“When you look to them you are impressed by their appearance, when they speak, you listen to their words, they are as (worthless as hollow) pieces of timber propped up, (unable to stand on their own). They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies; so beware of them. The curse of Allah is on them! How they are deluded.” [EMQ 63:4]

There is something I would like to clarify. I’ve witness many Muslims misuse the word hypocrite when referring to other Muslims. This is not to be taken lightly. When they tell a Muslim they are a hypocrite, what they usually mean is the English meaning of the word:

1 : a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2 : a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings
Though the meaning is similar, Islamically it carries a much more serious consequence.

Munāfiq (n., in Arabic: منافق, plural munāfiqūn) is an Islamic Arabic term used to describe a religious hypocrite, who outwardly practices Islam, while inwardly concealing his disbelief (kufr), perhaps even unknowingly.

The term munāfiq in Arabic and Urdu is primarily a non-religious term that refers to a person whose actions are different from and opposite to his thoughts, which he conceals. In the Qur’an sense the term refers to a person who does not have faith, but pretends to. “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.” – (Qur’an 63:1).

The Qur’an has hundreds of ayāt (verses) discussing munāfiqūn, referring to them as more dangerous to Muslims than the worst non-Muslim enemies of Islam. The Qur’an states, “The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the Fire: no helper wilt thou find for them.” – (Qur’an 4:145).

According to Sahīh Bukhārī, the Prophet said, “Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up. 1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays. 2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. 3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous. 4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.”

The most common misuse of the word I’ve seen amongst the Muslim is usually towards another Muslim who promotes Islam or is commanding good and forbidding evil and this person is usually deemed unworthy of representing Muslims or inviting others to Islam.

Maybe – this person is reminding others to pray in the Masjid and someone will point out that they once saw him praying somewhere else or worse they will try to raise doubts to his intentions and say that he is so busy telling people to go to the masjid – but he himself is out in the streets at the same time they are. Perhaps a sister will inform other sisters of the proper hijab and someone will be sure to bring up the fact that she is a convert and use to dress like a ho and now due to the psychological stresses of her past, she is on hijab patrol. In both cases – they will likely be told that their behavior is hypocritical (the person ‘exposing’ them is usually not sincere – they just do not appreciate being told how to practice Islam or corrected).

There may even be more extreme cases. Such as the Imam who beats his wife and doesn’t pay child support. The sister who veils to promote modesty but has been married and divorced to most of the brothers in the first row at the masjid. However, Islamically this does not make them a hypocrite. Even struggling to practice the deen while calling others to what is correct is not hypocrisy. A person can be a sinner and not be a hypocrite. A sinner can still advise others to stay away from the very sin they are committing. I would think that in some cases the sinners advice is most sincere as he knows what he is struggling with and may want better for you.

Rather in Islam a real hypocrite will never be as obvious as the ones usually labeled as such. A real hypocrite will stand next to you in the prayer, fast in front of the people, dress the dress, walk the walk, talk the talk but in their hearts they hate Islam. Only Allah knows who they are but personally I have seen different categories of people that fit the bill:

1. The born Muslim. This person may think they have no choice but to be Muslim. They are Muslim by name only and hate the fact that they were born in a Muslim family or a Muslim land.

We became and remain Muslims solely for Allah’s sake. Allah says in the Qur’an,

  “Worship Allah, making religion pure for him”
(al-Zumar : 2)And Allah also says,”And they are ordained not else than to serve Allah, keeping religion pure for Him, as men by nature upright and to establish worship and to pay the poor-due. That is true religion”
(al-Bayyinah : 5)   



And the Prophet (peace be upon him) added,

  “Allah has forbidden for the Hell-fire anyone who says, ‘There is no one worthy of worship except Allah,’ and say so desiring the face [and pleasure] of Allah.”(Recorded by Muslim)


This is something that we should all think about, especially those of us who grew up in Muslim families and were born Muslim. We should make it very clear to ourselves that we are Muslims only for the sake of Allah. We are not Muslims for the sake of our parents, friends, family or community. It must be clear in our minds that we are Muslims for the sake of Allah first, last and only.

One of the signs that we are Muslims for the sake of Allah is that we do whatever Allah asks of us, regardless of what anybody else desires or wants from us. That is, in the same way that we are Muslims solely for the sake of Allah, all of our actions are done for the sake of Allah. Some people from the Muslim world practice Islam to the extent that it is pleasing to their families. If there is anything in Islam that their families do not like- although their families are Muslim and therefore they actually should like all of Islam- then they do not practice that aspect of Islam. One common example of that nature is mixing between men and women. Such people must sincerely ask themselves why they are Muslims. Are they Muslims for the sake of their parents, friends etc and therefore whatever people like they will do and whatever people do not like they won’t do? Or are they Muslims for the sake of Allah and therefore whatever Allah dislikes they will not do and whatever Allah is pleased with they do? Source: Article by Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo from AL-BASHEER magazine (Vol.7, No.5).

2. The married a Muslim, Muslim. This person loved their spouse and would say anything to be with them. So they  said the declaration of faith but resent every aspect of Islam.

We are all familiar with those who say the testimony of faith yet they are not saying it honestly. They do not believe in it but they are simply saying it in order to protect themselves or to get some gain from doing so; these are the hypocrites. Allah has described them in the opening of the Qur’an with the following words,

  “And of mankind are some who say, ‘We believe in Allah and the Last Day,’ when they believe not. They think to beguile Allah and those who believe, and they beguile none save themselves, but they perceive not. In their hearts is a disease, and Allah increases their disease. A painful doom is theirs because they lie”(al-Baqarah 8-10)  


Obviously, the shahadah of those who become Muslims simply to benefit from being Muslim and not because they believe in Islam will be rejected by Allah in the Hereafter. They will face a painful punishment due to their lying. Source: Article by Jamaal al-Din Zarabozo from AL-BASHEER magazine (Vol.7, No.5).

3. The ‘agnostic’ Muslim. This is an oxymoron. No such thing should exist but I am running across this type more often then not. This type does not deny the existence of Allah. Not just a god but they accept that there is only one God. They don’t buy into His Creation being divine, partner, son, or associate. But that is as far as they go. If you call them to practice Islam as a way of life then you are made to look ignorant and foolish. Every effort will be made to have you mocked and scorned. The more you say, “Allah said” or “Muhammad said” the more they will accuse you of judging them and will attempt to turn the tables. They will grab at all types of straws and will join clear disbelievers and other Muslims of their ilk in belittling you. They will never directly insult Allah or His Messenger, they will just put doubt on everything you quote, change the subject to one of personal attacks and not address the issues, and will make excuses for why The Book of Allah and the sunnah of His Messenger are not to be followed. Perhaps even going as far as accusing the believer of misguidance

“Those in sin used to laugh at those who believed, And whenever they passed by them, used to wink at each other (in mockery); And when they returned to their own people, they would return jesting. And whenever they saw them, they would say, “Behold! These are the people truly astray!” But they had not been sent as keepers over them! But on this Day the Believers will laugh at the Unbelievers: On Thrones (of Dignity) they will command (a sight) (of all things). Will not the Unbelievers have been paid back for what they did?” [Quran 83:29-36] (Hat Tip To My Husband for pointing this out)

The above are simply my observations. Of course I do not know who individual hypocrites are – only Allah Knows that. However, it seems like these categories of people harbor “Muslims” with the most resentment. I put “Muslim” in quotation marks because often their hypocrisy has nullified their Islam, because these are some dangerous beliefs, sayings and actions that can take one out of the fold of Islam. Whoever mocks at anything of the religion of the Messenger (its reward or its punishment), then he is a disbeliever. The proof is what Allah says: ‘Say: Was it at Allah and His ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, sins, revelations) and His Messenger that you were mocking? Make no excuse. You have disbelieved after you had believed’ “(9:65-66)

Anyone who mocks at Allah, the Messenger (PBUH) or the religion of Islam has committed disbelief even if they were joking and not serious. Narrated Abdullah Bin Umar that a man during the battle of Tabuk said,

“We have seen no people with greater appetite (bigger stomachs), more lying and more cowardly in battle than those people” (He was referring to the Qur’an reciters with the Prophet (PBUH).). Awf bin Malik rose and said, “In fact, you are a liar and hypocrite and I will inform Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) about your words”. So he went to Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) but by then he (PBUH) was already informed by the above revelation. At the same time, the hypocrite approached Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) while he (PBUH) was starting his journey already on his camel. He pleaded, “O Messenger of Allah! We were only joking and trying to pass the time while traveling”. Ibn Umar said, “It’s as if I see him now that he was clinging to the saddle belt of the Messenger of Allah’s (PBUH) camel as it ran while his legs were being battered by the rough ground, and even then he continued pleading”. Allah’s Messenger (PBUH) said (of which meaning translates as): “Was it at Allah and His ayaat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger (PBUH) that you were mocking? Make no excuse. You have disbelieved after you have believed” (9:65-66). He (PBUH) did not look towards them nor spoke anything further (Reported by Ibn Jarer, Ibn Abi Hatim and others).

Allah announced those hypocrites as disbelievers for mocking the Messenger (PBUH) and his companions after being believers. So, mocking Allah, His Messenger (PBUH) or the religion of Islam is considered disbelief and hypocrisy.  

As the Day of Resurrection draws near, the society, the people will be corrupted. The ethical values will be reversed. The immorality will be rampant, and people with good manners will be belittled. The moral corruption will be praised, and good things will be presented as evil. Then the value of the belief will not be appreciated. Hence, a believer will feel like a stranger in the society. The Prophet said: Indeed Islaam began as something strange (ghareeb). And it will return as something strange the way it began. So give glad tidings to the strangers (ghurabaa)”

We see how much suffering and damage the Munafiqeen has caused this ummah, we see in the time of Muhammad (pbuh) that the Munafiqeen were the most active to cause destruction to the Muslims. We recognise the Munafiq by certain criteria. His own actions will declare if he is a Munafiq or not and Allah (swt) taught us how to recognise him, how to treat him and how to warn the people from him.

How to recognise The Hypocrite

*Allah will let the believer know the hypocrites by the tone of their speech. (47:30)
* The hypocrites disbelieve in Allah and His Messenger (pbuh). (9:54), (4:38), (2:8)

*They mock Allah, His Ayat, and His Messenger. (9:65)

*They oppose Allah and His Messenger. (58:20)

*They hate what Allah revealed and followed what angered Allah, so Allah made their deeds fruitless. (47:28)
The normal kafirs hates what Allah revealed, so Allah made their deeds fruitless, too (47:9)

*They try to put out Allah’s Deen with their mouths, but Allah will make it victorious (61:8-9)
*They look forward to the destruction of the believers. ( )

*They swear to a lie while they know, making their oaths a screen for their evil actions. (58:14)

*It grieves the hypocrites if good befalls the believers. (9:50)

*If a calamity befalls the believers, the hypocrite rejoices and says that he took his precautions (9:50)

*They have pleasing speech, but they are quarrelsome (2:204)

*The hypocrites wish that the believers would reject faith, too (like they have rejected faith).

How Muslims Are To Deal With Them 

*They are the enemy; beware of them (63:4)

* Don’t take the hypocrites for auliya (allies, friends, protectors, confidants). (4:90)

*Don’t let the hypocrites’ wealth and children amaze you. Allah’s plan is to punish them with these things in this world and in the end their souls depart while they are kafirs. (9:85)

*Don’t pray janazah over the hypocrites when they die, because they die as kafirs. (9:84), (9:125)

I’m not sure if this applies to us or is only directed at Prophet Muhammad, since he knew who were the hypocrites among his companions.

* Turn aside from them, admonish them, and speak an effective word to reach their inner selves. (4:63)

*They are with the believers if they repent, do righteous deeds, hold fast to Allah, and purify their religion (i.e. do good deeds for Allah, but not for showing off). (4:146)

* You should be harsh against them, hate them, declare animosity towards them, stay away from them and declare that they are on the falsehood.
Their destination is the Hell-Fire. (66:9)

How Allah Will Deal With them

* He puts them into trial once or twice a year in hopes that they will repent and learn a lesson. (9:126)

This is really sad, as I’ve witnessed the calamities and afflictions that they have faced and you would think they would benefit from it and repent but nay!

* He makes their deeds fruitless in this life and in the Hereafter. (47:28), (5:53)

*Allah will send down a torment on them suddenly while they don’t perceive it because they didn’t follow the Qur’an. (39:55)

*The hypocrites will be put into the Hell-Fire because they denied the truth, were proud, and were among the kafirs. (39:59)

*Allah will punish the hypocrites and pagans because they didn’t fulfill their covenant of conveying Islam (33:72-73)

*The hypocrites are the worst of Kafirs, therefore Allah will put them in the lowest depth of the Hell-Fire. (4:145)

These are some of the big signs of the Munafiq and there are many other signs. The hypocrites are the most evil of all people and are eligible for the greatest of punishments in the Hereafter. This is because they appear to be practicing Muslims, yet they are the worst of all enemies as they conceal kufr and shirk. Only the Mu’min (believer) and the true Muslim (submitter) is afraid of committing nifaaq or kufr, and it is only the Muwahhid (monotheist) who is afraid of committing shirk. The only person who is free from any concerns related to kufr, shirk and hypocrisy is the Kaafir. The primary concern of any Muslim is to keep as far away from kufr, shirk and nifaaq as possible, and then to worship Allaah (SWT) exclusively. It is narrated in Saheeh al-Bukhaari by Ibn Abee Mulaikah, who said:

‘I met thirty companions of the Prophet (SAW) and each one of them was afraid of becoming a hypocrite, and none of them said that he was as strong as Jibreel or Meekaa-eel.’

And Hasan (al-Basri) said:

‘It is only a believer who fears from hypocrisy, and it is only a hypocrite who feels safe from it (hypocrisy).’ (Saheeh al-Bukhaari, Kitaab ul-Eemaan, Chapter 36)

We should ask Allah (SWT) regularly to save us from hypocrisy, kufr, shirk and bid’ah, and for us to die in the state of eemaan and tawheed. We should also always be aware of the high possibilities and chances of becoming Kaafir, and prevent this by fulfilling all of Allah’s commandments and our obligations.

O Allah! Protect us from Nifaq (Hypocrisy)  and the Munafiqeen (Hypocrites)…aameen

Verily, the hyprocrites will be in the lowest depth of the Fire; no helper will you find for them (4:145).