In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy
Shaikh Rabee Bin Haadi [may Allaah preserve him] said:
It is reported in a hadeeth that the first to be thrown into the hell fire are three [types] of people:
The first person: A man who died as a martyr; so, he will be brought forward and Allaah will remind him of the favours bestowed upon him and he will acknowledge them. Then Allaah will ask him, ‘’What did you do with that?’’ The man will say, ‘’I fought for Your Cause till I was martyred.’’ Allaah will say, ‘’You have lied. You fought so that people might call you courageous and it has been said”. Then the command will be given about him and he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell.”
[So], the people used to praise him and said, “He is a Mujaahid, a hero, a brave person etc…” They gave him these titles; but did it benefit him? Nay! By Allaah, indeed he brought destruction upon himself due to his desire for these praises which can neither bring [him anything good] nor avail [him] against anything. By Allaah, if all the people of the Dunyaa praised you for being brave and fearless, whilst you did not desire Allaah’s Countenance, then neither will it benefit you in anything nor protect you from the anger of Allaah, nor His painful punishment. What is the reason behind this [person’s evil end]? He performed Jihaad, risked his life and spent his wealth till he was killed, however this was his destination [i.e. the fire of hell]; what led him to this destruction? He was not sincere to Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted].
وَمَآ أُمِرُوٓاْ إِلَّا لِيَعۡبُدُواْ ٱللَّهَ مُخۡلِصِينَ لَهُ ٱلدِّينَ
And they were commanded not, but that they should worship Allah, and worship none but Him Alone (abstaining from ascribing partners to Him. [Surah Al-Bayyinah’ Aayah 5]
The second person: He acquired knowledge and taught [others], so he will be brought forward and Allaah will remind him of the favours bestowed upon him and he will acknowledge them. Then Allaah will ask him, ‘’What did you do with that?’’ He will say, ‘’I acquired knowledge and taught it, and I read the Qur’an for Your sake.’’ Allaah will say to him, ‘’`You have lied; rather you recited the Qur’aan so that it is said, ‘He is a reciter’ and you acquired knowledge so that it is said, ‘He is a scholar.’ Take him to the hell fire; then he will be dragged on his face and thrown into Hell.”
Allaah’s refuge is sought! What destroyed him? It was Riyaa and lack of sincerity to Allaah [The Lord of the Aalameen]. O youth! Be mindful of shaytaan who is next to you. Seek Allaah’s protection against his destructive evil whispers. [Allaah (The Most High) said]: [وَإِمَّا يَنزَغَنَّكَ مِنَ ٱلشَّيۡطَـٰنِ نَزۡغٌ۬ فَٱسۡتَعِذۡ بِٱللَّهِۖ إِنَّهُ ۥ هُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ – And if an evil whisper from Shaitan (Satan) tries to turn you away (O Muhammad) (from doing good, etc.), then seek refuge in Allah. Verily, He is the All-Hearer, the All-Knower]. [Surah Fussilat’ Aayah 36]
If you sense that your soul is inclined towards showing off to the people and bragging about knowledge, then turn to Allaah, lower and humble yourself in His presence, ask Him to grant you sincerity and to save you from shaytaan – to save you from his whispers and plots. One of the scholars said, “Indeed, it is extremely difficult [upon a person] whose enemy can see him, but he cannot see him.” He [i.e. this scholar] said this when he explained the statement of Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted] about shaytaan and his armies:
[إِنَّهُ ۥ يَرَٮٰكُمۡ هُوَ وَقَبِيلُهُ ۥ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا تَرَوۡنَہُمۡۗ – Verily, he and (his soldiers from the jinns or his tribe) see you from where you cannot see them. [Surah Al-A’raaf’ Aayah 27]
He [i.e. that scholar] said, ‘’By Allaah! Indeed, it’s a bitter feud and extreme difficulty [for the one] whose enemy can see him, but he cannot see him, except for the one whom Allaah safeguards’’- meaning: This enemy is more dangerous than the army you can see that has troops and strength. This hidden enemy – whom you cannot see – is extreme difficulty and will destroy you whilst you are unaware and unable to see him. We ask Allaah for well-being.
The third person: A generous person who spent his wealth openly in good; so, he will be brought forward and Allaah will remind him of the favours bestowed upon him and he will acknowledge them. Allaah will ask him, ‘’What did you with that?’’ He will say, ‘’I did not neglect any of the paths You liked wealth to be spent, except that I spent in that path.’’ Allaah will say to him, ‘’You have lied; rather you did so that people might call you generous and it has been said’’. Then the command will be given, and he will be dragged and thrown into Hell.”
If you spent an amount of gold that fills the Dunyah – spent openly in the paths of Jihaad [ref 1], building mosques, and in this and that [path], but you did not desire Allaah’s Countenance, then indeed Allaah knows the hidden evil of it [i.e. lack of sincerity]. This wealth you have spent will never benefit you nor will it avail you against anything; rather it will be a source of evil upon you, and Allaah’s refuge is sought.
I emphasised this affair because it is a dangerous affair. Therefore, evoke the greatness of Allaah [in your heart]. O Miskeen! know that- by Allaah – if you gathered the knowledge of the early and later generations, your knowledge will not be equal to a driblet [of knowledge] compared to the knowledge of Allaah [The Blessed and Exalted]. Therefore, lower yourself in the presence of Allaah’s Greatness, humble yourself to Allaah and know that over all those endowed with knowledge is the All-Knowing [Allaah].
Source: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 55-57. Abridged & slightly paraphrased