Purification of the Heart’s Sicknesses using the Name of Allah: Al ‘Aleem

The Scholars said that the Name Al -‘Aleem العليم  is the greatest warner and admonisher. It is mentioned about 150 times in the Qur’an.

If you know the meaning of this Name, it will purify your heart from sicknesses. Allah mentions in 11 verses in the Qur’an, that He is “عليم بذات الصدور”; which means that Allah knows what is in the breast. The breast (heart) encompasses our beliefs, wills, intentions, and resolutions, as well as the sicknesses of the heart; and Allah knows about it all in detail. No heart beats for the blink of an eye (i.e. nothing is missed), but Allah knows about that movement, whether that movement was for Him or for other than Him. We have to keep watch over our hearts.

1) Envy الحسد

In Surat An-Nisa’ [4:32]:

“And wish not for the things in which Allah has made some of you to excel others. For men there is reward for what they have earned, (and likewise) for women there is reward for what they have earned, and ask Allah of His Bounty. Surely, Allah is Ever All-Knower of everything.”

Shaikh As-Sa’di رحمه الله said in his explanation of the above verse:

ينهى تعالى المؤمنين عن أن يتمنى بعضهم ما فضل الله به غيره من الأمور الممكنة وغير الممكنة

Allah warns the faithful not to covet the things which Allah has granted to others out of His benefaction and benevolence to them; whether such things are possible to attain or not.

فلا تتمنى النساء خصائص الرجال التي بها فضلهم على النساء، ولا صاحب الفقر والنقص حالة الغنى والكمال تمنيا مجردا لأن هذا هو الحسد بعينه، تمني نعمة الله على غيرك أن تكون لك ويسلب إياها

Therefore, women should not covet those characteristics of men by which Allah has granted them a higher degree. Neither should the disadvantaged or those with a disability covet someone’s wealth and/ or a perfect physique, because such unattainable wishes could fall under the category of envy.


If a person, after witnessing Allah’s bounties in the possession of another, wishes that those bounties be taken away from that individual or destroyed and given to him, then this is considered pure envy حسد. Accordingly, we should be careful with our wishes, because Allah says: “تتمنوا“, which means wishing.

ولأنه يقتضي السخط على قدر الله والإخلاد إلى الكسل والأماني الباطلة التي لا يقترن بها عمل ولا كسب. وإنما المحمود أمران

Moreover, making such a wish is tantamount to being angry with Allah’s virtue (righteousness) and pre-ordainment and is an indication that the person is indulging in the evils of indolence and false desires, which are hazards in the way of struggle and practicality. However, the following two factors are exempted from this principle and are rather desirable:

  أن يسعى العبد على حسب قدرته بما ينفعه من مصالحه الدينية والدنيوية

1) A person should make every legal effort within his ability and power to attain worldly and religious benefits

  ويسأل الله تعالى من فضله، فلا يتكل على نفسه ولا على غير ربه

2) A person should beg Allah for His blessings, and should never rely on his own ability and skill, or those of anyone else except Allah.

ولهذا قال تعالى: { لِلرِّجَالِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا اكْتَسَبُوا } أي: من أعمالهم المنتجة للمطلوب. { وَلِلنِّسَاءِ نَصِيبٌ مِمَّا اكْتَسَبْنَ }فكل منهم لا يناله غير ما كسبه وتعب فيه. { وَاسْأَلُوا اللَّهَ مِنْ فَضْلِهِ } أي: من جميع مصالحكم في الدين والدنيا. فهذا كمال العبد وعنوان سعادته لا من يترك العمل، أو يتكل على نفسه غير مفتقر لربه، أو يجمع بين الأمرين فإن هذا مخذول خاسر. وقوله: { إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمًا } فيعطي من يعلمه أهلا لذلك، ويمنع من يعلمه غير مستحق

For this reason Allah says {men shall have a reward for they have earned} that is, men will reap the reward of their fruitful deeds, {and women shall have a reward for what they have earned}. None will earn except that which they strive for and make effort for. {Therefore, ask Allah for His bounty}, referring to His blessings in all your worldly and religious affairs. This is the peak of perfection for the believer and it is an indication of his being blessed. The one who refrains from doing good deeds, relying instead on his own self and who does not consider himself dependent on Allah, is deprived of this blessing. As for the one who abandons effort or relies on himself without feeling a need to turn to Allah, or he combines these two things, then such a person is a complete failure and has deprived himself of all good. {Allah has full knowledge of everything}; He grants blessings to the one and He knows is deserving of them and deprives it from the one He knows is not deserving of them. 

Allah knows who deserves the blessing, and who does not. If He did not give it to you, it because He knows that it is not good for you. Perhaps if He had given you the blessing you are wishing for, it would have destroyed you. So do not wish to attain that which Allah has not given you. Be satisfied, and if it is attainable, put in the effort to attain it and ask Allah for it. And Allah is the All-Knower of what is good for you, and what is not good for you. 

 2) Seeking Reputation  السمعة 

The Prophet ﷺ said:

من سمع سمع الله به ومن يرائي يرائي الله به

“If anyone wants to have his deeds widely publicized, Allah will publicize (his humiliation). And if anyone makes a hypocritical display (of his deeds) Allah will make a display of him.” [Bukhari]

التسميع Seeking Reputation has three meanings:

#1-  To talk about ones good deed in order to make other people hear about it. 

For example, a person does a good deed secretly, i.e he establishes the night in prayer. Then, in the morning, he talks about it to the people.  Although he hides it from the people when performing it, he cannot hold it and talks about it in order to get the praise of people or have a good reputation with them.

If the person afflicted with this sickness does not take care of it, it may progress, until he starts telling lies – saying he did good deeds which he did not do – in order to keep people praising him or for him to keep his status with the people. We are concealed by Allah’s ستر Satr. Allah is الستيرAs-Siteer   and He conceals our defects. But Allah will treat the person who wants others to talk about his good deeds, contrary to what he intends. He seeks the praise of the people, and Allah will make the people dispraise him.

#2- To know the defect of a certain Muslim and then cause other people to hear of it

This is what is happening in the social media nowadays, whereby a person knows the defect of someone and spreads it to everyone.

#3- To examine the Shari’ah very carefully, in order to raise doubts about it, and then make people hear it.

This is what the hypocrites do. They look for unclear verses, then raise doubts about it in order to make the people know it.

Note: Nowadays, there is a war going around –  War of thoughts حرب الأفكار. The disbelievers are not fighting the Muslims with weapons, but with thoughts. They are trying to attack true Islam through ignorant Muslims so as to raise doubts about the Qur’an, the Scholars, the Sunnah. This started some time ago, but we are seeing the effects of it now. They raise doubts about Al-Bukhari, the existence of Allah, and say it rather boldly.  Their aim is to divert the Muslims from learning the Tafseer of the Qur’an. If Muslims really take care of the Tafseer and Tadabbur of the Qur’an they will increase in faith, and they (the disbelievers) do not want that to happen. They do not want the Muslims to have any trust in the Scholars. Do not be the tool being used by disbelievers to raise doubts regarding the Tafseer, Sunnah, Scholars, etc.

The Recompense for each

“سمع الله به” in the Dunya and Hereafter.

Because الجزاء من جنس العمل – The Recompense is of the same nature as the Deed

For the first type :  Allah will make the people hear about his weak religious commitment, weak faith, and his defects.

For the second type: Allah will publicly disclose his defects, whether in the Dunya or the Hereafter. In the Hereafter, Allah will publicly expose him in front of all the people, disclosing his action and his intention. Just as he spread the defects of the people, Allah will make people publicize his defects. Whoever follows up or spreads the defects of people, Allah will make his defects known to the people. 

For the third type: Allah will disclose his intention of wanting corruption and scandalize him, so the former and the latter will curse him.

3) الرياء (Showing Off)

It comes from the word راء; to see. The person does the good deed to be publicly seen by the people. He does the good deed in front of people with the intention of seeking their praise. The matter thus revolves around praise.

This is of different types and categories:

1) A person publicly does good deeds and is  keen for it to be in front of the people, in order to be praised. E.g. A cassette is playing the Qur’an and he recites along with it to show the people that he knows the Surah.

2) He does a good deed secretly, and while he is performing it, he wishes for someone to enter and see him. 

E.g. He is at home praying and reciting Quran with a nice voice, and at that moment it enters his heart that he wishes such and such person will hear him.

3) He does a  good deed in secret, while trying his best to show the impact of that deed on himself. 

E.g. He spent the whole night in prayer. Then, in the morning he is tired and he tries to show the people in the morning he is tired, feeling sleepy, etc.

E.g. Someone is talking and he does not let the other person complete his sentence without completing it for him, in order to show the people that he has knowledge. 

E.g. Uttering words such as “They were nothing and I made them something.” or “I am the one who suggested this project” or “The success of this place is because I helped”

We should be afraid that if we deal with Allah in this way; by hiding an evil intention and showing something contrary, that He is العليم بذات الصدور and might reveal our real intention. Prevent yourself whenever any of these thoughts come to you, by seeking refuge with Allah and turning away from these thoughts. This is because these thoughts may reach to the extent whereby a person will actually reveal his intention and praise himself.

The مسمع and مرائي  (show off) will always talk and praise themselves. Sometimes they may even dispraise themselves in order to make people praise them.

E.g. Uttering words such as “I wish I could memorize the Quran, I wish I could do such and such,etc.” in order for people to say ” ماشاء الله  you are humble, you can do that, you are good.” 

This kind of person begs for praise through this lowly way.

The Shaytan is very clever with regards to this matter.

What is the recompense?

“يرائي الله به” – Allah will disclose his real intention to the people. The people will come to know that he is a show off.

This does not mean you should suspect people of showing off. If you do come across a person showing off with his deed, be careful of revealing it to others. You should conceal his defect, ask Allah’s forgiveness and guidance for him and you, and you may advise him secretly. But do not say, “I saw so and so doing such and such” because this is also a sin, and we should not doubt people.

Seeking reputation and showing off in your deeds are both minor Shirk, and Allah does not forgive Shirk if a person dies upon it. This ruling applies when it is practiced in the religion with regards to acts of worship. However , if it does not reach the level of Shirk in a person’s worldly matters, he  is still in danger because if one always seeks the praise of people, it will gradually move to one’s acts of worship. 

E.g. A woman beautifies herself in order to hear the praise of people. This is not minor Shirk, but it is risky, because it may eventually lead her to adorn her acts of worship in order to attain praise.

If you see yourself loving the praise of people, you are at risk. You should not wait for any word of praise from the people. 

The State of the مسمع and رياء in the Hereafter: 

وعن جُندب بن عبد الله بن سفيان رضي الله عنه قال‏:‏ قال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏:‏ ‏”‏من سمَّع سمَّع الله به، ومن يرائي الله يرائي به‏”‏ ‏(‏‏(‏متفق عليه‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏ ‏(‏‏(‏رواه مسلم أيضًا من رواية ابن عباس رضي الله عنه‏)‏‏)‏‏.‏ 

“‏سمَّع‏”‏ بتشديد الميم، ومعناه‏:‏ أظهر عمله للناس رياء ‏”‏ سمَّع الله به‏”‏ أي فضحه يوم القيامة، ومعنى‏:‏ ‏”‏ من راءى‏”‏ أي‏:‏ من أظهر للناس العمل الصالح ليعظم عندهم ‏”‏راءى الله به‏”‏ أي‏:‏ أظهر سريرته على رءوس الخلائق‏.‏

Jundub (رضي الله عنه) said: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “He who so acts to show off, Allah will disgrace him on the Day of Resurrection, and he who does good deeds so that people (may hold him in high esteem), Allah will expose his hidden evil intentions before the people on the Day of Resurrection.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Allah will call them in front of all the people and reveal their intention saying, “So and so did such and such action seeking the praise of people” The people will not only know his defects, but they will see it. We all have defects, but Allah conceals the defects of those who are sincere, because He is As-Sitteer  الستير. Allah will however reveal the defects of those who seek the praise of the people. 

Risks of السمعة and الرياء:

1. The greatest risk regarding السمعة and الرياء is that they are minor Shirk. This means that the person must be purified with Hellfire if he dies upon Shirk, even if it is a minor Shirk. Also, if the person continuously does it, it could lead him to Major Shirk. 

2.  السمعة and الرياء may begin with one or two small actions, but if a person does not give it up in these actions, all his actions will be performed for the sake of رياء. If the person neglects to take account of himself, this will gradually grow until he does everything for the sake of praise; until he will be known as a show off.

3. A little of it nullifies the deed.

The Prophet ﷺ said, إِنَّ أَخْوَفَ مَا أَخَافُ عَلَيْكُمْ اَلشِّرْكُ اَلْأَصْغَرُ: اَلرِّيَاءُ “The thing I fear most for you is the lesser Shirk (polytheism), showing-off (of good deeds).” [Bulugh Al-Maram]

The Prophet ﷺ feared it for his companions.  This is because the person who does that will not be forgiven on the Day of Judgment, and he must be purified through admittance into Hellfire. Minor Shirk will not be weighed along with the evil and good deeds. If a person comes with Shirk, nothing will purify him except the Hellfire. This is one of the opinions of the Scholars – that even minor Shirk is unforgivable. After the person is purified in Hell, Allah may admit the person guilty of minor Shirk into Paradise. He will not abide in Hell forever, but he will be cast into it for a short time. The problem with the person guilty of minor Shirk is that he performs  good deeds while seeking the pleasure of the people. He is not satisfied with the pleasure of Allah, He associates people with Allah. He performs the prayer and fasting for Allah, and also for seeking the praise of people. As for major Shirk, the person directs all his acts of worship to other than Allah. So we should therefore be careful. People who come with major Sins, but no Shirk, are under the will of Allah. Allah may or may not forgive their major sins, if they die without repentance. But Shirk is clearly unforgivable if a person dies upon it. It is minor in the sense that a person will not abide in Hell forever, unlike the person condemned of major Shirk.

Read Part 2 of this post: Purification of the Heart’s Sicknesses ( Love of Praise & Showing off – The Remedy)

Read our posts about the Name of Allah: Al-‘Aleem




About Enlightenment into Islam Center

The Enlightenment into Islam Center is a community of sisters who aim to please Allah by seeking knowledge and calling the people (Muslims as well as non-Muslims) to Tawheed and obedience to Allah by spreading the true knowledge of Islam based on the Qur'an and the Sunnah.

Posted on April 1, 2017, in Nullifier of the Deeds, The Name of Allaah Al-'Aleem, The Reformation of Hearts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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