Section 7: The Hypocrites
عَفَا اللّهُ عَنكَ لِمَ أَذِنتَ لَهُمْ حَتَّى يَتَبَيَّنَ لَكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا وَتَعْلَمَ الْكاذِبِينَ
43. “May Allah pardon you! Why did you give them leave before you had found out those who spoke the truth and before you had known the liars?”
It is understood from the tone and style of these verses that some hypocrites came to the Prophet (S) and, after expressing some excuses, and even taking oaths, they asked him permission that they would not take part in the battlefield of Tabūk. So, the Prophet (S) gave permission to that group.
In this verse, Allah addresses His Messenger kindly, in a manner that, before severity in statement, His words are about remittal and forgiveness. Then the Qur’ān implies why he did not permit that those who spoke the truth be recognized from the liars and he would distinguish them. The verse says:
Is the abovementioned reproof and blame, which has been combined with the announcement of Allah’s forgiveness, an evidence for that the Prophet’s permission had been an offense, or it had been only a ‘leaving the better’?
This question may be answered that the mentioned ‘reproof and blame’ has a metaphorical form and there has not been even a ‘leaving the better’ in the course, and the purpose has been to state the hypocritical spirit of the hypocrites in a delicate and metaphorical statement.
This meaning can be made clear by mentioning an explicit example.
Suppose a cruel person intends to beat your son, but at the same time one of your friends stops him of doing that action. Regarding that, not only you will not be inconvenient but also you will become happy.
Yet, to prove the inward indecency of that person, you may tell your friend, in a form of reproof and blame, why he did not let him beat and all people around there would recognize that cruel hypocritical person. Your aim from this statement is only to prove his cruelty and hypocrisy which has been appeared in the guize of ‘reproof and blame’ unto your friend and your advocate.
لا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاَخِرِ أَن يُجَاهِدُوا بِاَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنْفُسِهِمْ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالْمُتَّقِينَ
44. “Those who believe in Allah and the Last Day do not ask you for leave, (to be exempt) from striving with their possessions and their selves; and Allah is All-Knowing of the pious ones.”
A true believer, who loves Holy Struggle and martyrdom, has no fear from death. Therefore, he does not go after taking permission to get a leave.
Sometimes it happened that some Muslims persistently asked the Prophet (S) to send them to fight, but he had not the necessary possibilities, and, therefore, they wept. 1
In going to Tabūk, when the Messenger of Allah (S) left Ali (as) in Medina as his substitute, he (as) did not feel at home. The Prophet (S) conforted him and told him that he (as) was, in situation to him (S), as Aaron was to Moses (as).
Thus, the true believers and true strivers do not flee from labour and tasks concerning Holy Struggle, and they devote both with their wealth and selves.
Therefore, a believer is always prepared and ready to obey the Divine commandment. He does not seek for pretexts. So the faith in ‘origin and end’ is the main factor of piety, love of martyrdom, and attending in Holy Struggles. The holy verse says:
Then, it is by means of this manner that a pious person can be recognized at the time of war and in battlefields, not at home and during the time of peace. The verse continues saying:
إِنَّمَا يَسْتَأْذِنُكَ الَّذِينَ لايُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الاَخِرِ وَارْتَابَتْ قُلُوبُهُمْ فَهُمْ فِي رَيْبِهِمْ يَتَرَدَّدُونَ
45. “Only those ask leave from you who do not believe in Allah and the Last Day and their hearts are in doubt, so they waver in their doubt.”
Those who, in the course of the Battle of Tabūk, came to the Prophet (S) and asked him to stay at home, were the very hypocrites and some Muslims of a weak faith, else those believers whose faith was safe and complete and did believe in Allah and the Resurrection Day never asked permission from the Prophet (S) to offend upon the subject of Holy Struggle.
It is understood from this verse that such believers were so obedient to the Prophet’s command that they would never say anything against the question of Holy Struggle and participated in it by their properties and selves without any hesitation, and Allah was aware of the circumstances of those pious ones.
Only those disputed upon the question of Holy Struggle who were weak in their belief, or were hypocrites, and had not a proper faith in Allah and the Resurrection Day.
Such people came to the Prophet (S) and, by some vain excuses and pretexts, they asked permission from Him not to take part in the Holy Struggle. Concerning these people, the Qur’ān announces that their hearts are in doubt and they have not reached to a conclusive belief, then they are bewildered in their own doubt and hesitation. The verse says:
Hadrat Amir-ul-Mu’mineen Ali (as) in one of his sayings has cited:
“…and he who waves in doubt, Satans trample him under their feet.” 2
وَلَوْ أَرَادُوا الْخُرُوجَ لأَعَدُّوا لَهُ عُدَّةً وَلَكِن كَرِهَ اللّهُ انْبِعَاثَهُمْ فَثَبَّطَهُمْ وَقِيلَ اقْعُدُوا مَعَ الْقَاعِدِينَ
46. “And if they had intended to go forth, they would have certainly provided equipment for it, but Allah was averse to their going forth, so He withheld them and it was said (to them): ‘Sit you with the sedentary!’”
These very hypocrites, who came to the Prophet (S) and asked him to give them permission not to participate in the Holy Struggle, had formerly decided not to go to the Holy Struggle and that asking permission was an external action which was done formally, since whether the Prophet (S) gave them permission or not, they would not go to fight.
The same matter, from their situation, is stated through this verse. It says:
They never provided any preliminary preparations for their going out, and the very thing indicated that they were not decided to go forth.
After that, the verse points to an important matter denoting that, as a result of their intention and their action, Allah basically was not pleased with their participation in the Holy Struggle. So, He cast this idea into their hearts that they would stay at home and refrain going forth.
Therefore, they were told to remain in Medina with those who had not taken part in the Holy Struggle such as children, women, and the sick. The verse says:
However, the averse of Allah to their going forth toward Holy Struggle is a negation of Divine succor, not a practical prohibition.
لَوْ خَرَجُوا فِيكُمْ مَا زَادُوكُمْ إِلاَّ خَبَالاً وَلأَوْضَعُوا خِلاَلَكُمْ يَبْغُونَكُمُ الْفِتْنَةَ وَفِيكُمْ سَمَّاعُونَ لَهُمْ وَاللّهُ عَلِيمٌ بِالظَّالِمِينَ
47. “Had they gone forth among you, they would not have increased to you aught save corruption, and they would have certainly hurried about (to and fro) amidst you, seeking to stir up sedition between you; and some of you would listen to them; and Allah is All-Knowing of the unjust.”
In this holy verse, the Qur’ān explains that if they came out with you and took part in the Holy Struggle they would be a boaring for you and they would do naught but corruption and sedition.
They might penetrate inside your rows and substitute themselves deceitfully amongst you being busy with disturbances; and there are some persons among you who follow them and hearken to their seditious statements.
Therefore, if they had come they would have created sedition and disturbance in the groups of the Muslims. The holy verse says:
By means of their evil speeches, they would pervert the weak Muslims from the straight path and would create a gap and separation in the troops of Islam, so that the troops’ spirit could be weakened. Then, the verse continues saying that Allah is aware of the unjust; i.e. He knows all their plots. The verse says:
لَقَدِ ابْتَغَوُا الْفِتْنَةَ مِن قَبْلُ وَقَلَّبُوا لَكَ الاُمُورَ حَتَّى جَآءَ الْحَقُّ وَظَهَرَ أَمْرُ اللّهِ وَهُمْ كَارِهُونَ
48. “They certainly sought to stir up sedition already before, and turned matters upside down for you, until the truth came and Allah’s command appeared though they were averse.”
These hypocrites had given their examination before. They had cast sedition among the Muslims.
Therefore, the Qur’ān refers to the course of the Battle of ’Uhud where the hypocrites, under the leadership of ‘Abdullah-ibn-’Ubay, struck the Muslims very violently and hindered a large group of them from participating in the Holy Struggle.
They not only did not go to war themselves, but also caused some Muslim tribes to become doubtful about it. These tribes were such as Banū-Muslimah, and Banū-Harithah. They, as a result of the hypocrites’ preachings, hesitated to go to fight in the Holy Struggle, but soon they overcame to their doubt and participated in the Holy Struggle.
The following holy verse from Surah’Āl-i-‘Imrān is a hint to that very circumstance. It says:
It is for this reason that, in the verse under discussion, the Qur’ān states that the hypocrites had decided from before to stir up sedition and they tried to turn the matters upside down for the Prophet (S) in order that he might make mistake in making his decisions.
But the truth came and Allah’s command was manifested while they were not pleased. That is, in that very Battle of’Uhud that they applied their seditions, the Muslims, after incurring a failure, finally overcame the enemy, and Islam obtained a better situation and it was fixed. The hypocrites, of course, did not like that circumstance. The verse says:
Yes, hypocrites’ hearts never submit to the Islamic system, “…they were averse.”, but as it was actually proved, the helps of Allah destroy the plans of the hypocrites:
وَمِنْهُم مَن يَقُولُ ائْذَن لِي وَلا تَفْتِنِّي أَلاَ فِي الْفِتْنَةِ سَقَطُوا وإِنَّ جَهَنَّمَ لَمحِيطَةٌ بِالْكَافِرِينَ
49. “And among them there is he who says: ‘Give me leave and do not tempt me.’ Surely into temptation have they already fallen; and verily Hell encompasses the infidels.”
One of the chiefs of the tribe Bany Salamah, who was one of the hypocrites, asked the Messenger of Allah (S) not to attend in the Battle of Tabūk. His pretext was that if he saw the Roman women, he would be enamoured of them and would commit sins.
The Holy Prophet (S) allowed him so. Then, this verse was revealed and counted him sinful and fallen in temptation for the sake of not participating in the battlefield. The Prophet (S) resigned him from his rank, the presidency of the tribe, and appointed Bushr-ibn-Bur’ā’, a generous and good tempered man, in his place.
However, for believers, a battlefield is the site of temptation and examination, and those who are worried about the temptation of war and avoid going toward Holy Struggle, will fall into a greater temptation. The verse says:
To deceive the believers, some of hypocrites abuse the religious matters and ordinances and, under the name of, for example, ‘looking at the Roman girls’, disobey the command of Allah and the Messenger.
It should be noted that escape from the Divine trial is impossible; and encompassment of Hell upon infidels and hypocrites is for the encompassment of Hell upon infidels and hypocrites is for the encompassment of sin upon their entity. The verse continues saying:
إِن تُصِبْكَ حَسَنَةٌ تَسُؤْهُمْ وَإِن تُصِبْكَ مُصِيبَةٌ يَقُولُوا قَدْ أَخَذْنَآ أَمْرَنَا مِن قَبْلُ وَيَتَوَلَّوْا وَهُمْ فَرِحُونَ
50. “If (any) good befalls you, it vexes them; but if an affliction visits you, they say: ‘We had taken care of our affair in advance’, and they turn away, rejoicing.”
In this verse, the Qur’ān refers to one of other particular epithets of the hypocrites. This epithet in them is that if a goodness befalls the Prophet (S) and Muslims, they will be annoyed of it. They will be inconvenient if the Prophet (S) overcomes the enemy in the war or obtains some booties.
They do not like the goodness and happiness of the Muslims, but if an affliction befalls the Muslims, that they meet with failure or be killed, for example, they will be glad and they say that they had observed the necessary precautions from before and they did not visit that affliction. In such a way, they speak ironically of Muslims. The verse says:
قُل لَن يُصِيبَنَآ إِلاَّ مَاكَتَبَ اللّهُ لَنَا هُوَ مَوْلاَنَا وَعَلى اللّهِ فَلْيَتَوَكَّلِ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
51. “Say: ‘Never shall afflict us (anything) save what Allah has prescribed for us; He is our Master; and on Allah should the believers rely’.”
The leader of a community and the community itself are partners with each other in sorrows and joys.
We are commissioned to our duties, not sureties to their results. We go forth in Holy Struggle, but determinations are with Allah. The verse says:
Whatever Allah prescribes for a believing servant is good, since never does a master prescribe some bad things for his servant.
A believer lives under the mastership of Allah (s.w.t.); and the highest peak of monotheism is to run alongside the orbit of Divine Law, and also leaving the fate to the Will of Allah, the Wise. It says:
On Allah (s.w.t.) alone should a believer rely, because the condition of Faith is relying on Allah. The verse says:
قُلْ هَلْ تَرَبَّصُونَ بِنَآ إِلآَّ إِحْدَى الْحُسْنَيَيْنِ وَنَحْنُ نَتَرَبَّصُ بِكُمْ أَن يُصِيبَكُمُ اللّهُ بِعَذَابٍ مِنْ عِندِهِ أَوْ بِاَيْدِينَا فَتَرَبَّصُوا إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ مُتَرَبِّصُونَ
52. “Say: ‘Do you await for us but one of the two excellences? And we await for you that Allah will afflict you with punishment from Himself or by our hands. So await; we (too) are awaiting with you’.”
This verse addresses the Prophet (S) to convey this answer to them, too, that whether they expect to reach Muslims one of the two goodnesses, victory or martyrdom. The verse says:
Muslims either defeat the enemy in the war and come out from the battlefield victoriously, or they will be killed and drink the glass of martyrdom honestly. Whatever comes forth welcomes, and it is the cause of their honour and the light of Muslims’ eyes. There will be, however, no failure in their policy.
But, on the contrary, concerning the opponents, Muslims await for them one of the two afflictions. Either they meet the punishment from Allah both in this world and the next world, or Muslims make them contemptible and destroy them by their hands.
The verse says:
Now that the status is like that, both parties may await with each other. The verse continues saying:
قُلْ أَنفِقُوا طَوْعاً أَوْ كَرْهاً لَن يُتَقَبَّلَ مِنكُمْ إِنَّكُمْ كُنتُمْ قَوْماً فَاسِقِينَ
53. “Say: ‘Spend willingly or unwillingly, it shall never be accepted from you; (for) verily you have ever been an ungodly people.”
Those hypocrites who did not participate in the Battle of Tabūk, desired to share the Battle in its victory by means of their financial helps.
But, the condition of deeds to be accepted by Allah is piety and sincerity, because the political and social affairs and divine services are all related to each other. Thus the spirits, innates, and intentions of persons are effective in the value of their deeds.
That hypocrite who is inconvenient of triumph for Muslims and is happy when an affliction reaches them, his deeds are worthless with this polluted innate. So, such hypocrites, who instead of going forth to battlefields intend to expend financially, are told that their action, done willingly or unwillingly, is of no avail. The verse says:
Charity, of course, is not limited to the act of satiating people with food, the improvement of minds and spiritual growth is also the goal of Islam.
وَمَا مَنَعَهُمْ أَن تُقْبَلَ مِنْهُمْ نَفَقَاتُهُمْ اِلآَّ أَنَّهُمْ كَفَرُوا بِاللّهِ وَبِرَسُولِهِ وَلا يَأْتُونَ الصَّلاَةَ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ كُسَالَى وَلا يُنفِقُونَ إِلاَّ وَهُمْ كَارِهُونَ
54. “And naught prevented that their spendings should be accepted from them, save that they have disbelieved in Allah and in his Messenger, and they do not perform the prayer but while they are sluggish, and they do not spend but while they are averse.”
In this verse, the Qur’ān explains once more the reason of refusing the expenses of the hypocrites. It says:
Then, any action, which is not done with the belief in Allah, will not be accepted with Him.
Thus, the incomes of an Islamic government, comparing with the incomes of other governments, such as Khoms (one fifth levy), alms, and charities, which believing people pay heartily and with a great deal of sincerity, have some peculiarities and privileges as follows:
1. They pay it willingly, based on their own choice and upon their religious conscience.
2. They pay it with no fear, but accompanied by intention with divine motive.
3. They count the financial expendings as some provisions for the Hereafter.
4. They choose a just scholar among jurisprudents to give him their wealth.
5. They usually know how that spending is used and they often control it.
6. The condition of the simple life of the taker of it is considered by them. So, they usually kiss his hand and thank Allah (s.w.t.).
The verse, after mentioning the refusal of the hypocrites’ financial expendings, refers to the situation of their worships. It says:
This is the state of their prayer, then, similar to that, their spending is also done forcedly and with aversion. The verse continues saying:
In fact, their spendings are not accepted for two reasons. One reason is that their action is performed with infidelity and lack of faith; and the second reason is that it is done forcedly and with aversion.
Also, their prayer is not accepted for two reasons: the first is their infidelity, and the second is that it is performed sluggishly.
فَلَا تُعْجِبْكَ أَمْوَالُهُمْ وَلآ أَوْلاَدُهُمْ إِنَّما يُرِيدُ اللّهُ لِيُعَذِّبَهُم بِهَا فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَتَزْهَقَ أَنْفُسُهُمْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ
55. “So let not their possessions and their issues astonish you; verily Allah only desires thereby to chastise them in the life of (this) world, and that their souls depart while they are infidels.”
Some of the hypocrites had both a great deal of wealth, and many children. This status caused the surprise of some Muslims. They might think with themselves how those hypocrites, that did not believe in Allah, had enjoyed so many bounties.
In this verse, it is said to the Prophet (S) and all the Muslims that they would not surprise of the abundance of the hypocrites’ wealth and children. That is, they should not imagine that those bounties might cause happiness and comfort for them.
But, on the contrary, those properties and children caused them affliction and punishment. Therefore, the hypocrites and infidels, because of absence of belief in Allah (s.w.t.), which is the origin of the ease of hearts, can not apply those bounties with a pleasure.
Sometimes these bounties are the sources of worriment, anxiety, and spiritual torments for them. For the sake of possessing some more possibilities, they think they are free from want. This very imagination causes them to disobey most of divine commandments and take distance more and more from Allah (s.w.t.) and from believing in Him.
The verse says:
Therefore, if wealth and children are purified and righteous, they are some good merits which cause happiness, comfort, and ease. But if the wealth is not purified and the children are impious, they will be a painful torment for their holders.
وَيَحْلِفُونَ بِاللّهِ إِنَّهُمْ لَمِنكُمْ وَمَا هُمْ مِنكُمْ وَلَكِنَّهُمْ قَوْمٌ يَفْرَقُونَ
56. “And they swear by Allah that they are most surely of you, while they are not of you. But they are a people that are afraid.”
The Arabic term /yafraqūn/, used in the abovementioned verse, means the intense of fear. As if their hearts burst from fear.
One of the means of hypocrites, which they applied frequently, was ‘a false oath’. That is why we should not haste in accepting the repentance of a hypocrite and believing his claims, because hypocrites are liars. The verse says:
However, heartily fear and terror are among the signs of hypocrites.
لَوْ يَجِدُونَ مَلْجَأً أَوْ مَغَارَاتٍ أَوْ مُدَّخَلاً لَوَلَّوْا إِلَيْهِ وَهُمْ يَجْمَحُونَ
57. “If they (the hypocrites) could find a refuge, or caves or a place to enter therein, they would certainly turn thereto, running away in all haste.”
The Arabic word /malja’/, mentioned in this verse, means ‘refuge’, and the term /maqārāt/ is the plural form of /maqārah/ which means ‘cave’. The word /madxal/ in Arabic is rendered as ‘a hidden way like a tunnel under the ground’.
The Qur’ānic term /yajmahūn/ is derived from /jimāh/ in the sense of ‘a swift running which can not be stopped’. In Arabic, a vicious horse is also called /jamūh/.
Hypocrites express faith either because of fear or because of coveting wealth and rank. The abovementioned verse refers to the first group.
A hypocrite is often frightened and seeks for opportunity to escape from the existing situation.
The life of hypocrites is always scattered and roaming about. They lead a compulsory life with the Muslims, since they are in fear from their own deed. The verse says:
وَمِنْهُمْ مَن يَلْمِزُكَ فِي الصَّدَقَاتِ فَإِنْ اُعْطُوا مِنْهَا رَضُوا وَإِن لَمْ يُعْطَوْا مِنْهَآ إِذَا هُمْ يَسْخَطُونَ
58. “And some of them find fault with you regarding to the (distribution of) alms; so if they are given from them, they are pleased, and if they are not given from them, they are enraged.”
The Qur’ānic term /lumaz / means ‘to find fault in front of a person’, while the term /humaz/ means ‘to find fault at the back of a person’.
That person who later became the leader of Kharijites (Khawārij) and the apostates (Māriqin), when the booties of the Battle of Hunayn were being distributed, he protested the Prophet (S) and told him to behave justly.
The Holy Prophet (S) said:
“Who is better in justice than I?”
At that time ‘Umar was going to kill the man for that undue insolence. But the Prophet (S) said that they let him go, and added that he would have some followers who would have such worships that the audience, comparing their worships with them, might count theirs naught. (This statement was a hint to their dry worships without mastership.)
With those plenty of worships, they exceeded the religion and went out of the bounds of Islam, like an arrow when it goes out of the bow. That person was killed in the Battle of Nahrawān by the sword of Hazrat Ali (as).
However, hypocrites look only at their own interests. Then, if they are given a share of bounties, they will be pleased and happy, and count the distributer a just person even though they do not deserve it.
But, if they are given naught from those interests, they will become angry, and accuse the distributer to injustice. The verse says:
وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ رَضُوا مَآءَاتَاهُمُ اللّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ وَقَالُوا حَسْبُنَا اللّهُ سَيُؤْتِينَا اللّهُ مِن فَضْلِهِ وَرَسُولُهُ إِنَّآ إِلَى اللّهِ رَاغِبُونَ
59. “And if they were content with what Allah and His Messenger gave them and they said: ‘Allah is sufficient for us; Allah will soon give us (more) out of His grace, and His Messenger too. Verily unto Allah do we eagerly turn’.”
There are four stages referred to in this verse:
1) Being content with the Decree of Allah and submitted to it.
2) Oral Expression of content uttered by the tongue of the person.
3) Being hopeful of the grace, bounteousness and beneficence of Allah.
4) Being heedless to the world, and having the love of Allah (s.w.t.).
Hypocrites are never content with Allah’s predestinations, but the goodness of man lies in his satisfaction and contentment.
Mere straitened circumstances should not be noted. Patience generally brings forth a better future for the servants. Moreover, we are not in a situation to ask Him to give our claims. Whatever He bestows upon us is from His Own bounteousness; and His graces come to us by the way of prophets and the saints.
The bitterness of worldly deprivations will become sweet by the help of Allah’s promises to the believers, and the bounties of Heaven.