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30 Examples of Riyah(show off) In Islam

“Riya in Islam means to perform worship with any intention other than the pleasure of Allah Almighty. That’s with the intention of informing others about it to gain something, to be praised, to be considered pious or treated with respect. It is also called minor Shirk.

The Prophet, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said:

"What I fear for you the most is the minor shirk, that is ar-riya. Allah will say on the Day of Judgement when He is rewarding the people for their actions: Go to those for whom you did riya for in the world then see if you find the reward with them."

[Related by Ahmad (5/428, 429)

Just for the temporary pleasure of being praised, admired and considered pious by others, many people fall into the pit of Riya (show-off). They fail to realize how much Allah Almighty would be displeased with them. Here are 30 examples of Riya;

  1. To use words that show humility for oneself such as a sinful or worthless person so that people will consider him a humble-natured person, praising his humility. (To use such words for oneself without the willingness of the heart is hypocrisy besides Riya (show-off).)

  2. To meet people warmly and politely so that people will consider him a sociable and well-mannered person.

  3. To wipe tears from eyes, when weeping during Du’a etc. in the presence of others, so that people will get the impression that he is wiping tears to avoid Riya (show-off).

  4. To say such sentences to impress others as I am very fearful of sins, I am in constant fear of losing my faith, how can I face accountability on the Day of Judgement!. This is also an obvious indication of show off in Islam.

  5. To have a sad look on the face or to say comforting sentences to those in trouble so that people will consider him a kind-hearted and sympathetic person. (To do so with the intention of comforting a troubled Muslim and that of gaining Divine pleasure is an act of worship and reward of the Hereafter.)

  6. To act upon Sunnah properly, when eating, drinking, standing up or sitting, etc. in the presence of others, so that people will consider him a steadfast follower of Sunnah. If only we would develop the mindset of acting upon Sunnah whilst eating, drinking and doing other things in loneliness as well.

  7. To eat less, when in a gathering or in the presence of others, so that people will consider him a less-eating person and a steadfast follower of Sunnah.

  8. To tell one’s own virtuous deeds to someone and then ask him not to tell them to anyone so that he will get impressed and will consider him a sincere person not wanting his deeds to be revealed to others.

  9. To use the title ‘Haafiz’ with one’s own name so that people will admire him saying: treat him with respect and request him to make dua for them. (If there is no intention of Riya (show-off), it is not prohibited for the Haafiz to use the word ‘Haafiz’ with his name.)

  10. To perform I’tikaf in Ramadan or recite the Holy Quran in the presence of others or make Du’a in an extremely humble manner so that people will consider him a pious person.

  11. To perform I’tikaf in Ramadan so that he can eat food for free, at Sahari and Iftari, gifted to Mu’takifeen in the Masjid.

  12. If someone finds a wise and nice piece of advice while studying, and keeps it secret from others for the purpose of relating it to the attendees in a big Ijtima’ so that they will raise slogans to praise him and acknowledge him as a learned preacher, this is an indication of Riya (show-off).

  13. To call Azan very melodiously in the holy night so that people will praise his voice and melody.

  14. To include admonitory quotes [i.e. ones containing warning], interesting parables with wisdom in the book or article one is writing, with the intention of being admired and appreciated.

  15. To perform Hajj and let others know that one has performed it so that they will call him Haji Sahib.

  16. To donate money for religious activities so that people will call the donor a generous person.

  17. To distribute charity to the poor so that they will gather around him, begging.

  18. To serve and help patients, the grief-stricken and flood victims etc. so that people will call him a well-wisher of the troubled and a sincere social worker.

  19. To recite the Holy Quran so that people will give them money, food, and clothes; or will praise his voice, manner of recitation, pronunciation or couplets.

  20. To recite Na’at from memory without seeing the book so that people will praise him saying that he has learned so many Na’ats by heart.

  21. To explain a difficult couplet so that people will consider him an intelligent and learned person.

  22. To deliver a speech so that people will praise his speech and call him a good preacher.

  23. To say emotional sentences in a loud roaring voice during the speech or to recite couplets in an enthusiastic way so that the audience will praise the speech by calling him a great preacher.

  24. To use wonderful sentences, complicated words, Arabic sayings during the speech so that people will consider him a learned preacher and be impressed with him.

  25. To offer Salah regularly so that people will consider him/her very steadfast in Salah.

  26. For a Haafiz to lead Taraweeh Salah for money or fame.

  27. To offer Salah calmly with the humility of the body in the presence of people to impress them.

  28. If a person who has offered Nafl Salah such as Salat-ut-Tahajjud and rubs his eyes or stretches during the day in the presence of people so that they will come to know that he has not slept at night but has stayed awake performing good deeds, this is an indication of Riya.

  29. To serve Islam or make religious efforts, bearing hardships so that people will praise the sacrifices he has made and will consider him an active and enthusiastic preacher.

  30. To travel to the various countries of the world in a Divine path so that people will praise the sacrifices he has made, mentions him as an example to others and calls him an international preacher.


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