“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them. And when they stand up for As-Salat (the prayer), they stand with laziness and to be seen of men, and they do not remember Allah but little.” [Surat An-Nisaa’: 142]
It is from the characteristics of the hypocrites to do deeds for show and not for attaining the pleasure of Allaah. Riya’ is a grave sin, that one should guard himself from, by seeking the assistance of Allaah and continuing to renew his niyah (intention) so that it is completely sincere for the sake of Allaah.
The Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said:
“He who acts to show off, Allaah will disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection, and he who does good deeds so that people (may hold him in high esteem), Allaah will expose his hidden evil intentions before the people on the Day of Resurrection.” [Bukhari and Muslim]
Therefore Riya’ does nothing but harm the servant who performs deeds with it. Instead of impressing the people he will be exposed as a liar. He will not find the deeds that he performed in favour of him on the Day of Resurrection, and instead these “dead deeds” will be a source of grief for him.
A poet said:
“The garment of Riya’ (doing deeds for show) is transparent, revealing what is underneath it, so that, if you attire yourself with it, you are in reality naked.” [Quoted by Sheikh Muhammad Al Uthaymeen]
We seek refuge with Allaah from performing deeds with Riya’, and may the Salaah and Salaam of Allaah be upon the Final Messenger.