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The 17-th item in Major Sins by Al-Dhahabi is Arrogance, Pride, Conceit, Vanity And Haughtiness (ref.). He references the Qur'an and Sunnah, e.g.:

...Indeed, Allah does not like everyone self-deluded and boastful. -- Qur'an 31:18

The Messenger (pbuh) said, "Arrogance is belittling to admit the truth and considering people inferior. [Reported by Muslim.]

Question: Does telling people you have an academic credential amount to arrogance?

More or less implicit in telling people you have an academic credential is a claim that one is "superior" at the relevant topic than the general population. For instance, someone with a PhD in medicine might be better than 99% of the population at medicine. But this is counter-balanced by the fact that people are better at some things than others.

  • not understand the question , do you mean declaring ( inform and report to someone ) maybe to your student , or to your Patients ...! ? – Mustapha Elbazi Nov 30 '16 at 0:31
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    Basically, just telling people in general. It could arise for a range of reasons; casual chit-chat to job applications. (Maybe "declaring" isn't the right word. Edited.) – Rebecca J. Stones Nov 30 '16 at 0:39
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    well you can't get job without telling about your academic credential , and in chit-chat you can't lie ... for me and this is my opinion everyone knows what is good for her heart , for me declaring declaring my academic credential ( if i have one ) will totally amount to arrogance , because i feel that this is make me better then other people ... but someone else this will not Affect in him ! so make it based on your feelings after declaring that ! if this make you feel some little arroganc so it's not good try to avoid it as possible ...! this is an opinion – Mustapha Elbazi Nov 30 '16 at 7:38
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    why did i said that because some people feel arrogance after declaring about money , and some when get a beautiful ex and some after travelling to a big country.. and some after wear expensive cloths and some after get good relationship with teachers in school ......but this depend on the personality .... there is a lot of things amount arrogance , some of the examples i mentioned doesn't affect me maybe you too !! ... but some deeds amount arrogance immediately like Mocking people – Mustapha Elbazi Nov 30 '16 at 8:01
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That's a subtle issue in ethics and comprises a major theme in ethical works written by Muslim scholars of ethics. (I personally recommend Jihad-e Nafs by Ayatollah Khomeini, a series of ethical lectures directed to seminary students wherein they are warned about taking pride in their religious/scholarly achievements).

But generally it all goes down to one's intentions. If one's intention is to belittle someone or claim a credit that is not warranted by one's credentials (since it's a fairly common conduct for people for example to put on a moral virtue based on a technical or professional merit, e.g. thinking or pretending that "you're a better person if you're a better engineer"), then it is sinful. Otherwise, if it's just about a professional necessity (e.g. some people need to know about your professional career), then it's OK to disclose your credentials preferably in a humble disposition and in accordance with the reason necessitating the declaration.

On the subjective level, Muslim ethical scholars tend to remind us about some basic Islamic doctrines to help us keep out pride from our souls in all stages of worldly accomplishment. One is the supreme superiority of Allah and our state of inherent servitude and humility before Whom all of our worldly accomplishments even combined lose stature. The other one, a consequent of the former probably, is our state of inherent indebtedness to Allah in all of our accomplishments. As Allah has it in the Quran:

Oh, mankind! You are all poor before Allah, and [it is] Allah [who] is all rich and worthy of all praise.

Once these two points are sincerely remembered, we won't also feel arrogant over other people, when we have to disclose our particular merits over them due to some reasonable official and organizational demands because after all we know that all of our positive achievements are Allah's grace.

  • If this doesn't do the answer, I may be able to elaborate further if you ask. – infatuated Nov 30 '16 at 10:18
  • @RebeccaJ.Stones, That's fine! I understand that as you progress in learning about Islam you may find yourself revising your past evaluations. But it came as a little surprise anyway! :) – infatuated Dec 29 '16 at 5:55

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