Those Who Reject Faith
"They swear by Allah that they said nothing (evil), but indeed they uttered blasphemy, and they did it after accepting Islam; and they meditated a plot which they were unable to carry out..."
With the Quran's description, the munafiq are hypocritical and villainous people as they pretend to be believing although they do not. What is worse is that they do not do evil on their own, but penetrate into the society of the believers and act as if they are one of them.
On the face of it, the believers and the munafiq may indeed seem as though they perform the same worship. However, the believers are "those who humble themselves in their prayers" (Quran, 23:2) and earn the good pleasure of Allah. The munafiq, on the other hand, are described:
"The hypocrites - they think they are over-reaching Allah But He will over-reach them: when they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in Rememberance."
and they are subjected to Allah's grievous penalty because of their hypocrisy and unfaithfulness. So, a munafiq does not seem to be a non-religious person "from the outside". Rather, he is a person who says that he believes in Allah and performs most of the acts of worship.
It must also be noted that the case of the munafiqs is quite different than that of the unbelievers. The munafiq absolutely knows the system told in the Quran. He is aware that he must comply with the commands of Allah to be a true servant of Allah. Furthermore, he attests this with his own tongue. However, what is in his heart is not the same as what he utters. The greatest sign of his hypocrisy is his mentioning 'Allah' while he hides disbelief, rebellion and sin in his heart.
At this point, a question crosses our minds: Why do the munafiq pretend to be believing although they do not have belief in their hearts?
The munafiq, those who reject Faith after accepting Islam, do not aim to earn the good pleasure of Allah like the believers, even when they live among them. Having quite different a personality than the believers, the munafiq keep company of the believers sometimes to acquire material gain, and sometimes to plot against the believers - just because of their grudge against them. Besides, there are also those munafiq who are foremost in joining the society of the believers by believing yet then lose faith and leave them. Those are the ones who turn away from Faith after accepting Islam. However, they commit a great sin as they break a promise given to Allah and the believers that they would be persistent in their Faith and be loyal to them. This is why they are referred to in the Quran as
"Those who break Allah's Covenant after it is ratified"
The munafiq are referred to in many verses of the Quran, and the believers are warned against them. Every believer who takes Quran as his guide and walks in Allah's way has to be very careful against the munafiq and know their features. Because every believing community that walks in the way of the Quran is sure to confront munafiq during their course of struggle. So, now, let's look at several reasons of why the munafiqs want to keep company of the believers and why they turn away from the religion of Allah later on.
The real reason of the munafiq being together with the mumin society is not to earn the good pleasure of Allah. One of the greatest reasons why he pretends to be friends with the believers is to secure financial benefits for himself.
With the Mercy of Allah, the believers possess financial power and authority besides the spiritual support of Allah. The history testifies many examples of this. In many Quran verses, the power and dominion of the prophets Solomon, Mohammad, Daud, Zulqarnain and many other prophets are mentioned.
They worked for him as he desired, (making) arches, images, bassoons as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places):
"Work you, sons of David, with thanks! but few of My servants are grateful!"
The castles, arches, large bassoons, and cauldrons Solomon owns for no sure affirm the wealth, prosperity and the great fortune in his reign.
And in the Surah Al-Kahf, the power and prosperity of Zulqarnain is stated:
"Verily We established his power on earth, and We gave him the ways and the means to all ends."
In Surah An-Nisa, it is stated that prophet Ibrahim and his family also had great authority and power.
This attribute of the believers is a binding factor for the munafiqs. Since they think that they will gain personal benefits by keeping company of the believers, they spend effort to be with them although they are not a bit interested in religion.
However, the believers do not spend their properties and possessions for their own personal benefits like the munafiqs suppose. The believers know that property and power totally belongs to Allah and it should be spent in His cause. Thus, as soon as the munafiqs become aware that he will have no share from the possessions of the believers, he decides to leave them.
What's more, the believers also have broad business opportunities. This deeply impresses the munafiqs. Most of them practice the acts of worship (for instance prayer, fasting, zakat) in order to be known trustworthy among the Muslims and thus be able to do business with them. In the Quran, the passion of the munafiqs on commerce which is the most important issue of their lives is emphasised;
"But when they see some bargain or some amusement, they disperse headlong to it, and leave thee standing. Say: "The (blessing) from the Presence of Allah is better than any amusement or bargain! and Allah is the Best to provide (for all needs)."
They of course never achieve what they are after because of their unrighteous conduct, and they become losers in the Hereafter in addition to what they lose on earth.
The believers have a wide circle because of their culture, morals and respectfulness. They also have close relations with the prominent people of their country as they communicate the Quranic message to them. In addition, apart from a certain group which they fight against, they have many supporters within the public. And this support increases as their power and authority on earth expands. They are marked in their society with their morals and unseen determinism. Allah's words to Prophet Mohammad in the Quran disclose this fact;
Being impressed with the esteem and distinction of the believers, the munafiqs think they will be exalted in personality by being together with the believers. They think that, in this way, they will make use of the esteem of the believers and they will be identified as one of them in the society. However, Allah makes them taste not the fame they hope to acquire, but the disgrace they deserve because of the tumult and oppression they cause among the believers.
The munafiq, who pretend to be believers in order to benefit from the fortune of the believers, abandon the believers in a slightest moment of difficulty and side with the adversaries of the believers. Thus, their real character is revealed in times of distress. This clearly indicates that they keep company of the believers only for their own benefits, but in reality do not believe in Allah and the Hereafter truly.
No matter where he lives, every human is responsible for believing in Allah, taking Him as one god, and worshipping Him. Therefore, he needs to know the words of Allah, which is the Quran.
However, the responsibility of a person who has not yet been introduced to Islam and to whom the knowledge of the Quran has not yet reached, is not same with the responsibility of a person who has already been invited to religion, and become familiar with its aspects. The latter is fully responsible of worshipping Allah. Munafiq already undertakes this great responsibility by confirming his belief in Allah and the Quran. He witnesses the believers praising Allah and reciting His verses.
However, although the munafiq seems to believe in Allah and worship Him, he is discriminated from the believers by his slack conduct in earning the good pleasure of Allah. This weakness and looseness is revealed in the slightest difficulty he confronts;
"Were it to obey and say what is just, and when a matter is resolved on, it were best for them if they were true to Allah."
As seen, the munafiq forgets about his previous promises at the moment of difficulty and displays a disloyal conduct. He is always prone to be capsized and lose his already tottering belief. This is because he does not believe in Allah and the hereafter truly, although he says that he does.
While the believers under the command of Prophet Mohammad fought against the unbelievers, a group among them lost their faith against the enemy. They started to imagine various vain thoughts about Allah and His prophet; and thus showed their real faces:
In that situation were the Believers tried: they were shaken as by a tremendous shaking.
"And behold! The hypocrites and those in whose hearts is a disease (even) say: "Allah and His Messenger promised us nothing but delusion!"
On the other hand, the believers never showed weakness; and on the contrary, they were fortified in their faith.
"When the Believers saw the Confederate forces, they said: "This is what Allah and his Messenger had promised us, and Allah and His Messenger told us what was true." And it only added to their faith and their zeal in obedience."
"When they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe;" but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say: "We are really with you: We (were) only jesting.""
The foundation on which the munafiqs rely on is very different from the good pleasure of Allah. Despite the fact that they read and know the verses very well, they are indifferent to religion and they are distant to its judgments. They are agitated in the slightest annoyance, they disclose their disloyalty against religion. In a hard moment, they are ready to cooperate with the unbelievers. Their indifference against the acts of worship and the judgments of Quran are evidences to their weak character.
There are many signs that reveal their slackness about religion. Celebrating the praises of Allah, which is an important part of good conduct, is one of the subjects the munafiqs overlook. They celebrate the praises of Allah only very scarcely. This is an important evidence showing how slack they are in their faith and in their intent to live religion fully.
In the Quran verses, we are also told that when they stand up for prayer, they stand up sluggishly, and spend to be seen of men. It is no surprise that they do not perform any of these worships when they are alone, as they originally perform them only to be seen of the believers.
"The hypocrites - they think they are over-reaching Allah, but He will over-reach them: When they stand up to prayer, they stand without earnestness, to be seen of men, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance."
"Not those who spend of their substance, to be seen of men, but have no faith in Allah and the Last Day: If any take the Evil One for their intimate, what a dreadful intimate he is!"
Munafiqs are reluctant in worship. They are only interested in earning the good pleasure of other people. Other people's approval, praise, and pleasure is the biggest reward for them in the world. They do all that they do to earn this appraisal. Therefore, all what they do during the time they spend with the believers is nothing but deceit. They are not aware of their mistakes, and moreover, they think that they deceive Allah, His messenger and the believers. Since none of their deeds is righteous, they are shut out of the reward in the hereafter.
Although the munafiq hope to earn profits for what they do as evil on earth, they only find distress and grief, and nothing more. No matter how hard they try to conceal themselves, the believers identify them sooner or later;
"Or do those in whose hearts is a disease, think that Allah will not bring to light all their rancour? Had We so willed, We could have shown them up to thee, and thou shouldst have known them by their marks: but surely thou wilt. And We shall try you until We test those among you who strive their utmost and persevere in patience; and We shall try your reported (mettle)."
After turning away from Allah's religion, an eternal penalty starts for the munafiq. This penalty starts in this world and continues till eternity.
The penalty given to the munafiq is in recompense for all they have done. They have held enmity towards the believers, and tried to deceive them by falsehood and trickery, and sided with their enemies whenever it served their purpose. So, the penalty they are doomed to suffer from is only because of all the evil they themselves have done:
"Verily Allah will not deal unjustly with man in aught: It is man that wrongs his own soul."
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