They Seek to Turn People from the Path of Allah
One of the important responsibilities Allah imposes on a believer is to command what is good and forbid what is evil, and to announce the world the stipulations of the Qurâ€™anâ€™s moral values. It is to warn people to save their eternal lives in the Hereafter by explaining the vital issue of which they are heedless. This responsibility is great, and the work to be done is wide-ranging. For believers, being a vehicle whereby even one person acquires faith is of the greatest importance in obtaining Allahâ€™s approval.
However, the attitude of hypocrites is just about the exact opposite of what it should be. Instead of calling people to the path of Allah, they have undertaken to turn people from it, showing that they act under the inspiration of satan. Instead of being a means whereby people come to faith, the hypocriteâ€™s main objective is, like satan, to turn them aside from that path and attract others to the ranks of the hypocrites:
Among people there is one who argues about Allah without knowledge or guidance or any light-giving book, turning away arrogantly, to misguide people from the way of Allah. He will be disgraced in this world and on the Day of Resurrection We will make him taste the punishment of the burning.
Hypocrites employ a variety of methods. In applying them, however, their main characteristic is cunning. They seek to hinder believers by following a two-faced approach while remaining in their midst. This is doubtless the main reason why they will be made â€œthe lowest of the lowâ€ in the Hereafter.
They Bear Tales about Believers to the Deniers
. . . and among you are listeners on behalf of them. . .
Hypocritesâ€™ greatest desire is to see the society of believers fall apart. For that reason they combine forces with deniers, whom they believe to be very powerful, and embark on a cunning struggle against believers. A unified community of believers represents a severe danger to them. Therefore, they first and foremost seek to eliminate that unity. They aim to wreak as much harm as possible, or rather they strive to do so.
They regard their presence inside a society of believers as an advantage, imagining that while in their midst, they will be able to engage in much covert activity against them, being able to round up news and information. Yet every action they take rebounds as a problem back on their own heads and fails to achieve any aim.
The objective of these people, who initiate co-operation with deniers while still within the community of believers, is to learn the believersâ€™ tactics and then transmit these to the deniers. At this point, however, a factor enters the equation that the hypocrites either do not know or else underestimate. Allah never permits the establishment of any order that works against believers. Over the course of history, all the snares set by hypocrites have collapsed. According to Allahâ€™s promise, this will continue in the future. Everything they do will be condemned to failure.
They Whisper in Secret
Hypocrites engage in secret talk while in the midst of believers, intending to provoke sin, enmity and rebellion:
Donâ€™t you see those who were forbidden to confer together secretly returning to the very thing they were forbidden to do, and conferring together secretly in wrongdoing and enmity and disobedience to the messenger? .
While in the community of the faithful, they establish a secret union amongst themselves and draw up plans against the believers. One example of this was seen in the days of the Prophet Muhammad (s):
As for those who have set up a mosque, causing harm and out of disbelief, to create division between the believers, and in readiness for those who previously made war on Allah and His Messenger, they will swear, â€œWe only desired the best.â€ But Allah bears witness that they are truly liars.
The hypocrites of that time secured a separate area from the believers from which to observe from afar the Prophet (saas) and those around him, learn what they were doing and set traps for them. The Qurâ€™an particularly mentions this characteristic of hypocrites. The hypocrites who do so imagine that by keeping something hidden from believers and by drawing up secret plans, they will thus achieve success. The fact is, however, that Allah sees all that they do, as is revealed in this verse: â€œDonâ€™t they know that Allah knows their secrets and their private talk, and that Allah is the Knower of all unseen things?â€ (Surat at-Tawba: 78) This behavior stems, of course, from their failure to believe this important secret.
Not only do they adopt an atheistic approach among believers, they also whisper rebellion against the Prophet (saas). But in the Hereafter, when everything they ever did is set out before them, they will realize that what they did was not secret and that it is enough that Allah, the Supporter of the believers, is aware of all plans prepared against them. Hypocrites do not expect Allah to reveal all these activities they seek to conceal from other people, because again, it is human beings whom they fear. In fact, though, all their deeds will be held to account in the Hereafter, and their actions they regarded as secretâ€”which they imagined would never see the light of dayâ€”will be laid out, one by one, before them.
They Organize Evil
Believers spend their lives performing religious observances for Allah and undertaking the most serious endeavors on His path. In the light of that objective, they seek to spend every moment of their lives in search of the good; because they know the uncertainty surrounding the time of their deaths.
But hypocrites, as in everything else, behave in a totally contrary way to believers. They seek evil at every moment of their lives. Deliberately planning to slander the innocent or prepare snares for believers, they seek to harm the faithful. All their efforts are directed against believers. The main starting point for their efforts is the resentment they feel towards believers and the verses of Allah. Each warning issued only intensifies the hatred within them and strengthens their desire for revenge, as is revealed in verses:
. . . But then when a warner did come to them, it only increased their aversion, shown by their arrogance in the land and evil plotting. But evil plotting envelops only those who do it. . . .
This hatred they feel can cause them to do many things. As prophets come to remind them of goodness and beauty and read the verses of Allah, so the rage inside them grows and leads them towards cunning actions. For that reason, they begin to organize and plan evil against believers. They plan to hinder believersâ€™ activities and seek to provoke discord among them. They endeavor to twist a commandment given to believers and to portray disobedience to the prophet as something desirable. They rebel by committing deeds that the prophet says should not be performed, and seek to garner support. Everything they do is aimed at damaging the existing order and weakening the community of the faithful.
According to what the Qurâ€™an teaches us, however, none of these efforts will have any effect. In all periods of history, those who have plotted against Allahâ€™s order have been vanquished. Anyone who is unable to appreciate Allah properly will continue with these endeavors unaware of this great truth. The fact is that, as is revealed in the Qurâ€™an, any scheming will impinge on none but its author.