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In Islam, the munafiqun ('hypocrites', Arabic: منافقون‎‎, singular munāfiq) were a group decried in the Quran as outward Muslims who were secretly unsympathetic to the cause of Muslims and actively sought to undermine the Muslim community. The hypocrisy itself is called nifāq (Arabic: نفاق‎‎).

Types of hypocrisy[edit]

  • Hypocrisy against Allah regarding actual faith. (Q2:8) and (Q2:14)
  • Hypocrisy with Allah regarding the necessities of faith: As an example,a person may believe in God, Day of Judgment, Accounting, scales of deeds and Hellfire but he does not fear them at all or prevent him from committing sins. Yet he claims, “I fear Allah.[1]
  • Hypocrisy with others: is that a person is double-faced and double-tongued. He praises one person in his presence but behind his back he denounces him and tries to cause pain and harm him.”[1]

Munafiqun in Qur'an[edit]

The Quran has many ayat (verses) discussing munāfiqūn,[2] referring to them as more dangerous to Muslims than the worst non-Muslim enemies of Islam.[3] There are a total of 45 signs of a munafiq.[1]

Quranic verses[edit]

  • "When the hypocrites come to you, they say: “We bear witness that thou are indeed the Messenger of Allah.” Yea, Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are indeed liars” {Qur'an 63:1}.
  • "And when they meet those who believe, they say: We believe; and when they are alone with their Satans, they say: Surely we are with you, we were only mocking" {Qur'an 2:14}.
  • "And there are some people who say: We believe in Allah and the last day; and they are not at all believers" {Qur'an 2:8}.
  • "These are they of whom Allah knows what is in their hearts; therefore turn aside from them and admonish them, and speak to them effectual words concerning themselves" {Qur'an 4:63}.
  • "Surely the hypocrites strive to deceive Allah, and shall requite their deceit to them, and when they stand up to prayer they stand up sluggishly; they do it only to be seen of men and do not remember Allah save a little" {Qur'an 4:142}.
  • "Have you not seen those who befriend a people with whom Allah is wroth? They are neither of you nor of them, and They swear falsely while they know" {Qur'an 58:14}.
  • "They it is who say: Do not spend upon those who are the Apostle of Allah until those who are with the Apostle of Allah until they break up. And Allah's are the treasures of the heavens and the earth, but the hypocrites do not understand" {Qur'an 63:7}.

Munafiqun in hadith[edit]

  • Muhammad described hypocrisy by saying: "A hypocrite is like a sheep confused between two herds."
  • Imam ‘Ali said: "A hypocrite: His words are beautiful, and his inner (conscience) is ill."[4]
  • Imam al-Baqir said: "It is evil for a worshipper to have two faces and two tongues, praise his brother in his presence and slander him in his absence. If he gives to his brother he envies him, and if his brother is tested he fails (to help him)."[4]
  • "Do not do your good deeds for affectation and trying to impress people . You should realize that people have no power on life or death nor can they solve any problem for you".[5]

Signs of munafiqun[edit]

According to Sahih al-Bukhari,

Narrated Abu Hurairah:

The prophet Muhammad said: "The signs of a hypocrite are three:

  1. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.
  2. Whenever he promises, he always breaks it (his promise).
  3. If you trust him, he proves to be dishonest. (If you keep something as a trust with him, he will not return it.)"
    — Sahih al-Bukhari[6]

Narrated 'Abd Allah ibn Omar Ibn Al-Khattab.

The Prophet Muhammad 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 behave in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner."|Sahih al-Bukhari[7]

Characteristics of munafiqun[edit]

  • They have pleased outlook but dangerous enemy in reality, as it was said in Qur'an 63:4
  • They enjoining evils and preventing goods. {Qur'an 2:204}
  • Imam ‘Ali pointed out another characteristic of hypocrites when he stated that they are always defensive but critical of others: "The hypocrite is a flatterer of himself, and a defamer of other people." [4]
  • Imam as-Sadiq explains Luqman's following admonition to his son: "A hypocrite has three signs: his tongue contradicts his heart, his heart contradicts his conduct, and his appearance contradicts his inner (beliefs)"[8]
  • They are the misled, as it was reported from Imam Ali as thus: "Be aware of the people of hypocrisy for they are the misled, the misleading, and the leaders to wrong paths. Their hearts are ill; and their appearances pure.[9]

"The hypocrite is a flatterer of himself, and a defamer of other people".[9]

  • Dr. S. Smiles said: "Flatterers and hypocrites always think about themselves and are never concerned with others. They concentrate on their own actions and affairs until their minor and lowly existence becomes their universe and great idol." [4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ayatullah Dastghaib Shirazi (2015). Qalbe Saleem-Immaculate Conscience. Create space Independent Publishing Plat. ISBN 978-1-5191-4191-0. 
  2. ^ For example, sura 'Al-Munafiqun', Quran 4:61, Quran 9:67, Quran 8:49, Quran 4:140, Quran 9:64, Quran 4:145
  3. ^ Itani, Talal. Quran in English. 
  4. ^ a b c d Sayyid MUsavi Lari (2014). Youth and Morals. Create Space Independent Publication Plat. ISBN 978-1-5024-5404-1. 
  5. ^ Nasir Makarem Shirazi/One hundred and fifty lessons for life
  6. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:2:33
  7. ^ Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:2:34
  8. ^ Bihar al-Anwar, p. 30.
  9. ^ a b Ali ibn Abi Talib (2012). Ghurar Al-Hikam Wa Durar Al-Kalim, Exalted Aphorisms And Pearls Of Speech. Ansariyan. p. 146. ISBN 978-964-219-280-9.