قَالُوا: وَمَا الشِّرْكُ الْأَصْغَرُ يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ؟
قَالَ: “الرِّيَاءُ، يَقُولُ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ لَهُمْ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ إِذَا جُزِيَ النَّاسُ بِأَعْمَالِهِمْ اذْهَبُوا إِلَى الَّذِينَ كُنْتُمْ تُرَاءُونَ فِي الدُّنْيَا فَانْظُرُوا هَلْ تَجِدُونَ عِنْدَهُمْ جَزَاءً“
أخرجه أحمد وصححه الألباني
It is narrated from Mahmood ibn Labeed [RA] that the Messenger of Allah [SAWS] said, “Indeed the thing that I fear most for you is the minor shirk.”
The companions asked, “And what is minor shirk, Oh Messenger of Allah [SAWS]?”
He [SAWS] said, “It is Ar-Riyaa. Allah will say to the people of riyaa on the Day of Judgement – when the people are being re-payed for their deeds – ‘Go to those who you showed off your deeds to in the worldly life then see if you can find any reward with them!’”
[Reported by Imam Ahmad and Authenticated by Shaikh Al-Albani]
Vocabulary from the Hadith:
الرِّيَاءُ – Ar-Riyaa
Linguistically, riyaa means showing, displaying something.
In the Shariah, riyaa means a good deed done with the intention that people may see it and praise the doer for the action.
Lessons from the Hadith:
“So you will see the person doing riyaa beautifying the deed in-front of people. And he does not intend obedience to Allah with this beautification of his action.
Truly, some of the most important reasons for riyaa are exhibitionism/pretentiousness, desiring position of significance and weakness of faith. Moreover, the most dangerous consequences of riyaa are deprivation of acceptance of deeds with Allah and the loss of trust/reliance between people.
Allah has certainly set two foundational conditions for the acceptance of deeds. They are:
1) The action is good, righteous action within the bounds of the Shariah and compliant with the Qur’an and Sunnah.
2) The action is done purely for the sake of Allah, far removed from every type of shirk, whether it is major shirk or minor shirk; and riyaa is a type of shirk.”
Explanation taken from www.balligho.com, author of the explanation is not mentioned.