Their Real Target is the Messenger of Allah
The real reason for the hatred in their hearts is that believers unconditionally obey Allah and His messenger, constantly remember Allah and the Qurâ€™an, and offer them advice. The more believers warn them about the imminence of death, the reality of the Hereafter and the fact that salvation lies in obedience to Allah and His messenger, the greater their hatred and desire for revenge. They cannot accommodate the concept of obedience because they are unable to appreciate the messenger of Allah, and in the face of the superior virtues they witness in him, their hatred grows still further. For that reason, their real target is the messenger, and their real struggle is waged against him. It is revealed in the Qurâ€™an that hypocrites strove to combat the Prophet (s):
If they do argue with you, say: â€œAllah knows best what you are doing.â€
Hypocrites have waged struggles against all the messengers who have ever lived, although all throughout the course of history, their endeavors have proved fruitless. The fact that these attempts against all the messengers have borne no fruit has driven hypocrites to despair, while the messengers and believers have grown ever stronger.
They Seek to Deceive Believers
We have already said that the most distinguishing feature that makes hypocrites of these people is the way they seek to portray themselves as having faith when really they have none. These people, who only reveal their true faces to people they imagine to be just like them, simply act a role alongside believers. The Qurâ€™an, however, refers to hypocrites as seeking to deceive believers but in fact deceiving nobody but themselves:
They think they deceive Allah and those who believe. They deceive no one but themselves but they are not aware of it.
The Qurâ€™an refers to hypocrites who lived in the times of the prophets and the messengers saying â€œWe believe,â€ but that actually they had no real faith, thus encouraging all believers to be on their guard against them:
O Messenger! Do not be grieved by those who rush headlong into disbelief among those who say â€œWe believeâ€ with their tongues when their hearts contain no faith. And among the Jews are those who listen to lies, listening to other people who have not come to you, distorting words from their proper meanings, saying, â€œIf you are given this, then take it. If you are not given it, then beware!â€ If Allah desires misguidance for someone, you cannot help him against Allah in any way. Those are the people whose hearts Allah does not want to purify. They will have disgrace in this world, and in the Hereafter they will have a terrible punishment.
These characteristics of hypocrites have remained unchanged for centuries. The Qurâ€™an refers to the existence of these people, who have claimed throughout history to be possessed of faith. Since hypocrites have had the same features at all times, and since their actions have always been opposed to the messengers, their deeds and what befell them have always remained the same. According to Allahâ€™s promise, they will continue to come to the same â€œend.â€ It is revealed in one verse that:
Donâ€™t you see those who claim that they believe in what has been sent down to you and what was sent down before you, still desiring to turn to a satanic source for judgment in spite of being ordered to reject it? Satan wants to misguide them far away.
They Feel Enraged by the Strength of Believers
That the actions they take against believers fail to achieve their aims merely increases hypocritesâ€™ anger. In the same way, the increasing strength of the faithful also enrages them. The following verses clarify the hypocritesâ€™ state of mind:
If something good happens to you, it galls them. If something bad strikes you, they rejoice at it. . . .
Ali â€˜Imran: 120
If good happens to you, it galls them. . . .
Hypocrites attempt to use believers to secure their own interests while they are amongst them, but their calculations prove hollow. They fail to secure their hoped-for advantages, while the believers grow ever stronger. This is an unchanging law of Allah, Who has revealed that He will help those who believe and have faith in Him in the life of this world and will bestow on them the finest of blessings. Hypocrites are also well aware of this. However, as a result of the cunning approach they take, the lives of believers, which are full of constant peace and ease, become sources of anger for them. Believers, always at ease, are rewarded with an abundance that the hypocritical logic is unable to fathom. That explains why hypocrites always desire for communities of the faithful, whom they detest, to be in a constant state of vexation. For hypocrites, the blessings that Allah bestows upon believers, and the abundance in which they live, are a source of troubling rage whereas any difficulty experienced by believers delights them. This defective state of mind of theirs is revealed in the Qurâ€™an:
. . . They will do anything to harm you. They love what causes you distress. . . .
Ali â€˜Imran: 118
Since believers are subjected to testing by Allah, from time to time they may encounter what appear to be difficulties, but these are all tests for them. They know that difficulties hone them, increase their capacities for struggle and are the means whereby they can attain Paradise. The way that such difficulties enrage hypocrites is the most evident proof of their inability to comprehend the secret of living for Allah and their unawareness that this world is a place of testing. While believers evaluate these difficulties as auspicious, hypocrites regard them as sources of vexation for believers and as a victory for themselves. Their own natures keep them unaware of the measure of believersâ€™ wisdom and the strength of their faith. They imagine that believers will inevitably be downcast by the trials they encounter and that their unity will finally be impaired. They thus harbor great joy and expectations. Yet these expectations will come to nothing. They are unable to understand those who draw strength from and are devoted to Allah, and thus fall into a grave error.