In The Name of Allaah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imaam Fudayl Ibn Iyaadh [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “If you are able not to be known, then do so. Is there anything against you if you are unknown? Is there anything against you if you are not praised? Is there anything against you if you are considered blameworthy in the sight of the people but praiseworthy in the sight of Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic]?” (1)
Imaam Ibraaheem An-Nakha’ee [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “It is enough a trial that a person is pointed out due to his religious or worldly affairs, except the one whom Allaah protects”. (2)
Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “There are many cases in which the souls are mixed with Ash-Shahawaat Al-Khafiyyah [i.e. desires that are concealed, subtle etc] that corrupts its fulfilment of (perfect) love of Allaah, servitude to Him and establishment of the religion sincerely for the sake of Allaah, just as Shaddaad Ibn Aws [may Allaah be pleased with him] said, ‘O Arabs! Indeed, the affair I fear for you the most is Riyaa [showoff] and Shahwa Al-Khafiyyah’. It was said to Abu Daawud As-Sijistaani, ‘What is Ash-Shahwa Al-Khafiyyah?’ He said, ‘Love of leadership'”. (3)
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee Al-Mad’khali [may Allaah preserve him] said, “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”. (3.1)
Allaah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him] said, “Allah loves a slave who is pious, self-sufficient and unnoticed.” [Saheeh Muslim 2965]
Taqiy- Pious: Fears Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic], so he fulfils Allaah’s commands and keeps away from what Allaah has prohibited. Fulfils Allaah’s commands, such as performance of the prayer and performs it in congregation in the Masjid, pays the zakaat and gives it to the one entitled to it, fasts the month of Ramadhaan, treats orphans with kindness and other types of acts of piety, righteousness and means to doing good.
Ghaniy- self-sufficient: Has no need of the people and suffices himself with Allaah. He does not ask the people anything (I) and does not lower himself to the people (i.e due to being in need of them) (II); rather he is not in need of the people. He knows himself, suffices himself with his Lord and does not pay attention to other than his Lord.
Khafiy- hidden or unnoticed: He does not make himself manifest and does not give importance to manifesting himself amongst the people, to be pointed out or for people to speak about him. You find him between his house and his (local) Masjid vice versa; from his house to his relatives and his brothers, whilst being unnoticed, and makes himself unnoticed. However, this does not mean that if Allaah grants a person knowledge, he confines himself in his house and does not teach the people. This is in opposition to piety (because) teaching the people is better for him than being confined in his house and does not benefit the people with his knowledge, (III) or he sits in his house and does not benefit the people with his wealth; rather if the affair is between being conspicuous- to manifest himself or make himself visible, and between hiding himself (i.e. without a need to make himself manifest), then he chooses to hide himself; but if it is the case that he must make himself apparent, then he has to make himself apparent. This is beloved to Allaah [The Mighty and Majestic]. (4)
(I) Asking the people: Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadee [may Allaah preserve him] quoted Shaikhul Islaam Ibn Taymiyyah [may Allaah have mercy upon him] who stated, “The initiate affair with regards to asking the creation is that it is forbidden to do so, but it is permissible in when there is a necessity, but it is better to abandon doing so out of reliance on Allaah. [See Qaa’idah Jaleelah Fee at-tawassul Wal-Waseelah. page 7. Publisher Maktabah al-Furqan. 1st Edition 1422 (Year 2001)]
(II) Lowering Oneself: Imaam Ibn Hibbaan [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “It is obligated on a sensible person that he adheres to humility and avoids pride. Humility is of two types- the first one is praiseworthy and the other is blameworthy. Praiseworthy humility is that one abandons insolence and mockery. Blameworthy humility is that a person humbles himself in the presence of one who possesses the things of the worldly life and desiring what such a person possesses. Therefore, a sensible person maintains his abandonment of blameworthy humility in all circumstances and he does not depart from praiseworthy humility. [An Excerpt from Rawdatul Uqalaa page 58]
(III) The Scholars are three types: Shaikh Abdullah Al-Bukhaari [may Allaah preserve him] stated, Shaikh Abdullah Al-Bukhaaree [may Allaah preserve him] stated, “Ibn Abee Shaybah [may allaah have mercy upon him] reported in Al-Musannaf and Abu Nu-aym [may Allaah have mercy upon him] in Al-Hilya [5/12] with an authentic chain from Abu Muslim Al-Khawlaani [may Allaah have mercy upon him], who said, ‘The scholars are three types- a man who lives with his knowledge and the people live with it alongside him; a man who lives with his knowledge and none else lives with it alongside him, and as for the third man, the people live with his knowledge and it destroys him’. The intent behind this speech: Indeed the first (man) knows, acts and teaches. As for the second, he knows and acts, but does not teach. As for the third, he knows and teaches, but does not act! We ask Allaah for steadfastness and well-being”. [Ref 1: المقالات الشرعية– pages: 23-24]
Loner, Hermit, Introvert, Extrovert! [Strive to Follow The Salaf, Regardless of Opinions Held By Others About You In Relation to These Descriptions]
Ref 1: Hilyatul Awliyaa 8/89
Ref 2: Taareekh Dimashq 18/33
[Ref 3: Majmoo Al-Fataawaa 10 /214-215]
[Ref 3.1: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ pages 55-57. slightly paraphrased]
[Ref 4: Explanation of Riyaadus Saaliheen. Chapter 69. Vol 3. Page 509. Publisher: Al-Maktabah Al-Arabiyyah As-Su’oodiyyah Edition 1425AH. slightly paraphrased]