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The Foolishness of Hypocrites

Like all other disbelievers, one of the most telling characteristics of hypocrites is their foolishness. They may be clever, but they can never possess wisdom, which is an essential factor towards understanding and living by the Qur'an. For this reason, their analysis of reality is unsound. Finally, they fail to appreciate Allah and believers as they ought to be appreciated, for they lack this wisdom.

They assume Allah is not cognizant of their actions

The greatest foolishness of the hypocrites is their errant assumption that Allah is unaware of what they do. They devise their plans considering only the perception of believers. If they can succeed to convince believers, and gain their approval, they think, they can accomplish their goals. The fact is however, Allah knows what hypocrites contrive. Their acts and thoughts never remain hidden from Allah. He encompasses every thought that occurs to their minds, everything they feel, even their innermost thoughts. In one verse, Allah reminds us of this truth:

... There you are, loving them when they do not love you, even though you have faith in all the Books. When they meet you, they say, "We have faith." But when they leave they bite their fingers out of rage against you. Say, "Die in your rage." Allah knows what your hearts contain. (Surah Al 'Imran, 119)

Failing to recognize that Allah is aware of what they are doing, hypocrites may assume for a time that they are deceiving the believers. The temporary concealment of their hypocrisy may actually incite them further. The Qur'an describes this corrupt logic in the following way:

Do you not 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? And when they come to you they greet you with words Allah has never used in greeting you, and say to themselves "Why does Allah not punish us for what we say?" Hell will be enough for them! They will roast in it. What an evil destination! (Surat al-Mujadala, 8)

The words, "why does Allah not punish us for what we say?", clearly reveal the foolishness of the hypocrites and their lack of conscientiousness. They suppose the time granted to them is unlimited, and that they can persist as usual in their hypocrisy. Yet, this is impossible; Allah will of a certainty reveal their true intentions.

They are unaware of Allah's support of the believers

Hypocrites are also unaware of the support Allah provides to believers; they assess the strength of the believers based on their outer appearance. However, believers are those to whom Allah grants His help. At those times when they think they are in the greatest difficulty, Allah makes them successful.

Unaware of this truth, hypocrites deem themselves to be superior over believers. For, in appearance, they may be wealthier than the believers, or be better off in status. Allah informs us about this foolishness of the hypocrites, and that, whatever the initial circumstances may be, believers will prevail over hypocrites and other disbelievers. An event that happened in the time of our Prophet (saas) explains this situation well:

They say, "If we return to Madina, the mightier will drive out the inferior." But all might belongs to Allah and to His Messenger and the believers. But the hypocrites do not know this. (Surat al-Munafiqun, 8)

They fear people more than they fear Allah

As mentioned earlier, hypocrites behave as believers, imitating while they are in their company. However when believers encounter some adversity—that is, when it is time for self-sacrifice and the type of loyalty that would show them to be sincere believers—the hypocrisy of hypocrites surfaces. This is due to their cowardice. In the words of the Qur’an, they “fear people as Allah should be feared.” 

Also in the Qur’an, Allah informs us about the mindset of those hypocrites who lived in our Prophet’s (saas) time in times of difficulty:

Do you not see those who were told: "Hold back from fighting but establish prayers and pay alms?" Then when fighting is prescribed for them, a group of them fear people as Allah should be feared, or even more than that. They say, "Our Lord, why have you prescribed fighting for us? If only You would give us just a little more time!" Say, "The enjoyment of the world is very brief. The Hereafter is better for those who have fear of Allah. You will not be wronged by so much as the smallest speck." (Surat an-Nisa', 77)

There are some people who say, "We have faith in Allah," and then, when they suffer harm in Allah's cause, they take people's persecution for Allah's punishment; but if help comes from your Lord they say, "We were with you." Does Allah not know best what is in every person's heart? (Surat al-Ankabut, 10)

They are in conflict with one another

Solidarity and unity is another important characteristic of believers. Hypocrites, on the other hand, are afflicted with a contrary. Though they all share the common characteristic of hypocrisy, they are always in conflict with one another. That is because, unlike believers, they have no common goal. That is to say, they do not seek Allah’s favor. On the contrary, they all pursue their own personal benefit, and therefore, inevitably, their interests clash. In the Qur’an, Allah draws our attention to this trait of the hypocrites:

… You are a greater cause of terror in their breasts than Allah! That is because they are people who do not understand. They will not fight against you all together as a group except in fortified towns or behind high walls. Their hostility towards each other is intense. They are full of bravado in each other's company. You consider them united but their hearts are scattered wide. That is because they are people who do not use their intellect. (Surat al-Hashr, 13-14)

They think themselves clever

Hypocrites think they can deceive believers. This is also why they consider themselves clever. They think they can profit by avoiding self-sacrifice, and not living their lives for Allah’s sake. By choosing as such, however, they opt for a most foolish decision. While they are offered the opportunity to learn the religion, and to earn Allah’s good pleasure and Paradise, they neglect these favors and cast their eyes upon the fleeting and futile adornments of this world. Instead of a grand salvation, they are deserving of the torment of Hell. In any case, they will endure great torment also in this world, as well as suffer pangs of conscience, doubts and unfounded concerns.

In the Qur’an, Allah states that hypocrites consider themselves more clever than believers, but it is they who are truly foolish:

When they are told, "Have faith in the way that the people have faith," they say, "What! Are we to have faith in the way that fools have faith?' No indeed! They are the fools, but they do not know it. (Surat al-Baqara, 13)

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