Getting rid of Riyaa’

Question: Someone wants to learn and work according to what they learn and teach others. They fear that this may lead them to Riyaa’ (showing-off ). Thus, they abstain from teaching others. However, they remember the Hadeeth of the Prophet (peace be upon him) where he threatens those who conceal knowledge. What should they do? What should a person do in order to differentiate between what is done for the sake of Allaah and what is done for fame and ostentation? How can a person get rid of Riyaa’? What should someone do to be sincere in their deeds?

Answer: You should be sincere to Allaah in seeking, applying, spreading and teaching knowledge. You have to do so for the sake of Allaah Alone and the Hereafter. Do not do so for the sake of praise and commendation… read more here.

Expressing pride in being knowledgeable to others

Question: What is the ruling on expressing pride in being knowledgeable to others?

Answer: It is not permissible to do so. Seeking, publishing and debating about knowledge should be for the sake of Allaah Alone… read more here.

Swearing by other than Allaah

Question: Some Muslims I know jokingly utter some phrases which the monotheistic creed clearly states that they involve Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship), such as saying “By my mother’s head” or “Praise be to Allaah and to master Daawood.” Are they held accountable for the literal meaning of their utterances?

Answer: It is not permissible to swear oaths by other than Allaah such as saying, “By my mother’s head”… read more here.

Striving to follow Allaah’s Orders and abstaining from His Prohibitions

Question: How can a Muslim be sure that their deeds are performed with the required sincerity for Allaah (Exalted be He), to avoid them reproaching themselves too much? Doing this persistently can lead to invoking the evil insinuations that Islaam prohibits. In his treatises, Imaam Ibn Rajab recognized different conditions in relation to this issue. He said: “This is a subtle form of Riyaa’ (showing-off) that is only recognized by those who are protected by Allaah.” Is it then obligatory for us to stop reading about issues that make us upset and confused, and if so, what is the substitute? Is paying careful attention to obedience crucial for preserving sincerity?

Answer: Muslims should do their utmost to comply with Allaah’s Commands and to avoid His Prohibitions, hoping for His Reward and fearing His Punishment. If they are in doubt regarding any of their religious affairs, they should seek the help of knowledgeable scholars, because Allaah (Exalted be He) says… read more here.

Refraining from a deed because of people out of the fear of Riyaa’

Question: Al-Fudayl ibn `Iyyaad (may Allaah be merciful to him) said, “Refraining from doing a deed because of people is Riyaa’ (showing-off) and doing a deed because of them is Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship).” Many of my Muslim brothers and I sometimes feel obliged to refrain from some supererogatory acts of `Ibaadah (worship), fearing Fitnah (trials) to ourselves, being beaten, or being insulted; or that our Muslim brothers in general will be subjected to Fitnah by the government tightening its grip around them. By Allaah! I ask you, have we, as a consequence, fallen into Riyaa’ and if this is the case, what is the way out?

Answer: The second part of the statement of Al-Fudayl, namely, that doing a deed because of people is Shirk, is absolutely true, as the evidence from the Qur’aan and Sunnah shows the obligation of sincerity in `Ibaadah that should be for Allaah Alone and the prohibition of Riyaa’, called Al-Shirk Al-Asghar (minor form of associating others in worship with Allaah) by the Prophet (peace be upon him). He declared it as being the thing he fears most for his Ummah… read more here.

Violating `Aqeedah out of ignorance

Question: There has been much controversy among the Islaamic groups in the Arab Republic of Egypt about one of the issues related to Eemaan (Faith), which is the ruling on violating the Islaamic ‘Aqeedah (creed) and abandoning part of the Sharee’ah (Islaamic law) due to ignorance. It has even reached the extent of creating hostility among the brothers; many debates and researches were made by both parties: those who accept excuse by reason of ignorance and those who do not. Some of them say that people can be excused regarding the branches of faith, but not its fundamentals; others say that people can be excused in both the branches and the fundamentals of faith; whereas others say that the evidence is already established. Those who accept excuse by reason of ignorance call the people to Islaam and do not judge them as disbelievers until Da‘wah (Call to Islaam) reaches them. If they refuse this guidance, they are then considered disbelievers. On the other hand, those who do not accept excuse by reason of ignorance judge them as disbelievers for committing acts of Kufr (disbelief), and declare people to be disbelievers, outside Islaam, for committing acts of Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship) and provide evidence for their beliefs.I am confused between both parties, which one should I follow? Each of them accuses the other of Ibtidaa‘ (heresy) and each party thinks they are right and the other is wrong. I have no idea who is right and who is wrong. This problem has spread among the Muslims as a result of disagreement on this issue. Who is right and who is wrong? I want to follow the truth which the Messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) and his Sahaabah (Companions, may Allaah be pleased with them all) followed.

Answer: A Mukallaf (person meeting the conditions to be held legally accountable for their actions) cannot be excused for worshipping other than Allaah, or offering sacrifices as a means of drawing closer to other than Allaah, or making a vow to other than Allaah, and other acts of worship that should be devoted to Allaah alone… read more here.

Manifestations of Shirk in Muslim communities

Question: What are the aspects of Shirk in words or deeds in Muslim communities?

Answer: Aspects of Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship) in Muslim Communities are many, for example: 1- Invoking or seeking help from other than Allaah in something no one can do except Allaah. 2- Making vows to other than Allaah… read more here.

Invoking Allaah’s Peace upon the Messenger while facing his grave and deeds of major and minor Shirk

Question: I was in Madeenah and went to visit Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee (the Prophet’s Mosque in Madeenah). I stood before the grave of the Prophet (peace be upon him) and greeted him. I, then, invoked peace upon him from the booklet of a person standing there. The book includes no statements entailing Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship), but Allaah knows best. We seek refuge in Allaah from this! It includes statements of praise of the Messenger (peace be upon him), his family and Sahaabah (Companions). It is the blue booklet currently circulating in the market. While reading in the book, I began to cry for I was sincerely praising the Prophet (peace be upon him) and invoking peace upon him. I once read in a book, whose name I do not recall, that when visiting the grave of the Messenger (peace be upon him), one should stand before the grave and greet the Messenger (peace be upon him) with reverence and sound faithas if they are standing before him while he was still alive. I also heard a Hadith which means that Allaah returns the soul of His Messenger (peace be upon him) to his body to return the greeting of whoever greets him. I felt nothing strange in what I did. However, a few days after this visit, I attended a religious lecture in Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee in which the lecturing shaykh warned against committing sinful deeds – as is stated in a Math-hab (school of jurisprudence) – when visiting Al-Masjid Al-Nabawee. The shaykh added that visitors have to turn their backs to the grave and direct their faces towards the Qiblah (Ka`bah-direction faced in Prayer).

The shaykh warned against raising the hands in Du`aa’ (supplication) while standing at the grave and asking for the intermediation of the Messenger (peace be upon him). He even warned against other deeds which entail Al-Shirk Al-Akbar or Al-Shirk Al-Asghar (major or minor form of associating others in worship with Allaah). At this point, I began to recall what I did on that day lest I might have committed something unlawful – may Allaah save us. Since then, Satan has been bewildering me regarding what I did. I only invoked peace upon the Messenger (peace be upon him) and praised him. I was even standing with my left side towards the grave, casting a look at it from time to time. After the invocation of peace, I surprisingly found myself crying. I do not know why, was it because of the Muslims’ status after the Prophet (peace be upon him) or because of my love for him? My mind was wavering with many thoughts and emotions while invoking peace upon him. May Your Eminence answer the following questions:

1- Did any of my actions entail Al-Shirk Al-Akbar or Al-Shirk Al-Asghar – may Allaah save us?

2- What are the deeds entailing Al-Shirk Al-Akbar and Al-Shirk Al-Asghar? May you illustrate with examples of each?

3- Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says in the following Aayah (Qur’aanic verse): Bismillaah Al-Rahmaan, Al-Raheem (In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful) Say: “O ‘Ibaadee (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah: verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Allaah is Most Truthful. Some Mufassiroon (exegesis of the Qur’aan) state that Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) forgives all sins, including Shirk. Does the intended Shirk refer to Al-Shirk Al-Asghar or Al-Shirk Al-Akbar or to both of them?

Answer: Firstly: It is permissible to invoke peace upon Allaah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) while facing his grave. It is a good sign to cry while doing this only if you were crying due to your love for the Messenger (peace be upon him) and your noble feelings towards him and the wavering thoughts that filled your heart and mind did not entail Shirk… read more here.

Why did Allaah create all creatures?

Question: I teach Arabic in the public high school of Kerala and I try, with the Help of Allah, to be a faithful servant of the true Deen (religion) of Islaam. It is with great sadness and hope that I am informing Your Eminence that there is a dispute among our scholars regarding the meaning of these Words of Allah (Exalted be He): And I (Allaah) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should worship Me (Alone). One group says that Allaah created the Jinn (creatures created from fire) and humans to worship Him Alone and not to worship other than Him. Accordingly, if someone worships other than Allaah, they will be ruined and deserve His Punishment eternally.

The other group says that it means that Allaah created the Jinn and humans to worship Him Alone. Accordingly, if someone does anything other than worshipping Allaah, they will be ruined and deserve His Punishment eternally. Bearing in mind that both of these views have lengthy explanations behind them, please explain to us which view is true and most correct.

Answer: Allaah created all creatures to worship Him Alone, associating nothing in worship with Him. It is therefore only impermissible to worship other than Him or associate others in worship with Him… read more here.

Salaah behind someone who invokes other than Allaah

Question: I had previously asked you about the ruling on the validity of praying behind an Imaam (leader of congregational Prayer) who commits Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship) while claiming to be a Muslim, such as those who offer sacrifices to Awliya’ (pious people), invoke them, make vows to them, circumambulate around their graves, set out to visit them and so on.We are frequently asked about this issue during our travels to some Muslim countries, and it was repeatedly posed by Ansaar (Supporters) of Sunnah in Sudan when we went there earlier this year. You recommended that we send you this question in writing, to be viewed by the Iftaa’ Committee and the answer be discussed in detail and then published. Again, I am reminding Your Eminence, and waiting for your written reply in detail. May Allaah reward you the best for your efforts.

Answer: If a person makes vows or offers sacrifices to other than Allaah; or invokes other than Allah for something beyond normal means, such as healing the sick or having progeny; or invokes people who are absent to relieve a distress, or someone dead to repel harm; circumambulates graves; set out on a special journey to them; or seeks the help of idols and similar objects, they are considered Mushrikoon (those who associate others with Allaah in worship), guilty of major Shirk… read more here.

Obeying Allaah in His Legislations

Question: One of the idol worshippers met us and said: “Allaah has sent His Prophet (peace be upon him) to all people as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. Allaah ordered him to prevent idol worshipping. But He left Al-Hajar Al-Aswad (The Black Stone in the southeastern corner of the Ka`bah from which Muslims begin circumambulation) in the corner of Ka`bah to be kissed and visited and that people may perform Du`aa’ (supplication to Allaah) there. Why did He leave Al-Hajar Al-Aswad? He did so because those who offer `Ibaadah (worship) to idols do not intend idols with `Ibadah. But they offer `Ibaadah to idols to be a means between Allaah (Glorified and Exalted be He) and them.” He added: “If this is so, then Al-Hajar Al-Aswad and the idols are similar.” Therefore, I sent you this question in order to know your answer that I may be guided and guide others.

Answer: `Ibaadah is to obey Allaah, carry out His commands, abstain from what He prohibits, obey the commands of the Prophet (peace be upon him), follow his example in the good deeds he did, regard as lawful what He considers to be lawful and to regard as unlawful what He decreed to be unlawful… read more here.

Invoking other than Allaah such as jinn, the dead and absentees and those who follow idolatrous conventions

Question: Is the Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship) mentioned in the glorious Aayah include the Muslims who follow some sufi orders such as Al-Teejaaniyyah, and Al-Qaadiriyyah; or those who wear amulets, whether Aayaat of the Qur’aan are inscribed on them or not; or those who embrace Islaam but practice some idolatrous traditions?

Answer: The Shirk mentioned in the Aayah includes whoever seeks the help of anyone other than Allaah e.g. The Jinn (creatures created from fire), the dead, or absent people… read more here.

The meaning of – “And do not marry Al-Mushrikaat”

Question: What is the Tafseer (exegesis of the meanings of the Qur’aan) of the Aayah (Qur’aanic verse) in which Allaah (Exalted be He) says: And do not marry Al-Mushrikaat (idolatresses, etc.) till they believe (worship Allaah Alone). ?

Answer: The Tafseer of the Aayah: And do not marry Al-Mushrikaat (idolatresses, etc.) till they believe (worship Allaah Alone). Is that Allaah (Exalted be He) is forbidding His Believing Servants from marrying women who are Mushrikoon (those who associate others with Allaah in worship), with the exception of the women of the People of the Book; the Jews and Christians… read more here.

Difference between major Shirk and minor Shirk

Question: What is the difference between major Shirk and minor Shirk in terms of their definitions and rulings?

Answer: Major Shirk is: (i) Regarding anything equal to Allaah, in terms of His Names and Attributes, such as by calling them by the Names or the Attributes of Allaah. Allaah (Exalted be He) says: And (all) the Most Beautiful Names belong to Allaah, so call on Him by them, and leave the company of those who belie or deny (or utter impious speech against) His Names. They will be requited for what they used to do. The forms of heresy in relation to Allaah’s Names include naming others by His Personal Names and Attributes… read more here.