Taking Oneself to Account Regarding Love of Praise and Self-Amazement!
Imaam Sufyaan Ath’Thawree (rahimahullaah) said: Beware of what corrupts your deeds, for indeed Riyaa is what corrupts your deeds. And if it is not Riyaa, then it may be you being amazed with yourself until it makes you think that you are more virtuous than your brother. It may be that you have not achieved deeds the likes of which he has achieved, and it may be that he has more Wara [apprehensive fear(Ref:1)] and righteous deeds than you.
And if it is not self-amazement, then beware of loving the praise of the people-loving their praise so that they may honour you due to your deeds and see you as someone of nobility and high status in their hearts. Remembering death a lot is enough to make you have less concern for the things of the worldly life and make you have a fervent desire for the afterlife. A prolonged hope (for the things of this worldly life) is enough as a (means) to having little fear of (Allaah) and committing acts of disobedience, and the distress and regret on the Day of Judgment is enough for the one who knows but does not act. [Abridged and slightly paraphrased…Source: Hilyatul Awliyaa: 6/391]
[Ref 1: الورع – Al-Wara (apprehensive fear)]: The translation of this tern as ‘Apprehensive fear’ was taken from one of Ustaadh Amjad Rafiq’s articles