Imagine there is an outbreak of a dangerous disease; warnings and posters are everywhere. What do you do? The first thing you want to know is: do I have it or not and what do I have to look for?
Meet one of the most dangerous diseases of the heart: hypocrisy. Get ready to put yourself to the test and arm yourself with tips on how to cure hypocrisy in yourself in-sha-Allah!
In this week’s central ayah Allah ‘azza wajall says: In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie [Quran, 2:10]
How bad is it?
There are two types of hypocrisy: lesser and greater. Lesser (an-nifaaq al-asghar) is to present an outward appearance of good and good deeds while hiding inside which negates that.
Greater (an-nifaaq al-akbar) is to pretend on the outside to believe in Allah, the angels, His books, etc., while concealing within disbelief in all or some of that. This is the hypocrisy the prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was confronted with and Allah azza wajall says: Indeed, the hypocrites (al-munaafiqeen) will be in the lowest depth of the Fire; no helper will you find for them [Quran 4:145]
This ayah should ring all alarm bells; because hypocrisy of deeds can lead to hypocrisy of disbelief! Now, do you look for an illness in someone else first? No – you look for it in yourself. Here are the signs to look for followed by tips on how to fight back!
4 signs of the hypocrite
Did you ever fear being a hypocrite? If this never crossed your mind then it is said this in itself is a sign: Ibn Abi Mulaika said: I encountered thirty Companions of the Prophet every one of them fears hypocrisy for himself and Al-Hassan Al-Basri used to say about it: No one fears it but a believer and no one feels safe from it but a hypocrite. Even the sahaabaa feared nifaaq, what about you and me?
The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: There are four (characteristics), whoever has all of them is a complete hypocrite, and whoever has some of them, has some element of hypocrisy, unless he gives it up: When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a covenant, he betrays it; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; when he quarrels, he resorts to insults [Al-Bukharee]
These four characteristics refer to an-nifaaq al-asghar – the hypocrisy of deeds.
Check sign 1: lies – even white lies
I’m on my way! (you are still home) I was in traffic! (you overslept) I have to go somewhere else (you don’t want to visit someone) Whether you fear the consequences or just want to make a story more juicy: lying is not ok and even some lies in your speech is a sign of hypocrisy. Remember each time you lie, you move down levels of emaan and further away from Allah, until you repent!
Check sign 2: betrayed trusts— no matter how small
When a Muslim is entrusted with something— whether it is a small item you borrowed or the agreement with your employer, money you have to pay back, a private story someone told you – you must do your best to protect this amaanah (trust) and render it back to the owner in due time. Allah ‘azza wajall said: Verily, Allah orders you to render trusts to their rightful owners. [Quran, 4:58] So whether big or small, at family or work, whether people are watching or not, take every trust or agreement seriously. And fulfill your agreements for verily agreements will be asked about. [Quran,17:34]
Check sign 3: broken promises— regardless to who
Keep your word, not only in public and at work to “save face,” but also in private, with your own children, spouse, and parents. Some people don’t fulfill whatever they promised; they even deny they promised it in the first place! Remind yourself never to make a promise— not even to children— when you know you most likely don’t keep it. Allah ‘azza wajall says: O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do. [Quran, 61:2-3]
Check sign 4: insults – taking advice the wrong way
Who do you think you are? (someone is advising you about your behaviour) She’s telling me, while she does it herself? (a friend reminded you about the dangers of backbiting) Getting very angry, extremely self-defensive and start insulting others over an insignificant argument is a sign of hypocrisy in yourself. Can you take in a good advice or do you take it as an insult? We live in a time of many discussions and debates over small matters; hold your tongue. Do you know that giving advice is one of the rights of Muslims upon each other? The prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: There are six rights of a Muslim upon a Muslim . . . and then he mentioned . . . when he seeks counsel, give him advice [Al-Bukharee, Muslim] as one of them.
Appreciate those who come to you with sincere advice; Allah ‘azza wajall is using them as tools to remind you!
- Did you recognize yourself in one or all— of the above? It is not too late; turn to Allah ‘azza wajall, repent, be on guard for the above signs from now on and beg Allah to protect you:
1. Memorize and use this dua:
Allahumma innee a’oodhu bika minash-shaaqi wan-nifaaqi wa soo’il akhlaaqi – O Allah, I seek Your protection from obstinacy, hypocrisy and all bad manners [Abu Dawud]
2. Ask and give the gift of dua.
Ask others to make dua for you to be protected from nifaaq and make dua for others’ protection against it!
Praying you will benefit,
Khawlah bint Yahya~ United Kingdom
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