A knowledgeable seeker wrote,
‘Showing off (riya) is a deliberate (ikhteyari) action. Therefore, it’s treatment will also be a conscious effort. For example, if in an action there is intention to show off, I will (deliberately) change my intention and make it for pleasing Allah.
If this is enough for getting rid of show off and acquiring sincerity (ikhlas) then there is no need of any further treatment.
Please, let me know if this approach is correct or not.’
Hakim al Umma Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (Allah have mercy on him) replied,
‘This approach is correct and sufficient.
However, it is not enough to merely know this and be able to implement it. Most of the people of this path (sulook) are deceived in this regards.
In fact, it is essential to be consciously aware (of suspicion of show off) and be able to practice this approach for a prolonged duration until it is ingrained (in one’s morals) and a stable state (tamkeen) is achieved. And (in this state the notion of) showing off (riya) does not exist even at the level of the whispering of the lower self (Hadith-e-nafs).
This (understanding) is derived from the saying of Allah in regards to spending (in His way),”The example of those who spend their wealth to seek the pleasure of Allah and to make firm (their faith) from (the depths of) their souls is……..[2:265].” Know that the desired التثبيت is with genuine sincerity of intention.’
Tarbiyet us Salik, volume 3, page 99-100