Thursday, August 02, 2007

Shaykh Zaid Shakir has been translating portions of a work by the 10th/16th century Muslim religious scholar (`alim), Shaykh Abdul-Wahhab al-Sha`rani, in a series that is published on his website and entitled "Wisdoms." The series focuses on the core principle of religious sincerity (ikhlas) and the dangers of its opposite, ostentation (riya'), translated by Shaykh Zaid as "dissimulation.")

Here is taste of Imam Zaid's wonderful translation:

1. Wahb b. Munabbih would say: “Whoever seeks worldly advancement through his religious acts, God will invert his heart and record him amongst the people destined for Hell.”

2. Al-Hasan al-Basri relates that Jesus, Peace upon Him, said: “Whoever endeavors to implements his religious knowledge is a true friend of God.”

3. Sufyan b. Tahwri used to say: “My mother advised me: ‘My son! Only seek religious knowledge if you intend to implement it. Otherwise, it will be a source of torment for you on the Day of Resurrection.’”

4. Dhun-Nun al-Misri was asked: “When does the servant know that he is sincere in religion?” He replied: “When he asserts himself to the fullest in worship while desiring to gain no esteem with the people because of that.”

5. Muhammad b. al-Munkadir used to say: “I love to see the brothers being at their very best during the night [in humble devotion] for surely that is nobler than being at ones very best during the day. The reason for this is that during the day one is seen by people while during the night one is seen by the Lord of the Worlds."


Rauda said...


I have a question about #1, and what is defined as worldy advancement. If someone is doing something like earning lots of money through good works (like teaching about Islam, as in Amr Khalid's case, for example), then does that person get punished for it? even if they're intention is to help guide other people in shaa Allah, fi sabil Allah?

Jazak Allah Khair muqdaman liljawab.

Abū `Abdul-Raḥmān said...

Wa-`alaykum as-salam,

Allah says: "They were not commanded except to worship Allah, purifying their religion for Him."

If one's intention in doing good--teaching people Islam, for example--is to please Allah, we expect our Lord (glorified and exalted is He!) to accept it and reward him immensely for it. However, if the person intends other than Allah--for example, to amass wealth, impress others or gain status--he has committed and act of religious ostentation (riya'). Since Allah has condemned religious ostentation and threatened those who do it, we fear that such a person's deed will not be accepted and that he has exposed himself to Divine punishment.

And Allah knows best.

Wa s-salam.