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Sunday, August 02, 2009


The reason why I am writing this is because I recognise this in myself and I need to do something about it.

“The hypocrites will be in the lowest depth (grade) of the Fire; no helper will you find for them.”
(The Women 4:145)

“Give to the hypocrites the tidings, that there is for them, a painful torment.”
(The Women 4:138)

'Abdullah bin 'Amr narrated that The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up. 1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays. 2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. 3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous. 4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner." (Bukhari Book 2, Hadith 33)

Abi Waih narrated from Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman said, “The hypocrites of today are worse than those of the lifetime of the Prophet, because in those days they used to do evil deeds secretly but today they do such deeds openly.” (Bukhari Book #88, Hadith #229)

Yahya related to me from Malik that al-Ala ibn Abd ar-Rahman said, "We visited Anas ibn Malik after Zhuhr and he stood up and prayed Asr. When he had finished his prayer, we mentioned doing prayers early in their time, or he mentioned it, and he said that he had heard the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and grant him peace) say, “The prayer of the hypocrites, the prayer of the hypocrites, the prayer of the hypocrites is that one of them sits until the sun becomes yellow and is between the horns of satan, or on the horn of satan, and then gets up and rattles off four units, hardly remembering Allah in them at all." (Al-Muwatta Book #15, Hadith #15.10.46)


The word hypocrisy comes from an Arabic word Nafaqa which means exhaust or spend out. Nafaq means to tunnel an underground passage. (Hans Wehr p.987) Imam Ghazali in the Ihya said that Nifaq came from a word that relates to how a rat looks like it is about to leave from one hole but exits from another. A Munafiq is someone who displays this type of behaviour. In the Mujam Al-Arabi Al-Musir (p.502) it states that a Munafiq is someone who displays faith but hides disbelief or ones outward is different to ones inward.

In English the word can be seperated into two parts: hypo comes from the Greek hupo that means under and hypokrisis which means acting or feigning. It’s like actor who feigns illness to us all; but is perfectly healthy inside, whilst the remainder of us are under his spell.

Faith is defined as belief in the heart with affirmation of the tongue. (with the condition of not doing that causes disbelief) So hypocrisy is the outward present and the inward vacant.


One of the things that really annoys me about listening to the sermons on a Friday, is the warning about the hypocrites. It is repeated every week, every lecture, every time I step into the masjid. Some people think they are able to declare who the hypocrites are and who are not; then they declare openly and sometimes to the face of others. This is not based on anything except opinion and not knowledge. The image that is painted is that some are free from it and everyone else needs to be careful; because anyone unlike them is a hypocrite. When you can walk into any masjid in the country and hear the same message then it is a concern. How can we be sure that we are free from it? If we are not, then how can we feel so comfortable?


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “The signs of a hypocrite are three: When he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is given a trust he breaches it." (Bukhari)

So if someone has all three qualities then that person is a true hypocrite and if someone has one or two qualities then they have to be aware they have a portion of hypocrisy. Look into yourself and ask yourself these questions; do I have any of these qualities in me? If you lie then tell the truth, if you break promises try to keep them and if someone gives you something then return it.

I have lost count of the amount of items that I have lent out which I never see again, where is the trust? I remember there was one brother who refused to give an item to someone who asked for his friends item because he did not own it and he was looking after it. The person who was asked for it fought the brother. How many of us would do this? Despite being attacked he never gave up the trust that he was given.

Nifaq is a form of disbelief and the notes of lecture on disbelief can be found on here. (see Kufr/disbelief label)


The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was distributing spoils to the companions. One of the known hypocrites said, “This distribution is not what Allah desired.” He was angered (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) until his face reddened; he said, “Woe betide you, if I am not just then who will be?” he did not follow up his anger by taking recompense for himself; he is far from that (upon him peace and blessings); nor did he add to the advice or admonition. Umar and Khalid ibn Walid (may Allah pleased with them) said, “O’ Messenger of Allah, tell us to smite his neck.” He said, “No, perhaps he prays.” Khalid ibn Walid said, “How many person who prays say with their tongue what is not in their hearts?” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “I was not ordered to search the hearts of the people nor to split their chests.” (Light of certainty by Sheikh Muhammad Al-Khudri p.227 from Al-Bukhari 4351)

This story needs no interpretation; it just needs to be understood.

Ali and the Kharijites

During the caliphate of Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) a group appeared who would be known as the first sect of Islam, the Kharijites. From the Arabic word kharaja which means to leave – this group had left the majority and went against the Caliphate. They caused the death of Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him) then Ali (may Allah be pleased with him). They contributed to the first civil war in Islam. They were outwardly pious they would pray and fast excessively but would go against the leadership of the Companions!

Ali ibn Abu Talib (may Allah be pleased with him) was once asked whether the sectarian groups who disagreed with him were disbelievers. “No.” He replied. “They have fled from disbelief.” He was then asked, “So are they hypocrites?” And he replied, “No. Hypocrites remember God little, and these remember Him abundantly.” “So what are they?” he was asked. And he said, “They are people afflicted by a sedition (fitna), so they have become blind and deaf.” (Key to the Garden Imam Haddad p.84)

Look at the mercy of Ali (may Allah be pleased with him), these people are not just disagreeing with him but they are people fighting him. And like the practice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) he does not return evil with evil. When people argue with each other they call each other disbelievers, just for having a different opinion than them! Did Ali?

The Sincerity of Umar

Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) found out that Hudhayfa Al-Yaman was informed of the names of twelve hypocrites by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). Umar asked Hudhayfa, “I adjure you by Allah! Tell me, am I one of them? Hudhayfa replied, “No, and I will not tell anyone anything further after this.” (Sh. Gibril Haddad Sunna notes p.126 from Tabari in his Tafsir (11:11), Al-Bazzar through trustworthy narrators according to Al-Haythami (3:42), Al-Bayhaqi in Sunan Al-Kubra (8:200))

This is not an ordinary person, this is Umar ibn Al-Khattab! He was present at Badr, Uhud, Trench and other battles, he was there at the treaty of Hudaybiyya, satan would cross the street when he saw him (according to hadith), he was the second greatest ruler of Islam, he gave away half his wealth for the sake of Allah and he is the one who asking if he is one of the mentioned names of the hypocrites! We are not better than Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) so if he was concerned about being hypocrisy then shouldn’t we be more scared!

We will never get to the level of one of his good actions. This is due to his sincerity and his concern for being on the right path. So how could we call other people hypocrites and how can we not be scared that hypocrisy has not affected us?

We should be terrified of being hypocritical; each one of us. Anyone who thinks that they are safe from it then they are either asleep or have not read this piece correctly. We should all be scared but this is being sincere about our religion and if we are not sincere then what are we?

Lets go back to the hadith, The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, "The signs of a hypocrite are three: if he speaks he lies, if he makes promises he breaks them and if he is given a trust he betrays. Even if he fasts, prays and claims, "I am Muslim." Narrated by Muslim.

One of the things that I have witnessed the most Nifaq, this year, is the love towards the family of the Prophet (may Allah bestow upon him peace and blessings). Most people curse and praise the family within the same sentence. This is nothing but abhorent and this is true Nifaq. If there is something bad that one of the family are doing then advise them but do not curse them or make the sin known to people. This makes the situation worse. Keep quiet for the sake of his grandfather.

Even if you pray and fast do not think that you are alright and there is nothing wrong. Yes you are doing good actions but you need to remove these traits from yourself. There is no sincere Muslim who should not be terrified of hypocrisy as for those who are not scared of hypocrisy then I fear that you have already fallen into it...even the insincere ones should be scared.

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