Riya’ Insincerity the Sin of the Heart
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيم
Praise be to God the Creator of the world, the One Who exists without beginning, without end, without location, without a "how" and Who does not depend on time. Nothing resembles Him in anyway and He hears and sees everything without organs. Whatever you imagine, God is different from that. May the elevation in degree and preservation of his community of what he fears for it, be granted to our master Muḥammad Al-'Amin, the Honest One, who called for following Islam, the religion of truth, the religion of all the Prophets: of the first, Adam, to the last Muḥammad.
Brothers in Islam, Taqwa (piety) is a word that is simple to utter by the tongue, however, it is heavy in the balance of terms of rewardable deeds and it is located in the heart. The Prophet pointed to his heart three times and said what means: « Piety is here, piety is here. »
The heart is the leader of the organs ; if the heart is devoted to piety then the rest of the organs will follow its lead, and consequently, the person will become pious ; likewise, if the heart is corrupted, the rest of the organs will follow in corruption, and consequently, the person will become a sinner. So fear Allâh and work for the Day of Judgement, the day which Allâh described in the Qur’ân as being: « The day where assets and offspring serve no benefit, only the one who has come with a sound heart will profit. »
Dear brothers, it is your duty to work on your hearts and adhere to Islamic manners both outwardly and inwardly. Seek remedy for your hearts by following the Islamic laws and by following the traits of the Prophet in manners and actions. Watch your hearts, as there are diseases that worldly-practitioners have no cure for. If your heart is well in obedience to Allâh then your whole body will be well, and your ending will be well too. However, if your heart is corrupted, your whole body will be corrupted and your religious situation will deteriorate. The heart is the leader of the organs from which they take their commands.
Dear brothers in Islam
Amongst the diseases of the heart is ar-riyâ’. It takes place when a person performs an act of obedience in order to be praised by people. Allâh said:
﴿ وَمَا أُمِرُوا إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُوا اللَّـهَ مُخْلِصِينَ لَهُ الدِّينَ حُنَفَاءَ وَيُقِيمُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَيُؤْتُوا الزَّكَاةَ ۚ وَذَٰلِكَ دِينُ الْقَيِّمَةِ ﴾
which means: « And they were ordered with worshipping Allâh, with sincere devotion. » [Sûrat Al-Bayyinah, Ayah 5]
Dear brothers, remember to have the sincere intention when performing the acts of obedience to Allâh, the Exalted, and never seek admiration by the people. Moreover, if you perform the good deeds seeking rewards from Allâh as well as seeking people’s commendation, you will not get any reward from Allâh ; rather, you would be sinful for having insincere intention. So watch yourselves, my dear Muslim brothers, and monitor your intentions.
Watch your heart, if you see yourself praying only the obligatory prayers when you are alone, but in the presence of people you would pray the recommended prayers as well, ask yourself: Why do you do this? And if you are praying alone, you would otherwise pray hastily, perform only the requisites and not the recommended matters in the prayer, however, if you are praying in the presence of the people, you would perform the recommended matters, take your time and recite long verses of the Qur’ân, ask yourself why do you do this? Are you seeking a high rank amongst the people? Is this what you would prefer rather than having a high rank in the Hereafter? Think about this, humans are just creations like you are, they cannot create harm or benefit, they cannot harm you or benefit you except by the Will of Allâh. Allâh is the One Who guides the hearts to perform the acts of obedience and is the One Who prevents the hearts from performing them. What is your purpose of doing something that Allâh does not reward you for? Is it because you are seeking the praise of the people? Then know that this praise of the people will not increase your sustenance or prolong your life and will not benefit you on the Day of Judgement.
In conclusion dear brothers, guard your hearts against insincerity, train yourselves to be sincere, and seek only the acceptance from Allâh, the Creator of good and evil, and do not give any regard to what people may think of you.
الحمد لله رب العالمين