Narcissus had been born to an ocean of admirers. On-lookers, ‘super-fans’. His skin had been milk-white; his features so undeniably handsome. Narcissus had been a well-…celebrated child. He earned the smiles of aunties, teachers, girls… just by being alive.

It had been his face, which had really done it. And… his golden body. Narcissus would have winks thrown his way: the women wanted him, while the men wanted to be him. Indestructible, worthy of everybody’s esteem. High, high self-esteem.

The love story between a man, and what he would see: reflections of himself, in the mirror. He could do no wrong. He had just been smiled at, smiled at, smiled at; ‘respected’. He is ‘special’; has got to stay ‘special’. A fighting, fighting need.

Even if it means treating people like they are nothing at all. Thrusting things that ‘need’ to be done, for him, in others’ faces. And if you deny, then the fabric of his universe becomes torn a little. Things go upside-down: they cannot be like this!

He stomps his feet. Others need to listen. Boasting and painting oneself to be ‘bigger’ than others, superman. I am better than you. I deserve to be here.

Whether it is as a result of one’s well-proportioned face and ‘golden body’… or because of one’s intelligence… or because of one’s own perceived religious status.

Narcissism is Kibr – the thing that even the smallest amount of, would prevent us from entering Jannah. According to a Hadith I came across fairly recently: the parts that make up Kibr are twofold.

  1. rejecting the truth (when you know of it, most likely) and 2. scorning, looking down upon, the people. So, essentially, Kibr: feeling oneself to be superior to God’s Word, and feeling oneself to be superior to other people.

As Muslims, we are not even allowed to speak ill of people in their absences: even if it is something like… mocking the fact that somebody sleeps a lot [according to a particular Hadith]. Don’t do things that resemble what Iblīs did: he felt himself to be better, ‘bigger’ than God’s Word, somehow. And he felt himself to be, for this reason or that (in this case, the material that he had been made of) bigger, ‘better’ than the people.

With Salaam, Sadia, 2021.

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