I got a question from one of our readers, while I did some research, I was surprised by such vast of information on this topic, which was very interesting. Before I go ahead, I would deeply like to thank that reader for this question, because of you, I got a chance to learn and teach to many other people In Sha’Allah.
Question: How to deal with Riya and showoff in Islam?
Since this is huge topic, I would like to discuss in depth and into parts.
Part 1: Riya
What is riya? Riya has many levels in Islam, but the broad definition could be considered as arrogance. Riya can come in many forms such as in our hearts, minds, verbal aspects, and actions.
Let us explore these aspects:
Hearts: When we win or do something and get praised, we often forget Allah (swt) helped us, and we believe that we achieved by ourselves. We not only forget our Creator, without His help we cannot achieve anything, but we also discredit our family members and our loved ones and leave them behind. We take all the credit and fame.
Minds: We tend to believe in ourselves after we achieve something. That’s “I tried” or “I did”, it becomes all about me, instead of Allah (swt). When we lose something or something goes bad, we say or blame Allah (swt) or family/friends, but never oneself.
Verbal Aspects: We start comparing ourselves to other people, especially people in Islamic history such as Caliphs, Sahabahs, Prophet (saw)’s wives, and Prophet (saw), and etc.
We should never compare ourselves with anyone, especially anyone from Prophet’s time or to Himself. Allah (swt) is the best in Knowledge, let Him be the judge. We can strive to be like them, but we can never be them or compare ourselves with them.
Actions: When hearts and minds become one thought, then automatically our actions follow that train of thought.
In my earlier posts, I had started the concept of Hijab is pretty huge, so in order for me to try to cover as much as possible, I would need to break into parts. In Part 1 — Dressing Hijab for Women, and in this Part 2 — Dressing Hijab, I would like to focus on men.
Many people and media, keep pointing hijab for women is oppressing (though there is no actual facts, besides minority women’s views), there is no mention at all on men and their hijab!
Hijab is NOT only for women, rather it is EQUALLY for both men and women.
Hijab for men:
Forbidden for men to wear:
Gold (fake or real)
Transparent clothes (tops/bottoms)
Any article of clothes/accessories that imitate women
I would like to eventually get into details about our Beloved Prophet Muhammed (SAW) and his life, but right now I would like to discuss our duty as Muslims.
I have started seeing our Prophet (SAW) being abused, verbally and online. It is important not to become judgmental, but let’s use work together to educate those individuals in the best way.
Let’s first remind ourselves, that our Prophet (SAW), the single most perfect man in history, had the following done to him
People physically assaulted him.
People threw stones at him.
People threw dirty intestines on him whilst he was praying.
People threw their dirty garbage on him
People abused him
People killed his loved ones
People tried to give him poison in his food
They laughed at him, Mocked at him
They made fun of Him
He lost His two teeth in the Battle of Uhd
Has someone ever thrown stones at you? Have you ever had dirty garbage thrown over your head? Yet somehow our aggressive reactions would lead someone to believe as if someone has actually done this?
So what is our end goal? It’s obviously to reach Jannah and the way to do this is to try to follow the life of our Prophet (SAW) If we try to study him, act like him, perform the Sunnah then we have a good chance of achieving our goal.
When someone insults Islam or our Prophet (SAW), or Allah (SWT), of course we all get deeply hurt, but what I witnessed a few days ago, was perhaps worse. A barrage of abuse from Muslims to the offenders swearing and insulting back. Did our Prophet (SAW) act like this? Of course not, so by acting in this way are we really defending our faith or weakening it? I feel we are weakening it, we are showing just how weak we can be.
Did our Prophet (SAW) lose such control? Engage in such filthy language? We all know certain people hate unconditionally, and in this case, it was a group of young teenagers who were spouting such hate, but we also know, or should know that many non Muslims respect Islam, respect Muslims, but when they see us defending our faith in such a violent aggressive manner, what must they think?
Once when the Prophet (SAW) was being physically abused in Taif, he was bleeding from having stones thrown at him, Angel Jibraeel (AS) came to him and said, “the Angels of the Mountains can crush these ignorant people between the mountains, should you wish O Muhammad (SAW).”
Bleeding from head to toe and battered and exhausted, the Prophet (SAW) was faced with a choice; should he or should he not seek to destroy the people who had just humiliated him (SAW) by having their children chase him (SAW) out of town while throwing stones at him (SAW)? And for what crime? All he (SAW) had wanted to do was convey the message of the Oneness of Allah (swt) to His creation and seek benefit his own people.
However, although they hurt him, Prophet Muhammad (SAW) looked beyond his own wounds and forgave them, replying to the Angel of the mountains he said,
‘No, do not destroy them, for I hope that Allah (SWT0 will bring out of their offspring people who worship Him (SWT) alone without associating any partner with Him (SWT) in worship. What a beautiful excellent response. Look at the humility. The control of anger and hurt!
The way you respond to insults has an impact on the actual image of Islam. So lose this anger, lose the bad language and become an advert/role model for Islam. Ignore the ignorant who hate unconditionally, if someone criticises Islam and you feel you can have an intelligent conversation with them, then do so politely, they will think so differently of you, even if they don’t agree, they will respect the way you have conducted yourself.
You will promote Islam much more effectively this way if you control yourself.
That’s real faith.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says what means in the Quran, “Hold to forgiveness; command what is right; but turn away from the ignorant”.
He subhanahu wa ta’ala also says what means, “And when they hear vain talk, they turn away therefrom and say: ‘To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant.’
Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said “The strong is not the one who overcomes the people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger.”(Bukhari :: Book 8 :: Volume 73 :: Hadith 135)
We have come to a time, where many people don’t know or feel to be kind or respectful towards other human beings. No matter what our beliefs, religion, education, class, status, gender, wealth, and etc is, we still have a responsibility to be kind and respectful to another human being.
Sitting behind a computer doesn’t change anything, we still have to be kind and respectful to each other. You may not agree to someone’s opinion, perspective, dress, and etc, yet you are still responsible as a human being to be kind and respectful
“There is a reward for kindness in every living thing”– Prophet Muhammad (SAW)