In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
Imam Fudayl Ibn Iyaadh [may Allah 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 Allah [The Mighty and Majestic]?” (1)
Imaam Ibraaheem An-Nakha’ee [may Allah 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)
Al-A’mash [may Allah have mercy upon him] said, “We tried very hard to get Ibraaheem An-Nakha’ee [may Allah have mercy upon him] to sit at a place where people can listen to him and we wanted him to do so, but he refused”. (3)
Imaam Maalik [may Allaah have mercy upon him] said, “I used to come to Naafi [may Allaah have mercy upon him] the freed slave of Ibn Umar [may Allaah be pleased with him and his father], whilst I was a young boy, so he would come down and talk to me, and he would sit in the mosque after the morning prayer, hardly anyone would come to him. When the sun rose, he would go out, and he used to wear a cloak and not speak to anyone. I used to see him after the morning wrapped in a black cloak. (4)
Ibraaheem An-Nakha’ee [may Allah have mercy upon him] used to say, “I spoke in affairs of knowledge, and if I found someone else to do so, I would not speak”. (5)
Imam Al-Marwazi [may Allah have mercy upon him] said, “When Imam Ahmad [may Allah have mercy upon him] sat to give Fatwa after Asr, he would not speak until he is asked”. (6)
Al-Allaamah Rabee Bin Haadi Al-Mad’khali [may Allah preserve him] said, “By Allah, one must strive (to attain) sincerity. Being overtaken by one’s soul, which results in lack of sincerity to Allah, was the hardest thing that many scholars used to describe with grief. Your soul can overcome and divert you because you desire some fame and praise. One should exert himself, strive and bear hardship to direct this soul to the truth- towards sincerity to Allah. “Verily, deeds are based on intention and every person will have what he intended.” So, whoever desires worldly gain through his knowledge or acts of worship, just as the one who migrated (from a land of kufr to a land of Islam) only to marry a woman and desires wealth, then he obtains nothing from his migration, except for that which he migrated. The thing desired is known to you, so you miss Allah’s reward”. (7)
Allah’s Messenger [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “Allah loves a slave who is pious, self-sufficient and unnoticed.” [Saheeh Muslim 2965]
Taqiy- Pious: Fears Allah [The Mighty and Majestic], so he fulfils Allah’s commands and keeps away from what Allah has prohibited. Fulfils Allah’s commands, such as performing of the prayer and performs it in congregation in the Masjid, paying the zakat and giving it to the one entitled to it, fasts the month of Ramadhaan, treating orphans with kindness and other types of acts of piety, righteousness and means to do 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 and 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 Allah 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; but if it is the case that he must make himself apparent, then he has to make himself apparent. This is beloved to Allah [The Mighty and Majestic]. (8)
Footnotes: (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 initial 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 (The year 2001)]
(II) Lowering Oneself: Imam Ibn Hibbaan [may Allah 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 when one abandons insolence and mockery. Blameworthy humility is when a person humbles himself in the presence of one who possesses the things of the worldly life and desires 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 Allah 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 Allah for steadfastness and well-being”. [ المقالات الشرعية– pages: 23-24]
[Ref 1: Hilyatul Awliyaa 8/89]
[Ref 2: Taareekh Dimashq 18/33]
[Ref 3: Siyar 4/529]
[Ref 4: Siyar 5/98]
[Ref 5: Hilyatul Awliyaa 4/223]
[Ref 6: Siyar 11/218]
[Ref 7: Marhaban Yaa Taalibal Ilm’ page 122. abridged & slightly paraphrased
[Ref 8: Explanation of Riyaadus Saaliheen. Chapter 69. Vol 3. Page 509. Publisher: Al-Maktabah Al-Arabiyyah As-Su’oodiyyah Edition 1425AH. slightly paraphrased]