Translation: Ishaaq b. AbdurRaheem Aboo Aamir
Allâh the Great has said:
“Surely, the religion (i.e. the worship and the obedience) is for Allâh only.” [Az-Zumar 3].
And the Prophet (salallaahu alahyi wa sallam) said,
إن الله عز وجل لا يقبل من العمل إلا ما كان له خالصا و ابتغي به وجهه
‘Verily Allâh does not accept from deeds except that which is for Him purely and which is done to seek His Face.’
[An-Nasâi (6/25) in the Book of Jihâd. Al-Hâfidh Al-Irâqi said in Takhrîj Al-Ihyâ; its chain is fair. Al-Mundhirî said in At-Targîb Wa At-Tarhîb (1/24): That its chain is good. Al-Albâni said in As-Sahîhah no (52) that its chain is Hasan. And he said in Sahih An-Nasâi: It is Hasan Sahih, no (2943).
And he said in a Ta’leeeqh (commentary) on the hadith: This hadith and others indicate that a believer will have his excellent deed unaccepted if he does not intend with it the Face of Allâh].
Ibrahîm At-Taymî (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) used to say:
‘The sincere one is he who hides his good deeds the way he hides his sins.’
[Ibraahim bn Yazid bn Shareek At-Taymee was among the devout worshippers and was a scholar. Al-A’mash said about him: ‘Whenever he fell in prostration, sparrows would land on his back pecking.’ He was born 152 Hijrah and died 192 [he was among those killed by Hajjaaj bn Yuusuf]].
While Sha’bî (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) used to say:
‘From the etiquette of the scholars is that when they know they act, and when they act they become busy with that from people, and when they are busy they become lost (forgotten), and when they are forgotten they are sought (after), and when they are sought after they will run away, fearing for their Dîn from the Fitnah.’
[Al-Imaam Ash-Sha’bi was Aamir bn Sharaheel (it is said he is Abdullah not Aamir), Abu Amr Al-Kuufi. He was among the middle Taabieen. He was born 66 Hijrah in the reign of Umar bn Al-Khattab. He met about five hundred Sahabah. He once said: ‘I never put a black ink on a white paper, or that a person should narrate a hadith to me that I should love that he repeated it to me; a man would not tell me of a hadith except that I memorized it.’
When Al-Hasan Al-Basree announced the death of Imam As-Sha’bi, he said: ‘By Allaah, he was very knowledgeable, forbearing and old in accepting Islâm.’
Muhammad bn Bushr said Ash-Sha’bi said: ‘Be wary of a scholar who is a transgressor, and a worshipper who is ignorant; both of them are sources of trial.’
Daawud bn Abî Hind said Ash-Sha’bi said: ‘Men are three (in category): A (complete) man, half-man and no-man. As for a complete man, he is the one who has intellect and will seek advice; half-man does not have intellect but will seek advice; no-man has no intellect and will not seek advice.’
Imam Ash-Sha’bi died in 100 Hijrah, may Allaah have mercy on him.]
And Fudayl bn Iyâdh (may Allaah bestow mercy on him) used to say:
‘When you see a scholar or a worshipper becoming happy because of his being mentioned as a result of his good acts in the presence of the leaders and the people of (this) world, then know that he (is the type) that shows off.’
[He is Fudayl bn Iyaad bn Mas’uud bn Bushr Al-Yar’buu’ Abu Ala. He was of Khurasaan origin but lived in Makkah, and born at Samr’qand. He was one of the middle students of the Atbaaut-Taabieen.
Ibn Hajar said about him: ‘He is trustworthy, is a worshipper and an Imam.’
He used to be a smart highway robber. He repented from the act of banditry when one day when scaling a fence he heard a reciter from the house he wanted to rob reciting a portion of the Qur’ân which goes thus:
“Has not the time come for the hearts of those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh - Islâmic Monotheism) to be affected by Allâh's Reminder (this Qur'ân), and that which has been revealed of the truth, lest they become as those who received the Scripture [the Taurât (Torah) and the Injeel (Gospel)] before (i.e. Jews and Christians), and the term was prolonged for them and so their hearts were hardened? And many of them were Fâsiqûn (rebellious, disobedient to Allâh).” [Hadid: 16]
When he heard the verse, he said: ‘Yes now my Lord.’ He thus left the place and got to a ruined spot, that night, beside a much-trodden path, where some traders were arguing with one another whether they should continue on a particular journey or not. One of them said: ‘Should we continue this journey while Fudayl is on the road robbing (people)?’ Fudayl overheard that comment (unknown to those traders) so he vowed to repent finally from his act and to confine himself to the sanctuary of the Ka’bah.
He died at Makkah at 187 Hijrah during the era of Haarun Rasheed.
He was the one that said: ‘Leaving off an act because of people constitutes showing-off, and acting because of people is Shir’k,’ Ikhlaas (safety) is that Allaah should save one from both.’ May Allaah show mercy on him.]
This is so because sincerity is that a slave should seek with his knowledge and his deeds what is with Allâh, therefore that he becomes happy because of people’s praise or when people become aware of his deeds is one of the signs of hidden form of show-off. The Salaf used to consider show-off as the most heinous of the Major Sins (al-Kabair), because it is one of the Minor Shir’k, and Shir’k is the most heinous of the Major Sins. So watch your soul, O my brother, as regard your knowledge and your deed, cry over it whenever you see showing-off in it, for he that shows off (with his deeds), Allâh will show off with him, and whoever evokes people’s audience Allâh will evoke people’s audience as regard him. We beseech Allâh for safety in the world and the Hereafter.
The main content is adapted from Dr. Ahmad Fareed’s Min Akhlaaqis-Salaf.