NIFÂQ – نفاق
Literally: Hypocrisy. Duplicity. Insincerity in friendship with secret enmity.
Making a pretence of embracing Islam. Pretending to be a Muslim while being a kâfir and enemy in reality. Hypocrisy in religion. Being a munâfiq, instigator, factionist and agitator.
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَنْ يَقُولُ اٰمَنَّا بِاللّٰهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ اْلاٰخِرِ وَمَاهُمْ بِمُؤْمِن۪ينَۢ1
If you were to ask: Why does it deal concisely with the kâfirs and pure kufr in two âyahs, and then deal at length with nifâq in twelve?
You would be told: For several subtle reasons:
Firstly: If unknown, an enemy is more harmful. If he is cowardly wretched he is more noxious. If he is mendacious he causes more corruption and if he is on the inside, he is more injurious. For an internal enemy saps one's strength and crumbles one's forces, contrarily to external enemies, for they strengthen resolve and solidarity. Alas! The harm that the offence of nifâq caused in Islam is truly immense. It is the cause of the present confusion. For this reason, the Qur'an frequently condemns it.
Secondly: The munâfiq mixes with the mu’mins and becomes familiar with them to an extent, and grows accustomed to îmân a little. He starts to feel repelled at his condition because his actions are reviled and condemned. Little by little the confession of Tawhîd trickles from his tongue to his heart.
Thirdly: The munâfiq surpasses the kâfir in such crimes as mockery, trickery, fraudulence, cunning, lying and riyâ.
Fourthly: The munâfiq is usually one of the ahl al-kitâb, the people of jarbaza and wahm, and a diabolically clever scheming swindler. To be prolix about nifâq, therefore, is perfect eloquence (balâghat).” Signs of Miraculousness ( 90-91 )
“If you were to ask: The restriction [to the munâfiqs] here implies that their deceptions cause no harm to Islam and the Muslims, but Islam has been harmed by nothing to the extent it has been harmed by the various sorts of nifâq and their offshoots, which have spread like poison among the peoples of the Islamic world?
You would be told: The aggressive harm you see and that contagious poison have spread like an infectious disease from their prurient characters, corrupted fitrahs, and putrid consciences; it is not the result of the deceptions and tricks they have perpetrated through their wills. For they want to deceive Allah and the Prophet and the jamâ’ah of mu’mins, but Allâh has ‘ilm of all things and the Prophet is the recipient of wahy, and the deception can't be hidden from the jamâ’ah of mu’mins for any length of time, and they are not deceived. So it is established that it is only themselves that they deceive.” Signs of Miraculousness ( 99 )
“This indication testifies truthfully to the severe effects of the poison of lying, for lying is the basis of kufr; indeed, kufr is a falsehood and the worst sort of lying, and it is the chief sign of nifâq. Lying is to slander Ilahî Qoudrah and it is the opposite of Rabbânî Hikmah. Lying destroys high morals. It transforms great enterprises into putrefying corpses. Its poison has spread through the Islamic world. It has overturned the affairs of mankind, and held back al-‘âlam of humanity from attaining its perfections, and prevented its advance and progress. It has cast down the likes of Musaylima the Liar to the asfal sâfilîn. It is a heavy burden on man's back hindering him from achieving his aims. It is the progenitor of riyâ and artificiality. These are the reasons it has been specified by that which was revealed from above al-‘Arsh, and why it is execrated and made the object of threats. So you people, and especially you Muslims!” Signs of Miraculousness ( 101 )
“Îmân, as a point of support in the face of suffering and a point of assistance for realizing one's hopes, possesses three true characteristics:
The First: Dignity of one’s self, which arises from “the point of support”, and the mark of the dignity of one’s self is the absence of condescending to abasement.
The Second: Compassion, the mark of which is not to abase others or be contemptuous of them.
The Third: Respect for the haqiqahs and ma’rifat of its worth. For the person who possesses something of high value possesses the haqiqah; he owns a unique jewel and will not be scornful of the haqiqah. For he is also dignified.
Similarly, the opposite of îmân, that is, nifâq, has three characteristics, the reverse of those of îmân: the lowliness of one’s self, the inclination to corrupt, and pride leading to contempt of others.” Signs of Miraculousness ( 113 )
1 (Of the people there are some who say: we believe in Allâh and in the Last Day; but they do not really believe.)