وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قَالُوا ءَامَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكُمْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ
“And when they meet with believers, they say, ‘We believe’; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, ‘Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers.’”
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is informing us that when the hypocrites meet with the believers, they proclaim their faith and pretend to be believers, loyalists, and their friends. They do this to misdirect, mislead and deceive the believers because they also want to have a share of the benefits and gains that the believers might possibly acquire. Yet,
وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَـطِينِهِمْ
“But when they are alone with their Shayateen,” meaning, if they are alone with their devils, such as their leaders and masters among the rabbis of the Jews, hypocrites and idolaters they reveal their true selves. A deceiver remains a deceiver even with his mother. They mock the believers but they don’t know that “Indeed, Allah defends those who have believed,” as He says in Surah Hajj Ayah 38.
It has been seen many times those who deceit others get caught up in their own trap. On the Day of Judgment, such people will be mocked, they will be called to the Jannah but as they will reach the doors of Jannah – they will be closed on them. Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala waits for His creation to repent and become true believers, but if they do not, then no one can save them from His punishment. Ibn Jareer said, “The devils of every creation are the mischievous among them. There are both human devils and Jinn devils.”
إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِءُونَ
“Verily, we were but mocking,” meaning we (the hypocrites) were mocking the Companions of Muhammad (salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
The mockers are actually deceivers, they were trying to deceive Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his Companions but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala already revealed their true identity with the revelation of these ayaat.
اللَّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
“(But) Allah mocks them and prolongs them in their transgression( while) they wander blindly.”
In this ayah, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala answers the hypocrites. It is not the hypocrites making fun of the believers, but Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is mocking the hypocrites by giving them time to increase in their deviation and wander blindly. How unfortunate they are, that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala mocks them! It’s the punishment of their behavior. It was the punishment not only for the hypocrites of Madinah at the Prophet’s time but also for all who are trying to deceive Almighty Allah with their evil deeds. When a believer realizes his bad deed, he stops and says istaghfar while a hypocrite thinks that whatever he has done was right. His basic perspective is worldly benefits not the eternal advantage i.e. Jannah.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala stated that He will punish the hypocrites for their mockery, using the same terms to describe both the deed and its punishment, although the meaning is different. Similarly, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
“The recompense for an offense is an offense equal to it; but whoever forgives and makes reconciliation, his reward is with Allah.” [Ash-Shura 42:40]
Surely, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala exacts revenge for certain evil acts with a punishment that is similar in nature to the act itself. We should affirm here that Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala does not do these things out of joyful play, according to the consensus of the scholars, but as a just form of punishment for certain evil acts.
“and leaves them increasing” means, He gives them respite. Also, Mujahid said, “He (causes their deviation) to increase.”
Ibn Jareer commented, “The correct meaning of this ayah is `We give them increase from the view of giving them respite and leaving them in their deviation and rebellion.'”
فِي طُغْيَـنِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ
“in their deviation to wander,” meaning in the misguidance and disbelief that has encompassed them, causing them to be confused and unable to find a way out of it. This is because Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has stamped their hearts, sealed them, and blinded their vision. Therefore, they do not recognize guidance or find the way out of their deviation.
If you put a dog on a really long leash/rope – the dog runs really fast thinking he is free. As he reaches the peak of his assumed freedom – the leash reaches its full-length stretch, and the dog is tightly pulled and chokes on the leash.
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala says, “Surely the hypocrites are in the lowest part of the fire, – and never will you find for them a helper.” [An-Nisa’ 4:145]
Why? It is because of their evil sins.
Munafiq comes from the word – Naafaqa = a lizard’s hole.
The lizard of the desert makes two holes in the ground so that if a fox or a wolf comes to chase it from one hole, the lizard can run out of the other hole.
Similarly, the hypocrite enters Islam from one hole and leaves Islam from another hole. He also goes into one hole of Islam and then comes out of another hole secretly to approach the devils from amongst the disbelievers. He doesn’t correct himself.
Believers have an upright character, always speak truth but never refuse to obey Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and His messengers. On the other hand, a hypocrite lacks two main qualities: understanding of Deen and good character/habits.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala give us understanding of Deen and good character, which is liked by Him and His Prophet Muhammad salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Ameen