Posts Tagged ‘Riya’

The definition of sincerity— Sh. Salih al-Munajjid

February 13, 2016 Leave a comment


Linguistically: It is extracted from the verb (Akhlas) whose source is (Ikhlaas), which means to make pure and not mixed with anything else.


This is why Chapter Al-Ikhlaas was given this name, because it emphasizes the Oneness of Allah and that He should be worshipped alone. Ibn Al-Atheer (rahimahullah) said:

“It was given this name because the one who recites it purifies his monotheism to Allah.”

The word Ikhlaas is the word of Tawheed (monotheism).


Al-Fayrooz Abaadi (rahimahullah) said:

“Akhlasa means to give up Riyaa’ (showing off) [i.e. offer worship purely for Allah].”

Al-Qaamoos Al-Muheet (797).


Al-Jurjaani (rahimahullah) said:

“Ikhlaas is to give up Riyaa’ when offering acts of worship.”

At-Ta’reefaat (28).


Technically: In Islamic terminology, the scholars defined it in different ways, and the following are the most important of these definitions:

Ibn Al-Qayyim (rahimahullah)  said:

“Ikhlaas is to purify one’s intention when worshiping Allah and devote the act purely for Him.”

Madaarij As-Saalikeen (91/2).


Al-Jurjaani (rahimahullah) said:

“Ikhlaas means to cleanse the heart from any defect or impurity that affects its purity.”

It was also said that Ikhlaas is to scrub away anything that affects its clarity.

At-Ta’reefaat (28).


Huthayfah Al-Mar’ashi (rahimahullah)  said:

“Ikhlaas is when the slave feels that performing a deed is the same for him whether he performs it in public or in seclusion.”

Al-Bayaan Fi Aadaab Hamalat Al-Qur’aan (13).


Others said:

“Ikhlaas is not to expect any reward from anyone for the deed you perform and to want anyone to see the deed except Allah.”

Madaarij As-Saalikeen (92/2).


In addition to this, there are many other definitions, which were stated by the righteous Salaf, may Allah have mercy upon them, such as:

1. To perform the deed for Allah and not to join anyone with Him in the intention
2. To perform the deed without people noticing.

Madaarij As-Saalikeen (91-92/2).


A sincere person is the one who does not care if people stop caring or respecting him in return for reforming and purifying his heart and making it sound in the scale of Allah. Also, he does not like that people know about anything he does, even if it is as small and minor as the weight of an ant.
It is very common in Islamic texts to use the word intention instead of the word sincerity. For jurists, intention in principle means to differentiate between acts of worship and habits when performing a deed, and it is to differentiate between acts of worship amongst themselves.

Jaami’ Al-‘Uloom Wal-Hikam (11/1)


Differentiating between acts of worship and habits when performing a deed, is like differentiating between taking a bath to clean one’s body or as a ritual bath to cleanse himself from impurity due to sexual intercourse or a wet dream. Differentiating between acts of worship amongst themselves, is like differentiating between praying four Rak’ahs for Dhuhr from those for ‘Asr.


However, if the word intention is used as a means to find out who is meant by performing a deed: is it performed purely and sincerely for the sake of Allah or not, then in this case intention is included and part of the definition of sincerity.

Truthfulness and sincerity when performing an act of worship have close meanings, but the difference is that sincerity takes place after one starts performing the deed, while truthfulness is usually before the deed starts. Therefore, sincerity branches out of truthfulness.

At-Ta’reefaat (28).


[From the book: Sincerity, page 4-7, by Sh. Salih al-Munajjid]




From the chapter on ‘Hoping for Allah’s Mercy’: Tanbih Al-Ghafileen

September 9, 2013 Leave a comment


It was said:

“When the following verse was revealed: {“...My Mercy embraces all things…”} [al-A’raf; 156],

Satan – may Allah curse him – became hopeful and said: “I am a thing of those things, so I will have a portion of Allah’s Mercy!”

And the Jews and Christians became hopeful and said: “We area thing of those things, so we will have a portion of it.”

So, when the saying of Allah {“…I shall reserve it for those who are pious, give charity, and believe in Our signs…”} was revealed, then Satan lost hope of receiving any of His Mercy.

But, the Jews and Christians said: “We are pious, we give charity, and we believe in the signs of our Lord, so we are still eligible for Allah’s Mercy!”

Then, the saying of Allah {“Those who follow the unlettered Prophet and Messenger…”} [al-A’raf; 157] was revealed – meaning, those who believe in Muhammad (peace be upon him).

So, the Jews and Christians then lost all hope, and the Mercy remained exclusively for the believers.”


It was said:

“O Lord! You have given us one mercy, and have honored us with it, and it is Islam.So, if you give us one hundred portions of Your Mercy, then how can we not be hopeful for Your forgiveness?”


It was said:

“As long as the person is in good health, then fear of Allah is preferred. Once he becomes sick and is unable to perform many more good deeds, then hope in His Mercy is preferred.”


It was said:

“O Lord! You have Created Paradise and made it a meeting place for your allies, and the disbelievers have lost all hope of entering it, and the Angels were created without being in need of it,and You are also not in need of it. So, if you will not give me Paradise, then who will You give it to?”


More read:

≡ Tanbih Al-Ghafileen


From the chapter of ‘Sincerity’: Tanbih Al-Ghafileen

May 24, 2013 Leave a comment


It was said:

“The likeness of the one who performs good deeds in order to show off and have a good reputation is like the one who goes out to the marketplace and fills his bags with stones, and as a result, the people say:”Look at how stuffed this man’s bags are!” So, he gains nothing except what the people say about him, and if he wishes to trade these stones for something, he will get nothing in return for them.

Similarly, the one who performs good deeds for show-off and reputation; there is no benefit for him in his actions other than what the people say about him, and no reward awaits him in the Hereafter, as Allah – the Exalted – says: {“And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did, and Weshall make them as scattered floating particles of dust.”} [al-Furqan;23]

It was once asked:
“Who is the sincere one? It was answered: “The sincere one is the one who hideshis good deeds the same way he hides his bad deeds.”
It was said:
“Preserving an act of obedience is more difficult than performing it, because it is like a glass lamp that is easily broken and cannot withstand rough treatment. Likewise, the good action, if itis exposed to show-off, it breaks. And if it is exposed to its performer being pleased with himself,then it breaks. If a person wants to perform an action and fears that he will show-off with it, then if he is able to throw out this riya’ from his heart, then he should exert all efforts in doing so. If he is unable to do so, then he should not abandon performing this act because of the possibility of showing off;rather, he should perform it, then seek Allah’s forgiveness for what he might have had of riya’. It might be that Allah will guide him to having sincerity in other actions of his.”
It was narrated that a man asked: “The people say that I am a righteous person, so how can I tell whether or not I am righteous?” So, it was said to him:
First, expose your secrets in front of the righteous. If they are pleased with you, then know that you are righteous. If they are not, then you are not righteous.
Second, offer the dunya to your heart. If it rejects it, then know that you are righteous.If it accepts it, then you are not.
Third: offer the possibility of death to your soul. If it longs for death,then know that you are righteous. If not, then you are not.
If these three characteristics are combined in you, then ask Allah to prevent any show-off from entering upon your actions so that they would not become ruined.
[From: Tanbih Al-Ghafileen, pg-01]


Hiding deeds

January 18, 2013 Leave a comment


Al-Hasan ‘al-Basrî said, speaking about the striving of the Salaf in hiding their deeds,

“A man would have gathered the Qur’ân (i.e. memorised it) whilst his neighbour would be unaware. Another man would have learnt a lot of Fiqh whilst the people would be unaware. A man would be praying lengthy prayer in his house, whilst he has guests, and they would not even realise. Indeed, I came across a people, there was not a single deed on the face of this earth which could be done in secret, that they ever done it in public!”
These Muslims would strive to supplicate to Allâh, and nothing could be heard from them except a low whisper between them and their Lord. That is because Allâh says,

“Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like
transgressors.” [Qur’ân – al-A`râf (7):55.]

Refer to az-Zuhd by Ibn ‘l-Mubârak (35-36).



Abû ‘al-`Âliyah said,

“I learned writing and the Qur’ân without my family noticing, and not a drop of ink was ever seen on my garment.”

Siyâr ‘l-A`lâm an-Nubalâ’ (6/17).



Dâwûd bin Abû Hind fasted 40 years whilst his family was unaware. He would take his lunch with him and give it away in charity, and would then return home for dinner and break his fast with them.

Hilyat ‘al-Awliyâ’ (3/94).



`Alî bin al-Bakkâr al-Basrî said,

“That I meet the Shaytân is more beloved to me than meeting so-and-so; I fear that I may do something for him (i.e. to impress him etc), and fall in the Sight of Allâh.”

Hilyat ‘al-Awliyâ’ (8/270).


Related Link: Hiding ones tears

Hiding ones tears

January 14, 2013 Leave a comment


Hammâd bin Zayd said,

“Ayyûb was such that a hadîth would be narrated to him, which would soften his heart and cause his eyes to shed tears. So when a tear would come to him, he would wipe his nose saying, ‘What a severe cold!’ He would show that he had a cold in order to hide his crying.

Musnad Ibn ‘l-Ja`d (1246), Siyâr ‘l-A`lâm an-Nubalâ’ (6/20).


Al-Hasan ‘l-Basrî said,

“A man would be sitting in a gathering, and tears would come to his eyes. He would try to hold them in, but if he felt that he would be unable to, he would stand and leave.”

Al-Zuhd by Imâm Ahmad (262).


Muhamamd bin Wâsi` said,

“A man would cry for 20 years, while his wife would not know.”

Hilyat ‘Al-Awliyâ’ (2/347).


And he ( Muhamamd bin Wâsi`) also said,

“I came across men; one of them, his head would be on the same pillow as his wife’s head; and what is under his cheek would become soaked with his tears, whilst his wife would be unaware. And I came across men; one of them would stand in the first row (in prayer), his tears would be flowing down his cheeks, and the person standing next to him would be unaware.”


“Charity in the darkness of the night extinguishes the Lords anger.”

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment


`Ali bin ‘l-Husayn and his charity during the night:

Ali bin ‘al-Husayn used to carry bread on his back in the darkness of the night and follow the poor people (to give it to them). He used to say, “Charity in the darkness of the night extinguishes the Lords anger.”

The poor people in Madînah used to live and would not know where they were getting their food from. When `Ali ibn Husayn passed away, they started missing what they used to be given at night. When he died, they found marks on his back from the sacks of provisions he used to carry at night to the houses of the widows and they found out that he used to provide for a hundred (poor) families.

This was the state of these people, they would hide their deeds, but Allâh made them apparent so that they become Imâms who are followed. Allâh says,
“…and make us an example for the righteous.”Qur’ân – al-Furqân (25):74.


“And We made them leaders guiding by Our command.” Qur’ân – al-Anbiyâ’ (21):73.


[ Siyâr ‘al-a`lâm an-Nubalâ’ by adh-Dhahabi. ]

“And was this showing off, O Sufyan?”

December 31, 2012 Leave a comment

One year, while Sufyan Ath-Thawri was performing pilgrimage in the company of Shaiban Ar-Ra’i, a lion appeared before their traveling party on the road they were traveling upon.
Sufyan said to Shaiban:

“Look how this lion is blocking the way and terrifying the people.”


“Do not fear,” Shaiban said.

When the lion heard Shaiban’s words, it moved its tail, as a dog might do when it is showing how obedient it is to its master. After he approached the lion, Shaiban rubbed its tail gently; it made another meek, subservient gesture with its body and tail, after which it hurried into the distance, leaving the traveling party alone.


“What is this showing off, O Shaiban?” Sufyan asked.

“And was this showing off, O Sufyan?” Shaiban answered.

“Had I wanted to show off and gain fame, I would have placed my provisions on its back for the journey, until we reached Makkah!” [1]


[1] Sifatus-Safwah 4/307 and Bahrud-Dumu’, page 131
[From the book ‘Glimpses of the lives of Righteous People’]

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