Characteristics of the Hypocrites

Continuation of the book by Harun Yahya, The Secrets of the Hypocrites.

Those who break Allah’s contract after it has been agreed, and sever what Allah has commanded to be joined, and cause corruption on the Earth, it is they who are the lost.

Al-Baqara: 27

The lexical meaning of munafiq (hypocrite in Arabic) is anyone who gives rise to “confusion and corruption.” That is the real motive for entering the communities of the faithful. They are determined in what they do, taking every opportunity to act against the order established by the faithful. Although hypocrites are not believers, they seek to portray themselves as ones and thus, to make use of the opportunities that believers offer them. But whenever a difficulty or trouble arises, they at once depart and cross over to the other side. Their true nature emerges only in times of adversity. This clearly indicates that they remain alongside the faithful for the sake of their own interests. This attitude, described in the Qur`an, has hundreds of different features. Our Prophet (saas) described the features of hypocrites in these terms:

The Prophet (s) said, “The signs of a hypocrite are three:

Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
Whenever he makes a promise, he always breaks it.
If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest.

(Sahih Bukhari)

However, in order to recognize the character of the hypocrite, we first need to know about their belief in Allah.

Their Belief in Allah and the Hereafter is Superficial

No matter where they may live, everyone has a duty to believe in Allah, and to worship Him as their only God, and to worship Him. They therefore need the Qur`an, the word of Allah.

However, the responsibility of someone with no knowledge—who, in other words, has never been called to the Qur`an—is of course not the same as that of someone who’s been invited to live according to the Qur`an and who has grasped its fine details. The latter is responsible for fulfilling his obligation to Allah literally. The hypocrite assumes this responsibility by saying that he believes in Allah and accepts the Qur`an. He has learned that first and foremost, he needs to live for Allah. For as long as he lives among believers, he sees that they constantly call upon Allah and the verses of the Qur`an, and also recognize His messenger. Nonetheless, however, he turns his back on all this. Allah addresses those who engage in such behavior:

How can you disbelieve, when Allah’s signs are recited to you and the messenger is there among you? . . .

Ali ‘Imran: 101

This verse is significant in revealing the hypocrites’ attitude towards the verses of Allah. Reading and listening to the Qur`an enhances a believer’s faith. Ordinarily, when a hypocrite sharing the same environment as the Messenger hears verses in which he claims to believe, one would expect his faith to increase and his heart to soften. Yet his true objective is not to increase his faith, but to gain advantages in this life and benefits in this world. For that reason, this miracle occurs: Although he constantly listens to the verses of the Qur`an and is constantly shown how to abide by them, the sickness in his heart remains uncured.

It must not be forgotten that everything done for the approval of Allah may be a criterion and a vehicle for attaining Paradise. Yet one of the hypocrite’s most distinguishing features is the concessions he makes in seeking to earn Allah’s approval, even though he appears to have faith in some form. In fact, the moment any difficulty arises his flexibility and elasticity manifest themselves immediately. Allah tells us:

. . . Once the matter [of fighting] was determined, being true to Allah would be better for them.

Muhammad: 21

In times of difficulty, the hypocrite can be seen to forget the promises he made before and display disloyal behavior. At any moment, he is prone to make U-turns and lose his superficial faith. This failure to believe in Allah literally stems from his failure to believe unequivocally in the Hereafter—despite his claiming that he does.

When the believers under the command of the Prophet Muhammad (s) were fighting against the deniers, one group from within their ranks lost their faith in the face of the enemy, began imagining things about Allah and the Prophet (s)—and in this way, revealed their true faces:

At that point the believers were tested and severely shaken. When the hypocrites and people with sickness in their hearts said, “What Allah and His Messenger promised us was mere delusion.”

Al-Ahzab: 11-12

In contrast to the weakness displayed by the hypocrites, however, the faithful’s strength only grew:

When the believers saw the Confederates, they said: “This is what Allah and His Messenger promised us. Allah and His Messenger told us the truth.” It only increased them in faith and in submission.

Al-Ahzab: 22

From Belief They Turn to Denial

They swear by Allah that they said nothing, but they definitely spoke the word of disbelief and returned to disbelief after their Islam. They planned something which they did not achieve. . . .

At-Tawba: 74

Within their ranks, there may be various types of hypocrites. Some, for example, enter communities of the faithful solely in order to secure their own material interests. Others join with them solely out of hatred, and intend to work against them in secret. Additionally, there may be hypocrites who once had faith when they entered among believers, but who subsequently lost that faith as their hearts grew hard and thus, become divorced from them. Such people, believers at first, have lost their good intentions and turned to denial. In fact, however, they have made promises of loyalty to Allah and to believers, and vowed to remain determined in their faith. This two-faced behavior is described in the Qur`an:

Those who break Allah’s contract after it has been agreed. . .

Al-Baqara: 27

They Generate From the Community of the Faithful

There is a group of you who propagated the lie. . . .

An-Nur: 11

How can hypocrites enter communities of the faithful? The answer is given in the Qur`an: The hypocrite has an enormous ability to portray himself as a true believer. He can hide his true nature—albeit for a short time—by praying and calling on Allah in the same way a believer does. Another reason why he is able to conceal his true nature is because believers are naturally predisposed to give him the benefit of the doubt. If someone comes among them and says, “I am a believer,” they regard him as such. This acceptance stems entirely from their excellent moral values and efforts to earn Allah’s approval. Even if believers do realize at once that the intentions of that individual are perverted, they’ll generally permit him to remain among them in the hope that perhaps in time, he will correct himself and come to faith.

It will be useful to examine the general features of hypocrites in the light of these statements…


2 replies
  1. zahir junejo
    zahir junejo says:

    i think i am in this list. but cmon i dont think that even the most powerful true muslim can guarantee that hes no hypocrite. Theres no telling wat may turn them away from faith.

  2. TMO
    TMO says:

    Yes that’s true. Even the best Muslim could wake up a hypocrite, or the most sincere one. Some people who pray and appear to be pious are in fact terrible people.