Path towards Enlightenment (937)
Welcome to another episode of our weekly series titled “Path towards Enlightenment” which is an endeavour to make you and us familiar with an easy and fluent explanation of God’s Final Scripture to all mankind, the holy Qur’an, which was revealed to the Last and Greatest of all Messengers, Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
We continue from where we left you last week, and here are Ayahs 29 and 30 of Surah Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny):
“Do those in whose heart is a disease (of hypocrisy) suppose that Allah will not expose their spite?”
“If We wish, We will show them (the hypocrites) to you so that you recognize them by their mark; yet you will recognize them by their tone of speech, and Allah knows your deeds.”
If you remember, in our explanation last Friday of the preceding Ayahs of this Surah, we pointed out that those who turn away from the manifest truth and loath Divine bounties in pursuit of vicious activities that displease God Almighty, will suffer a terrible fate and whatever good deeds they had done, will be rendered null and void. We also said that hypocrites and traitors face a very painful death for their duplicity and pretension to believe when their hearts are devoid of faith.
The Ayahs that we recited to you now mention the mischief of the hypocrites along with the marks by which they could be recognized, and emphasize that they are not able conceal their real intentions from the Prophet and believers in a bid to save themselves from disgrace. The hypocrites who had infiltrated the ranks of the Prophet’s companions, used to take cover of Islam to continue opposition to the Divine teachings in the hope of one day turning the table on the true Muslims. In other words, in every era and place, it is the habit of the hypocrites to try to weaken the faith of the people in a bid to make them veer off the course of truth and justice, so as to discourage them from active engagement in jihad and field action. It is also the habit of the hypocrites to indulge in character assassination of the pious and the true believers.
These Ayahs were revealed after Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny) was commanded by God Almighty to proclaim Imam Ali (AS) as his Vicegerent, a matter that displeased the hypocrites, since in Imam Ali (AS) the hypocrites faced an unassailable force to hold aloft the torch of Islam not only in the lifetime of the Prophet but also after his passing away.
As Ayah 30 means to say, God can expose the hypocrites, but the All-Merciful rather than naming them or fully revealing their identities, has hinted at the marks by which they could be recognized by their tone of speech, expressions, and acts. For instance, for any keen Muslim, the words, facial expressions, and dubious activities of the hypocrites, are evident and discernible. Several Ayahs of the holy Qur’an refer to the mischievous tone of speech of the hypocrites and their suspicious gestures and postures. The hypocrites should not think that they are clever, as God is aware of their misdeeds and intentions and will punish them in due time.
Thus God ordered the Prophet neither to hold the funeral prayer for the hypocrites nor ask for their forgiveness at their graves. Here, it is worth referring to a famous statement of the Prophet concerning belief and hypocrisy: “O Ali! A believer will never hate you and a hypocrite will never love you!”
Abu Sa’id Khudri: used to say “We knew hypocrites during the time of the Prophet through their hostile tone of speech concerning Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (AS).”
As history bears testimony, no intrigues, plots and machinations of the hypocrites, even with the unbridled temporal power at their disposal, could corrupt or disfigure the true message of Allah.
These Ayahs teach us the following points:
- One should be careful of thoughts and words, and should never think that evil thoughts and intentions can be hidden forever.
- Spite and jealousy are among the causes of hypocrisy.
- The countenance often reveals the inner motives, which means one’s words, facial expression, and gesturers expose the intention, no matter how much one tries to hide them.
Now let us listen to Ayah 31 of this Surah:
“We will surely test you until We ascertain those of you who are mujahideen (or those who strive in the way of Allah) and those who are steadfast (on the battlefield); and We shall appraise your record.”
This Ayah lays further emphasis on ways to distinguish true believers from hypocrites so that the unprincipled and characterless may be exposed, especially during trials on the battlefields of the armed confrontations imposed on Muslims; hence the use of the word “mujahideen”, meaning those who relentlessly strive in the way of Allah and wage armed jihad. The trial is vast in scope and covers patience and clemency in fulfilling all obligations, since the battlefield is the arena of a hard and great trial in which few people may conceal their true intentions.
In other words, the men of faith and loyalty are eager to serve the cause of Allah and wipe out evil, while those who used to desert the Prophet at the slightest prospects of loss were in reality hypocrites. In contrast to the iron resolve and steadfastness of the mujahideen, manifested by Imam Ali (AS), those who used to flee the battlefields because of the fear of losing their life, were disloyal to the cause of Islam, lacked courage, were devoid of the spirit of martyrdom, and had no faith in the mission of Prophet Mohammad (blessings of God upon him and his progeny).
The concluding phrase of the Ayah “We shall appraise your record” does not mean Allah is unaware of them, but indicates that the Omniscient Lord is fully aware of them, and exposes such hypocrites through His Omniscience.
This Ayah teaches us that:
- God always tests those who claim to be faithful, not that He is not aware, but to prove their honesty or the lack of which to all the people.
- Patience and steadfastness are among the signs of a true believer.
- Steadfastness during hardships, including martyrdom is the criterion for faith, since most people claim to be believers in times of ease and welfare.
Now we listen to ayah 32 as the concluding Ayah of this week’s episode:
“Indeed those who are faithless and bar from the way of Allah and defy the Prophet after guidance has become clear to them, will not hurt Allah in the least, and He shall make their works fail.”
It is clearly mentioned in this Ayah that the deeds of those who despite claiming to be Muslims disobey the Prophet and create obstacles for those striving in the way of Allah, will be rendered null and void, and their mischief will not hurt Allah the least. The reference here is to the hypocrites and those who deviated from the path of Allah in their lust for power and position after the departure of the Prophet from the mortal world.
In other words, truth eventually triumphs and these faithless persons who masqueraded as Muslim in order to distort religion will not be able to prevent the promised spread of the universal message of Islam.
From this Ayah we learn that:
- Any attempt to distort truth and defy God results in self-destruction.
- God has sent the means of guidance and has sealed the argument, so believers should stand steadfast, while the disbelievers and hypocrites should know that it is a futile effort to try to mislead the Muslim masses.
- It is God’s Promise to make Islam prevail all over the world.