They Imagine They are Destined for Paradise
One of the characteristics of hypocrites is that their belief in the Hereafter is very weak and distorted. Most of them do not believe that after death, they will have to account for crimes they committed in this world. And even if they do admit such a possibility, they regard themselves as destined to enter Paradise on account of having done everything necessary to do so. Examples of this flawed thinking are given in the Qurâ€™an:
â€œI do not think the Hour will ever come. But if I should be sent back to my Lord, I will definitely get something better in return.â€
According to their own flawed logic, simply because they live among believers, they must have performed various services, for better or worse. That being so, they will be rewarded for these in the Hereafter and will inevitably be admitted to Paradise. At the very worst, they think they will suffer punishment in Hell and then be admitted to Paradise. Allah reveals these misconceptions in the Qurâ€™an:
That is because they say, â€œThe Fire will only touch us for a number of days.â€ Their inventions have deluded them in their religion.
Ali â€˜Imran: 24
As the verse informs us, this is an invention, on account of which hypocrites have been deluded in their religion. This verse, which follows on from the one cited above, reveals the kind of end awaiting them as a result:
But how will it be when We gather them all together for a Day about which there is no doubt? Every self will be paid in full for what it earned. They will not be wronged.
Ali â€˜Imran: 25
Damage Wrought by the Disease of Self-Satisfaction
And so that He might punish the men and women of the hypocrites and the men and women of the idolatersâ€”those who think bad thoughts about Allah. They will suffer an evil turn of fate. Allah is angry with them, and has cursed them and prepared Hell for them. What an evil destination!
Self-satisfaction is by itself a source of trouble for hypocrites. However, as you have seen in the preceding chapters, most of the time they are unaware of this. So self-satisfied and conceited are they that they are even able to ask, â€œWhy does Allah not punish us for what we say? . . .â€ (Surat al-Mujadala: 8). As emphasized above, however, they are unaware that instead of the evident calamity they expect, they actually suffer numerous calamities, including physical and spiritual harm.
Allah refers in His verses to this harm suffered by hypocrites. Let us now examine these, one by one.
1. They are not Wise
Wisdom is one of the greatest assets a human being can possess. An unwise person is in a most wretched position, even though, being unwise, he is not even aware of this. He confuses wisdom with intelligence and so makes inaccurate decisions.
The same thing applies to the hypocrite, who may enjoy a particular level of intelligence. But he can never enjoy the wisdom that Allah bestows only on true believers, which allows them to distinguish right from wrong. They are thus deprived of one of the greatest blessings.
Wisdom is also one of a personâ€™s greatest needs. At every moment of his life, a person needs it to be able to distinguish right from wrong and to protect himself from evil. The hypocriteâ€™s devotion to this world leads to his being unwise. Therefore, he is unsuccessful when it comes to even the simplest matters requiring wisdom. The greatest proof of hypocritesâ€™ lack of wisdom is how they imagine that Allah does not see what they do. (Surely Allah is beyond that!) Therefore, they seek to deceive believers and imagine that they can do so with impunity. They are addressed in the following terms in the Qurâ€™an:
Donâ€™t they know that Allah knows what they keep secret and what they make public?
Another unwise claim they make is that Allah will not bring their iniquity into the light of day. However, on the Day of Judgment, Allah will round up and punish all the hypocrites who have ever lived. Before the Day of Judgment, He will also humiliate them in this world.
2. They are Unable to Comprehend the Verses
Sincere Muslims are, as set out in the Qurâ€™an, â€œthose who, when they are reminded of the signs of their Lord, do not turn their backs, deaf and blind to themâ€ (Surat al-Furqan: 73). They are particularly sensitive to the verses of Allah. All believers know that all the verses of the Qurâ€™an directly concern them and that they cannot remain unconcerned or distant from any of them. However, for possession of this state of mind, there is one very important precondition. An individual must be very humble, and not regard himself as free from any imperfections or defects. Only when a person has this sincerity and humility will Allah bestow the meaning of His verses in his or her heart.
Hypocrites, on the other hand, are very proud and a far cry from being sincere. They can never possess such an understanding due to their self-satisfaction. Although constantly exposed to the messengerâ€™s message, they lack the ability to understand a single word he says. Their lack of comprehension is related in the Qurâ€™an:
You will not make dead men hear; you will not make deaf men hear the call, when they turn their backs in flight. You will not guide blind men from their misguidance. You will not make anyone hear except for those who believe in Our signs and so are Muslims.
The Qurâ€™an also tells us how hypocrites, unaffected by the messengerâ€™s words, possess a closed understanding due to the effects of their own self-satisfaction:
Who could do greater wrong than someone who is reminded of the signs of his Lord and then turns away from them, forgetting all that he has done before? We have placed covers on their hearts, preventing them from understanding it, and heaviness in their ears. Though you call them to guidance, they will nonetheless never be guided.
Again, as a consequence of the self-satisfaction that infects them and their inability to understand Allahâ€™s Book, they misinterpret various of His verses. The reason for this is their pride and unfounded trust in their own limited wisdom. Allah warns believers beforehand against this disease carried by hypocrites by telling how they will seek to create strife in the community of the faithful:
It is He Who sent down the Book to you from Him: verses containing clear judgmentsâ€”they are the core of the Bookâ€”and others which are open to interpretation. Those with deviation in their hearts follow what is open to interpretation in it, desiring conflict, seeking its inner meaning. No one knows its inner meaning but Allah. Those firmly rooted in knowledge say, â€œWe believe in it. All of it is from our Lord.â€ But only people of intelligence pay heed.
Ali â€˜Imran: 7