23 May 2008

Nifaq - Hypocrites In Islam - Part 1

By Abu Dawud and Al-Nisa

This topic is of extreme importance in our daily lives, as it reflects our behavior, our manners, our faith in Allah, and His teachings.

The word Hypocrisy is defined in Webster's dictionaries as: an act or a practice of feigning to be what one is not, or to feel what one does not feel; especially, the false assumption of goodness. Therefore, a hypocrite is a false pretender and dissembler to virtue or piety.

In the Islamic terminology, the word Hypocrisy is a substitute for 'Nifaq'. This word Nifaq has been mentioned in the Qur'an thirty-one (31) times in different forms such as: Nifaq; Munafiqoon; Munafiqat; Munafiqeen, and Nifaqan.

Dear Muslims : There are some faults prevalent in society that a person may acquire, nurture and establish within himself which affect his personal behavior. The fault of hypocrisy is one of them. Allah hates those people who acquire this fault, and He therefore warns them that their punishment is indeed hell. Allah says in Sura At-Tauba:

God hath promised the hypocrites, men and women, and the rejecters of Faith, the fire of Hell; therein shall they dwell; sufficient is it for them: for them is the curse of God, and an enduring punishment. (9:68)

Allah has promised the hypocrites a heavy penalty by saying in Sura Nisa:
To the hypocrites give the glad tidings that there is for them but a grievous penalty. Yea, to those who take the unbelievers as their leaders rather than the believers (4:138-139)

Dear Muslims: One may ask why a person should act as a hypocrite? Or why he should be a hypocrite? The answer could be any of the following:

1. A person who has no faith in Allah, His Messenger, and the Day of Judgment may act as a hypocrite.

2. A person who has a weak faith may be trapped in his daily life to play the role of a hypocrite.

3. A person who lacks confidence in himself/herself may become a hypocrite.

4. A person who lacks security, morally, psychologically, or financially, may be led to be a hypocrite.

5. A person who is conceited, selfish, and who likes himself above all others, may play the game of hypocrisy so as to achieve his personal gains and to satisfy his ego.

6. A person who is not a man unto himself, and whatever he does is seeking assurance of success and gain. Hence, he plays the dirty game of hypocrite.

A person who seeks to please everybody even if it demands his cheating, lying or stealing. Allah says in this regard in Sura Al-Munafiqun:
When the hypocrites come to thee, they say, 'We bear witness that thou art indeed the Apostle of God.' Yea, God knoweth that thou art indeed His Apostle, and God beareth witness that the hypocrites are indeed liars. (63:1)

Dear Muslims: These situations, factors and prerequisites may lead a person to be a hypocrite. The only way to cure this disease from people is that they should have faith in Allah, in His Messenger, Muhammad (pbuh), in the Day of Judgment and in the teachings of Islam. Even if he/she has a weak faith, he should try his/her best to strengthen it, and to enrich it daily.

Therefore, it is a matter of having faith (Iman) or having no faith. Nifaq, hence is noticed and observed in those societies, in those families, and those individuals who, either have no faith, or who are weak in their faith.

Dear Muslims: The signs of a hypocrite are many among which are the following three signs:

1. He lies whenever he talks.
2. He does not fulfill his commitment.
3. He betrays the trust that he takes.

In this regard Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said (Reported by Abu Hurayrah):
The signs of a hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he gives an agreement, he does not fulfill his commitment; and when he is entrusted, he betrays the trust.

For this reason Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) informed us that a hypocrite is a mischievous person. He said: (Reported by Abu Hurayrah)
You will find that the worst person is double-faced; he meets one group of people with one side of his face, while another with the other side.

Dear Muslims: Since this vice is most hated by Allah and His Messenger, and since the penalty is very heavy, may I request you to kindly check upon yourselves. Check your Iman, your personality, your character, your manners, your behavior and your daily activities. Then try to find out whether you are acting like a Mushrik; like a Kafir; like a Munafiq or like a Mura'i. If any of these vices is having a foothold on you, may I request you kindly to get rid of it and to remove yourselves from it as soon as possible so as to be rewarded by Allah.

If you do not act immediately, remember that life is short, and who knows for how long you are to live! Death may be as close to us as a twinkling of an eye. Hence, we should be prepared to face Allah Almighty with happiness and not with sorrows or sadness.

Dear Muslims: To conclude my talk may I remind you of the Hadeeth of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) saying:
Don't give the title of Sir or Mr. to a hypocrite if he becomes master, or you will displease your Lord the Almighty.

May Almighty Allah bless us all. Ameen