One of the ways of avoiding falling into riyaa’ is to know the things which Shaytaan flees from:
1. When you say: La ilaha illAllaah – wahdahu laa shareeka lahu – lahul-mulku wa lahul-hamdu – wa huwa ‘ala kulli shay’in qadeer.[There is none worthy of worship except Allah alone. He has no partners. To Him belongs the Dominion, to Him belongs all praise and He is capable over all things] a hundred times a day.
The evidence is what has been reported in the Saheeh of al Bukhaari and Muslim from Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allaahu anhu) that Allaah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) mentioned the above words and then said: “He will receive the reward of setting free ten slaves, a hundred good deeds will be written for him and a hundred bad deeds will be erased from him. It will be a sanctuary from Shaytaan for him on that day until he reaches the evening. No one will come with something better except one who increases beyond that”.
2.When you recite the M’uwadhdhataan [Surah al-Falaq and Surah an-Naas].
Abu Sa’eed (radhi Allaahu anhu) said, “Allaah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) used to seek refuge from the jinn and from the effects of the (evil) of men until the m’uwwadhdhataan were revealed. When they were revealed he clung to them and abandoned what was besides them.” (at-Tirmidhi, hasan; an-Nasa’ee and Ibn Maajah – saheeh).
3. Recitation of Ayaat ul-Kursi when you go to bed.
Abu Hurayrah (radhi Allaahu anhu) reported that the Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) put him in charge of guarding the zakaah of Ramadan and someone would come and take handfuls from the zakaah for two nights in succession. On the third night, he (Abu Hurayrah) grabbed him and said: “I will take you to Allaah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam)”. He (the thief) said: “Leave me alone and I will teach you some words by which Allaah will benefit you”. He then said, “When you depart to go to your bed recite aayaat ul-Kursi until you complete it. There wil never cease to be from Allaah a guardian to protect you and Shaytaan will not approach you until you wake up”. When he explained this to Allaahs Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam), he said, “He has told you the truth although he is a great liar”. (al-Bukhaari).
4.Upon saying, when leaving the house “Bismillah tawakaltu ‘ala Allah, la hawla wa la quwata illaa bilLah“ [In the Name of Allah, I place my trust upon Alaah, There is no power nor movement except by Allaah].
Anas (radhi Allaahu anhu) reports that Allaah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) said, “Whoever says (when he leaves his house): “In the Name of Allah, I place my trust upon Alaah, There is no power nor movement except by Allaah” it is said to him: “You have been sufficed, you have been protected and you have been guided”. Then one of the devils turns to another and says, “How can you get to a man who has been sufficed, protected and guided”. (Abu Dawud, at-Tirmidhi, hasan saheeh).
5. Remembering Allaah the Sublime and Exalted when entering the house and before eating.
Jaabir (radhi Allaahu anhu) said: “I heard the Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) say: “When a man enters his house and remembers Allaah the Exalted upon entering and before eating, Shaytaan says: “There is no place for you to spend the night and there is no supper for you.” When he enters the house and does not remember Allaah, Shaytaan says: “You have found a place to spend the night” and when he does not remember Allaah upon eating his food, Shaytaan says: “You have found a place to stay and some supper””. (Muslim).
6. When reciting the Qur’aan.
The Messenger of Allaah (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) went out one night and passed by Abu Bakr (radhi Allaahu anhu) who was praying with a lowered voice. Then he passed by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radhi Allaahu anhu) who was praying with a raised voice When they came together with the Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam), he said, “O Abu Bakr! I passed by you while you were praying with a lowered voice.” Abu Bakr (radhi Allaahu anhu) said, “I made the one with whom I was conversing with (i.e Allaah) hear it, O Messenger of Allaah.” He then said to ‘Umar (radhi Allaahu anhu), “I passed by you while you were praying with a raised voice”. ‘Umar (radhi Allaahu anhu) said, “O Messenger of Allaah! I was incitng those who were asleep and driving away the Shaytaan.” The Prophet (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) then said, “O Abu Bakr! Raise your voice somewhat” and he said to ‘Umar, “lower your voice somewhat”. (Abu Dawood, al Haakim, who declared it saheeh as did adh-Dhahabi).
7.When you move the finger during the prayer.
It is established that Allaah’s Messenger (Sallallaahu alaihi wa Sallam) used to move his finger, supplicating with it (Abu Dawood, an-Nasaa’i, Ibn al-Jaarud in al-Muntaqa and others) and the Messenger of Allaah said, “It is more powerful against the Shaytaan than iron” – meaning the forefinger. (Ahmad and others).