Ostentation and desire for fame brings loss in both worlds

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Hazrat Mir Muhammad Ishaqra

مَنْ‭ ‬سَمَّعَ‭ ‬سَمَّعَ‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬بِهِ‭ ‬وَمَنْ‭ ‬رَاءَى‭ ‬رَاءَى‭ ‬اللّٰهُ‭ ‬بِهِ

[“If anyone wants to have their deeds widely publicised, Allah will publicise (their humiliation). And if anyone makes a hypocritical display (of their deeds) Allah will make a display of them.” (Sahih Muslim, Book of purity and softening of hearts, Hadith 59)]

This hadith means the person who does something in this world with the intention of acquiring fame or showing off to people, God Almighty will give them an equivalent recompense [in the Hereafter].

This is because the person performed good deeds in this world to show off and secure fame, rather than attaining God Almighty’s pleasure and benefitting His creation. For this reason, God Almighty will give a corresponding requital to such people [in the Hereafter]. 

A verse of the Holy Quran supports this aspect of the hadith. Allah says:

جَزَآءً‮ ‬وِّفَاقًا

[“A befitting requital”. (Surah al-Naba, Ch.78: V.27)]

Meaning, on the Day of Judgment, people will get an equivalent reward or punishment. There are many types of these equivalents – one being intention. The type of intention one had behind their deeds on this earth, God will give an equivalent and corresponding recompense in the Hereafter to that intention. 

Everyone should strive to stay away from these two destructive bad habits; showing off and trying to acquire fame. This is because the one who shows off and desires fame can neither attain true contentment and respect in this world nor in the Hereafter – after all, why would Allah give such a person reward for the deeds they never intended to be for God’s pleasure alone? In other words, such a person will be at loss in both worlds. 

(Translated by Al Hakam from the original Urdu published in Al Fazl, 16 May 1940, p. 3)

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