Daily Archives: Minggu, 7 September 2008

Pretence and Show (Riya)

When I was on the way to my workplace, I came across a big outdoor banner saying “Telkom Peduli”. I thought to myself, do they really that care? Or do they just want to win popularity to boost their sales in return? Or have you ever witnessed a blogger who was trying to raise a charity openly? Does he really want to make a charity or does he only want to boost his personal popularity? Only Allah knows. Since this is Ramadan, I want to temporarily keep down all ‘slandering’ accusations and it is all up to you to judge whether it is a false care or not….. So, with regard to this short foreword, I would like to present another summarised piece of A. Rehman Shad’s Al-Halal Wal-Haram. It is on riya or in English it is called ‘pretence and show’. So let’s get it underway…..


Riya signifies how in religious affairs to establish fame and win admiration. It is unlawful to perform religious duties with the intention of show because Allah and His prophet (peace be upon him) have strongly condemned it. It is a disease which gradually consumes virtues like fire and a great effort is needed to eradicate it from the soil of believer’s heart. Every believer must do his duty for the sake of Allah to win His blessing and nothing which is done for others instead of Allah. Therefore, PRETENCE being opposed to sincerity is a silent but dangerous enemy sitting in a man’s heart and mind. It stains all good action. It is said in Quran:

فَوَيْلٌ لِّلْمُصَلِّينَ
الَّذِينَ هُمْ عَن صَلَاتِهِمْ سَاهُونَ
الَّذِينَ هُمْ يُرَاؤُونَ

So woe to those who pray. [But] who are heedless of their prayer – Those who make show [of their deeds] (QS: 107:4-6)

It is reported on the authority of Jundab (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Whoever seeks fame, Allah will make him famous (BUT due to humiliation) and whoever makes a hypocritical show of his deeds, Allah will make a show of him.

Show is a kind of shirk (polytheism) because a man who performs religious duties is desirous of winning the hearts of his fave people instead of winning the favours of Allah. It is reported on the authority of Mahmud bin Labid (Allah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: The thing I fear most for you is the lesser shirk, They asked: Oh Messenger of Allah, What is the lesser shirk. He said: SHOW.

Allah will render null and void the acts of the fighters for the cause of religion and of the charitable man if acts are done with the intention of SHOW. Islam stresses that all noble deeds must be done with sincerity and absolute secrecy. The man who gives something in charity by his right hand, let not his left hand know about it. It is undesirable to prolong prayers in the presence of the other Muslims to give false impression of PIETY. Abu Sa’id (Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: Secret shirk (polytheism) is very fearful. It means that a man will stand up and pray and then prolong his prayers that he may fall in the sight of a man!


So in the text above, we know that any charity, any generous acts that are not based on winning Allah’s favours are strongly disapproved or even forbidden. That of course includes showy prolonged prayers. I remember one day, AA Gym quoted on a TV show that it is all right to show yourself or to show your name in a charity as long as it is intended to encourage others to do the same. Would you buy it? Of course, it is all up to you. But I think I have come up with my conclusion that even if you want to encourage people to follow you to make a charity, let not others know that you are already ahead of them……..