Avoiding hypocrisy

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Hypocrisy is a trait that we are taught to avoid in Islam. We read in a hadith:

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Among the signs of a hypocrite are three, even if he fasts and prays and claims to be a Muslim: when he speaks he lies, when he gives a promise he breaks it, and when he is trusted he betrays.” (Sahih Bukhari and Sahih Muslim)

We learn from this how detrimental lying is. Lying is described in this hadith as an action of a hypocrite, so it is something we must avoid. The hadith also shows us the importance of trust. When we are entrusted with something, whether that be a duty in the workplace or a responsibility we are given in our family, we should try our best to fulfil it. If a friend trusts us with a matter that is not to be shared around, we should not betray their trust.

The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) feared that we would be knowledgeable about the Deen but become hypocrites. We know that when we learn something about our Deen and we learn the right way to live, we should be implementing this in the best way we can. We read in a hadith:

Umar ibn al-Khattab reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, among what I fear most for my nation is every hypocrite with a knowledgeable tongue.” (Musnad Aḥmad)

When we are speaking to different people, we should ensure that we are not changing what we say and behaving in a way which is deceiving. We read in a hadith that:

Muhammad ibn Zayd reported: Some people said to Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, “When we had an audience with a ruler, we would speak to them differently than what we said after we left them.” Ibn Umar said, “We used to consider that hypocrisy.” (Sahih Bukhari)

Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also described hypocrisy by saying that it consists of having a lack of understanding about religion as well as a lack of good behaviour. Therefore, we should strive to develop good behaviour and act in a manner which is polite and kind to others, as well as ensure that we are dedicatedly learning about our religion. We read in a hadith:

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Two qualities are not combined in the hypocrite: good behaviour and understanding of religion.” (Sunan al-Tirmidhi)

May Allah guide us all away from hypocrisy and bless us with the ability to remove any hypocritical traits that we may have. May He make us amongst the believers who sincerely follow the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW) as we strive towards developing good behaviour and a commitment to learning the Deen thoroughly. Aameen.

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