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Kitaab At-Tawheed, Chapter: 34

What Has Been Said About Ar-Riyaa`

Allah (swt ), says:

" Say: "I am but a man like you, [but] it has been revealed to me that your God is One God: So whoever desires to meet his Lord, let him do righteous deeds and let him not associate any partners with his Lord in his worship" (Qur'an 18:11)

In this verse, Allah (swt ) commands His Prophet, Muhammad (saas ) to tell the people the plain truth about himself: That he is a mere mortal, like them, without any Divine Attributes or angelic characteristics, but that Allah has distinguished him from them by inspiring him with Revelation; and from that Revelation is the Command to worship Allah (swt ), Alone, without ascribing partners to him, and that whoever feared the meeting with his Rabb on the Day of Resurrection, and hoped for His reward, he should make his deeds purely and solely for Allah (swt ),and they should be in conformity with that which the Prophet (saas ) taught.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. Confirmation of the Messengership of Muhammad (saas ) and the denial of his possessing any Divine Attributes or angelic characteristics.

2. In this verse is proof of the shahadataan (i.e. None is worthy of worship but Allah (swt ) and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah (saas ).

3. That the tawheed which our Prophet, Muhammad (saas ) brought is that of worship, for even the disbeliever in Islam accepts the truth of tawheed of Rabbship.

4. That the acceptance of deeds is conditional upon their being performed purely and solely for Allah (swt ), without Shirk - and riyaa` is a kind of Shirk.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Hadith proves the invalidity of deeds which contain elements of Shirk - and riyaa` is a form of Shirk.

The Meaning of Ar-Riyaa`

Riyaa` is defined as the performance of a deed with the intention of pleasing other than Allah (swt ). The difference between riyaa` and sum'ah (sometimes confused in the minds of some), is that while riyaa` is done in order to show off in front of people (such as ostentatiously giving charity or praying), the latter involves the performance of good deeds in order to be heard (such as mentioning Allah (swt ) or reciting the Qur'an in a loud voice etc.) - both with the same intention: To favourably impress people.

..ooOOoo..

Muslim reports, on the authority of Abu Hurairah (ra ) in a marfoo' form, the following Qudsi narration: "I am Independent of all the partners (ascribed to me). Whoever performs a deed while associating partners with Me, I will leave him and his Shirk."

Allah (swt ), Most High informs us in this Qudsi narration that He is Free and Independent of all those false partners which are associated with Him; and therefore, He does not accept any deed which includes Shirk and riyaa` is a form of Shirk, because it contradicts the belief that Allah (swt ) is Independent and is not befitting His Nobility: In this is the clearest warning to all those who allow themselves to be seduced (by the devil) into performing actions with the intention of impressing people, rather than with the sole intention of pleasing Allah (swt ), so that when they come forth on the Day of Resurrection, they will find no good deeds credited to them; instead they will find Allah (swt ) and His Reckoning - and Allah (swt ) is Swift in Reckoning!

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. Confirmation of Allah's Divine Attribute of Complete Independence from all partners.

2. That Allah (swt ) does not accept deeds except those which are performed purely and solely for His sake.

3. The invalidity of riyaa` in deeds.

4. Confirmatiuon of Allah's Divine Attribute of Speech, in a manner befitting His Majesty.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That it proves the invalidity of deeds which contain Shirk - and riyaa` is a form of Shirk.

Important Note

(a) When the intention behind a deed is other than Allah's Pleasure, then the deed is in vain.

(b) When the intention behind a deed is to please Allah (swt ), but after making this intention a person was guilty of riyaa`, but he then rejected this, his deed would be acceptable; but if he continued to be guilty of riyaa` until he had completed the deed, then according to some scholars, his deed would be in vain, while others said that his deed would still be accepted because of his original intention and this is the most correct saying - and Allah (swt ) knows best.

..ooOOoo..

On the authority of Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri (ra ), in a marfoo' form, it is reported: "Shall I not tell you what I fear for you more than Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjaal?" 1 They replied: "Yes." He (saas ) said:

"It is hidden Shirk such as when a person stands in prayer and he improves his prayer when he knows that others are watching." (Narrated by Imam Ahmad)

Allah's Messenger (saas ) informs us in this Hadith that he worries for his Ummah and fears for them Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjaal, but that more than this, he fears for them hidden Shirk, which is riyaa`; this is because the danger of Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjaal is confined to a specific time, while the danger of riyaa` is present at all times and in all places and because riyaa` is hidden and its power of seduction is great 2 and it is difficult to free oneself from its grip. In addition, it leads to showy, ostentatious behaviour, self-glorification, self-promotion, all of which appeal to the weaknesses in man.

Benefits Derived From This Hadith

1. That asking questions is an Islamic style of teaching.

2. The care and compasssion of the Prophet (saas ) for his Ummah.

3. The great danger of riyaa`, which lies in its being hidden, its strength of appeal to most people and the difficulty of abstaining from it.

4. Evidence of the danger of Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjaal to this Ummah.

Relevance of This Hadith to the Subject of the Chapter and to the Subject of Tawheed

That the Prophet (saas ) feared more than anything else for this Ummah, that they would be seduced by ar-riyaa`; therefore it is incumbent upon us to be very careful, do our utmost to abstain from it and warn others of it.

Footnotes

1. Al-Maseeh Ad-Dajjaal: The false Messiah, who will deceive many people by performing apparent miracles, such as giving life to the dead. There are many authentic Ahadith concerning him.
2. It is a common human weakness to enjoy being praised and hearing good about oneself.

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