One of the most crucial attributes of a Muslim is his acceptance of the Qur'an as guidance. One who adopts the Qur'an as his guide is able to consider matters with regard to both himself and the world around him, in the light of the verses of the Qur'an, knowing that it was revealed by Allah, the Creator of not only the Qur'an, but also himself and all that is in the universe. Because Allah is He Who created all things, it is He Who knows the best what is right.
Indeed, in verse 14 of the Surat al-Mulk, Allah calls attention to that very fact, stating, “Does He Who created not then know? He is the All-Pervading, the All-Aware.” Al-Khabir, that is, “the All-Aware”, which is the attribute of Allah mentioned in the verse, means the One Who is aware of the inner and secret aspect of all things.
Allah knows the inmost truth of everything, and He has revealed part of His infinite knowledge through His Book, so as to guide the believers. In a verse of the Qur’an, Allah brings attention to that idea as follows:
For this We sent a Messenger to you from among you to recite Our Signs to you and purify you and teach you the Book and Wisdom and teach you things you did not know before. (Surat al-Baqara, 151)
For that reason, a Muslim must be attentive in his reading of the verses of the Qur’an and, in accordance with the following verse, “We will show them Our Signs on the horizon and within themselves until it is clear to them that it is the truth”, (Surah Fussilat, 53) , remember that he will recognize the truth conveyed by it in the world around him. In the Qur’an, there is much concise information, which is full of divine wisdom about the world. Much important among these truths are the verses that relate to the types of associations and personalities a Muslim will encounter. A Muslim, who has been delegated the responsibility of living according to Allah’s religion, of following the morality of the Qur’an, and of communicating it to others, will encounter varying types of individuals and responses. Some will listen to him, though some will oppose him. The Qur’an informs us about these personalities and their responses, and informs Muslims about the mindset they ought to adopt under specific situations.
In this book, we will explore the nature of a group of people Allah persistently draws our attention to in the Qur’an: hypocrites. Hypocrites, as the verses relate in the Qur’an, are two-faced people, who act as if they were pious believers, though they do not have faith. They are impostors. More importantly, they do not engage in such falsehood unaided; they aim to infiltrate the company of the believers, posing as one of them. The reason they seek to be accepted among the believers is to gain some personal advantage.
They associate themselves with believers, appearing to be faithful, so as to deceive them in whatever way they can. Once they realize they will not be able to attain their desired end, however, or when the believers are faced with ordeals when tested by Allah, they immediately abandon them, thus revealing their true faces. Whether while or after leaving the presence of the believers, they do not abandon their agenda of bringing harm upon the believers, or fomenting conflict, and striving to ruin the unity of believers. For that reason, hypocrites are referred to in the Qur’an as “munafiqeen” (those who incite nifaq and fitnah).
Hypocrites are a kind of people to whom Allah calls attention in many verses of the Qur’an, and against whom He repeatedly warns believers to be cautious. For this reason, a believer, who takes the Qur’an as his guide, needs to be vigilant against hypocrites, and be knowledgable of all their characteristics, for, every community of believers, who live by the morality of the Qur’an, will certainly encounter hypocrites.
It would be very wrong to say that such people existed only in the time of our Prophet (saas), in Macca and Medina, for,—in every other period—as today, such characters are present right before us, under modern guises.
In our present societies too, there are communities of hypocrites who assume they can conceal themselves by taking on the attributes of a believer. Deceptively, they ally with those who are unclear or insincere in their understanding of religion, as they are themselves, for the purpose of concealing the truth, changing it for falsehood, forming new sects, and bringing harm to the believers, both materially and spiritually.
The Qur’an addresses to every nation and all ages. In compliance with the following verse, “... He will show you His Signs and you will recognize them.” (Surat an-Naml, 93) , one who considers every matter in light of the Qur’an, will recognize that the verses pertaining to hypocrites in the Qur’an, are accurate, and that, in our time also, such people, proving the miracle of the Qur’an, behave as they are described in the Qur’an. In that regard, believers expect that it would be an important form of worship in Allah’s sight to expose the evil intentions of the hypocrites, to reveal their true intentions, and to struggle ideologically, as prescribed by the Qur’an, to counter the war they wage against Allah and His religion.
Being acquainted with the attributes of hypocrites is important for another reason; believers are responsible for educating themselves on these attributes. Being aware that inappropriate behavior is a quality of hypocrites or disbelievers renders a believer alert against such traits. Being arrogant, as well, is an attribute of hypocrites and disbelievers. However, in a moment of inattention, a believer might also act arrogantly. However, when he realizes that what he does is an attribute of a hypocrite or disbeliever, he immediately repents. For this reason, when reading the verses in reference to hypocrites, believers should also reassess themselves and derive the necessary lessons.
In this book, we will examine the character of hypocrites in the light of the verses of the Qur’an, and the attitudes that believers should avoid.