Hypocrisy in Belief (Nifaaq I’tiqaadee) and Hypocrisy in Action (Nifaaq ‘Amaliy) – Sharh as-Sunnah | Dawud Burbank [Audio|En]

Sharhu Sunnah : Lesson 30 : Point 38
Shaykh Fawzan | Dawud Burbank [Audio|English]

Imaam Barbahaaree rahimahullaah said:

And hypocrisy (an-nifaaq) is to display Islaam upon the tongue whilst hiding disbelief (al-kufr) in the heart.

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Transcribed Audio:

An-nifaaq (hypocrisy) is to show outwardly that which is good and to conceal inwardly that which is evil. And it (nifaaq; hypocrisy) is of two categories:

The first of them being:

Nifaaqun I`tiqaadiyy (hypocrisy of belief) and this is kufrun akbar (major disbelief). And the hypocrite; munaafiq is worse than the kaafirun asliyy (original disbeliever) because the original disbeliever, it is well known about him that he is a disbeliever; kaafir and that he is an enemy. However, the munaafiq (the hypocrite), he deceives the Muslims and he manifests that he is from them when he is actually an enemy to them. He manifests openly that he is a Muslim whilst when he is actually a kaafir (a disbeliever).

He the Most High said:

They try to deceive Allaah and those who believe but they do not actually deceive except their ownselves whilst they do not perceive. (Sooratul-Baqarah (2), aayah 9)

And therefore, Allaah will put them in the lowest depths of the Fire beneath the worshippers of the idols and the kuffaar (disbelievers) because they are worse than the disbelievers. And therefore, He, the Majestic and Most High said with regard to them:

They (the hypocrites), they are the enemy so beware of them, may Allaah curse them, how do they deviate away from the truth? [01] (Sooratul-Munaafiqoon (63), aayah 4)

An-Nifaaqun I`tiqaadiyy (hypocrisy of belief) is that which eemaan (true faith) can never combine with.

The second type is:

An-Nifaaqun `Amaliyy (hypocrisy in actions); it is that a person is a believer; a mu`min outwardly and inwardly. However, some characteristics come from him from the characteristics of the hypocrites, which render his eemaan deficient and there is a severe threat for it. However, he does not exit from the religion. It is called an-nifaaqun `amaliyy (hypocrisy in action) and it is called an-nifaaq ul-asghar (the lesser hypocrisy).

And the like of this is occurs in his saying sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam:

“There are four things, whoever has them all in him then he will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has a single characteristic from them then he will have a characteristic of hypocrisy till he abandons it. When he talks, he lies and when he makes a promise, he breaks it and when he is trusted, he proves treacherous and when he argues, he speaks in a foul manner.” [02]

So with regard to the believer, then hypocrisy in action may appear from him and it will be a deficiency in his eemaan and he will be deserving of the threat, however, he does not depart from the religion on account of that. [03]

And this hypocrisy in action is ar-riya (performing deeds to show off), which Allaah’s Messenger sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam feared for his companions and he called it lesser shirk. So he said: “That which I fear most for you is lesser shirk.” So they said: “And what is lesser shirk, Oh Messenger of Allaah?” So he said:

“It is ar-riya (acting to show off). Allaah will say on the Day of Resurrection when the people are recompensed for their deeds; go to those people whom you used to show off to in the world and look and see, do you find any recompense with them and any reward with them?” [04]

And he sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam said: “Shall I not inform you of that which is more fearful with me upon you than AlMaseehud-Dajjaal?” So they said: “Yes indeed.” So he said: “It is hidden shirk that a man stands up and prays and he beautifies his prayer because of the fact that he sees a man looking at him.” [05]

So when this person prays in the presence of the people, he adorns his prayer and when he prays in his house or in a place when he is unseen, he prays very quickly. Then this is what the Companions used to fear for themselves severely. So, no-one can declare himself to be totally free and innocent of it. So a person should fear it and therefore they said with regard to this:

“No-one fears it except for a true believer and no-one feels secure from it except for a hypocrite.”

So the Muslim fears for himself from this hypocrisy, which is lesser hypocrisy.

His saying, “And hypocrisy is that he manifests Islaam upon his tongue and he hides disbelief in the heart”, this is the definition of an-nifaaqun i`tiqaadiyy (hypocrisy in belief) and it is an-nifaaqun akbar (major hypocrisy) and eemaan cannot combine with this. So it will never occur from a mu`min (a believer).

And Allaah, the Majestic and Most High at the start of Sooratul-Baqarah divided mankind into three categories :

(1) believers; mu’mineen outwardly and inwardly ,
(2) disbelievers; kuffaar outwardly and inwardly and
(3) the hypocrites; munaafiqeen; those who manifest Islaam outwardly but hide disbelief.

So, He, the Perfect said in the Qur’aan:

Alif-Laam-Meem. This is the Book about which there is no doubt, it is a guidance for the people of Taqwaa (dutiful to Allaah), those who truly believe in the ghaib (hidden and the unseen) and who establish the prayer and who spend from that which we have given them and those who truly believe in that which was sent down to you (Muhammad) and who believe in that which came down before you and those who truly believe in the Hereafter. They are upon guidance from their Lord and they are the ones who will prosper. (Sooratul-Baqarah (2), aayah 1-5)

These aayahs are with regard to the believers; mu’mineen, those who are believers outwardly and inwardly. As for the disbelievers; outwardly and inwardly and Allaah said with regard to them in the following aayahs:

He, the Most High said:

Those who disbelieve, it is the same for them whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe. Allaah has put a seal upon their hearts and upon their hearing and upon their sight there is a covering and there will be a tremendous punishment for them. (Sooratul-Baqarah (2), aayah 6-7)

Then He said with regard to the 3rd category; the hypocrites:

And from the people, there are those who say we believe in Allaah and in the Last Day but they are not believers. They attempt to deceive Allaah and those who believe but they do not actually deceive except themselves whilst they do not perceive….

Up until His saying, He, the Most High:

Deaf , dumb and blind so they will not return to the truth. (Sooratul-Baqarah (2), aayah 8-18)

So these aayahs are with regard to the hypocrites; the munaafiqeen and they are ten and odd aayahs.

His saying, “The hypocrite is the one who manifests Islaam upon his tongue and hides disbelief in the dameer; heart.” Ad-dameer means that which he conceals within the heart. [06]


[01 Shaykh Saalih as-Suhaymee hafizahullaah said,

“Indeed there has come down with regard to them (the hypocrites) a soorah which is specifically about them, which is called Sooratul-Munaafiqoon; 63rd soorah and it from its start to its end speaks about their shameful deeds just as Allaah, the Most High also exposed them in other soorahs as occurs in Sooratul-Noor, 24th soorah, and Sooratut-Towbah the 9th soorah to the extent that this soorah is called Al-Faadeehah (the exposing soorah) because it exposes the hypocrites and also Sooratul-Ahzaab; 33rd soorah and some parts of Sooratul-Baqarah and some parts of Soorah-Aali `Imraan.”

[02] Reported by Al Bukhaariyy (34) and Muslim (58) from a hadeeth of Abdullaah ibn Amr radiyAllaahu `anhuma.

[03] Shaykh Saalih As Suhaymee hafizahullaah said,

“And this type of hypocrisy; nifaaqun `amaliyy (hypocrisy with regard to actions) does not take the person outside the fold of Islaam even though the seriousness of its sin is great because it may lead over time to falling into hypocrisy in belief and Allaah’s refuge is sought, Aameen. And all of it is evil and hypocrisy is blameworthy from every angle and therefore there has never been any movement against Islaam and against the Muslims except that the hypocrites were found within their ranks; either aiding them with material or by laying down plans for them, plotting for them or by preparing the way for them or by making false promises until Allaah, the Exalted and Most High exposed them.”

[04] Reported by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad, al-Bayhaqiyy in Shu`b al-Eemaan, al-Bagawiyy in SharhusSunnah from a hadeeth of Mahmood ibn Labeeb radiyAllaahu `anh and al-Mundhiriyy said in his book AtTargeeb Wa At-Tarheeb, “its chain of narration is good.” Shaykh al-Albaaniyy said in his checking of AtTargeeb Wa At-Tarheeb, “saheeh (authentic).”

[05] Reported by Imaam Ahmad in his Musnad, ibn Maajah in his Sunan, at-Tahaawiyy in Sharh Mushkili alAathaar, ibn Adiyy and a number of others, at-Tabariyy in Tahdheebu al-Aathaar, al-Haakim and others from a hadeeth of Aboo Sa`eed al-Khudriyy radiyAllaahu `anh. This hadeeth was declared saheeh by atTahaawiyy and al-Haakim and ad-Dhaahabi agreed and al-Boosayriyy declared it hasan in his Misbaah AzZujaajah; al-Boosayriyy`s notes on his checking of ibn Maajah. Shaykh al-Albaaniyy said in his checking of ibn Maajah, “this hadeeth is hasan (good).”

[06] Translator’s side point: Shaykh Ahmad an-Najmee rahimahullaah said in his explanation,

An-nifaaq (hypocrisy) is derived from an-nafq, which means al-juhr; literally animal burrow or a tunnel, which is found in the earth and it is called that because the person who has it has hypocrisy. He makes apparent something contrary to that which he hides. And this is what is called an-nifaaqun i`tiqaadiyy; (hypocrisy in belief) and as for nifaaqun `amaliyy (hypocrisy in action) then that does not take a person outside Islaam, rather this person remains as a Muslim and this is called nifaaqun `amaliyy (hypocrisy in action) because the person with it, he manifests something contrary to what he hides does something. As for an-nifaaqun i`tiqaadiyy (hypocrisy in belief) then that is the hypocrisy of the hypocrites, those who were in the time of the Prophet sallAllaahu `alayhi wa sallam and it is to manifest Islaam whilst hiding disbelief and the person tries to guard against revealing what he actually believes and therefore Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic has informed about them that the hypocrites will be in the lowest depth of the Fire and Allaah is the one who grants success.”

Transcribed by Saima Zaher. Download PDF of Lesson 30

Ithaaful-Qaaree bit-Ta`leeqaat `alaa Sharhis-Sunnah
(A Gift To The Reader In Annotation Of Sharh As-Sunnah)
by Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan
Translated by Aboo Talhah Daawood Burbank, rahimahullaah

Posted with kind permission from Dawud Burbank rahimahullaah

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