Our Prophet's
"And you are truly ˹a man˺ of outstanding character"
[Surah Al-Qalam 68:4]
Do not underestimate the sin of showing-off (boasting)
By: Shaikh Zafar Ul Hasan Al Madani
Satisfying Greed

Consider this: a person is fasting. To others, it looks like he is hungry and thirsty but secretly he is eating and drinking because he cannot control his desire to eat. Similarly, a man may appear modest and he might talk about modesty but in actuality he fulfils his lust via haram means. They are said to be overwhelmed by hidden desires.

Shaddad ibn Aws (May Allah be pleased with him) was the nephew of another notable companion Zaid ibn Thabit (May Allah be pleased with him). He used to give religious lessons. One day as he was giving lessons he suddenly started crying. The people present around him were surprised and asked him the reason. He said, “ While teaching you, I recalled a frightening Hadith which I have heard from the Prophet ﷺ with my own ears. He said, “I fear two causes of destruction of the Ummah after I depart, ‘Shirk’ and ‘Overwhelming Hidden Desires’. We asked him if the Ummah will indulge in human and stone worship. He said, “No, they will not worship the sun, the moon and the stars, yet they would commit shirk and this is done by showing off their deeds.”

Please Allah or Please People?

Abu Sa’eed Khudree (May Allah be pleased with him), a noted sahabi says, “One day we were sitting in a group and discussing about the advent of Dajjal and his fitnah. After sometime, the Prophet ﷺ passed by and noticed us. He joined us and said, ‘Should I not inform you about something about which I fear more than Dajjal regarding you?” We requested, “Yes, O messenger of Allah!” He said, “I fear the silent hidden shirk. You may want to do a good deed and notice that someone is watching you, so you beautify it.” (Ibn Majah)

Mehboob ibn Labeeb was only 6 years old when he heard the Prophet ﷺ saying, “Indeed my biggest fear about you getting trapped in a sin is the sin of ‘shirk e asghar”. We had heard the term first time so we asked him to elaborate. He explained it as the act of performing good deeds to impress others.

Abu Umama (May Allah be pleased with him) narrated that someone asked the Prophet ﷺ about a person who wants to go to Jihad but with two purposes. One is to Please Allah and the other is to be called a brave warrior. Can he achieve both? He replied, “He will not get the pleasure of Allah.” The companion asked again, if the person with two such intentions can get at least  some reward as he does have the intention to please Allah. The Prophet ﷺ replied, “ Reward is only for deeds done exclusively for Allah.”

Therefore, a disbeliever will be deprived of the reward for his good deeds because he lacked Emaan, while a Believer will be deprived of the reward for his good deeds because he lacked sincerity.

Lack of sincerity is punishable

Surah Ma’oon is a very short surah but it has a deep meaning.

  1. Well, you see him who belies the Day of Judgement.
  2. Then he is the one who drives away the Orphan.
  3. And does not urge the feeding of the poor.
  4. Then woe to those prayer performers.
  5. Who are heedless of their prayers.
  6. Those who make a Show of it.
  7. And refuse to give articles of use.

In the above surah, there are four signs of a person who calls himself a Muslim yet deserves hell fire. Hating of orphans, not sharing food with the needy nor  asking others to share. Verses no.4, 5 and 6 say that people who show-off their prayers are cursed to be punished in ‘wail’ which is a unit in the deepest part of hell fire. This is referring to those who are praying! It refers to Muslims! The last verse says they refuse to give (lend) articles of use, referring to petty things of daily usage. Such attitude can lead to kufr.

Sincerity is a must

Allah is as-Samad, which means not depended upon anyone. He Manages and Controls the entire universe alone on His own. He says, “ You will never find a partner for me. If a person does a good deed for two partners, even then it will reach the other partner and not me. Because I am Generous and I will give away my share to the other partner whom you try to please.”