بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
الحمد لله و الصلاة و السلام على رسول الله و بعد
Obligation of Sincerity to Allah – The Destructive Nature of Showing-off
Showing-off is considered to be from the “concealed shirk”; since the scholars of this nation have explained the two-fold nature of shirk as being “apparent shirk” (such as in open and apparent actions of worshipping idols, tombs, shrines, trees, stones with regards to slaughtering for them or seeking aid or directing supplication to them and other than that), and “concealed shirk” (shirk within the intention of a person, that which resides in his heart and it is concealed from the people and known to Allah alone).
The word “riyaa” (showing-off) in Arabic is derived from the root word indicating vision or sight, and that is due to the one engaging in it intends that the people see him performing his action, or hear of his actions, in order to obtain their praise or other than that.
Showing-off is from the actions of the hypocrites, Allah stated:
“إن المنافقين يخادعون الله و هو خادعهم و إذا قاموا إلى الصلاة قاموا كسالى يراءون الناس و لا يذكرون الله إلا قليلا”
And Allah has warned those who intend to show-off with their actions,
“فويل للمصلين – الذين هم عن صلاتهم ساهون – الذين هم يراءون”
And it has been mentioned in a hadith that Allah will say on the Day of Judgement to those who would show-off with their actions, “Go to those whom you would show-off in front of in the world, do you find any reward from them?”
It is therefore incumbent upon the individual to purify his intention for Allah, not that he desires the praise of the people upon his actions or speech, and nor does he desire any worldly gains or benefits.
And as it is well established in the hadith, “إنما الأعمال بالنيات” Indeed actions are in accordance to the intentions.
We ask Allah to grant us sincerity in all our actions and to distance us from corrupt intentions.
[Summarized from Shaikh Saleh al-Fawzaan’s explanation of Kitab-at-Tawhid]