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Friday 9th of December 2022
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Weeps Due to the Deceitful Ones (Riyakaar)

It is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.): 
"If a person performs a good deed to achieve Allah's pleasure and the reward in the hereafter; but also intends to please other people, then he will be termed as a Mushrik." 
(Behaarul Anwaar)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) has informed, 
"Certainly the fire of Hell and the people of Hell would cry for help due to the crafty ones."

Someone asked, "O Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.). How would the fire cry?" He replied, 
"The fire would scream and cry for help due to the intensity of the heat of that fire in which the Riyakaar people would be burning."

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says, 
"Certainly, Allah sent His messenger, so that He may extricate the humankind from the worship of people and direct them to the worship of Allah."

Sometimes Worship Leads the Worshipper to the Fire (Of Hell)

Abu Basir has narrated from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said, 
"On the Day of Judgement a person would be brought forward. He had performed namaz in his life. He would be told that you have prayed but your intention had been to show-off, so that people may appreciate your worship. This person would be cast into the fire. Then a reciter of the Quran would be brought. He would be told, 'at the time of reciting the Quran, your intention had been to exhibit your sweet voice so that people may appreciate your tone.' This one shall also be tossed into the fire. The third person to be presented shall be one who had died a martyr in Jihad. He would be told that, 'Your intention while fighting was to make a show-off your strength and valour." He shall also be led towards the fire. The fourth person had been a charitable man. He would be told, 'your intention in giving charity was that people may call you generous.' Then he would also be led towards Hell. 
(Layali Akhbaar).

Numerous traditions confirm that the Riyakaar person is a Mushrik. This is sufficient for the believing and the thoughtful people.

The Merits of Pure Intentions and the Censure of Riyah

Apart from the punishment in the Hereafter and cancellation of good deeds the Riyakaar person will also fail to achieve his aim in this world. In the world it had been his intention to achieve honour among the people but instead he would have to face humiliation and shame. The noble Quran tells us, 
"...he loses this world as well as the hereafter; that is a manifest loss." 
(Surah Hajj 22:11)

On the contrary, one who performs good deeds for the Hereafter will achieve honour in this world too. The following verse of Surah Kahf says:
"...therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join anyone in the service of his Lord." 
(Surah Kahf 18:110)

The tafsir of this ayat is as follows: "Someone performs a good deed not for seeking Allah's pleasure, but to obtain praise and admiration from people, so that people may see and hear him and he may become famous. He is like the one who has an associate with Allah in his worship. One who conceals his worship acts from the people (and reserve them solely for Allah would finally be given an honourable position among the people, by Allah. While one who exhibits his worship; his weaknesses aredisclosed by Allah and consequently he is degraded." 
(Al Kafi)

True Deeds are Surely Manifested

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says, 
"If one intends to do a slender act with the sole intention of pleasing Allah, Allah causes this small deed of his to be manifested on a greater scale upon the people. (On the contrary) if someone performs the greatest of deeds which causes him physical tiredness and exhaustion due to wakeful nights, while his intention had been to acquire the praise of people, his deed would be reduced to a trifle by Allah and manifested on the people." (till the people begin to dislike him.) 
(Al Kafi)

Outward Piety and the Legal Point of View

If someone has committed shirk with regard to the acts of worship, he must repent sincerely and have a firm determination not to repeat his mistake. He should intend to perform all his deeds in the future for the sole purpose of achieving Allah's pleasure. First of all it is wajib upon him to seek forgiveness of his past sins. Secondly he must repeat all the worship acts in which he had committed Riyah, even if a part of that worship had been contaminated with the intention of showing off. Suppose he had begun his act with pure intention but later he was involved in Riyah, even so his deed is nullified. Like the person who gives Zakat to a needy man but later tries to obtain some benefit in return. In this case he has to first repent for his sin and then again give Zakat with the sole intention of achieving Allah's pleasure.

Similarly in the case of Namaz the person may exhibit a part of it (Be it a Mustahab part) e.g. Qunoot or he may perform Namaz in congregation or sit in the front row to show-off. In all such cases he has to perform this Namaz again.

Riyah in the Acts of Worship

There is no firm proof that Riyah is Haraam in the pure worldly acts, which are not considered acts of worship. Consequently the Fuqaha have not given any verdict concerning this. But the true believers refrain from all types of Riyah; even with the worldly acts and the mubah actions. The root of Riyakaari is the love of this world. Hence if one falls into this habit, he may even begin to make it a part of his worship.

The respected scholar, Faiz-e-Kashani writes in his book, 'Muhajjatul Baidha', "People resort to Riyakaari in five types of actions.


(1) Bodily Riyah 
(2) Riyah of beauty and dress 
(3) Riyah of speech 
(4) Riyah of actions 
(5) Riyah of the outward kind."

The above types of Riyah are explained below:

1) Bodily Riyah

Bodily Riyah with regard to the actions pertaining to the hereafter is that someone tries to show that his body has becomefragile due to excessive fasting and night worship. Or he may keep his lips dry so that people think that he is fasting. Or he may show himself to be pious so that people commend him, and day and night he remains busy in religious acts. Bodily Riyah with regard to worldly matters is that he displays his body and tries to create a position in the eyes of the people.

2) Riyah of Beauty and Dress

This type of Riyah with regard to the hereafter consists of shaving ones moustache so that people think that he is following the recommended acts or walking slowly with head turned downwards or wearing dirty clothes to show that one has disregard for the world.

The riya of beauty and dress with regard to this world is to show off ones dress and handsome appearance so that people are attracted towards the person.

3) Riyah of Speech

Riyah of speech with regard to the hereafter is for example uttering Zikr (i.e. Alhamdo Lillah) to show-off to the people. To exhibit one's knowledge and greatness by preaching to the people in assemblies. To forbid evil and enjoin good to the audience by making people fearful of Divine wrath without having any pure intention.

In the worldly connection this Riyah could take the form of boasting of ones achievements and capabilities so that the people adore him. To be extremely social and greet beyond limit, even strangers, to achieve popularity, etc.

4) Riyah of Actions

In connection with actions of the hereafter Riyah consists of praying namaz to show-off. For example reciting lengthy chapters or lingering for a long time in Ruku or Sajdah. To pray namaz extremely slowly. Performing the wajib and the mustahab fast, Hajj and Ziarat, giving charity and feeding people so that one is regarded as pious.

With regard to the worldly actions, it is to behave with people in consonance with their way of thinking and to spend in similar ways. That is, to strive to become honourable in the eyes of these people. To spend lavishly upon people by inviting them in large numbers for dinner etc.

5) Riyah of the External Kind

All the four types of Riyah explained above are concerned with the person himself. The fifth type of Riyah is that which is connected with the external affairs. This type of Riyah also is with regard to the Hereafter as well as this world. With regard to the Hereafter it consists of a person sitting in the assembly of the learned people without any pure intention; just to exhibit his interest in religion etc. Or to go out to meet pious people or invite the learned scholars to his home for dinner so that people consider him to be religious. In the same way Riyah is prohibited with regard to the worldly actions. For example visiting frequently the courts of Kings and rulers so that people realise his influence and reputation and the gullible people aredeceived by his outward show.

Riyah is Associated With Intention

It must be understood that Riyah of a person depends upon his intention. In other words all such actions which a person performs to show off are Riyah whether those actions are related to the hereafter or this world. In all types of actions related above, riyah is not committed till one has the intention to show-off. But if one performs an action solely for the pleasure of Allah it is worship. For example if one dresses up nicely or decorates his house with the intention of fully expressing the bounties of Allah; this action is worship. However if his intention is to show-off to people it is Riyah.

Anyone who wishes to study this topic in detail should refer to the book Qalbe Saleem by the same author.

Despair

The second Greater Sin is to despair of the Mercy of Allah. "Al-yaa-so Min Roohallah" (To despair of the Rooh of Allah) Rooh: according to the dictionary means a breeze that pleases and comforts. Those who do not believe in the Power, the Mercy and Bounty of Allah, develop a kind of despair. The Holy Quran has termed such people as Unbelievers (Kafir).

"...and despair not of Allah's Mercy; surely none despairs of Allah's Mercy except the unbelieving people." 
(Surah Yusuf 12:87)

The Holy Imams, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.),Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.), Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) have classified "despairing of the Mercy of Allah", to be a Greater Sin; as we have mentioned at the beginning.

The Greatest Sin After 'Shirk'

After 'shirk' no sin could be greater than to despair of Allah's mercy and benevolence. This attitude reduces a person to a state of utter hopelessness. He imagines himself to be destined for Hell, and therefore he sees no benefit in doing good and avoiding evil. Consequently he tries to achieve as much worldly pleasure as possible and thus gets further involved in all kinds of sinful acts. Any other type of sinner could be pardoned if he repents. But the one who despairs does not deserve to be pardoned because the mental condition of such a person does not lead him towards repentance, but instead, induces him to continue to commit further acts of transgression against Allah's commands.

Hence it means that despair is the greatest of the sins. It is appropriate therefore that all the different varieties of despair may be explained and also their cures, so that the believers can keep themselves away from them.

The Almighty Allah has created a cause of all the phenomena of this world by His unlimited power and absolute strength. For example, in the physical affairs food is needed for satiation of hunger, water for quenching thirst, doctor and medicine for curing diseases and work for removing poverty.

In the same way the spiritual phenomena also depend upon various causes. The salvation of a sinner depends upon his repentance, the achievement of absolute belief needs the guidance of an infallible guide (Imam), and the attainment of grades in piety and the high stages of the hereafter depend upon the purity of intention in the deeds performed. The aim of creating man was to make him think and recognise Allah in the proper way. But the thorough recognition or belief is not possible till man realises that the Creator of causes as well as effects is Allah. The causes by themselves cannot bring out an effect till the One who has created these causes gives the capability to the cause to bring out such effect. Therefore one should not be pleased at the apparent causes or be aggrieved due to their absence.


source : Forty Hadith by Imam Ruhullah al-Musawi al-Khumayni
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