The Foolishness of the Hypocrites
That obedience to the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam is obligatory was the subject of ayah 80. Here, the Prophet was comforted in case the disbelievers rejected his message. Now comes a mention of some hypocrites who used to wriggle out of this obligation.
Surah an-Nisa ayah 81 refers to the hypocrites who, when they came face to face with the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam, said that they were quite obedient to him and had accepted what he had commanded them with. But, when they left his company, they got together and conspired as to how they could disobey him. This duplicity of theirs caused great pain to him. Thereupon, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala instructed him to ignore them and continue with his mission placing his trust in Allah because Allah is all-sufficient for him.
Condemning those who practiced a policy of double-dealing Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says,
“They say, ‘We are obedient’,”
meaning that in the company of Rasoolullah or other Muslims, the hypocrites pretend to be loyal and obedient.
فَإِذَا بَرَزُواْ مِنْ عِندِكَ
“…but when they leave you….”,
meaning, when they depart and are no longer with the Prophet or the Muslims,
بَيَّتَ طَآئِفَةٌ مِّنْهُمْ غَيْرَ الَّذِى تَقُولُ
“…a section of them spends all night in planning other than what you say..”
They plot at night among themselves for other than what they pretend when they are with the Prophet or the Muslims.
Once this is established, what should be the attitude of the Messenger of Allah towards such a set of people? The latter part of the ayah carries a special instruction about it.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
وَاللَّهُ يَكْتُبُ مَا يُبَيِّتُونَ
“But Allah records their nightly (plots).”
meaning, He has full knowledge of their plots and records it through His command to His scribes, the angels who are responsible for recording the actions of the servants. This is a threat from Allah, stating that He knows what the hypocrites try to hide, their plotting in the night to defy the Messenger and oppose him, even though they pretend to be loyal and obedient to him. Allah will certainly punish them for this conduct.
He then says,
“So turn aside from them”
meaning pardon them, be forbearing with them, do not punish them, do not expose them to the people and do not fear them.
وَتَوَكَّلْ عَلَى اللَّهِ وَكَفَى بِاللَّهِ وَكِيلاً
“and put your trust in Allah. And Allah is Ever All-Sufficient as a Disposer of affairs.”
meaning, He is sufficient as Protector, Supporter and Helper for those who rely on Him and return to Him.
Lesson: An Important Instruction for a Leader
From here we know that one who leads people has to go through all sorts of hardships. People tend to level absurd allegations against him. Then, there are enemies in the garb of friendship and trust around him. Despite the presence of all such obstacles, this leader must display determination and steadfastness and devote to his mission with full trust in Allah. If his objective and orientation is right, he will, in sha Allah, succeed.