The Types of Hypocrisy by Muhaddith Al-‘Asr Shaykh Sayyid Muhammad Yūsuf Binnorī rahimahullāh
Translated by: Mufti Abdullah Moolla
One of the grave sins which draw the anger of Allāh Ta’ālā, as we learn from divine revelation, is a conflict and contrast between word and deed. In Sūrah As-Saff, Allāh Ta’ālā says:
‘O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do?’ [verse 2]
In reality, Nifāq, loosely translated as hypocrisy, is where there is one thing on the tongue and something else in the heart. There is a severe warning announced for the Munāfiqīn:
‘Indeed, the hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the fire.’ [Sūrah An-Nisā’: 145]
Three Forms of Nifāq
According to the technical definitions in Islām, Ilhād and Zandaqah bear the same purport of Nifāq (as detailed above). The jurists have explained a Zindīq to be a person who claims Islām with his tongue but hides disbelief in his heart. Hence, a conflict between the word on the tongue and the belief in the heart is Nifāq. There are three forms of it:
- The belief in the heart is correct but the deed and practice of the person conflicts with it. This is Nifāq fil ‘Amal.
- In the heart, a person has no belief in Allāh Ta’ālā and His Messenger sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and he makes the outward claim of Islām. This is Nifāq fil I’tiqād. This is clear and open disbelief. Those who are guilty of this will be in the depths of the fire.
- A person has disbelief in the heart but he outwardly does not deny Islām. Apparently, he attests to Islām and at the same time, he resorts to interpolation and proposes far-fetched interpretations for the Noble Qur’ān, the Blessed Ahādīth and the clear texts of the scholars of Islām. He attaches his baseless and false beliefs to the texts by doing this. This is Ilhād and Zandaqah. This form of Nifāq is the worst of all.
According to the consensus of the scholars, the repentance made by a Munāfiq is accepted. However, the repentance made by a Zindīq is not worthy of any attention according to some ‘Ulamā’.
Differences Between the Three Forms
The difference between the three levels is that in the case of Nifāq fil ‘Amal, the īman and beliefs of a person will remain intact. Moreover, many branches of his deeds and actions will remain, but there is Nifāq in certain parts of his deeds.
In Nifāq fil I’tiqād, there is no īmān and no Islām. There is no belief system a person adheres to. There are no deeds to speak of. It is only verbal claims, i.e., whilst a person has pure disbelief within, he claims Islām.
The third level is even worse. Together with Nifāq fil I’tiqād, the person adds interpolation in the clear cut and explicit texts. In other words, by means of blasphemous interpretations and interpolations, he wants to speak about Islām.
In short, where there is a conflict between word and deed, or there is hypocrisy, it is a severe crime in the sight of Allāh Ta’ālā. It is a means of bringing the anger of Allāh Ta’ālā upon one’s self.
Today, this seems to be the general and common crime of some Muslims. They make claims of Islām with the tongue, but they do such actions which put even the disbelievers to shame. The leaders as well as the masses are involved in this sin. (May Allāh Ta’ālā forgive the Muslim Ummah for their shortcomings and grant them the divine guidance to remain firm upon īmān and be true to their word. Āmīn)
When it comes to Nifāq fil ‘Amal, then almost everyone is guilty of it, as people make verbal claims but do something else. However, when it comes to Nifāq fil I’tiqād, then there definitely are some who suffer from this disease, i.e., they are only called Muslims because they mix and associate with Muslims, otherwise, there is no Islām in their hearts. They do not have any honour for the religion brought by Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, nor do they believe in and accept the instructions of Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam.
There are many people who judge and measure Islām according to their tastes and desires, as though they were not created to obey Islām. They feel that Islām has come to follow behind the whims and desires of man. They do not feel obliged to bring their lives in accordance to the teachings of Islām, rather, they want Islām to fit in with the desires of man. This is the present-day form of “progress” in Zandaqah.
In summary, generally speaking, the Muslims are involved in Nifāq fil ‘Amal or Nifāq fil I’tiqād. Today, we have fallen prey to disgrace. In essence, this is a result of living a mode of life tainted by this type of hypocrisy.[May Allāh Ta’ālā guide us all to the straight path, fill our hearts with the love of Islām and Rasūlullāh sallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and bless us with the divine ability to live as true Muslims – as true to Islām as a Muslim can ever be. Through the blessings of this, may Allāh Ta’ālā bless us with entry into Jannah and His eternal pleasure. Āmīn]
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Source: Basā’ir wa ‘Ibar vol.1 pp.188-190