3. Allah Inflicts Various Spiritual Troubles on Them
Allah inflicts various spiritual woes on people who are arrogant before Allah thinking himself self-sufficient, and He makes a dark and narrow life for them in this world. Hypocrites cannot comprehend the source of the spiritual troubles visited upon them and live in confusion, since they are quite incapable of fathoming their origins.
They first harbor uneasiness, whose origins they are unable to identify. Yet the reason for it is actually quite clear.
There is evil in every human beingâ€™s lower self. However, just as he knows this, he also knows to avoid it. That is becauseâ€”as stated in the verse belowâ€”while Allah imparts sin and evil in the human self, He also imparts the inspiration with which to avoid them:
And [I swear by] the self and what proportioned it and inspired it with depravity or sense of duty, he who purifies it has succeeded; he who covers it up has failed.
As we have seen, in the same way that one side of self calls people to wickedness, a person also possesses a conscience that constantly calls him to goodness. The voice of the lower self is that of satan, and the voice of oneâ€™s conscience is the voice of truth. By constantly ignoring their conscience, hypocrites bring the wickedness in their lower selves to the fore. At this point they enter a state of spiritual conflict, and as a result, experience unremitting unease.
In addition to this unease, whose cause they are totally unable to identify, they harbor feelings of restlessness, doubt, and fear. The factor underlying all this fear is their distance from Allah and inability to comprehend that all things are under His control. Since they imagine that events are actually under their own control, they assume that they must also calculate every tiny detail regarding them.
Like all deniers, hypocrites are constantly preoccupied by such worldly matters as how to live, how to please others, how to maintain good health and never fall ill. That is by no means the end of the matter; they panic when they see that events are not going as they wish, and chase even more after the things of this world. This state of affairs persists until they die. Since they refuse to submit, admit their need of Allah, and place their affairs in His hands, they live in permanent stress and restlessness. Their psychological states are described in these terms in the Qurâ€™an:
They imagine every cry to be against them.
In addition, their efforts to make themselves popular and please others actually worsen their uneasy situation. That is because hypocrites, who constantly perform evil and mire themselves in sin, are in fact not liked by many people at all. In the same way that they attract the hatred of believers, they also gain the antipathy of others. Allah depicts them as repellent to others, thus inflicting on them one of the worse troubles they could ever face, that of not being loved, and thus leaving them alone and friendless in both this world and the Hereafter.
These people are unloved by others in the same way that they are unloved by Allah. They seek to give the impression that they are of great stature, though they are not so at all, and thus fall into a most humiliating position. Actually despised by those around them, they never enjoy true respect, and no value is ever placed on their ideas. That they will be demeaned both in this world and in the Hereafter is revealed in the Qurâ€™an:
. . . They will have disgrace in this world and in the Hereafter they will have a terrible punishment.
. . . Do you, then, believe in one part of the Book and reject the other? What repayment will there be for any of you who do that except disgrace in this world? .
4. They Imagine that They will Inevitably be Forgiven
. . . [They are] taking the goods of this lower world, and saying, â€œWe will be forgiven.â€
Due to the disease of self-satisfaction they bear within them, hypocrites imagine that Allah has a great love for them and will inevitably reward them with good things. They maintain that all their many devilish deeds were actually committed with the best of intentions. They think, along the lines of the verse cited above, â€œIf we do wrong, we will be forgiven.â€ This stems from their refusal to recognize Allah or to appreciate His justice.
Yet Allah is He Who punishes evil. Because of what they have done in this world, hypocrites will be gravely disappointed in the next one. They appear to be as one with the community of the faithful, and may engage in various activities. Yet because of the sickness in their hearts, they will see that all their actions in this world count for nothing. However, their self-satisfaction prevents them from seeing this while they are in this world. The position they will face in the Hereafter is described in these terms in verses:
Say: â€œShall I inform you of the greatest losers in their actions? People whose efforts in the life of this world are misguided while they suppose that they are doing good.â€
5. The Physical Harm Wrought by Their Self-Satisfaction
We have already emphasized the consequences to which hypocritesâ€™ actions will give rise. Instead of thinking that these will inflict harm on them, they imagine that they are actually performing good deeds, as the verses tell us. The warnings and reminders issued to them come as a great surprise. They imagine that the believers they deal with are behaving wrongly and are unnecessarily warning totally innocent people. They imagine that the messenger and believers cannot fully appreciate them. However, believers, and the messenger in particular, are perfectly capable of perceiving the sickness in their hearts, both from their defective words and from their external appearances. Indeed, Allah has revealed that His messenger will be able to recognize them:
If We wished, We would show them to you and you would know them by their mark and know them by their ambivalent speech. Allah knows your actions.
But as we have been describing since the very outset, the disease of self-satisfaction actually inflicts great harm on them. Their inner darkness and their uneasy, cunning spiritual state totally impacts on their external appearance. Clear proof can be seen regarding their hypocrisy, both in their speech and in their physical appearance. But as previously stated, only the messenger can establish certain identification on this matter. Following his description, the believers around him witness how their inner darkness is reflected on the outside.
The fact that their ways of speaking and facial expressions are defective, the dark expression that falls over their faces, their inability to understand even the simplest matters, and their lack of wisdom are just a few examples of the damage their sickness inflicts. Yet they cannot see that the blessings in their possession are departing one by one. On the contrary, they imagine that all is well. Indeed, they remain totally unaware of the defects in their external appearance, their gestures, expressions and speech. This is both a great trouble inflicted on them by Allah, and also a trap that will cause their own snares to rebound back on themselves.