Conditions for leaving hypocrisy

According to the verse mentioned above there are four necessary conditions of leaving hypocrisy and repenting for it:

First Condition

It is that he should repent. He must forgo his disbelief and polytheism. He should have faith in only One God and he must be prepared to worship Him alone.

Second Condition

He should reform himself. Repentance is not sufficient alone. Its benefit should also become apparent. He should reform his deeds.

Third Condition

He should attach himself to Almighty Allah. Even the apparent reformation of deeds and repentance is not sufficient. His heart should remember Allah all the time. Whatever he does should be solely for Allah.

Fourth Condition

He should devote his religion only for Allah. Attachment to Allah is beneficial only if it is in the way prescribed by Him. If he does something considering it good but it is not so according to Allah, it will not benefit him. It will not be for Allah’s sake. It shall be a kind of polytheism, and polytheism is a sin that cannot be forgiven. Unless all these four conditions are present, one cannot be cured of hypocrisy and it will not be correct repentance.

[Cure of sins related to the soul]

Sins related to the soul are more serious than those committed by ones physical body. That is why their cure is more complicated. For example hypocrisy is a sin related to ones soul. It is more serious than sins like theft and adultery and its cure is also more difficult. Repentance and remorse are sufficient for physical sins and in case of robbery the goods have to be restored to their owner. Repentance is sufficient for lying and as far as backbiting is concerned you have to make the person satisfied. It is obvious that more remorse a person feels the more he shall be purified of the sins.

However, repentance and remorse are not sufficient in case of the sins of heart and soul. Mere remorse is not able to dispel the gloom of the heart. He has to go through the stages described in the 146th verse of Surah Nisa. Then ultimately can one get cured of this disease and his heart becomes healthy and perfect.

For example a person has wasted a part of his life in show off. Now the light of Divine mercy has shone on him and he has realized his mistakes. Now mere remorse will not suffice. He also has to reform his conditions. He must uproot polytheism from his heart. The details of this method are given in the first part of the book of Greater sins. Here also we shall mention a few points. We must ponder upon them and pray that Allah illuminates our heart with the light of belief in His Oneness (Tawheed). Till the time we become certain that except for Allah there is no eternal entity having such tremendous power or fury; there is no one who could affect the affairs of this world and influence the course of events. All the creatures are in need of Him. Even this certainty is not sufficient. We must also seek attachment with Allah in the way specified by Him. One should fulfill the obligatory duties and give up prohibited acts. One should also perform all the worship acts again that one did as show-off. One should compensate for them and perform all worship acts in the future with the sole purpose of pleasing Allah. 

[Sincerity is the only way]

One cannot be cured of the disease of hypocrisy till one does not purify ones deeds by performing them with absolute sincerity. Congregation prayer, obligatory Zakat and Hajj are the worship acts that can be performed openly. There are also some devotional acts that should be carried out secretly. Man can perform them in secret only for divine pleasure. Especially, spending in the way of Allah. No one except Allah should see it. In this way the effects of show-off will disappear from his heart. Then whatever he does shall be solely for Allah. Whether people criticize or praise him is the same. He only treads the path of Allah.

[Performing good deeds secretly]

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says, “Some of the treasures of Paradise are these: To conceal ones good deeds, patience in hard times and hiding ones difficulties.” The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) says, “The reward for a good deed is proportional to its secrecy. A deed performed secretly is seventy times better than one which is performed openly.”[120]

The following tradition is mentioned on pg. 595 of the first volume of Safinatul Bihar:

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said, “Seven types of people shall be admitted under the shade of Allah at the time when there shall not be any other shade: A just Imam, a young man who is brought up in an atmosphere of Allah’s worship, a person who though leaves the mosque but his heart remains attached to it till he returns. Two persons who are busy in Allah’s obedience whether they are together or separate. A person who weeps, remembering Allah in solitude. A person whom a woman of a respectable family entices him to sin but be refuses saying that he fears the Almighty. One who gives charity in such a secret manner that his left hand does not realize what the right hand has paid.

The following tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is mentioned in the book Oddatutdai, “One cannot attain absolute sincerity till he even dislikes that he be praised for something that he has done only for Allah.” 

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told Abu Zar: O Abu Zar!). A man cannot attain perfect knowledge of religion till he considers the people as camels while he is worshipping. He does not care for the presence of camels while he is praying. The presence and absence of the camels does not affect his concentration. In the same way even if a camel is nearest to him there will be no difference in his intention of Allah’s proximity. He sees his own self in every condition. He himself is the one who debases himself most before Allah.

It does not mean that we should consider people lowly and feel proud of ourselves. We should pray in such a way that their presence or absence does not make any difference to us. That is why at the end of this tradition it is mentioned that such a person considers himself lowlier before Allah than other people consider him.

Imam Sajjad (a.s.) supplicates in Dua Arafah of Sahifa Sajjadiya:

And I am lowlier than the lowliest people (in Your realm), more degraded than the most degraded ones. I am like a particle, even lesser than a particle.

[Cure for Hypocrisy with people]

Another kind of spiritual disease is that when people act hypocritically with each other. When they meet each other their apparent behavior is different from their inner feelings. It is due to the influence of materialism. The status of humanity is forgotten. It is a result of the absence of sincere faith in Allah. Carelessness of the Hereafter is rampant. Such a Satanic habit has entrenched itself in the hearts of the people. Due to this dirty habit people cause great harm and pain to each other. They cause a great consternation. 

Human life should be a cradle of love and attachments. But this life has become a wilderness of terror and hatred against each other. The purpose of society is to garner support and cooperation but the scene today is just the opposite. Selfishness, competition and enmity have become common today. People behave and feel towards each other like animals or rather like wild animals. Each thinks of ways for preying others. Friendship is only outward, like that of the hypocrites and Satans, but in reality they harbor enmity for each other. 

Truthfulness, sincerity and loyalty are dead. They are replaced by falsehood, mistrust and non-fulfillment of promises. Selfishness is so rampant that everyone wants to achieve their personal goal at the cost of putting others into trouble. They are prepared to impoverish others so that they can fulfill their own coffers. They are prepared to dishonor others so that they may gain an honorable position.

They forget that human beings are all different parts of one entity. With regard to creation they are components of a monolithic community. If one limb is in pain the other parts of the body also become restless. If you aren’t worried to see others in trouble you do not deserve to be called ‘human’.[121]

[Hypocrisy of States]

It is regrettable that major countries claim to be the standard bearers of humanity and human rights. They raise slogans of justice and equity but they keep the weaker countries under their control. The rulers of poor nations are forced to purchase weapons from the powerful countries so that their rule may remain safe. The rich countries fill their coffers by plundering the poor and consigning them to the flames of war. So that in this way more arms and ammunitions can be sold, while apparently they claim to be friends and allies. If necessity arises they also go back on their words. Such a kind of behavior is termed “diplomacy” in today’s parlance. This is a brief view of the hypocritical aspects of today’s world.

[Hypocrisy is widespread]

Husband-wife, father-son, brother-sister and teacher-student, all of them lack mutual trust and good feelings towards each other. There is hypocrisy among relatives and neighbors. The same is the case for shopkeepers and their customers. The foundation of human life is trust and this very foundation has become hollow. Very few believers are found that are absolutely pure from hypocrisy and they too are sick of the hypocrisy of others.

Thus it is incumbent upon every person to see if he is having some hypocrisy. If he has it, he must try to root it out. First of all he has to purify himself from hypocrisy then he should take steps to reform others.

[Worldly Harm of Hypocrisy]

One who intends to profit by lying and deceit should know that falsehood is never successful and it is exposed sooner or later. As a result people do not trust him anymore. They do not believe him. Whatever he does has no value. If his falsehood is not exposed we should know that Allah has given him respite and he may collect how much ever wealth as possible in this world but it is not going to benefit him in the long run. He ultimately has to suffer worldly problems, and in the Hereafter there is a terrible chastisement for him. He shall be considered an oppressor in the Hereafter. He will have to compensate for all the wealth that he has accumulated by oppressing others and his good deeds will be transferred to those he had oppressed. At last, not a single good deed will remain in his account and the oppressed people shall have no sin remaining in their accounts.

If there is an intention to deceive the people and cheat them, experience tells us that most of the time such actions backfire upon the one who does them and the cheater is the ultimate loser. The oppressor is punished for his injustice in this life also.

And the evil plans shall not beset any save the authors of it.[122] There is a proverb in Arabic: One who digs a hole for others falls into it himself. There are a large number of stories in Arab and non-Arab literatures. We present below an example from the book, Mustatraff.

[Result of Jealousy]

A poor man came to the court of the Abbasid ruler, Mutasim. Seeing some special qualities in him the ruler made him his close confidante. He became so close to the king that he had the permission to even enter the harem with prior permission of Mutasim. The vizier was a very jealous person. Seeing the Arab so much respected by the king made him very furious. He told himself, “If this Arab remains alive, he will degrade me in the eyes of the ruler and I shall lose my post.” Thus he began to be apparently on friendly terms with the Arab. Till one day the vizier invited him to dinner. He had a dish prepared containing a lot of garlic and served it to the Arab. Later the vizier told him, “Do not go to the Caliph with such smelly breath, he does not like the smell of garlic.”

After this he went to the caliph at once and said, “The Arab says that the caliph has a bad breath, so he is having a lot of trouble.” 

The caliph was very angry and summoned the Arab at once. The Arab came immediately but fearing that the king would smell garlic he covered his mouth with his hand. The caliph thought that the vizier was right because the Arab was behaving in this way and he wrote a letter to one of his executioners saying. “Behead the bearer of this note at once.” Giving the letter to the Arab he said, “Go to this person and get the reply of this letter as soon as possible.”

The Arab took the letter. While he was leaving the palace the vizier saw him and asked him where he was headed? The Arab replied that he was carrying a letter of the ruler. The vizier thought it must be some letter to receive payments etc. and he persuaded the Arab to part with the letter in return of 2000 gold coins with the condition that he will deliver the letter to the addressee but whatever gain is accrued from this shall belong to the vizier. The Arab agreed and handed over the letter. The vizier himself took the letter to the executioner and was immediately beheaded. After some days the caliph inquired about the vizier and was informed of his killing. When the Arab was called he related the matter to the Caliph. The Caliph said: May Allah kill jealousy that caused the death of the vizier. After this the Arab was appointed at the post of the vizier.

[Result of Jealousy]

Verses and traditions that are recorded with regard to hypocrisy are sufficient to describe the spiritual harm of hypocrisy. When a person reaches the stage of understanding and can discriminate between good and evil, he finds himself on the crossroads. One road is trodden by animals and quadrupeds, and the other by angels. Now it is the test of his intelligence, which way he chooses. If from the beginning man gives in to his carnal desires and disregards the religious law and reason, it means that he has chosen the path of the beasts. He has ignored the Almighty and the Hereafter. Now there is no difference between him and animals. The only difference is that animals are restricted to this world only. There is no examination or retribution for them. While, man has to taste another life after this one.

One who submits to carnal desires, the signs of depravity automatically become apparent in him? Greed, miserliness, jealousy, evil, false praise and other vile habits destroy the soul. He becomes involved in worldly difficulties and in the Hereafter he is caught in the claws of chastisement.

One day Abu Basir asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “What is the superiority of us (your followers) over other people? By Allah we see some of those people in greater comfort and affluence. They are spending life in much better condition than us?”

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) delayed replying to this question till Abu Basir says, they reached the Holy city of Mecca. “We saw that people were wailing and weeping and begging for divine forgiveness.” Imam said, “How numerous are the beggars (of forgiveness) and how few are the pilgrims! By the One Who has appointed Muhammad as the Prophet and sent his soul to the Paradise very soon, but for you and your companions, Allah will not accept the Hajj of anyone.”

Abu Basir says, “Imam Sadiq (a.s.) moved his hand across my face and I saw that most of the people were actually in the form of pigs, donkeys and monkeys. Very few retained their human shape.” The above tradition is found in the section of Imamate in Biharul Anwar.[123] 

All those you see are not humans Most of them are tail-less cows, bulls and donkeys.[124]