The common term for ego used in the Qur'an and Sunnah is "Kibr". This is different from "Kibar" which means "old age". Kibr is regarded as a reason to block one from entering Jannah (Paradise). Muhammad (a.s.s) said:
"One does not enter Jannah who has in his heart a mustard seed's weight of Kibr".Understandably, the Sahabah (companions of the Muhammad –may Allah’s peace and blessing be upon him) were terrified by this statement. One of them asked the Prophet (a.s.s) "I like my dress to be clean and my shoes to be clean" The Prophet (a.s.s) replied: "That is not it. Allah is Beautiful and He likes Beauty" Then he went on explaining: al-kibru batarul Haqqi wa ghamtun naas"Kibr is rejecting the truth and belittling people."The Qur'an tells us in many Ayaat that those who have Kibr "al-mutakabbereen" have one place, the Hell Fire. The Qur'an and Sunnah also attack the root of the problem by reminding the human being, in many places, of his origin (mire, clay, a worthless drop of fluid, etc.) so that he would have no reason to become arrogant.
The two major manifestations of Kibr are the ones mentioned in the Hadeeth above:
1. Batar-ul-Haqq:Rejection of the truth: this is manifested when one does not accept the clear truth, presented to him on a clear evidence from Qur'an and Sunnah. Remember that there is often room for multiple interpretations; therefore, accepting one interpretation more than another is not a sign of Kibr. Kibr is when one puts his own opinion before the clear "nass" (textual evidence). Included in Batar-ul-Haqq is also when someone accepts the truth selectively, meaning if it serves his interest, or if it comes from certain people and not others.2. Ghamt-un-Naas:Belittling others: This happens when one feels he is superior to others. Imam Ghazali reminds us that there is always reason to think the opposite, i.e., that anyone else could be better than you. For example, when you see someone who has less wealth than you, you should say to yourself: "this person has much less to be asked about on the Day of Judgement, therefore he must be better than me." If you see someone who is older than you, you say: "this person has had more time to worship Allah and do good deeds, so he must be better than me.” If he is younger: "this man has had less time to disobey Allah, so he must be better than me." and so on. Just find reasons to think people are better than you.What should not be considered a manifestation of Kibr is when people express their opinions forcefully and try every possible argument to support it. That is, of course, if they are willing to admit their mistakes when they are proven to be wrong and acknowledge their ignorance when they do not know an answer to a question.
So before passing judgements about people having inflated egos etc., one should really be careful based on the above. In fact, why just not leave the judging to al-Hakam (The Judge) al-Adl (The Just), i.e., Allah SWT and relieve us from the prospect of being asked on the Day of Resurrection to justify our judgement. We gain nothing by being judgmental, and the potential
loss could be tremendous.
What we should keep ourselves busy with most of the time is to look deeply into our own hearts. From my own personal experience with my own heart, the deeper I look, the more terrified I get, because what I find there, most of the time, is unthinkable, and also unmentionable.
So may Allah help us see our own shortcomings and enable us to work on them. And may Allah not make us like him who sees a splinter in his brother's eye and fails to see a tree branch sticking out of his own eye, as Abu Hurairah (RA) said.
w'Allahu Ta'aala A'lam (and Allah knows the best)