Riya is a heart disease. Riya or showing off is to doing things that are pleasing to Allah with the intention of seeking admiration from others. It makes us focus on earning appreciation from people rather than seeking Allah’s favor and acceptance. Riya gives our actions short term rewards from people while we should concentrate on long term rewards from Allah.
What makes Riya extremely hard to notice is that it’s an something in the heart. We can’t just say with our tongues that our actions don’t have Riya and it’s for Allah’s sake. It’s really what lays deep in our hearts that’s true.
Shaytan knows how easy it is to fill our hearts with self-importance. And awakens in us the desire for a good name and reputation, making our deeds wasted, by distancing us from Allah. With an act of Riya the good deeds are simply not accepted.
Riya is also known as the “Minor Shirk/ Al-Shirk Al-Asghar”. For we think of other reasons and people – raher than seeking Allah’s favor and acceptance – when doing an action. Sometimes we mix our intentions we do something for the sake of Allah and for the sake of people’s admiration.
“Like those who spend from their wealth to be seen by men, and they do not believe in Allah and the Last Day. Their example is like the example of a hard rock on which is a little soil, then on it falls heavy rain which flows off it and they will not be able to do anything with whatever they have earned and Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.” [Surah Al-Baqara 264]
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, what I fear most for you is the lesser idolatry (Minor Shirk).” They said, “What is the lesser idolatry, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “It is showing off. On the Day of Resurrection, while people are being rewarded for their deeds, Allah the Exalted will say to them : Go to those whom you wished would see you in the world and look, do you find any reward with them?”
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, also said, “Shall I not tell you about what I fear for you more than the presence of the False Messiah?” We said, “Of course!” He said, “Hidden idolatry; that a man stands for prayer and beautifies his prayer because he sees another man looking at him.”
Feeling happy after accomplishing a good deed is not consider Riya, it is a sign of faith. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever feels happy because of his good deeds and sad because of his bad deeds, that is the believer.”
The purpose of a Muslim’s life is to do good deeds actions totally for Allah’s favor and acceptance. Without any desire for worldly gain, praise or fame. So we can memorize a Dua to help us stay away from Ryia “minor shirk”. The Prophet (SAWS) said: “O people, beware of this shirk, for it is more subtle than the footsteps of an ant.” When a person asked, “How can we beware of it when it is more subtle than the footsteps of an ant, O Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Say: Allaahumma innee a’oodhu bika min an ushrika bika shai’aun wa ana a’lamu wa astaghfiruka limaa laa a’alamu”
How to treat Ryia?
- Determine you intension when doing an action before you do it
- Have the right intension that gets you closer to Allah
- While doing the action, renew your intension every now and then
- Remember while doing the action that you are doing that for the sake of Allah
- Don’t focus on people, just focus on treating Allah in every action that you do. Even if this action was treating your husband/wife and children.
- See Allah only in every action that you do and don’t see what people will say
- Always search in your heart for ryia. If you find anything that may lead to Riya. Treat it as it creeps in the heart as the creeping on an ant.
- Say: Allaahumma innee a’oodhu bika min an ushrika bika shai’aun wa ana a’lamu wa astaghfiruka limaa laa a’alamu. (O Allah, we seek refuge with You from knowingly associating anything with You, and we seek Your forgiveness for that which we do unknowingly.)