Nifaq (hypocrisy) means a pretense of loving Islam while concealing Kufr and evil. A hypocrite is given this appellation because he enters the religion from one door and exits from another. Hence, Allah ﷻ cautioned against hypocrites saying:
إِنَّ ٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقِینَ هُمُ ٱلۡفَـٰسِقُونَ
“Verily, hypocrites are the rebellious.”
The rebellious are those who rebel against the Islamic laws, Allah ﷻ considers the hypocrites as more evil than the infidels saying:
إِنَّ ٱلۡمُنَـٰفِقِینَ فِی ٱلدَّرۡكِ ٱلۡأَسۡفَلِ مِنَ ٱلنَّارِ
“Verily, the hypocrites shall be in the lowest level of fire.”
Hypocrisy is of two types:
The first type: Doctrinal hypocrisy, which is major hypocrisy; the one who upholds it displays Islam and conceals infidelity. This type constitutes absolute apostasy, and condemns those who uphold it to the lowest level of Hell-Fire. Allah has described its people as possessing evil characteristics; such as Kufr, lack of Eemaan, derision of faith and its people and inclining entirely to the enemies of Islam for sharing their hostility.
Such people exist in every age, Particularly when Islam prevails and they cannot resist it publicly, therefore they pretend to be Muslims in order to plot against it and its people privately. And because they live with the Muslims, they ensure the safety of their blood and properties.
Doctrinal hypocrisy is of six kinds
- Denying the Messenger ﷺ
- Denying Part of what the Messenger ﷺ was sent with.
- Hating the Messenger ﷺ
- Hating some of what the Messenger ﷺ was sent with.
- Rejoicing over the decline of the deen of the Messenger ﷺ.
- Resenting the prevalence of the deen of the Prophet ﷺ.
The second type: Practical hypocrisy; (that is) possessing a trait of the hypocrites while retaining Eemaan in the heart. This does not constitute apostasy, but it is considered as a means to it. A person who upholds it combines both, Eemaan and hypocrisy. When the latter prevails, he becomes a sheer hypocrite. The proof of this is the statement of the Prophet ﷺ:
“Four traits, whoever possesses them is a sheer hypocrite. And whoever possesses one of them would possess a trait of hypocrisy until he relinquishes it. When he is entrusted, he betrays trust, and when he speaks, he lies, when he enters into a treaty, he behaves treacherously, and when he disputes with others, he behaves immorally.”
The Differences between Major and Minor Hypocrisy:
- Major hypocrisy constitutes apostasy, while minor hypocrisy does not.
- Major hypocrisy signifies dissimilarity between the inner and outer beliefs, while minor hypocrisy signifies dissimilarity between public and private actions, not beliefs.
- Major hypocrisy does not belong to a believers, while minor hypocrisy may belong to a believer.
- A person who upholds major hypocrisy does not usually repent, but even if he does so, scholars are at variance with regards to accepting his repentance by a judge. Whereas minor hypocrisy when one upholds it and repents to Allah, Allah will accept his repentance.
May Allah protect us from Hypocrisy.