The munafiq (hypocrite), responsibility and trust

Posted on April 30, 2020




During the lifetime of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), there were those who professed to be Muslims when in fact they were but mere hypocrites. God revealed to the Prophet (pbuh):

“And of mankind, there are some (hypocrites) who say: “We believe in Allâh and the Last Day” while in fact they believe not.” – Sura 2 – Al-Baqara: Verse 8

“Allah will certainly know those who believe and He will certainly know the hypocrites.” –  Sura 29 – Al-Ankaboot: Verse 11

“The hypocrites, both men and women, proceed one from another. They enjoin the wrong, and they forbid the right, and they withhold their hands (from spending for the cause of Allah). They forget Allah, so He hath forgotten them. Lo! the hypocrites, they are the transgressors.” – Sura 9 – Al-Tawba: Verse 67

What about today?

Today we see throughout the world Muslims, or those professing to be so, including politicians, industry and corporate players, societal leaders and those from various walks of life contesting for position at several levels. Often no stone is left unturned in that unquenchable quest for position. Often, no amount of effort, time and money is spared in that pursuit.

They see it as a means to acquire power and status, and very often, wealth.

Little do they realise that in the realm of Reality, it is actually responsibility and trust that they are fighting for, and which, if granted by Almighty God, they have to answer for in the Hereafter.

In this they have allowed themselves to be deceived by the glitter of this illusionary world even though they had been warned against it by the Glorious Qur’an.

They have forgotten that the Glorious Qur’an describes to them the reality of this world in the following terms:

“Know that the life of the world is only play, and idle talk, and pageantry, and boasting among you, and rivalry in respect of wealth and children; … And in the Hereafter there is grievous punishment, and (also) forgiveness from Allah and His good pleasure, whereas the life of the world is but matter of illusion.” – Sura 57 – Al-Hadid: Verse 20

“That which is on earth We have made but as a glittering show for the earth, in order that We may test them, as to which of them are best in conduct.” – Sura 18 – Al-Kahf: Verse 7

“And keep thy soul content with those who call on their Lord morning and evening, seeking His Face; and let not thine eyes pass beyond them seeking the pomp and glitter of this Life; nor obey any whose heart We have permitted to neglect the remembrance of Us, one who follows his own desires, whose case has gone beyond all bounds.” – Sura 18 – Al-Kahf: Verse 28

“The (material) things which ye are given are but the conveniences of this life and the glitter thereof; but that which is with Allah is better and more enduring: will ye not then be wise?”– Sura 28 – Al-Qasas: Verse 60

“The life of this world is but comfort of illusion.” – Sura 3 – Al-E-Imran: Verse 185

Why would a man fight for position if all it means is more responsibility and trust on him and greater accountability for him on the Day of Judgment? Would he not rather decline and try to avoid such position if he can? Will he not shy away?

Yet daily we see the opposite occur in the mad scramble for positions.

Is this then not reflective that most of the participants in such pursuit are deluded in their quest for power, status and wealth?

Allah swt. tells us that after the Earth was created, the Almighty offered the position of vicegerent or leadership of the Earth to all of His creation.

All declined that position.

Except Man.

“Truly, We did offer Al¬Amânah (the trust or moral responsibility or honesty and all the duties which Allâh has ordained) to the heavens and the earth, and the mountains, but they declined to bear it and were afraid of it (i.e. afraid of Allâh’s Torment). But man bore it. Verily, he was unjust (to himself) and ignorant (of its results).” – Sura 33 – Al-Ahzab: Verse 72

As explained thus in the Glorious Qur’an, the position is one of trust and moral responsibility, not of power or status or wealth.

Yet see how man is deluded in his false and mistaken belief. Perception when left without guidance can be most deceiving.

There is account told, for instance, that when money is offered and taken as a bribe, the money looks like money, it feels like money and it can even do things that money does, but in the realm of Reality what is being offered and taken is but a piece of hell.

So how is a man in position to succeed?

Again, the Glorious Qur’an has not left Man without guidance.

“Those who are faithfully true to their Amanât (all the duties which Allâh has ordained, honesty, moral responsibility and trusts) and to their covenants;” – Sura 23 – Al-Mumenoon: Verse 8

This begs the question: How many of our leaders have fulfilled their responsibility and trust?

I am reminded of an anecdote I once heard that the late NIk Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, after assuming the office of Mentri Besar of Kelantan in 1990, whilst addressing a crowd in Kedah, people observed tears flowing from his eyes as he told them that he was afraid that he might not measure up to the responsibility and trust that God had placed on him.

Then there is another account about him by someone who dropped by at the kampong mosque, where Nik Aziz used to lead the pre-dawn prayers, and whilst preparing himself for prayer heard the sounds of loud splashing of water. On investigating the matter he found Nik Aziz himself washing the bathroom. When he asked why he, as the State Mentri Besar had to do the washing himself, Nik Aziz told him that it was to keep himself humble and to remind himself that though he was Mentri Besar, he was just an ordinary member of the rakyat.

Those two accounts illustrate that Nik Aziz, the man and politician, clearly understood what position means.

What about the other leaders that we come across in our community?

Our political leaders, our business leaders and others?

Do they understand?

Have they fulfilled their responsibility and trust?

They should perhaps be reminded of some of the major obligations imposed upon them in the positions that they hold.

A leader is expected to rule justly.

God enjoins that you deliver the Trusts to their rightful possessors. And when you rule over [or judge between] people, that you do so with justice…” – Sura 4-An Nisa: Verse 58

“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah, as witnesses to fair dealing, and let not the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: that is next to Piety: and fear Allah. For Allah is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” – Sura 5-Al Maeda: Verse 8

Have they ruled justly and ensured fair dealing?

They are also required to apply the law evenly.

On one occasion a Muslim woman from a noble family of Quraish committed theft and the Prophet (pbuh) ordered her hand to be cut off. Some companions made recommendation to the Prophet through one of his companions, Usama ibn Zayd, whom the Prophet (pbuh) loved very much, that she be pardoned. On hearing this, the Prophet’s (pbuh) face turned red with anger and he delivered a sermon and said:

“O people, those who have gone before you were destroyed, because if any one of high rank committed theft amongst them, they spared him; and if anyone of low rank committed theft, they inflicted the prescribed punishment upon him. By Allah, if Fatima, daughter of Muhammad, were to steal, I would have her hand cut off.” … (Sahih Al Bukhari)

Has the law been applied equally and evenly in every instance here?

The Prophet (pbuh) is also reported to have said:

“Any man whom Allah has given the authority of ruling some people and he does not look after them in an honest manner, will never have even the smell of Paradise.”…(Al-Bukhari).

It is not my turf to fully judge our leaders, but I am inclined, in the light of all that God Almighty has revealed, to ask them how they would judge themselves?

Should they perhaps fear that God Almighty may judge them to be similar to the hypocrites that were present during the time of the Prophet (pbuh)?

Do they meet with all that Almighty God has ordained for them in meeting the responsibility of honesty and moral responsibility and trust when they acquire position?

Is it enough that they are in attendance at some religious and charitable functions when the Glorious Qur’an requires them to live totally by it?

Should they not take heed then that they have been warned?

“And those who believe will say: “Are these the men (hypocrites) who swore their strongest oaths by Allâh that they were with you (Muslims)?” All that they did has been in vain (because of their hypocrisy), and they have become the losers.” – Sura 5 – Al-Maeda: Verse 53

Islam requires complete submission to the will of God. There is no option to choose parts of scripture one may wish to follow and ignore other parts. The consequence of doing so is clearly spelt out in the Glorious Qur’an. Woe then to those who fail in their responsibility and trust.​

“So do you then believe in part of the Scripture and disbelieve in part? Then what is the recompense for those who do that among you except disgrace in worldly life; and on the Day of Resurrection they will be sent back to the severest of punishment.” – Sura 2-Al Baqara; Verse 86

For many of these people, if they but only knew the reality of that which they aspire to and struggle for, would they then persist in pursuing the positions they so assiduously covet?

Or recognising their own failings and limitations and recognising the high standards that will be expected of them by Almighty God, would they instead avoid such positions like they avoid the Corona virus, and perhaps self-quarantine themselves from the arena of jostling for position?

For many, one can only hope that they will ponder over these matters and come to their senses and cease being taken in by the false glitter of this world.