Ikhlaas and Riyaa
Ikhlaas and Riyaa`
These are some narrations brought by the Shaykh `Abdul-Malik ar-Ramadaanee (hafidhahullaah) in his excellent book “Sittu Durar”:
It has been stated in definition of Ikhlaas,
“Ikhlaas is when the servants internal and external actions are the same (i.e. are in agreement with each other). And Riyaa is when the external actions are better than the internal actions (of the heart). And truthfulness in one’s sincerity is when the internal is better (developed) than the external.
(Refer to Madaarij us-Saalikeen for this definition 2/91).
Bilaal bin Sa’d (rahimahullaah) said,
“Do not be a wali (friend) of Allaah outwardly, yet an enemy to him internally” (Ahmad in az-Zuhd, Abu Nu’aym in al-Hilyah).
It has been stated,
“Ikhlaas is that you do not request anyone to witness your action except Allaah, and that you do not seek anyone to reward you (for it) except Him”.
Salamah bin Dinar said,
“Hide your good deeds (from the people) just like you hide your evil deeds”. (Abu Nu’aym, Bayhaqee)
And in a narration in al-Bayhaqee,
“Hide your good deed like you hide your evil deed, and do not be amazed with your own action, for you do not know whether you are happy or wretched (in the Hereafter)”
It has been stated in definition of Ikhlaas,
“It is to single out Allaah, free from all imperfection, in one’s intention (qasd) in one’s obedience (to Him).”
Hammaad bin Zaid said,
“I used to walk with Ayyoob (as-Sakhtiyanee) and he would take me through different routes. I would be surprised at how he would guide himself through them, fleeing from (being seen by) the people who might say, “This is Ayyoob”.”
He also said, “Ayyoob used to take me via a route that was the longest and I would say “But this one is closer”, He would reply, “I fear from (passing by these) gatherings”. When he would pass by them and give salutations, they would reply to him with more than what he had greeted them, compared to others. So he would say, “O Allaah, you know that I did not desire this! O Allaah, you know that I did not desire this.” (Ibn Sa’d, al-Fasawee)
Abu Zur’ah bin Abi Amr said,
“ad-Dahhak bin Qays came out and made the prayer for rain with the people, but they were not granted rain, and nor did they see any clouds come. ad-Dahhaak said, “Where is Yazeed bin al-Aswad?” (And in a narration, “But nobody answered him!”. He then said again, “Where is Yazeed bin al-Aswad al-Jurashee?” And I was resolute about him that if he was to hear my words he would get up.) Then he said, “Here I am”. So he (ad-Dahhaak) said,”Stand and intercede with Allaah Azza wa Jall on our behalf, that he should grant us rain”. So he stood up, made his face point in the direction of his feet, and made his head sink into his shoulders (out of humility). He then said, “O Allaah, these servants of yours sought intercession through me from you. So he had not called upon Allaah, three times, except that the people were granted rain in such abundance that they almost drowned on account of it. Then Yazeed said, “O Allah, this one made a show of me (i.e. ad-Dahhaak, by asking him and calling him out), so grant me freedom from this (fame).” Then he did not live except for the next Jumuah and then he passed away.
In his book, al-Qawlus-Sadeed fee Maqaasid-it-Tawheed Sharhu Kitaab-ut-Tawheed ( ) (which is an Explanation of the Book of the Imaam Muhammad ibn AbdulWahhaab rahimahullaah, Kitaab-ut-Tawheed ), the ‘Allaamah, ‘Abd-ur-Rahmaan ibn Naasir as-Sa’dee rahimahullaah mentions in the commentary of the Chapter 36: “What is said about Riyaa’ (showing off)” and Chapter 37: “Intending deeds in the world for the sake of humans is a type of Shirk”:
Know that sincerity for Allaah is the foundation of the Religion and the essence of Tawheed and worship. It is when the worshipper intends all of his deeds for the Face of Allaah, for His rewards, and His favours. So he maintains the six foundations of faith, the five signs of Islaam, and the fulfillment of faith – ihsan – as well as the rights of Allaah and the rights of His worshippers. In this way his intention is perfected for the Face of Allaah and for the abode of the Hereafter. He does not intend by this to be seen, nor to be heard of, nor does he do it for position, or for worldly matters. By this he will have completed his faith and tawheeed.
Among the worst behaviours that diminish sincerity is to perform deeds just to be seen by people, for their praise, or to honour them, or doing deeds for the sake of worldly matters. This degrades sincerity and tawheed.
There are some details about Riyaa’:
If a worshipper does a deed with the goal of having people see it, and he remains with this evil intention, then his deed is disgraced, and he commits minor shirk, and he runs the risk of it leading him to major shirk.
If the worshipper does a deed intending the Face of Allaah AND with that, he is also intending it for the sight of people – if he does not remove the riyaa’ from his deed, then the texts are clear that this deed is also false.
When the worshipper does a deed for the Face of Allaah alone but riyaa’ surfaces for an instant during the deed, if he wards it off and purifies his sincerity for Allaah, then there is no harm in that deed. But if he settles for that – becoming tranquil with it – then the value of the deed diminishes, resulting in a weakening of his faith in proportion to the amount of riya’ that survived in his heart. Still, the deed remains for Allaah, but whatever portion of it he mixed up and was confused about is riyaa’.
Riyaa is a dangerous disease which requires the soul to hasten to disciplining itself in sincerity, to wage war in defence against the destruction caused for riyaa’, to oppose its assault, seeking Allaah’s help to defend against it, so that perhaps Allaah will purify the worshipper’s faith and complete his tawheed.
source: Understanding the Reality of Ikhlaas and Riyaa’