Allah SWT has mentioned the word ‘hypocrite’  or its meaning 73 times in the Glorious Quran. As Muslims, we need to be conscious of this  and the damage that it can cause.

In the current time we are living in, there seems to be major issues within our community regarding hypocrisy that we need to tackle, especially with the social media and those who talk about Islam but they are away from Islam.

We need to reflect on the guidance given by Allah SWT and his Messenger SAWS so that we can reflect on signs of being a hypocrite and protect ourselves from falling into this trap.

There are two main types of hypocrisy, the first type is being hypocrite in belief. This type is the type where the hypocrite is actually aware that they are one but are being so deliberately.

The primary example of this is where the individual is not a Muslim in the first place as he/she do not believe in Islam, but pretends that they are believers, usually for personal benefit.

Hypocrites of this type have been around since the time of the Prophet SAWS and so we should be wary of such people.

In the time and place we live in, our youth especially should be warned of such people because on social media, for example, there can exist people who are called Influencers. These are people who are like role models with people following what they say and do in the millions and beyond.

We need to be careful that even those who claim to be Muslim and are Influencers on social media are adhering to the correct teachings of Islam. This is because there are cases where such so-called Muslim Influencers have deviated from the teaching of the Quran and Sunnah and so their millions of followers, often young people, are also influenced in doing the same.

We need to be mindful of such people and so we ought to back up what we see and hear from anyone and especially we should make and effort to enquire as to the types of people our children are connected to and are following on Social Media.

Remember, these influencers may not necessarily openly change their stance on Islam and show their hypocrisy fully. They could subtlely change their belief and say they now disbelieve in an essential part and pillars of Islam, such as belief in the angels or the Prophets or some part of the Quran.

This is a hazardous trap and so we should arm ourselves with the knowledge of what we and our children are being influenced by online as it is a potential trap of shaitaan that is operating under our noses without us being aware.

The second common type is the practical type of hypocrisy, this is a person who doesn’t follow certain aspects of Islam. However, unlike the first, he or she is not actively disobeying Allah SWT due to disbelief but is doing so due to laziness or some other damaging but not malicious reason.

As Muslims, we should take notice of this type of hypocrisy because we could be guilty of it without realising so.

Luckily for us, we have had the best of all teachers SAWS educate us on what constitutes hypocrisy in this type and the imam mentioned a hadith in relation to this which is translated to say:

Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said, “There are three signs of a hypocrite: When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.”

Dear brothers and sisters, this gives us three points to ensure that we are not regarded as hypocrites in the sight of Allah SWT. However, there are more examples from the Quran and Sunnah to help define a hypocrite and thus avoid. This reminder concludes with listing these additional 7 short examples.

  1. Becoming vile when arguing
  2. Laziness, speediness and showing off in worship. This point is particularly important and the imam mentioned Sura An-Nisa, ayat 142 to cement the point. It’s translated to say:

Behold, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is they who are being deluded by Him. When they rise to Prayer, they rise reluctantly, and only to be seen by men. They remember Allah but little.

  • Talk about those who give in charity in a bad way
  • Make fun out of other Muslims
  • Swear by God falsely. This one is worth explaining. For some, Wallahi is the beginning of every story they tell. However, if we truly knew what a lofty oath this is, we would be absolutely sure that the words that follow our oaths are 100% true.
  • General Laziness.
  • Have issues with destiny aka the will of Allah SWT

Dear brothers and sisters, hypocrisy is a damaging trait that effects our faith and our community. It is something that damages our lives and our souls. We need to ensure that we remain conscious of the signs of hypocrisy so that we can avoid falling into the trap of it.

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Reasons for losing light on the Day of Judgement

The imam began this week’s reminder with a passage from the Glorious Quran. Surat Hadid, ayat 12 to 15 and is translated to say:

On the Day you see the believing men and believing women, their light proceeding before them and on their right, [it will be said], “Your good tidings today are [of] gardens beneath which rivers flow, wherein you will abide eternally.” That is what is the great attainment.

On the [same] Day the hypocrite men and hypocrite women will say to those who believed, “Wait for us that we may acquire some of your light.” It will be said, “Go back behind you and seek light.” And a wall will be placed between them with a door, its interior containing mercy, but on the outside of it is torment.

The hypocrites will call to the believers, “Were we not with you?” They will say, “Yes, but you afflicted yourselves and awaited [misfortune for us] and doubted, and wishful thinking deluded you until there came the command of Allah . And the Deceiver deceived you concerning Allah .

So today no ransom will be taken from you or from those who disbelieved. Your refuge is the Fire. It is most worthy of you, and wretched is the destination.

Dear brothers and sisters, this week’s reminder is based mainly on these ayats from the Quran and it describes the day of Judgement and the situation of the hypocrites.

The reference of light in these passages refers to the light of belief. In fact, scholars state in commenting on these ayats that Allah SWT is light, the Messenger SAWS is light, the Quran is light and the religion of Islam is light, illuminating life for us Muslims. Equally so, those who are in a state of disbelief, live in the darkness of ignorance. Allah SWT knows best.

Allah SWT speaks of this again in Sura An-Nur, ayat 40 which was referenced in today’s reminder. It is translated to say:

Or [they are] like darknesses within an unfathomable sea which is covered by waves, upon which are waves, over which are clouds – darknesses, some of them upon others. When one puts out his hand [therein], he can hardly see it. And he to whom Allah has not granted light – for him there is no light.

Dear brothers and sisters, we need to take lessons from this warning and if we ponder over the ayats today. The hypocrites believed that their external actions were enough for them to succeed knowing that internally they believed the opposite. They believed that they would follow the believers in Paradise, but this will be clarified to them on the Day of Judgement and they will be called out as hypocrites.

We need to understand what signs indicate that of a hypocrite so that we do not fall into the same trap. The reminder today talks about 4 signs of a hypocrite.

First is being involved in situations that lead to doubt, such as debating with non-believers without having any knowledge. Dear brothers and sisters, inviting others to Islam is a responsibility on each and every one of us. Conveying one’s love for Islam or demonstrating through the actions that befit a Muslim is a great example of this.


However, we must not confuse this with debate. Debate involves two parties in which each is aiming to prove the other wrong, it’s almost as a contest and therefore we have to be careful and not get involved in situations where the topic being debated is something one has no knowledge of.


An example of this is debating evolution with a biologist. Leave it to the Muslim who is also a biologist and can match the other in the knowledge of the topic. Otherwise, one runs the risk of putting doubt into one’s belief.


Second is procrastinating, this is when there is intention to do something but say ‘I will do it next week or year etc’. This is worrying sign as this is so common. However, we must recognize that if we are a serial procrastinator then we are demonstrating one of the signs of a hypocrite.


One practical remedy to overcome this is is to break-down larger tasks into smaller ones and do little but often. Another is to not-overcommit to doing things when the time simply isn’t there to do it.


Third is doubting the religion – and this can happen after struggling to cope with all the sins and the person thinks maybe just easier to give up and disbelieve. Dear brothers and sisters, the ultimate goal of shaytaan is for you to disbelieve. However, he knows that will not happen on the first attempt. He lures you into acts of disobedience first, acts of sin and neglecting of the acts of worship. Only then, when one’s heart is damaged through his acts will shaytaan attempt the final attack of convincing one to doubt the faith altogether.


We need to be mindful that this is the strategy that he takes with us and therefore work to remove habitual sins and work to increase habitual acts of worship so that we venture on the right path and avoid this calamity.


Fourth is being blind in one’s beliefs, as if its the right path. Dear brothers and sisters, this is a difficult one as it’s points to deeds which one may do and think that they are right in doing it. This is one of the subtlest tricks of shaytaan. Unlike an obvious sin, it may be an innovation in Islam that is being followed but one does not hear the warnings from others regarding it. We need to keep ourselves protected from this sign and the best way for this is to seek the protection of Allah SWT in supplication and to learn to be humble in taking advice from others.


Dear brothers and sisters, we need to be mindful that we do not fall foul of these signs of hypocrisy. We ought to make an effort to stop any signs of hypocrisy immediately and seek forgiveness from Allah SWT first. Alongside that, changing environment or friends, doing dua and performing good deeds are all practical steps we can perform to steer us away from this and ensure that we are those with light on the day of Judgement.

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Signs of a hypocrite

We carry on from last weeks reminder and focus on Sura A-Baqarah as Allah SWT speaks on hypocrisy here. The imam began this reminder with ayats 8 to 16 from Sura Al-Baqarah.

In this reminder, we will attempt to break down each of these ayats and derive some lessons from them. We begin with ayat 8 which says:

And of mankind, there are some who say: “We believe in Allah and the Last Day” while in fact they believe not.

Dear brothers and sisters, the first ayat in today’s reminder is defining the hypocrite. But in the translation we lose a lesson and that is that in Arabic the part of them not being believers is said in the strongest language of the word “No”. It’s like Allah SWT is absolutely, without a doubt, telling us that these people are not believers. So it’s a prelude of a big warning to come for us all in the following ayats. The next ayat is translated to say:

They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive (it) not!

Here we learn, there are two types of hypocrites that we can derive from this. On the one hand there are those who know that they are non-believers and hide amongst the believers for some sinister motive. And on the other hand we have those who don’t know that they are hypocrites. This is extremely dangerous type. They think that they are good Muslims. Surely at this point each of us worry that are we from this type? The next ayat says:

In their hearts is a disease (of doubt and hypocrisy) and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.

Firstly, we ought to remind ourselves of the traits mentioned last week as lying was top of the list. Here Allah SWT speaks of that trait in describing the hypocrite. We ought to be careful then that we do not lie in our speech or our actions.

Another point worth mentioning in this ayat is that the translation speaks of the disease of doubt as well as hypocrisy. If we reflect on the previous ayat of believers falling into the trap of hypocrisy and not even realising it and then this ayat speaking of doubt then could it be that a lesson here is one of complete faith in the decree of Allah SWT?

After all, this life is a test. Are we passing this test by returning to Allah SWT in humbleness and prayer when things get tough or is doubt lingering in our hearts when the test of life is upon us? One sure-fire way of knowing the answer to this is how we react to the low points in life.

Dear brothers and sisters, we all go through them. Worry is a natural emotion but its how we react to it that defines us. Do we stray further from the straight path in times of hardship and engage in sinful acts? In this society we have psychological crutches interwoven such as drink and drugs but those are the extremes. As Muslims, tests are there to encourage us to worship Allah SWT , to pray to Allah SWT, to ask of Allah SWT. This is the sign of a healthy and not a diseased heart. The next two ayat states:

And when it is said to them: “Make not mischief on the earth,” they say: “We are only peacemakers.”

Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.

These ayats are tackling half-heartedness. Doing something without full conviction. Allah SWT is saying that this actually has an adverse effect on the person and others. We need to understand then that half-heartedness isn’t something that we can tolerate within ourselves.

Ultimately we are doing everything for the sake of Allah SWT pleasure. Not because we don’t want sin. Not because we want to get to heaven. We are doing what we do because our Lord has asked it of us. We do what we do because our Creator asks it of us. And if that isn’t compelling enough then we ought to remind ourselves of the blessings all around us and say Alhamdullilah in abundance at the lives we have been given. The next ayat says:

And when it is said to them (hypocrites): “Believe as the people have believed,” they say: “Shall we believe as the fools have believed?” Verily, they are the fools, but they know not.

This ayat speaks of fools. Those who are ignorant. The lesson here is one of killing ignorance. And how do we do that? Through knowledge. As Muslims we never stop learning at any age and this is especially true in this time and age where we all need to be armed with the knowledge of our deen. Next ayat says:

And when they meet those who believe, they say: “We believe,” but when they are alone with their Shayatin (devils – polytheists, hypocrites, etc.), they say: “Truly, we are with you; verily, we were but mocking.”

This ayat speaks of the hypocrite trying to keep everyone happy usually through lies. However the lesson here is that sometimes standing up for the truth is a hard thing to do. Sometimes it will make you unpopular amongst others. This is a test and it is important we realise it, especially the young ones here today. Be brave in speaking the truth, don’t worry about what others think because ultimately if the truth is spoken, it will reign king and you will be respected in the long-run as someone of truth, someone of principle and that is a wonderful characteristic to have. Next ayat says:

Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrong-doings to wander blindly.

In this ayat Allah SWT is telling us that the hypocrites will be allowed to conduct their affairs in this life for justice awaits them in the next life. Hence don’t be disheartened by their so-called success in this world as it is just an illusion and they will be accounted for all that they have done. And lastly, the ayat says:

These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.

Allah SWT speaks finally of those who do not make an effort to be guided. And this applies to us all today. We need to constantly strive to remain on the straight path. The imam reminds us of ayat 146 and 147 of Sura Nisa which says:

Except those who repent (from hypocrisy), do righteous good deeds, hold fast to Allah, and purify their religion for Allah (by worshipping none but Allah, and do good for Allah’s sake only, not to show-off), then they will be with the believers. And Allah will grant to the believers a great reward.

Why should Allah punish you if you have thanked (Him) and have believed in Him. And Allah is Ever All-Appreciative (of good), All-Knowing.)

Dear brothers and sisters, hypocrisy is a silent assassin but we can protect ourselves as prescribed here by following the commands of Allah SWT. And they are by doing good deeds, remembering Allah SWT for His sake and being grateful.

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Description of a Hypocrite

Hypocrisy is a serious sickness and a great crime. It means making an outward display of Islam whilst inwardly concealing kufr. Hypocrisy is more dangerous than kufr (disbelief) and the punishment for it is more severe, because it is kufr mixed with Islam and its harmful effects are greater.

The sin of hypocrisy is described in various hadith. The imam mentioned a couple in todays reminder. The first one is:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The signs of a hypocrite are three: Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie; and whenever he promises, he breaks his promise; and whenever he is entrusted, he betrays (proves to be dishonest)”.

The second one mentioned said:

The Prophet (ﷺ) 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.”

Dear brothers and sisters, these characteristics not only have the curse of weighing heavily against the believers good deeds but also they, in turn, cause the faith itself to become weaker.

Allah SWT mentions this in the Quran and the imam reminded us of this through the two ayats 142 and 143 of Sura Nisa.

These are translated to say:

Indeed, the hypocrites [think to] deceive Allah, but He is deceiving them. And when they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, showing [themselves to] the people and not remembering Allah except a little,

Wavering between them, [belonging] neither to the believers nor to the disbelievers. And whoever Allah leaves astray – never will you find for him a way.

Dear brothers and sisters, we conclude then with a breakdown of the 4 characteristics mentioned in the hadith with reminders on how each can be avoided.

The first was the mention of being entrusted with something and betraying that trust. The dictionary defines this as ‘to do something very bad and hurtful to someone that causes loss of respect.”

This can range from the obvious such as stealing from somebody but most of us here may think we are in the clear with this one. However, other dangers that fall into this category, as mentioned last week, are causing hurt from the tongue in what is said about one another. We live in a time and a place where gossip, backbiting and slander is seen as the norm in society.

We need to remind ourselves that if we are going behind someone’s back and speaking ill of them then this is a betrayal of that persons trust and thus we are in danger of falling into this category.

The second point is when someone speaks, he tells a lie. Dear brothers and sisters, we have had reminders in the past about this point as it is an important reminder. However, it is worth mentioning here that in the current time and place, we often convince ourselves to lie because the pressure of conforming to the norms of society means that we lie to fit in.

This is a difficult one, for example, if a friend approaches us and is wearing something new and asks our opinion. We may think that the item is inappropriate for a Muslim to be wearing but for fear of hurting their feeling or sounding uncool, we will say what they want to hear.

This is a test of our times. Our opinion may not be the popular ones in todays time and place. However, we cannot sell ourselves short in the pursuit of being popular or the same as the majority because we are at risk of hypocrisy if we do.

The third example, to prove treacherous when making a covenant is a reminder for those of us who deal in business. Unfortunately, it is a fact that when people speak of those in countries from where our heritage lies, it is normally synonymous with scams, fraud and deception.

This is a shame because Muslims ought to be the beacon of trust, honour and a promise being kept true at all times. Therefore, we need to be absolutely resolute in business here and ensure that we do not wrong anyone in business and that those who do business with Muslims do so in the confidence that they will never be short-changed in any way.

The final example was of quarrelling and the etiquettes of such an action. This is an interesting point because the hadith does not stop at quarrelling but expands on what is impermissible when doing so.

Therefore, we ought to recognize that having disagreements is part and parcel of life. However, if one is resorting to being rash, ugly or vile in their disagreement then not only have they lost the argument already but they are at risk of being labelled a hypocrite as mentioned here.

The point here is one of ego. When one engages in a quarrel, if the ego is out of control then there is no stopping the person and they will resort to whatever it takes to get the last word. However, remind yourself that in any disagreement there is an opportunity for someone, if not both, to learn, to grow and to show humbleness in accepting the opposite viewpoint as being the correct one – even if that is at a cost of a dent in their ego.

Dear brothers and sisters, hypocrisy is a damaging trait – both on it’s own and its impact on our level of faith. Let us be of the people who avoid being labelled a hypocrite by being mindful of the four definitions given towards this hazardous label.

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