E-Book: 20 Ways to Show Off

By Salmân bin Fahd al-`Awdah

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INTRODUCTION

Praise be to Allâh; we praise Him, seek His forgiveness, and turn to Him in repentance. We seek refuge with Him from the evils of our souls and the evils of our deeds. Whomever Allâh guides, none can misguide, and whomever Allâh leads astray, none can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allâh alone without partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.

Allâh created the human being and exalted him above all other creatures. First of all, He gave him the most perfect physical form. Allâh says: ِوي ْح َس ِن َتقْ َ ٓى أ َن فِ َنا ٱْْلِن َس َٰ ْد َخلَقْ لَقَ “We created man in the finest mould.” [Sûrah al-Tîn (95):4]

Nothing in Creation comes close to the human being in the perfection and harmony of its form and the excellence of the parts of its body. Then Allâh exalted the human being with something far greater, something that clearly sets him apart from all other things in existence. He graced him with the gift of reason and the honour of being directly accountable to his Lord.

Hence, Allâh speaks to us directly in the Qur’ân, saying: “O man!” Allâh is not addressing merely our bodies, but our minds and souls. This is why a person who is insane is not held accountable in Islamic Law. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The pen has been lifted from three: a sleeping person until he awakens, a small child until he matures, and an insane person until he comes to his senses.” 1

It is clear to all sensible people that the gifts of reason and true humanity, and the honour of direct accountability before Allâh are the greatest blessings that Allâh has bestowed upon mankind. Allâh, from above the seven heavens, calls out to us and addresses us directly. Surpassing all of these honours is the fact that Allâh chose His Messengers from our kind. Allâh says: ِس ِي ْ ننُم َ ِي ْ َ ُمسواًۭلو ِّم ْن أ َ َ َ فِ ْ ِ ُم ْ ِ نِ َن َ لَى ٱلْ َّنٱُم ْد َ َّنن ٱ لَقَ “Allâh showed great kindness to the muminûn when He sent a Messenger to them from among themselves.” [Sûrah Âl `Imrân (3):164]

The greatest honour that Allâh has conferred upon humanity is our direct accountability to Him, and the highest expression of this accountability is to worship Allâh with true sincerity and devotion. Therefore, we shall discuss in this short treatise a great threat to that sincerity. This threat is the human tendency to show off. Our discussion will be divided into two chapters:

 The first chapter will discuss inward and outward aspects of worship.

 The second chapter will discuss the problem of showing off and investigate twenty ways that this ignoble quality can creep up on a person.

1 Musnad Ahmad (24173, 24182, 24590). Sunan Abû Dâwûd (4398). Sunan al-Nasâ’î (3432). Ibn Mâjah (2041). These narrations are all from `Â’ishah, and there are other chains of transmission from other Companions. The hadîth is authentic (sahîh).

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