What Is Riya (Ostentation)?

Is It Disbelief to Picture God in One’s Mind as Understood by Other Religions?

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is it disbelief for a muslim to denounce christianity by thinking within himself that if God had a son that would imply that God has a genital organ like that of human beings and to bring to his mind the exact image of a human genital organ in the context that God would have that if he had a son?

Answer: As-salamu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

Consolation from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace)

There is nothing to worry about. Finding that you have such thoughts and feelings revolted by them is something which people better than us experienced. Some of the Companions went to the Messenger of Allah and said, ‘We find that we have have thoughts too terrible for us to express!’ He said, ‘Is this really the case?’ ‘Yes!’ they responded, at which he said, ‘That is clear faith!’ (Muslim).

The intent of the hadith is that the disgust at having such thoughts is the appropriate reaction anyone with true faith would have. In fact, the advice of the great Moroccan saint, Mawlana al-Arabi al-Darqawi, is for you to actually feel happy when you have such thoughts (al-Rasaʾil al-Darqawiyya).

Why, you ask? Such thoughts originate from the Devil. He is envious of all humans – especially those who believe in Allah. This is faith that makes you loath these thoughts is a ticket to a place where there is no pain, no sadness, no loneliness, no fatigue, no effort, even: Paradise. Allah has promised it to all believers.

This is why you should be happy. Thanking Allah for your faith will help you much more than worrying about whether it is a sin. If you can’t control a thought you are not questionable for it. Do this and they should disappear.

What to do if they persist

If you do not find any improvement then you should look into some from of therapy, such as those mentioned in this answer. Intrusive thoughts are a form of O.C.D. which can be treated.

May Allah give you the best of both worlds.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 to study and sit at the feet of some of the most erudite scholars of our time.

Over the following eighteen months he studied a traditional curriculum, studying with scholars such as Shaykh Adnan Darwish, Shaykh Abdurrahman Arjan, Shaykh Hussain Darwish and Shaykh Muhammad Darwish.

In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years, in Fiqh, Usul al-Fiqh, Theology, Hadith Methodology and Commentary, Shama’il, and Logic with teachers such as Dr Ashraf Muneeb, Dr Salah Abu’l-Hajj, Dr Hamza al-Bakri, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, Dr Mansur Abu Zina amongst others. He was also given two licences of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital by Shakh Samir Jabr and Shaykh Yahya Qandil.

His true passion, however, arose in the presence of Shaykh Ali Hani, considered by many to be one of the foremost tafsir scholars of our time who provided him with the keys to the vast knowledge of the Quran. With Shaykh Ali, he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic Sciences, Tafsir, Arabic Grammar, and Rhetoric.

When he finally left Jordan for the UK in 2014, Shaykh Ali gave him his distinct blessing and still recommends students in the UK to seek out Shaykh Abdul-Rahim for Quranic studies. Since his return he has trained as a therapist and has helped a number of people overcome emotional and psychosomatic issues. He is a keen promoter of emotional and mental health.