Signs of a hypocrite

We carry on from last weeks reminder and focus on Sura A-Baqarah as Allah SWT speaks on hypocrisy here. The imam began this reminder with ayats 8 to 16 from Sura Al-Baqarah.

In this reminder, we will attempt to break down each of these ayats and derive some lessons from them. We begin with ayat 8 which says:

And of mankind, there are some who say: “We believe in Allah and the Last Day” while in fact they believe not.

Dear brothers and sisters, the first ayat in today’s reminder is defining the hypocrite. But in the translation we lose a lesson and that is that in Arabic the part of them not being believers is said in the strongest language of the word “No”. It’s like Allah SWT is absolutely, without a doubt, telling us that these people are not believers. So it’s a prelude of a big warning to come for us all in the following ayats. The next ayat is translated to say:

They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!

Here we learn, there are two types of hypocrites that we can derive from this. On the one hand there are those who know that they are non-believers and hide amongst the believers for some sinister motive. And on the other hand we have those who don’t know that they are hypocrites. This is extremely dangerous type. They think that they are good Muslims. Surely at this point each of us worry that are we from this type? The next ayat says:

In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.

Firstly, we ought to remind ourselves of the traits mentioned last week as lying was top of the list. Here Allah SWT speaks of that trait in describing the hypocrite. We ought to be careful then that we do not lie in our speech or our actions.

Another point worth mentioning in this ayat is that the translation speaks of the disease of doubt as well as hypocrisy. If we reflect on the previous ayat of believers falling into the trap of hypocrisy and not even realising it and then this ayat speaking of doubt then could it be that a lesson here is one of complete faith in the decree of Allah SWT?

After all, this life is a test. Are we passing this test by returning to Allah SWT in humbleness and prayer when things get tough or is doubt lingering in our hearts when the test of life is upon us? One sure-fire way of knowing the answer to this is how we react to the low points in life.

Dear brothers and sisters, we all go through them. Worry is a natural emotion but its how we react to it that defines us. Do we stray further from the straight path in times of hardship and engage in sinful acts? In this society we have psychological crutches interwoven such as drink and drugs but those are the extremes. As Muslims, tests are there to encourage us to worship Allah SWT , to pray to Allah SWT, to ask of Allah SWT. This is the sign of a healthy and not a diseased heart. The next two ayat states:

And when it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “We are only peacemakers.”

Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.

These ayats are tackling half-heartedness. Doing something without full conviction. Allah SWT is saying that this actually has an adverse effect on the person and others. We need to understand then that half-heartedness isn’t something that we can tolerate within ourselves.

Ultimately we are doing everything for the sake of Allah SWT pleasure. Not because we don’t want sin. Not because we want to get to heaven. We are doing what we do because our Lord has asked it of us. We do what we do because our Creator asks it of us. And if that isn’t compelling enough then we ought to remind ourselves of the blessings all around us and say Alhamdullilah in abundance at the lives we have been given. The next ayat says:

And when it is said to them (hypocrites): “Believe as the people have believed,” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they are the fools, but they know not.

This ayat speaks of fools. Those who are ignorant. The lesson here is one of killing ignorance. And how do we do that? Through knowledge. As Muslims we never stop learning at any age and this is especially true in this time and age where we all need to be armed with the knowledge of our deen. Next ayat says:

And when they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe,” but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils – polytheists, hypocrites, etc.), they say: “Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.”

This ayat speaks of the hypocrite trying to keep everyone happy usually through lies. However the lesson here is that sometimes standing up for the truth is a hard thing to do. Sometimes it will make you unpopular amongst others. This is a test and it is important we realise it, especially the young ones here today. Be brave in speaking the truth, don’t worry about what others think because ultimately if the truth is spoken, it will reign king and you will be respected in the long-run as someone of truth, someone of principle and that is a wonderful characteristic to have. Next ayat says:

Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrong-doings to wander blindly.

In this ayat Allah SWT is telling us that the hypocrites will be allowed to conduct their affairs in this life for justice awaits them in the next life. Hence don’t be disheartened by their so-called success in this world as it is just an illusion and they will be accounted for all that they have done. And lastly, the ayat says:

These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.

Allah SWT speaks finally of those who do not make an effort to be guided. And this applies to us all today. We need to constantly strive to remain on the straight path. The imam reminds us of ayat 146 and 147 of Sura Nisa which says:

Except those who repent (from hypocrisy), do righteous good deeds, hold fast to Allah, and purify their religion for Allah (by worshipping none but Allah, and do good for Allah’s sake only, not to show-off), then they will be with the believers. And Allah will grant to the believers a great reward.

Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.)

Dear brothers and sisters, hypocrisy is a silent assassin but we can protect ourselves as prescribed here by following the commands of Allah SWT. And they are by doing good deeds, remembering Allah SWT for His sake and being grateful.

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