Another widespread and adverse negative quality is that of showing-off. Showing-off means acting in order to be noticed by others. This is something that it often deeply embedded in the human psyche and originates in the very earliest days of the individuated self-form. One of the ways in which people begin to realise their own individual identity is through the way they are affirmed, or indeed negated, by those around them and they start to act in ways which will elicit a particular reaction to reinforce the idea of themselves which they are in the process of building up. This basic patterning tends to be perpetuated as people grow up and gradually forms an integral part of their personality and of the ways they relate to the world.
In practical terms this means that most of the actions which people do are done with the object of gaining either approval or disapproval of people around them. Unfortunately this tendency is frequently so deep rooted that it also extends to acts of worship and other actions whose ostensible object is Allah alone and this is why it is so destructive to the heart. We know that actions are dependant on the intention behind them and if they are done for something other than Allah they are not acceptable as acts of worship. If there is any element of showing-off connected with the action concerned it will be by definition defective with respect to its intention and therefore of no benefit to the worshipper. “Anyone who associates something with Allah has gone very far astray.” (4:116)
(Islam – Its Basic Practices and Beliefs, Abdalhaqq Bewley)