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بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَـنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Ways To Show Off
A collection of twenty Action that leads to Showing Off of one's Good deeds.

From the Book 20 ways to show off

1. Publicizing one’s good deeds:
Some people go around intentionally talking about the things they have done, boasting about their virtues.They cannot sit with others without saying: “I did this and I did that… I spent so much in charity.” Sometimes they can be a bit more subtle, saying things like: “Actually, I cannot stay up in prayer at night more than two hours…” or: “Unfortunately, I cannot cope with fasting every day, so I must suffice with fasting on Mondays and Thursdays…” In this way, they want to show others just how much they are praying and fasting.
They only publicize their good works and make sure to perform them in front of others in order to earn the people’s praise. This is why it is preferable for most acts of worship to be done in private. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “O people! Pray in your homes, for truly the best prayers are those that a person prays at home, with the exception of the prescribed prayers.”
(Sahh al -Bukhr 731).

2. Making false claims:
There is a type of person who likes to boast about things he never did. He may claim that he struggled for Islam with patience and forbearance. He may eve n claim to have suffered persecution and hardships in the path of Allah. If he meets someone who does not know about his past, he goes on to tell him: “I used to do this and I used to say that…”, speaking about a past more embroidered than true.
This person goes on like this in front of others in order to earn a reputation for himself.
This behavior is worse than the one we have just gotten through discussing, since it combines between two evils: showing off and lying. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “A person who claims to be given things he has never been given is a double liar.”
{Sahh al -Bukhr (5219). Sahh Muslim (2130).}

3. Becoming a show-off after having been sincere:
A person begins doing something for the sake of Allah alone, like offering prayer, spending in charity, or glorifying Allah in an audible voice. Then he realizes that people can see him. This makes him do even more. He prays a little longer, spends a little more, or glorifies Allah with even greater eloquence. When a person finds himself in this situation, he should fight against the urge to show off. He should say what the Prophet (peace be upon him) taught Ab Bakr to say to ward it off: “O Allah! I seek refuge with you from associating partners with you knowingly and I seek your forgiveness for what I do unknowingly.”
{Al-Bukhr, Adab al-Mufrid (716). Al-Hakm al-Tirmidh, Nawdir al-`Usl (4/142).}

4. Abandoning deeds because of the people:
Al-Fudayl b. `Iyd had harsh words for those who abandoned performing good works because of the people. He said: “Abandoning deeds because of the people is showing off.
Performing deed for their sake is polytheism. Sincerity is where Allah protects you from both.”
Some people go to the mosque. Then when they get there and see the people there, they become afraid of showing off. They start to come to the mosque late because of this and might sometimes miss the prayer altogether. This becomes their habit. Coming to the mosque early becomes one of the most difficult things for them to do.
Some people who read or memorize the Qur’n, when they see that others are listening to them, become afraid of showing off. They stop reading the Qur’n. This is tragic, especially when the people who do so are among those who have memorized the Qur’n or who teach it to others.

5. Making worship noticeable in a subtle way:
A person might conceal his worship, or at least seem to be doing so, while making sure people know about it in a roundabout way. For example, a man might be busy with praising Allah or seeking his forgiveness. He keeps his remembrances quiet, but he moves his lips in a conspicuous manner so that anyone who sees him will know that he is engaged in the remembrance of his Lord. He might even raise his voice once in a while ever so slightly to bring attention to himself. What he desires is for people to praise him for what he is doing. Actions are but by intentions, and every person will have only what he intended. Therefore, if a person inadvertently draws attention to himself, not meaning to show off, then there will be no harm. However, if he does something ever so subtle with the intention of drawing attention to himself, then he has not only showed off but made a pretense of sincerity while doing so. And Allah says: “Whether you hide your words or make them known, He certainly has full knowledge of what is in the hearts.
Should He who created not know, and He is the Subtle, the Aware?”.
[Srah al-Mulk: 13-14]

6. Conspicuous humility:
A person might make a show of deprecating himself, stating all the time how deficient he is. He says how he does no good works and how his deeds are not enough. What he means by all this is to make a display of his humility.
Whether or not he actually believes himself deficient, he goe s on in this way until Satan makes him believe that he is free from showing off, when actually Satan has been accompanying him in his absurd display all along. What is needed for a person to be balanced, neither deprecating himself for public viewing, nor praising himself.

7. Bringing attention to the faults of others:
Satan can approach a person by way of the faults of others. By criticizing someone else’s mistake, a person implies that he is free from the same.
A man might say: “You know – God forbid! – so-and-so never gets up at night to offer prayers!” Translation: “I pray at night.”
“I never saw such-and-such fast a day in his life.” Translation: “I fast a lot.”
“Whats-his-name never gives in charity, though he has much more money than I have.”
Translation: “I am not like him. I give in charity.”

8. Safeguarding one’s status and reputation:
When a person becomes known for righteousness and piety, he tends to love building his reputation further in the same manner. He begins to fear losing the esteem of others that he presently enjoys. He guards himself from any apparent laxity in his conduct. He makes sure to keep pace with others or to outdo them in good works, at least publicly. He does not do this out of any religious devotion, but in order to earn respect.
He may speak to the people, preach to them, and exhort them to do what is right, not because he feels that they need it but because he feels that they expect it from him. The meaning of what he says is not his concern. It is only his reputation and status that matter.
This trap is a subtle one and an easy one to fall into. Actions are but by intentions. A person is either doing these things for Allah’s sake – for which he will be rewarded – or merely to save his reputation.

9. Speaking about matters in a way that alludes to the idea that one is engaged in them:
A person might say the following: “If a worshipper recites the Qur’n a lot, it becomes easy on his tongue, and he reads with more fluidity, especially when he prays late at night.” Translation : “I did this act and had this experience.”
Likewise, a person might say: “Some people think fasting is tiring and difficult.”
Translation: “I am in the habit of fasting.”
A person’s secret devotions can become public in this manner. A man says: “You know, so-and-so made the call for the Morning Prayer a half hour before its time.” In this way, he reveals to everyone that he is in the habit of getting up early for prayers.
Let us look at how the scholars of old handled a similar situation. Sa`d b. Jubayr asked his fellows: “Which of you saw the shooting star that went across the sky last night?”
Husayn b. `Abd al-Rahmn added: “I did.” Then he quickly added: “I had not been praying; I had been stung by a scorpion.”
The reason he mentioned that he had been stung by a scorpion was to dispel the obvious conclusion that his companions would come to: that he had been praying throughout the night. The early Muslims were very careful to avoid praising themselves and did not like mentioning their own virtues.
Those who mention such things in order to show off may earn the people’s praise, but their deeds lose all blessings. If somebody makes such statements without the intention of showing off, then his secret devotions still become public. He will be rewarded for them, but the blessings of those devotions will be less.

10. Putting oneself on a pedestal:
A person embarks upon learning about a certain religious topic. He delves into it deeply, investigating every minor issue and every subtle detail. He commits whole texts to memory and learns the opinions of many authorities. Then, when he sits among a large number of people, he begins to speak. Of course, he speaks on that very topic that he investigated so thoroughly, rattling off the names of different scholars and what they had to say, giving every citation from memory, down to the page number. He pours out to them everything he has memorized. What is the reason for all of this? It is so people will point to him and call him a scholar.
He may have the pretension to use turns of phrase reserved for true people of knowledge.
He might say things like:
“I see the matter to be such-and such…”
“What is quite evident to me is that …”
“The stance that we take on this issue is…”
He has the audacity to speak in the manner of an authority in the field, while he is a mere beginner.

11. Refuting the people of knowledge:
A person may be incited by Satan to speak badly about the people of knowledge or to try to refute and contradict them. His purpose in doing so is to make himself visible by standing upon their shoulders. He wants people to say that he refuted or dumbfounded a certain scholar. He wants the news to spread that he got into a debate with a certain prominent sheikh and overwhelmed him with his arguments.
He might succeed in bringing scholars down only to make himself more famous. While doing so, he might even offer a prayer for them to make a show of his affection and concern. He could say: “So-and-so – may Allah have mercy on him – said this and that.”
He may even make a pretense of pity and compassion, saying: “Poor so-and-so, he has been afflicted with holding such an opinion.”
Another approach he may use is to feign a desire not to talk about him. If someone mentions to him the name of a certain scholar, he might say: “I do not wish to get involved with discussing that person” or “Leave him alone. May Allah conceal both his faults and ours.” or “Let us not talk about him. May Allah protect us from speaking badly about someone.” This is a very subtle way of putting that scholar down. Only the astute actually realize what is going on.

12. Seeking knowledge to acquire fame:
A person may be incited by Satan to seek religious knowledge and to study it extensively with the sole purpose of becoming a muft who people will come to with their questions , or a scholar whose name will go down in history, or maybe an Islamic activist who people will rally around.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) mentioned that three people would be the first on the Day of Resurrection to be scorched by the Hellfire. One of these three was: “…a man who acquired knowledge and taught it to others, who recited the Qur’n. He will be summoned and asked what he did during his lifetime. He will say: ‘I acquired knowledge and taught it to others and I recited the Qur’n for your sake.’ Allah will tell him: ‘You lie! You only acquired knowledge so people would call you a scholar and read the Qur’n so you would be acclaimed as a Qur’n reciter. These things were indeed said about you.’ At this point an order will be given and this man will be dragged on his face and cast into Hell.” The others mentioned in this hadth were a man who fought in Allah’s cause and a man who gave in charity, both with the intention of showing off.
(Sahh Muslim 1905).
A person like this, once he acquires the fame and status that he desires, will be
approached with the people’s questions. There will be times where he will not know the answer. At these times when he should admit he does not know, he will instead fear the people and worry about their opinion of him. He will not want them to say: “How come you don’t know the answer and you are supposed to be such a learned person?” For this reason, he will make something up and answer in ignorance. He will in this way misguide himself and others.
Once a man of knowledge ascended the pulpit and was asked a question. He answered: “I don’t know.”
One of the people in attendance spoke up and said: “The pulpit is not a place for ‘I don’t know’!”
To this the man of knowledge said: “I have ascended to this position where I am with the knowledge that I possess. If I were to ascend on par with my ignorance, I would reach the sky.”
Imam Mlik once said: “Whenever a scholar abandons saying ‘I don’t know’, then he has met with destruction.”

13. Feigninig humility
Satan may incite a person to make a pretentious show of modesty and humbleness. He will clasp his hands together, raise his shoulders, and lower his head in an insincere and inordinate display of submissiveness. Often the behaviors exhibited in these displays go against the Sunnah of Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).
`Abd Allah al-Qurash relates that `Umar b. al-Khattb once saw a young man lowering his head in prayer. `Umar said to him: “Raise your head. Humbleness does not increase on what is actually in the heart. Whenever people make their humbleness visible, they are just making a visible display of hypocrisy (Al-Daynr, al-Majlisah 1692, 3434).

14. Overemphasizing certain conspicuous works, even to the point of going against the Sunnah:
Some people become fixated on a certain type of work to the point where Satan can incite them on account of it to go against the Sunnah or to violate Islamic law.
Take jihad for instance , since some of our young people today have become very interested in it. No doubt it is a great act of devotion. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “There are one hundred levels in Paradise that Allah has prepared for those who engage in jihad for the cause of Allah. The distance between any two levels is like the distance between the sky and the Earth”
(Sahh al -Bukhr 2790).
He also said that the pinnacle of Islam is jihad
in the way of Allah. {Musnad Ahmad (21542). Sunan al-Tirmidh (2616). Sunan Ibn Mjah (3973).}
“Whoever fights so that the word of Allah is the highest word, he is the one who has fought in the cause of Allah.”
{Sahh al -Bukhr (123, 2810). Sahh Muslim (1904)}
A man had fought along with the Prophet (peace be upon him) until he was slain. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “I saw him in the Hellfire.”
(Sahh Muslim 114).
 Later, he mentioned that
he saw the man being punished in a cloak that he had stolen.
Then there is the case of another man who fought alongside the Prophet (peace be upon him). He was severely wounded and in agony, so he placed the base of his sword on the ground and its point against his chest. Then he killed himself by falling upon it until it came out through his back. The Prophet (peace be upon him) informed his Companions that that man was in the Hellfire.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance that we purify our intentions and acquire the
requisite knowledge before engaging in such work.
We have seen the children of the Islamic Awakening going fourth in ranks into the fiercest of fighting. They have demonstrated the utmost heroism, bravery, and mastery over the world. We saw the young men who had lived lives of recreation and comfort, pull themselves away from it suddenly, departing their lives of leisure and luxury and the places of fun and games, looking for death in the cause of Allah in the mountains and ravines of places like Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya, and Bosnia. We have books and cassettes filled with their many heroic stories. {Sahh al -Bukhr (123, 2810). Sahh Muslim (1904)}.

This shows the truth of what the Prophet (peace be upon him) said when he informed us that jihad would be going on until the Final Hour , despite all the changing circumstances and despite how much the Muslims might lag behind in the world. He said: “There is no emigration after the conquest of Mecca but there is jihad and intention. If you are called upon to fight, then go forth.”
(Sahh Muslim 114).

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Go back to them and make them laugh just as you have made them weep.” {Sunan Ab Dwd (2528). Sunan al-Nas’ (7/143). Sunan Ibn Mjah (2728). The hadth is authentic
Satan entices people to go against Allah’s Law in this way. For instance, he tricks some people by beautifying a given Islamic duty, though other Islamic duties may be more serious, goading him on with it until he abandons those more important duties. He might deceive a person into thinking that some work is an individual duty on every Muslim,
when in fact the decision to engage in such duties is one of those difficult matters that requires the discretion of qualified people of knowledge. This person may even be deceived into condemning those who do not participate in the same works.
It is possible for one of these people to start talking to others about his experiences while engaged in jihad, mentioning things that he saw and did and talking about miracles that he had experienced, though such events may never have actually taken place. I saw someone who had his hand bound up and who claimed that he had been shot in the hand during a battle. When his matter was investigated more closely, it turned out that it was all a charade.
The scholars of the early generations – the Salaf – were the strictest people in guarding against the tendency to show off, especially when it came to jihad.
`Abdah b. Sulayman al-Marwaz relates: “We went on an expedition against the Romans. A Roman who was very strong and severe came forth. No Muslim could draw near him without being struck down by his sword. The Muslims became very afraid of him. Then a shrouded man went to attack that Roman, striking him with his sword until he cut through him. He then hurried back to the military camp. I followed him and opened his shroud to find that it was none other than the great philanthropist and eminent scholar of Hadth and Law, `Abd Allah b. al-Mubrak! He became very angry about what I did and said:
‘Even you defame us!’” (`Abd Allah b. al-Mubarak meant by this that the man made his identity and his deeds known to the public) Look at how he tried to conceal his good deeds. See as well how `Abd Allah b. al-Mubrak was able to join together many types of good works, like acquiring knowledge, fighting in jihad, and spending in charity.

15. Making a show of religious zeal:
A pious person begins to talk about sinners. He speaks at length, describing, nit picking, and bewailing. He might even go so far as to curse people and threaten them. He exaggerates matters to the extreme as if he is trying to say: “I am very zealous about the sanctity of the religion. I am righteously indignant when it comes to my Lord, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the believers” What he does not realize is that the way he is showing off is a far graver sin than many of the sins that he is discussing and condemning so viciously.

16. Conspicuously neglecting one’s outward appearance:
This is one of the most subtle ways of falling into the sin of showing off. Satan might inspire an individual to go about with disheveled hair and humble attire and make an ostentatious display of asceticism and humility. The Sunnah, on the other hand, encourages a person to care about his appearance. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to take good care of his hair. He would comb it and apply scent to it. It is , however,related that the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to forbid people from oiling their hair excessively. {Musnad Ahmad (16793). Sunan al-Tirmidh (1756). Sunan Ab Dwd (4159). Sunan al-Nas' (5055).Al-Tirmidh declared it a good and authentic hadth. (hasan sahh)}

It is also related that he said: “Whoever has hair should honor it.”
{Sunan Ab Dwd (4163). Mustadrak al-Hkim (8485). Al-Manw discusses this hadth in Fayd al-Qadr (11439), saying: “(Al-Suyuti) indicates that it is a good hadth.}

It is befitting for an Islamic worker to dress nicely, be tidy, take care of his hair, stay presentable, and smell nice. He should keep his hair combed and nicely arranged. He should take care of his appearance without going overboard and wasting his time on it.

17. Making a display of lowering one’s gaze:
A person can make turning away from something into a conspicuous act. When a man sees a pretty woman or some other sight that a Muslim should divert his eyes from, he not only diverts his eyes but lowers his head or turns away. Now, this is not necessary. All that is required from him is to divert his gaze. He does not have to make a big show of it.
Such behavior is pretentious. It may be that Satan causes this same individual to continue to sneak discreet glances.
Allah says: “Allah knows the treachery of the eyes and all that the hearts conceal.”
[Srah Ghfir : 19]

18. Abandoning one’s worship from fear of falling into hypocrisy:
Among the most serious of problems is when Satan fools somebody into abandoning his worship of Allah to avoid being a hypocrite or being called one. Take, for example, a reciter of the Qur’n, a teacher, or an Islamic worker who falls into some unseen sinful acts on some occasions, like looking at someone unlawfully. Such a person should repent to Allah and try to avoid falling into the sin again. Satan, though, does not give up that easy. He suggests to that person that he is a hypocrite, since he presents an image of piety to the people but commits sins in secret.
Now, Satan is not going to suggest as a solution that the person should strive to overcome his sins and rectify himself. Instead, Satan encourages him to give up the good works that he is doing and to forsake the company of righteous people. He encourages him to give up teaching others and leading prayers. His argument is that it is not fitting for that individual to do such outwardly good deeds while sinning inwardly. Satan may say to him something like : “If the people know what you do when you are alone, they would spit in your face and avoid you like the plague.” Satan keeps at him like this until he
gives up doing any good deeds.
Allah says: “And establish regular prayers at the two ends of the day and at the
approaches of the night. Indeed, good works remove evil deeds. This is a reminder for those who are mindful.” [Srah Hd: 114]

19. Withdrawing from the company of others and going into seclusion:
A person may turn away from the company of his fellow men and eschew their company because he thinks he is better than they are. If he had, on the other hand, decided to avoid others so they could be safe from his harm and abuse, he may have had a point. This is what Imam Ahmad did when he limited his interactions with others at the end of his life.
People said to him: “O Imam! It is being said that you are renouncing the company of others.”
Imam Ahmad replied: “Who am I to renounce other people? Quite the contrary, it is the people who are renouncing my company.”
It is wrong to renounce the company of people out of a sense of superiority to them. This is nothing but pride and arrogance. It is a way of praising oneself. In a hadth it is related:
“Whoever says: ‘The people are in ruination!’ he is the most ruined of the lot."(Sahh Muslim 2623).

20. Being deceived by some fleeting act of devotion:
Satan can trick a person into thinking that some singular act of devotion, like shedding pious tears, is good enough to suffice him. Some people bring themselves to weep during prayer in the nights of Ramadn – and maybe only one night out of the year – or maybe they will attend the Tarwh prayer, then Satan convinces them that this made up for everything wrong that they have so far committed. In this way, he encourages them to  keep up their sinful ways.

We ask Allah to protect us all from the wiles of Satan and from this special type of polytheism that he likes to cultivate in our hearts. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of ourselves and our deeds.

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