Among the most destructive of spiritual diseases is ostentation or showing off. This sickness is very harmful for one’s sincerity. It destroys the biggest and the best of deeds. It makes worship futile. It destroys all acts of worship, since sincerity is the most basic condition of worship. The foundation of every deed is intention and intention is based on sincerity. If someone takes a partner with Allah in the intention of any deed then that act becomes futile, whether it is obligatory or recommended. Whether ostentation affects one’s intention from the beginning, or it becomes a part of one’s intention during the performance of the act, the end-result is the same i.e. the action is futile. For example, a person prays with congregation for show-off or he enters the mosque to show-off.
(Minhaajus Saleheen, The Book of Ibaadaat, p. 154, article no. 569)
There are many people who perform good actions, but the reason for performing the actions varies from person to person. Some people perform good actions for satisfaction of the heart, while others do it out of fear, while some others do it to earn respect and honor in society. Very few people actually perform good deeds to earn Allah’s satisfaction.
Allah says in Holy Quran:
"Say: I am only a mortal like you. It has been revealed to me that your Lord is one Lord. Then whosoever desires the meeting of his Lord, and then he should do good and not associate anyone in the worship of his Lord."
(Surah Kahf: 110)
Explaining the above verse, Imam Sadiq (A.S) says:
“A person performs a good deed, but does not desire Allah’s satisfaction. Instead, he performs the deed so that the people may consider him to be pure, and he desires that people should talk about his worship. He is that person who has taken a partner with Allah in his worship”. After this Imam (A.S) said, “A person who performs a good action secretly, and the day passes by, then Allah will manifest his good deed. And one who performs evil deeds secretly, then Allah will manifest it after some days”
(Al Wafi, vol 5, p. 853-854)
Imam Sadiq (A.S) has narrated from Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H&H.P):
"A time will come when the intention of the people will be insincere. For the greed of this world, their apparent will be adorned. Allah will afflict all of them with His punishment. Then they will plead (to Allah) like a person who is drowning but their supplications will not be accepted".
(Ibid. p. 856)
May Allah protect us from the evil and destructive disease of ostentation.
Taken from: Al Muntazar