(Correspondence of Hazrat Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi rahimahullah)
Letter: (The letter was not published. The writer apparently requested advice on show and conceit?
Reply: When an act of worship, which must be done for Allah Ta’ala, is done for the creation, this is riyaa (show). Allah Ta’ala detests riyaa since this is shirk (associating partners with Allah Ta’ala).
On the Day of Judgment Allah Ta’ala will say, “I detest shirk (partnership). Therefore in whichever action you have included someone as a partner to me, go to that person and seek your reward”. Now ponder for a moment. For example we perform salaah to earn the grace of Allah Ta’ala.
We discharge it with concentration and devotion so that Allah Ta’ala becomes pleased with us. However, if someone was made a partner in it, then we have destroyed all our efforts to please Allah Ta’ala. When Allah Ta’ala will announce on the day of Judgement that so and so person is guilty of riyaa, what a humiliation it will be for us! On that day our book of deeds will be empty of any good actions.
When a person has a good opinion about his action or his opinion, then this is ujb (conceit). In such a situation he should recall his sins, that “I have as many sins in my account. Thus, could I be happy and pleased with myself? If my sins were to be exposed to others, then how low and evil will they think of me.” Sit in solitude and reflect over these words. Insha-Allah, it will protect one from riyaa and ujb. May Allah Ta’ala safeguard each one of us from such spiritual diseases. (Maktoobaat vol. 1, pg. 39)