulness. He has forgotten corroded and destroyed graves. What a bad servant of God is one who rebels and forgets his beginning and his end!”