The Difference between Riya and Hypocrisy. Aren’t they One?
Al-Alaamah Hafith Al-Hakimee (may Allah have mercy on him)
You should first know that the word Riya is used in the Quran, with the meaning of major hypocrisy. Allah says, “like him who spends his wealth to be seen of men, and he does not believe in Allah, nor the Last Day…[ Al-Baqarah 264]. Also there are other verses in the Quran which states the word, “ RIYA” , and refers to hypocrisy.
The difference between Riya, which is major hypocrisy and the Riya which is minor shirk , is illustrated in the hadeeth, “ Actions are by intentions…” [ Bukhari 1 and Muslim 1907]. The intention is what distinguishes the action in who or what, it is done for. The word Niyyah (intention) is mentioned in the Quran with the wording, “desires the Hereafter… or seeking Allah’s reward.
Therefore, any person who carries out an act that is seeking Jannah, sincere for Allah, and agrees with the legislated acts of worship, then this act is a righteous deed and accepted. On the other hand, any person who does an act that is done for other than Allah , then this is an act of major hypocrisy. It makes no difference whether it’s done for fame, done for seeking leadership or practiced for some worldly gain.
Allah says, “Whoever desires the quick passing of this world, We readily, grant him what We will for whom We like. Then, afterwards, We have appointed for him Hell; he will burn therein disgraced and rejected. And whoever desires the Hereafter and strives for it, with the necessary effort due for it while he is a believer, then such ones whose striving shall be appreciated.[ Isra 17-18]
And nonetheless, the person who performs an act desiring Allah’s Paradise, however some showing off, or intentional beautification of the act occurs with it, then this is what the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) called, “ Shirkul Asghar”. It’s also explained as being ,” Riya Amaleeya”
In conclusion, this type of act doesn’t take a person out of Islam, but it lessens the value of the deed . Sometimes this showing off predominates the sincere intention, and as result of that , the deed is totally null and void for Allah’s acceptance. We seek refuge in Allah.
We ask Allah to make all of our deeds sincere and righteous for His sake.
Taken from , “ Maa’rijul Qabul “ by Hafith Al-Hakimee (may Allah rest him in Jannah)
Translated by Abu Aaliyah Abdullah ibn Dwight Lamont Battle