An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 142

The Hypocrites Try to Deceive Allah and Sway Between Believers and Disbelievers


The hypocrites fluctuate between emaan and kufr. They pretend to have emaan but in their hearts they have kufr. Why? In order to gain benefits from the Muslims as well as the disbelievers. But what are they actually doing? Deceiving Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. In the beginning of Surat Al-Baqarah it was mentioned,

يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَالَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا

“They (think to) deceive Allah and those who believe.” Yukhadioona means to show on the apparent that is contrary to what is inside. In ayah 142, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala states,

إِنَّ الْمُنَـفِقِينَ يُخَـدِعُونَ اللَّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ

“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them.”

There is no doubt that Allah can never be deceived, for He has perfect knowledge of the secrets and what the hearts conceal. However, the hypocrites, due to their ignorance, scarce knowledge and weak minds, think that since they were successful in deceiving people, using Islamic Law as a cover of safety for themselves, they will acquire the same status with Allah on the Day of Resurrection and deceive Him too. Allah states that on that Day, the hypocrites will swear to Him that they were on the path of righteousness and correctness thinking that such statement will benefit them with Allah. Allah’s statement,

وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ

“but it is He Who deceives them”

He lures them further into injustice and misguidance. He also prevents them from reaching the truth in this life and on the Day of Resurrection. A hadeeth states,


مَن سَمَّعَ سَمَّعَ اللهُ بِهِ، وَمَنْ رَاءَى رَاءَى اللهُ بِه

“Whoever wants to be heard of, Allah will make him heard of, and whoever wants to be seen, Allah will show him.” Allah’s statement,

وَإِذَا قَامُواْ إِلَى الصَّلَوةِ قَامُواْ كُسَالَى

“And when they stand up for Salah, they stand with laziness.”

This is the characteristic of the hypocrites with the most honored, best and righteous act of worship, the prayer. When they stand for prayer, they stand in laziness because they neither truly intend to perform it nor do they believe in it, have humility in it, or understand it. This is the description of their outward attitude! As for their hearts, Allah said,

يُرَآءُونَ النَّاسَ

“to be seen of men”

They do not have sincerity when worshiping Allah. Rather, they show off to people so that they gain closeness to them. They are often absent from the prayers that they can hide away from, such as the Isha prayer and the Dawn prayer that are prayed in darkness. In the two saheehs, it is recorded that the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,

أَثْقَلُ الصَّلَاةِ عَلَى الْمُنَافِقِينَ صَلَاةُ الْعِشَاءِ وَصَلَاةُ الْفَجْرِ، وَلَوْ يَعْلَمُونَ مَا فِيهِمَا لَأَتَوْهُمَا وَلَوْ حَبْوًا، وَلَقَدْ هَمَمْتُ أَنْ آمُرَ بِالصَّلَاةِ فَتُقَامُ، ثُمَّ آمُرَ رَجُلًا فَيُصَلِّي بِالنَّاسِ، ثُمَّ أَنْطَلِقَ مَعِيَ بِرِجَالٍ مَعَهُمْ حُزَمٌ مِنْ حَطَبٍ، إِلى قَوْمٍ لَا يَشْهَدُونَ الصَّلَاةَ، فَأُحَرِّقَ عَلَيْهِمْ بُيُوتَهُمْ بِالنَّار

“The heaviest prayers on the hypocrites are the Isha and Dawn prayers. If they know their rewards, they will attend them even if they have to crawl. I was about to order someone to pronounce the Adhan for the prayer, then order someone to lead the prayer for the people, then order some men to collect fire-wood (fuel); then I would burn the houses around men who did not attend the (compulsory congregational) prayer.” In another narration, the Prophet said,

وَالَّذِي نَفْسِي بِيَدِهِ، لَوْ عَلِمَ أَحَدُهُمْ أَنَّهُ يَجِدُ عَرْقًا سَمِينًا أَوْ مِرْمَاتَيْنِ حَسَنَتَيْنِ، لَشَهِدَ الصَّلَاةَ، وَلَوْلَا مَا فِي الْبُيُوتِ مِنَ النِّسَاءِ وَالذُّرِّيَّـةِ لَحَرَّقْتُ عَلَيْهِمْ بُيُوتَهُمْ بِالنَّار

“By Him, in Whose Hand my soul is, if anyone of them had known that he would get a bone covered with good meat or two (small) pieces of meat between two ribs, he would have turned up for the prayer, and had it not been that the houses have women and children in them, I would burn their homes around them.” Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala then ends this ayah in the following words,

وَلاَ يَذْكُرُونَ اللَّهَ إِلاَّ قَلِيلاً

“And they do not remember Allah but little.”

During the prayer they do not feel humbleness or pay attention to what they are reciting. Rather, during their prayer, they are inattentive, jesting and avoid the good that they are meant to receive from prayer. When they pray they only want to get done with Salah, there is no recitation of Qur’an, tasbeehat, etc. They pray the shortest amount, the bare minimum just to get done with it. Nothing more than that no Sunnah no nafl. They are not concerned about reciting different Surah or adkaar. Imam Malik reported that Al-Ala bin `Abdur-Rahman said that Anas bin Malik radhiAllahu anhu said that the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam said,

تِلْكَ صَلَاةُ الْمُنَافِقِ، تِلْكَ صَلَاةُ الْمُنَافِقِ، تِلْكَ صَلَاةُ الْمُنَافِقِ، يَجْلِسُ يَرْقُبُ الشَّمْسَ، حَتَّى إِذَا كَانَتْ بَيْنَ قَرْنَيِ الشَّيْطَانِ، قَامَ فَنَقَرَ أَرْبَعًا، لَا يَذْكُرُ اللهَ فِيهَا إِلَّا قَلِيلًا

“This is the prayer of the hypocrite, this is the prayer of the hypocrite, this is the prayer of the hypocrite. He sits watching the sun until when it goes down between the two horns of the devil, he stands up pecks out four Rak`ahs (for `Asr) without remembering Allah during them except little.” Muslim, At-Tirmidhi and An-Nasa’i also recorded it. At-Tirmidhi said “Hasan Sahih”.


– A person who tries to deceive others is actually deceiving himself, especially if he is deceiving Allah.

– A person who is being given respite is also being deceived. If he is not being caught immediately he gives himself false assurance that if I was wrong I’d have been caught and punished. He lives a life of deception. When a person does something wrong and he is not hit by a calamity or punishment he should remind himself for the akhirah. I may escape the punishment of dunya but what about akhirah? How would I escape Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s punishment on the Day of Judgment?

-It is hypocrisy to approach or perform Salah lazily. As we read in Surah al-Ma’un . Consider for a moment, you have a friend whom you admire a lot. You have a meeting with him/her. Are you reluctant in meeting them? Do you keep sitting lazily to dress up until the very last moment? No, you can’t wait. So why is it that we claim we love Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala but when it comes to Salah we are sluggish?

– We should offer Salah as early as possible. We should give priority to Salah because if we give priority to Salah only then we’d be able to give importance to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. But if we delay, we won’t have much time to remember Allah, we’d be rushing through the Salah just to get done with it.

– The men should perform Salah in the masjid, but if the masjid is far away [like in some non-Muslim countries] then at least Fajr and Isha should be performed in the masjid. It is an obligation on the wives, mothers, sisters and daughters to encourage the men in their lives to offer Salah in the masjid. This is because a saheeh hadeeth narrates that if they knew the reward of coming to the masjid they’d come crawling.

– When the hypocrites pray they only want to get done with Salah, there is no recitation of Qur’an, tasbeehat, etc. We should ask ourselves when we sit down to eat do we remember Allah? When we see something beautiful do we praise Allah? Do we recite the masnoon du’as as taught by Rasoolullah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam for every action that we do in a day? The hypocrite only prays Salah nothing more than that.

– The hypocrite prays the shortest amount, the bare minimum, the faraid just to get done with it. Nothing more than that no Sunnah no nafl. He is not concerned about reciting different Surah or adkaar. There are 114 Surahs in the Qur’an how many have we memorized? Do we take care about reciting a different each time that we stand up to pray?

– The one who has khushu in Salah will do a lot of dhikr of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, inside Salah as well as outside Salah.

– It is hypocrisy to show off a good deed. It is riya. When a person shows off that deed is not accepted. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is tayyab, and He accepts only that which is Tayyab. He doesn’t need a good deed which is done to please people. He will only accept that deed which is done for His sake only.

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