The root source of ostentation (riya) is desire, wanting something from a source other than God. The cure for ostentation is actively and sincerely seeking out purification of the heart by removing four things:
- love of praise;
- fear of blame;
- desire for worldly benefit from people; and
- fear of harm from people.
This is accomplished by nurturing the certainty (yaqin) that only God can benefit or harm one. This is at the essence of the Islamic creed.
Helen Keller once said that there is no slave in this world that didn't have a king somewhere in his ancestry; and there is no king that didn't have a slave somewhere in his ancestry. This world has peaks and valleys. Nothing in creation is permanent. To spend time and energy seeking permanence in the fleeting things of the world - like praise - and then neglect what lasts forever with our Maker is the summit of human folly.
So recognizing that there is no harm or benefit except with God purifies the heart of vain pursuits and ostentation.Compiled From:
"Purification of The Heart" - Hamza Yusuf, pp. 57-59