What Is Riya (Ostentation)?

Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah

Question: Assalamu Alaykum

I hope all are well. Please tell me if any of the following constitute disbelief (kufr).

1) Praying in front of pictures of animate beings or praying when one has a strong urge to relieve oneself.
2) Not going to hajj and not paying zakat however not denying their obligatory nature.
3) To commit Zina (I came across a Hadith which warranted that whoever does this belief departs from their body).
4) To have one or all of the qualities of a hypocrite mentioned in Ahadith.
5) At what point would disobeying the prophet become disbelief.
6) Is raising your voice above the prophet’s صلى الله عليه وعلى آله وسلم disbelief and if so what actions fall into this?
7) If one utters a blasphemy whilst unaware are there consequences?

ANSWER: Wa’alaykum assalam. I pray you’re well.

Disbelief usually occurs due to saying something blasphemous, denying something that is necessarily known of the religion, or mocking the religion. While one should always be careful in speech, fretting too much or constantly about one’s whether one’s words amount to disbelief can lead to baseless misgivings (waswasa).

General advice:

– Be mindful in speech, no matter what the subject.

– Learn the religion, particularly fiqh (law) and aqidah (belief), as well as spirituality.

– Repeat the testification of faith much daily, ‘La ilaha ill Allah’

Specific Answers:

Q1 – 4: No, these do not constitute disbelief.

Q5: Disobeying the Prophet would only constitute disbelief if one outright denies a confirmed sunna, makes mockery or light of a sunna, or meaning to debase the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) or the sunna, or other similar things. Not fulfilling an obligation while believing it is obligatory is sinful but not disbelief, even if neglected out of laziness. While not fulfilling a sunna is not sinful, but one has lost a great reward.

Q6: No, this is not Kufr unless done with the intentions we have mentioned above.

Q7. If one utters words which could entail blasphemy without being aware or out of ignorance, then it is possible that there are consequences. This depends on what is said and how it is said and the context it is said in. For example, a mocking person is different to a person who is merely questioning a matter. While others should try to give the person the benefit of the doubt and must avoid making takfir of anyone, the person themselves, if they fear they may have said something that could entail disbelief, then they should say the testification of faith to themselves, repent, and be more careful with their speech.

Please also see these related answers:

Disbelief Archives

Warmest salams,

[Shaykh] Jamir Meah

Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.

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