Dont ruin your Ramadan with Riya

It is not surprising how easy it is for Riya to creep up on us in our worship when it is human nature to want to be accepted, and for others to be pleased with us. Which is why it is so much more important to be on guard against Riya – showing off. This is especially important in Ramadan, when we beautify the Quran with our voices as the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has instructed us to do so. This article is for the Imams and the Students of Knowledge specifically, and everybody else generally, as we live in a time of showing the world all our good deeds through Instagram posts.

Who is the first person to receive justice on the Day of Judgement? You will be surprised but there are three types of people, all of whom were given special blessings; knowledge, wealth and courage. When asked how they utilised it, they each claimed they did actions of worship for Allah. Let’s have a look at the hadith to see if they were sincere or if it was a lie:

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,

“Verily, the first people to be judged on the Day of Resurrection will be a man who was martyred. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I fought in your cause until I was martyred. Allah will say: You have lied, for you fought only that it would be said you were brave, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire. Another man studied religious knowledge, taught others, and recited the Quran. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I learned religious knowledge, taught others, and I recited the Quran for your sake. Allah will say: You have lied, for you studied only that it would be said you are a scholar and you recited the Quran only that it would be said you are a reciter, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire. Another man was given an abundance of blessings from Allah and every kind of wealth. He will be brought, the blessings of Allah will be made known and he will acknowledge them. Allah will say: What did you do about them? The man will say: I did not leave any good cause beloved to you but that I spent on it for your sake. Allah will say: You have lied, for you spent only that it would be said you are generous, and thus it was said. Then, Allah will order him to be dragged upon his face until he is cast into Hellfire.”

Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim 1905

The person of knowledge and Reciter of the Quran is familiar to us in this month of Ramadan. It is you and me. The Imam in the masjid leading the Qiyam. These are all significant and great acts of worship and if Riya comes into it, it is ruined and lost. Do you really want to be dragged on your face and cast into the fire?!

Warning! How quicker is the way to destroy your intention! Seeking knowledge, reciting and teaching the blessed book of Allah is the best type of worship.

The Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Whoever acquires knowledge by which the pleasure of Allah is sought, but he only acquires it for the purpose of worldly gain, will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection.” This is a warning heeding you against ruining your worship with Riya. 

What can you do to avoid Riya? There are several steps you can take to safeguard yourself and your actions from being destroyed and losing the reward:

  1. Have Taqwa of Allah at all times and be sincere.
  2. When you slip up, be quick to get up. This means when you sin don’t delay correcting it – repent sincerely.
  3. As a companion of the Quran and a Student of Knowledge, who attains more reward than the average person, it is incumbent to be more reserved and conservative than others are required to be.

Lastly, say to those who seek knowledge without aiming to act on it, who seek the Dunya with actions of the hereafter, you do not cheat anyone but yourself and in the end only you lose.

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قُلْ إِنَّمَآ أَنَا۠ بَشَرٌۭ مِّثْلُكُمْ يُوحَىٰٓ إِلَىَّ أَنَّمَآ إِلَـٰهُكُمْ إِلَـٰهٌۭ وَٰحِدٌۭ ۖ فَمَن كَانَ يَرْجُوا۟ لِقَآءَ رَبِّهِۦ فَلْيَعْمَلْ عَمَلًۭا

صَـٰلِحًۭا وَلَا يُشْرِكْ بِعِبَادَةِ رَبِّهِۦٓ أَحَدًۢا

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“So, whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.

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