The Signs of Hypocrisy
Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, “The signs of the hypocrite are three: That he utters falsehood when he speaks and that he breaks his promise and that he betrays when entrusted” , Imam Muslim added in another narration, “Even though he fasts, prays, and claims he is a Muslim.”
Hypocrisy is a contradiction between what appears and what is concealed and, thus, a hypocrite is one who shows different to what he conceals.
Hypocrisy is divided into two types:
1) Hypocrisy in belief.
2) Hypocrisy in action.
Hypocrisy in belief is when one shows Islam and conceal Kufr (disbelieve), and this was the status of the hypocrites during the time of the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) after his migration to Madina. This is the most dangerous and malignant form of disbelief. To that effect, Allah (S.W.T.) said in surat An-Nisa’, (Verse 140), what can be translated as, “Allah will gather the Hypocrites and the disbelievers all in the Hell-Fire.” Allah (S.W.T.) also says in the same surat in (Verse 145), what can be translated as, “The Hypocrites will be in the lowest depth of Hell-Fire.”
Allah (S.W.T.) mentioned many of their attributes, and exposed much of their reality and uncovered the extent of their hostility towards Muslims in many verses of the Qur’an, for the purpose of alerting the Muslims to their danger and conspiracies; Later on, Gabriel, mentioned their names to the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), and the prophet told that to his most trusted companion, Huzaifah-Bn-Alyaman. This was on the hypocrisy of belief.
For the second type of hypocrisy, which is hypocrisy in action, It is to abandon all or some religious act in privacy, while complying with it publicly. This conduct fits under the terminology of Hypocrisy, but not under that of disbelief.
The hadith that was mentioned earlier has specified for us three of the signs of hypocrisy.
The first sign is lying. Which is one of the worst and gravest sins, since it is a means to immorality, and leads the person to the hell fire (we ask Allah (S.W.T.) for refuge from that). Imam Bukhari and Muslim reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said , “Honesty guides to righteousness, and righteousness guides to paradise, and a person does preserve his honesty until Allah (S.W.T.) gives him recognition for being honest.” The prophet added, “and dishonesty guides to immorality, and immorality leads to the Hell-Fire, and a person does preserve his dishonesty until Allah (S.W.T.) gives him recognition for being dishonest.”
In another authentic hadith reported by Imam Ahmad, Ibn-Hibban and Al-Baihaqi, that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, “Maintain six virtues and I guarantee you paradise: Tell the Truth when you talk, fulfill your promises, and give what has been entrusted with you, preserve your chastity, lower your gaze, and do not harm anyone.”
Imam Ahmad and others reported in an authentic hadith (to the closest meaning of) that Aisha’, may Allah be pleased with her said, “There had not been worse conduct than lying in the eyes of the companions. And the prophet (S.A.W.) would know the man from amongst his companions who has been lying, and that would not move away from the heart of the prophet, until he (S.A.W.) knows that person made repentance to Allah.”
The second sign of hypocrisy is breaking the promise. Thus whoever promised another of good thing and did not fulfil it, then he would have a quality of hypocrisy. Allah (S.W.T.) has ordered us Muslims to fulfil our promises, when he said in surat Al-Israh, (Verse 34), what can be translated as, “And fulfil (every) covenant. Verily! The covenant, will be questioned about.”
Imam Bukhari reported that the prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said, “A man from the children of Israel, asked someone to lend him a thousand dinars until a set date. Someone lent him the money, and when the time came that man wanted to pay it off. He went out to the sea to go to the lender, but could not find a ship; thus, he took a piece of wood and drilled a hole through it, then he put in it a thousand dinar and threw it in the sea. The lender came out in another sea shore to find the log before him, and he took it as a fire wood to his family and when he sawed it, he found his money in it”. Because of his eagerness to payoff the debt on time, Allah (S.W.T.) had helped him in directing the money to its owner.
The third sign of hypocrisy is the betrayal when entrusted, and not returning this trust to which it belongs to or using it without permission given from the owner. Allah (S.W.T.) has commanded us in surat An-Nisa’, (Verse 58), what can be translated as, “Verily! Allah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due…”
Trusts are of many types. It may be in the form of money and in the form of rights. There are some Muslims who are conscious about money trusts, but are not conscious about the rights and duties that Allah trusts every one of us with. Thus, yourself is a trust given to you by Allah. Your wealth, which you gather is a trust, entrusted to you by Allah, the time that you made use of is also a trust, again your health, your youth, your mind, your hearing, and your vision, are all trusts to you from Allah. Also your wife and children are a trust entrusted to you by Allah. Also your community is a trust entrusted to you by Allah. And the most important trust is the deen of Allah that entrusted you with. So let us be ware from the betraying all of these trusts or the loss of them, surely Allah will question us, on that, on the day of Judgment.
The preservation of all of these trusts that we have mentioned lies in observing Allah’s rights in them. And to follow the commands of Allah in all of them. Allah (S.W.T.) has praised the believers in surat Al-Mu’minoun, (Verse 8), what can be translated as, “Those who are faithfully true to their trusts and to their covenants.”
We should examine ourselves to see which of these traits we have. If we don’t have all of them that just means we are not a total hypocrite but we have its traits. May Allah protect us and help us to eliminate these traits if we have them.