“Learn the intention, for it is more serious than the action.”
Yahyaa ibn Abee Katheer
[Jaamiul-Uloom wal-Hikam, p.34]
Ibn Kathir mentioned in his Tafseer that Abu al-Darda’ r.a. said: If I become certain that Allah has accepted even one prayer from me, it will be better for me than this life and all that in it. This is because Allah says:
“Verily, Allah accepts only from the those who have Taqwa.”
And Rasulallah s.a.w. said:
“The deeds are considered by the intentions,
and a person will get the reward according to his intention.”
[Bukhari & Muslim]
Whenever we do a good deed, have sincere intention that it is done for the sake of Allah s.w.t., not for praise nor popularity. Unfortunately today, especially with the easy access of social media, it’s easy for us to do things in public, but difficult in secret. Ask ourselves when we publicize a good deed: Am I doing this sincerely for Allah?
Our righteous salaf loved to conceal their acts of worship. Tameem ibn Aws al-Daari r.a. was asked, “How do you pray at night?” To this, he got very angry and said, “By Allah, one rak’ah that I pray in secret in the small hours of the night is more beloved to me than praying the whole night long and then telling people about it.” Indeed how far away have we become?
We have a problem if our private affairs are not better than our public affairs. The greatest loss of all is when all those good deeds we thought we were accumulating amount to nothing on the Day of Judgment.
So no matter how many good deeds we may have done, don’t be amazed by them. Unless we wish to encourage others to do the same, it’s best not to publicize our good deeds, lest Shaytan corrupts our intention.