Signposting Hypocrisy

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم


Signposting Hypocrisy


Worship in secret is from the strongest means of maintaining steadfastness in Deen, yet few appreciate its effects; for if (voluntary) acts of ‘ibadah are done in secret, they become farther from showing off or seeking fame, and reflect honesty and sincerity.

A man came to Hudayfah (Ibn Yaman), and said:

إني أخشى أن أكون منافقاً فقال له: تصلي إذا خلوت، وتستغفر إذا أذنبت؟ قال: نعم قال: إذهب فما جعلك الله منافقاً

“I fear that I’ve become a hypocrite”. Hudayfah asked him, “Do you perform salah when you’re alone and do you make istighfar when you sin?” The man replied, “Yes”. Hudayfah then said, “Leave, may Allah not make you from the hypocrites.”  [1]

Hudayfah رضي الله عنه was the keeper of secrets of the Prophet ﷺ and was entrusted with the names of the munafiqeen of Madinah. After the passing of the Prophet ﷺ, people used to come to him and ask whether they were mentioned to be among the hypocrites. And he would refuse to divulge any information.

He would however, provide important indicators as to how to recognise hypocrisy within yourself should these traits be present. One was whether you performed salah while being alone, and away from prying public eyes. Other was being conscious and constant in seeking forgiveness upon committing a sin.

Recognising and working to develop one’s personal relationship with Allah ﷻ‎ is in itself, a blessing far removed from fakery or haughtiness for it necessitates Muhasibah (self-reflection and accounting). Al-Fudayl ibn ‘Iyyad رحمه الله said:

المؤمن يحاسب نفسه، ويعلم أن له موقفاً بين يدي الله تعالى، والمنافق يغفل عن نفسه، فرحم الله عبداً نظر لنفسه قبل نزول ملك الموت به

“The believer (is introspective and) takes stock of himself, and he knows that his stands between the Hands of Allah. While the hypocrite overlooks (and forgets) himself. May Allah have mercy on a slave who pays attention to himself (and takes heed) before the Angel of Death descends to him.” [2]

Introspection can’t fully take place until a person takes a quiet corner away from people, worshiping and repenting and taking matters back to Allah ﷻ‎. It also protects a person from complaining to others besides Allah. Shaykh ‘Abd Al-Azeez At-Tarifi حفظه الله said:

عبادة السر والخلوة هي السياج الذي يضعه الإنسان حول قلبه من الانتكاسات! لا يشكو أحد ضعفا إلا وخلوته بربه نادرة لذا كان زاد النبي ﷺ خلوة الليل

“Worship in secret and solitude plants a fence around the human heart from relapsing (and setbacks!) None should complain about their weakness (and vulnerability) except when alone with his Rabb. The Prophet ﷺ increased his retreat (to Allah) during the night (prayers).” [3]


May Allah purify us from any aspect of hypocrisy and grant us istiqamah and thabat upon His Deen. Ameen.



[1] Tareekh Dimishq, 66616

[2] Tareekh Dimishq, 52351

[3] سطور: من النقل والعقل والفكر 60


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