Summary of Letter:
Respected Mufti Saheb,
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh
Kindly explain what is "Riya" and "Ujub."
Summary of Reply:
Respected Brother / Sister
Walaikum Assalam Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakaatuh
Riya (ostentation) means to perform any act of worship for anyone other than Allah سبحانہ وتعالیٰ . Allah سبحانہ وتعالیٰ detests riya since it is tantamount to shirk (ascribing partners with Allah سبحانہ وتعالیٰ ). On the day of Qiyamah Allah سبحانہ وتعالیٰ will announce: "I detest shirk. Therefore the one who has ascribed any partner to me in any ibadah, he should seek the reward for the same from the partner that he ascribed to me." Therefore one should reflect that, for instance, one performs salaah to obtain the grace of Allah سبحانہ وتعالیٰ , he adopts full humility and devotion so that Allah سبحانہ وتعالیٰ may be pleased with im, however, riya creeps into this action and he begins to perform it for somebody else then all his efforts will be in vain. Besides, on the day of Qiyamah it will be announced regarding him that he was involved in riya. Then he will face great humiliation and disgrace and he will find his book of good deeds to be empty.
Ujub (vanity) refers to the condition where a person thinks good of his actions or his opinions (i.e. he regards himself to be a very worthy and capable person in thought and deed). When such thoughts come to mind, one should reflect upon one's sins and think thus: "I have committed so many sins hence how can I be proud of myself? If my sins were to be exposed, how despised and disgraced I would be among the people." Sit in solitude and ponder over this. Insha Allah one will be free from riya and ujub. May Allah سبحانہ وتعالیٰ cleanse us from these maladies. Aameen.