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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Hypocrisy: Actions which indicate hypocrisy

Hypocrisy is loosely defined as putting up a false appearance. In
matters of faith, it describes the sort of actions which are associated with
pretending to accept the faith of Islam when a person actually does
not. He does so in order to win favor with Muslims and to try to be
accepted as one of them. At the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, there
were people in Madinah who claimed to be Muslims when in actual fact
they were not. Allah describes these people at the opening of the surah
entitled "The Hypocrites" in the following terms:

"When the hypocrites come to you, they say: we bear witness that you
are truly Allah's messenger. Allah certainly knows that you are truly His
messenger, but Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed
liars."

Since hypocrisy is all about pretense, it is very difficult to define
who is a hypocrite. However, the Prophet, peace be upon him, has
outlined for us some characteristics which are common in all hypocrites. He
says: "Three qualities are the mark of hypocrite: he lies when he speaks,
he breaks his promises when he has given them and he is unfaithful to
his trust." (Related by Muslim). Another version of this Hadith, also
related by Muslim, quotes the Prophet, peace be upon him, as saying: "If
the following four characteristics are part of a person's character, he
is a pure hypocrite. If one of them applies to him, he has a
characteristic of hypocrisy until he abandons it: he lies when he speaks, he
violates his pledges, breaks his promises and when he quarrels with someone
he is shameless."

It should be added that these are indications of hypocrisy. When such
qualities are typical of anyone's behavior to the extent that they are a
part of his nature, he is almost certainly a hypocrite. They do not
necessarily mean that he is a non-believer who pretends to be a Muslim,
since a Muslim may have no doubts about the Oneness of Allah and the fact
that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, was Allah's messenger, and
still commit one or more of these actions.

When, however, they come naturally to a person, his behavior is that of
a hypocrite. These Hadiths, then, serve as a very strong warning
against such actions, since they are of the type of actions which a hypocrite
does all the time. The Prophet, peace be upon him, is telling us in
these Hadiths that a person who does this type of action habitually runs
the risk of being a confirmed hypocrite.

When the Qur'an warns and threatens the hypocrites with severe
punishments in the Hereafter, the warning is directed to those who pretend to
be Muslims when they are not. It is they who will suffer the greatest
punishment in the Hereafter, because throughout their lives they tried to
subvert the Muslim community, pretending to belong to it when they
belong to its enemies.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, was ordered by Allah to accept the
claims of the hypocrites and leave their punishment to Allah. The point is
that no human being can really tell what is the true conviction of
another. It is Allah alone who knows what is in our innermost hearts.
Hence, it is up to Him to determine the sort of punishment hypocrites
deserve. Those who are hypocritical about their faith will suffer the most
grievous of punishments.

source: arab news

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