During their time they spend in the midst of believers, hypocrites play an imitative role in order to blend in and not give themselves away. They seek to imitate religious observances, but never go near those that impinge on their earthly desires. For example, calling people to proper moral values and advising them of the truth are duties that they see as inconvenient. They are not willing to see others implementing this system that they wonâ€™t implement themselves. They are therefore careful to avoid defending the truth.
In any case, there is an inconsistency here: Clearly, anyone who avoids remembrance of Allah and who harbors a genuine hatred for religion and sincere believers can never properly communicate the stipulations of the Qurâ€™an and the importance of living for Allah. Since such people do not live by proper moral values themselves, naturally they cannot explain these to others. And in any case, they have no wish to do so.
In addition, communicating the messageâ€”which Allah, in the Qurâ€™an, commands as an important religious dutyâ€”is something they can never do. Recommending what is good and trying to prevent what is evil, and issuing reminders in the light of the Qurâ€™an are observances that hypocrites can never perform. Since their true desire is to gain the approval of others, they never wish to offend anyone and never intervene in any errors they happen to see.
They Make Excuses to Lag Behind in the Struggle
We have already seen how, one of hypocritesâ€™ main objectivesâ€”for so long as they remain in the midst of believersâ€”is their own interests. Doubtless the one area that most conflicts with those interests are the times of struggle that have been written as obligatory for believers. Hypocrites can see no logic in striving for an objective that they doubt will give them any advantage in terms of their own interests, nor in which they donâ€™t sincerely believe. In addition, due to their lack of comprehension, they think of this struggle as one in which lives and belongings will be lost, not for whose sake there will be a reward in the Hereafter. They cannot understand such superior virtues as making sacrifices for Allah or enduring difficulties.
Hypocrites in the time of the Prophet (s) began fleeing as soon as the order for war was issued, and resorted to various lies and excuses to cover up their crimes. Some of the verses on this subject are as follows:
. . . They were told, â€œCome and fight in the way of Allah or at least help defend us.â€ They said, â€œIf we knew how to fight, we would certainly follow you.â€
Ali â€˜Imran: 167
If it had been a case of easy gains and a short journey, they would have followed you, but the distance was too great for them. They will swear by Allah: â€œHad we been able to, we would have gone out with you.â€ They are destroying their own selves. Allah knows that they are lying.
Those who were left behind were glad to stay behind the Messenger of Allah. They did not want to strive with their wealth and themselves in the way of Allah. They said, â€œDo not go out to fight in the heat.â€ Say: â€œThe Fire of Hell is much hotter, if they only understood.â€
When a sura is sent down, saying: â€œBelieve in Allah and strive together with His Messenger,â€ those among them with wealth will ask you to excuse them, saying, â€œLet us remain with those who stay behind.â€
And a group of them said, â€œPeople of Yathrib, Your position is untenable, so return!â€ some of them asked the Prophet to excuse them, saying, â€œOur houses are exposed,â€ when they were not exposed; it was merely that they wanted to run away.
This attitude, which becomes apparent in times of struggle, is important evidence of the hypocritesâ€™ logic. They abandon their imitation of believers carried out up until then and reveal their true character. Before such times of struggle, however, they will also show evidence revealing their true natures.
Their lack of preparation towards future struggles is characteristic of their attitude. Since they have no such aim, they see no need to make ready. Yet at the same time, this is evidence of the activities they do plan. They deliberately fail to fulfill their religious observances and make none of those preparations for the future that are dependent upon believers. In one verse it is revealed that:
If they had really desired to go out, they would have made proper preparations for it, but Allah was averse to their setting out so He held them back and they were told: â€œStay behind with those who stay behind.â€
Their View of Believers
Hypocrites have declared war on the religion of Allah. They oppose His messenger and are unable to bear to listen to His verses. Therefore, one cannot expect them to feel any closeness to believers. That they adopt the requirements of a religion that hypocrites are opposed to, and that they abide by Allahâ€™s verses are sufficient cause for hypocrites to feel enmity towards the believers.
Hypocrites will naturally conceal themselves. In order to do so, they will play a role among believers and say, despite what lies in their hearts, that they are believers too. Therefore at first glance, it may not be possible to grasp the anger that they harbor in their hearts toward believers. Inevitably, however, this anger will give itself away through various signs, which are given to us in the verses of the Qurâ€™an.
In Their Hearts They Feel Hatred & Anger Toward Believers
. . . Hatred has appeared out of their mouths, but what their breasts hide is far worse. . . .
Ali â€˜Imran: 118
Scrupulous adherence to the Qurâ€™an and the proper moral values they take from it are an important element of believersâ€™ love and respect, but this works in entirely the opposite way for hypocrites. Everything to do with proper moral values further increases their anger and hatred. That is because they expect degeneration when it comes to religion and morality. They wish to distance themselves from everything that religion regards as good and to implement the exact opposite. Remembrance of Allah, recollection of His verses, and the strengthening and improvement of believers represent the continuing growth of a system to which they are opposed, so all this increases the anger in their hearts.
This anger in their hearts manifests itself in various ways. The various oppressive methods they use, the plans they draw up against believers and the way they take the messenger as their target are some consequences. However, as revealed in the verses, the anger they hide in their hearts is no doubt greater than that which appears on the surface.