The following definition of Kibr or Takabbur (Pride) has been given by Hadhrat Maseehul Ummat Maulana Mohammed Maseehullah Khan Sahab (r.a.), a companion of Hadhrat Maulana Muhammad Ilyas (r.a.), student of Hadhrat Mufti Saeed Ahmad Lucknowi (r.a.) and Khalifa of Hakeemul Ummat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi (r.a.).
Takabbur is to consider oneself superior to others in attributes of excellence. There are many kinds of takabbur. Most kinds are subtle, concealed and difficult to detect. It is only the thorough gaze of the Shaikh-e-Kaamil which can discern such hidden forms of takabbur. In this matter even the Ulama-e-Zaahir (those Ulama who concern themselves with only the external Law of the Shariah) are constrained to follow an expert in the Path of Tasawwuf.
In a nutshell takabbur is to voluntarily and consciously regard oneself superior to others in religious or mundane excellences in a way which engenders contempt in the heart for others. This is the reality of takabbur and this is haraam. Takabbur consists of two ingredients, viz.,
1. The feeling of superiority–considering oneself to be great.
2. Contempt for others.
Further in the same book “Tasawwuf and Shariah” he points out the serious evilness of this charasteristic.
It was takabbur which made shaitaan a deviate. The Hadith Shareef therefore sounds dire warnings in regard to takabbur. Allah Ta’ala has warned that the abode of the proud ones will indeed be vile. Pride is the exclusive prerogative of Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala will destroy all those who desire to participate in this exclusive Attribute of greatness. Rasulullah (saws) said that the mutakabbireen (the proud ones) will be encased in trunks of fire of Jahannam.
That’s why I’ve heard on various occassions from elders already, that a Mushrik compared to a Mutakabbir associates someone else with Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala while the latter associates himself with Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala. Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (r.a.) quoted from ‘Quwatul Quloob’ that a true momin considers himself to be worse than a kafir-e-farangi. And without a doubt this is one of the first requirements for a successful journey on the path of islah-e-nafs (one’s own reformation).
In the last bit below Maseehul Ummat Sahab (r.a.) explains the remedy of Kibr and Takabbur.
This malady is remedies by reflecting on the Splendour, Glory and Majesty of Allah Ta’ala. This reflection will produce in one a realization of one’s own lowly position. Your own excellences will then recede into nothingness. Also, humble yourself in the presence of those whom you regard as your inferior. Be respectful to them so that you become imbued with humility.
May Allah Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala keep our heart pure from Kibr and all other evil characteristics. Ameen.