Hypocrites are two-faced people who assume a mask of devotion and enter the community of the faithful, whom they seek to harm for as long as they remain alongside them. They tell tales to the deniers, and seek to damage the unity and solidarity among believers. Most of them do dwell among believers, but harbor secret intentions, and work for their own material interests for so long as they remain among them. When sooner or later, such people understand that they can secure no such gains from believers, they of course see this as sufficient reason for them to depart from them.
Some actually have faith initially, when they enter the community of the faithful. But their consciences gradually wither and they submit themselves to satan. Because of the sickness in their hearts, satan weakens their devotion and sensitivity to the verses of the Qurâ€™an. They then naturally enter the Religion of the Ignorant, or in other words, the secret religion of satan.
These people view events not in the light of the contents of the Qurâ€™an, but from the perspective that applies in any society that does not live by religious moral values. The clearest example of this occurs during moments of difficulty. While the Qurâ€™an foresees trust in Allah and a refusal to despair in times of trouble, at such times, hypocrites display a similarity to the Society of the Ignorant. They either overreact or else panic, thus exhibiting their unbalanced attitude for all to see.
All the characteristics we have described reveal to us the position of hypocrites, both in this world and the next, and introduce us to their features and general spiritual condition. The views of hypocrites are set out in detail in verses of the Qurâ€™an. These people, who fail to fear Allah as they ought, engage in constant activity against the faithful in this world. They adopt this literally as a duty and maintain that attitude with great stubbornness. This is their natural way of behaving. Satan suggests to them that what they do is good. And so as satan wraps himself around them, these hypocrites, heedless of Allah and His verses, turn away from faith towards denial.
As we have seen, these characteristics of theirs may take many forms. But at the end of the day, the aims and intentions behind all of them are identical. That is, to multiply their own interests as soon as possible and to depart from the faithful by inflicting as much harm on them as they can.
No matter how long these hypocrites remain alongside believers, they know that they will abandon them eventually. The time they determined for such departure is generally times of difficulty. As we know, every prophet has been sent to societies devoid of faith, to warn them. Deniers, who live by the religion of their forefathers which theyâ€™ve grown up with and to which they are accustomed, have always opposed these chosen individuals and insisted on rejecting what they had to say. They have sought to neutralize their influence by means of various verbal and physical assaults. Yet throughout the course of history, all the deniers who behaved in this manner have failed to achieve their aims, as a consequence of a hidden lawâ€”and have been disappointed in this world and in the Hereafter.
This hidden law is the fact that believers are under the protection of Allah and deniers can never harm them. In verses we are told that:
. . . Allah will not give the disbelievers any way against the believers.
. . . The stratagems of the disbelievers are nothing but errors.
Deniers are unaware of this law, however, and have always sought to oppress messengers and the believers and attempted to convert them to their own religion. Hypocrites, fearful of deniersâ€™ assaults, have always sought believersâ€™ permission to lag behind in the struggle, always imagining that they could save themselves from any likely harm by fleeing in this manner.
By such behavior, however, hypocrites earn themselves a terrible place in the Hereafter, no matter how much they imagine themselves to have profited. They never once thought of repenting during their time in this world. Completely hardening their hearts against the truth, these people were â€œlike rocks or even harder stillâ€ (Surat al-Baqara: 74), in the words of the Qurâ€™an. They lived heedless of Allah and waged a great war against His religion.
That is why they will be so humiliated in the Hereafter. Messengers have been sent to warn them, and they have been told the truth and forbidden to commit evil. They are well aware of the concepts of good and evil and of living for Allah, yet still turn their backs. Since they fail to understand the existence and might of Allah, the threat of punishment does not alarm them. By not believing in the existence of Hell, they imagine that they are far removed from it, and that it is a purely imaginary place.
When the subject of the Hereafter is raised, the disease of self-satisfaction that infects their souls manifests itself. They have no thoughts of retribution. The most important evidence of this is that they never even consider the possibility of suffering in the Hereafter. But even a momentâ€™s reflection on the possibility of having to account for oneself in the Hereafter and that one might go to Hell because of the sins one has committed should be enough to spur a person into action or at the very least, to reconsider his position. The fact that they declare war on religious moral values is proof that they have never considered this eventuality.
Yet their self-satisfaction will bring them nothing but humiliation in this world. In the Hereafter, on the other hand, they will encounter the very things they despised and be cursed for their actions. That is what they deserve as a result of all their endeavors. Allah has revealed the fate of hypocrites thus:
Remaining in it timelessly, for ever, as long as the heavens and Earth endure, except as your Lord wills. Your Lord is the Doer of what He wills.