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What is Hypocrisy?

The meaning of hypocrisy which is the same as hidden polytheism is that a man does what seems to be obedience to God but the aim is not to seek nearness to God but to create honor for him in the eyes of people in order to meet his demands. In this connection, the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:  
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 563. “Whoever performs prayer in order to see by men has become a polytheist.”  
   Then the Holy Prophet recited verse 110 of the Quranic Chapter, Kahf, as follows:  
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 “Say I am only a mortal like you, it is revealed to me that your god is one God, therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (SAW) that God says:  

* * *

 564. “I am the best partner and if anyone chooses a partner other than Me in his deed, I will not accept it and transfer it to My partner, for I will only accept those deeds which are devoted to Me.”  
   In another Hadith, we read:  

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565. “I am the Most rich partner. Therefore whoever does a deed and takes a partner for Me in that deed I free Myself from obligation and transfer it to My partner.”  

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 566. “Everything rightful has a truth in it and no man will reach the truth of devotion unless he does not wish to be praise for what he has done for the sake of God.”  
   You should recite Dua in secret and always seek a private place, for retirement repels hypocrisy. Nevertheless, if you are among people, you have to preserve your devotion which can not be attained except by getting to know:  
 1- God and the fact that everything is in His hand.  
 2- People and the fact that nothing is in their hand.
 3- Human dignity, honor and endeavor.
  It is in this case that people will not be important to you. The Holy Prophet (SAW) refers to the same matter when he says:  
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 567. “O Abazar! No one will ever become a jurisprudent that too, a supreme one unless he will not fear people can change him.”  
   The rest of this Hadith indicates modesty, for the Holy Prophet further says:  
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 “Then he should look at himself and consider it as the most humble one.”  
   Similarly there is a Hadith by one of our companions:  
 568. “God inspired Moses (AS): whenever you come to Me supplicating, bring with you one from whom you are better. Moses (AS) did not dare to say he was better than others. Therefore he stopped finding such a person among human beings and began to search among animals till he came across a mangy dog. He said to himself: I will take it with me. He put a rope round its neck and pulled it behind him. On the way he untied the rope and set the dog free. When Moses (AS) reached the supplication site, God said to him: O Moses! Where is man We had ordered you to bring? Moses (AS) said: O God! I could not find it. God said: By My glory, even if you had brought one person, I would have erased your name from the book of prophets.”  
 
 The consequences of Hypocrisy  
 Hypocrisy may occur in the following cases:  
 1- when a person does something mainly to be seen by men and there is no Godly motivation I his deed. This kind of hypocrisy must be abandoned, for it is a sin and is not considered as obedience to God. About this, the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:

* * *

569. “Hypocrisy is a hidden polytheism.”  
 2- When a person intends to recite Dua for God but hypocrisy afflicts him in the beginning of it, he should not abandon Dua, for his self on the other.
 3- When a person has devotion in his heart but in the middle of the way hypocrisy afflicts him, here he should keep on repelling it and should not abandon Dua.  
   Hence once who recites Dua in secret is among those who are unknown among people but known in heavens as described by the Holy Prophet (SAW): 

* * *

570. “The most believed servants of God are the most pious ones who worship God in secret, those who, if their names are mentioned, no one knows them.”  
   How do you know? Perhaps among people there is a person who wishes to act as you, that is obstruct the way to Satan and worship God openly as the Infallibles (AS) have said:  

* * *

 571. “A wise man is one who neither does anything good out of hypocrisy nor abandons it due to modesty.”  
   Can you possibly worship God without being recognized? God Himself has said:  

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 “It is incumbent on you to hide your deed and Dua but I have to make it manifest.”  
   You should further preserve yourself from the love of revealing your devotion and not care about whether you are praised or blamed by people. In this relation the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:  

* * *

 “No man ever attains true devotion unless he does not love to be praised for a deed done for God.”  
   The exegitists of the Holy Quran have reported on the authority of Saeed Ibne Jabir: A man came to the Holy Prophet (SAW) and said: I give alms in the way of Allah, observe love of kindship and I do it only to please God. Nevertheless when I am praised by people I will become happy and feel pleased with myself. Hearing this, the Holy Prophet (SAW) kept silent and said nothing till verse 110 of the Quranic Chapter, the Cave was revealed to him:  

* * *

 “Say: I am only a mortal like you; it is revealed to me that your god is one God, therefore whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the service of his Lord.”  
   It means that being pleased that people know one’s good deeds is both praiseworthy and blameworthy; praiseworthy when:
 1- A person’s aim is to hide his devotion but when people know about his deeds and devotion he understands that it is God who has made them known so as people to honor His servant and to do him a favor, for it is one of God’s attributes as mentioned in the following Hadith:  

* * *

 “O You who reveal what is beautiful and conceal what is ugly.”  
   God has also said:  

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572. “It is incumbent on you to hide your good deed but incumbent on Me to make it manifest.”  
   Here he concludes how fairly God has treated and favored him, for man both hides his devotion and his sin but God, due to His being Generous, covers up sins and reveals devotion and there is nothing more graceful than covering up someone’s sins and revealing good deeds. Hence his happiness is due to God’s treatment of him not because of people praising him or finding a place in their heart.  

* * *

   “Say: In the grace of Allah and in His mercy -in that they should rejoice; it is better than that which they gather.” (Verse 58 of the Quranic Chapter, Yunus.)  
 2- From revelation of what is beautiful and concealment of what is ugly, he will conclude that God will treat him in the same manner in the Hereafter too, for the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:  

* * *

573. “God does not cover up anything for His servant which He does not cover up in the Hereafter.”  
 3- He will become happy that people praise men of devotion against those who are hostile to them, envy and ridicule them and eventually accuse them of pretension. Such state of happiness is not blameworthy.  
   As for blameworthy happiness: If a person’s happiness is due to his having a position with people so that he will be praised, his needs to be met, and to be honored by all, then this kind of happiness is sheer hypocrisy and not only ruins the good deeds but turn them into bad ones and will take him down to hell instead of paradise.  
 
 The Root of and Motivation behind Hypocrisy  
   The root cause of hypocrisy is love of world, negligence of the Hereafter, lack of sufficient belief in God, thinking not about the pests of the world and the blessings of the Hereafter. Love of world and lust is the root cause of all wrong doings. God has made His servants duty bound according to their capacity but to stop Satan from tempting him is beyond according to their capacity. It is for this reason that the Holy Prophet (SAW) gave the servants of God the good tidings of forgiveness by God so that they will not become desperate and be in restrictions, but to come close to God and hope in His bounteous mercy and has said:

* * *

 574. “God forgives temptations which are in the heart of my Ummah as long as they do not speak of it or do it.”  
   The reason behind it is that the movement of tongue and body members are controlled by man and this is contrary to temptations of heart.  
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 How to cure hypocrisy
   Devotion is attained when appearance and heart become identical. A person was told: Do everything openly. He said: How? they said to him: Do everything in a way that if people know it, you are not ashamed of it.”  
   In this connection, Imam Ali (AS) has said:  
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 575. “Never do anything for which you have to apologize, for good deeds require no apology. Do not do in secret anything which if made open, you are ashamed of it. Also avoid deeds which if reminded, its doer denies it.”  
   The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:  
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 576. “The highest degree of faith is one which if a person attains, becomes successful and is delivered, that is, his secret deeds should be so worthy that he will not have fear when made public nor is afraid of their consequences in case they are in secret.”  
   The Holy Prophet (SAW) was asked: What is salvation? The Holy Prophet said:  
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 577. “Man should not do any deed the appearance of which is obedience to God but is meant to please people.”  
   It has also been reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (SAW):  
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 578. “God does not accept a deed in which there is an atom of hypocrisy.”  
   About three groups of people namely:  
 1- One who was slain in the way of God  
 2- One who gave away his wealth in the way of God  
 3- One who recited the Holy Quranic (but his deeds were not for God)  
   The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said: 
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 579. “God says to these three people: You are lying, for you wished they would say he was “generous”, he was “brave” and “reciter” of the Holy Quran.”  
   The Holy Prophet (SAW) said the above-mentioned persons will not receive any reward for their deeds. The Holy Prophet further said:  
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 580. “The most horrible thing I fear about you is minor blasphemy.”  
   They said: “What is minor blasphemy?” The Holy Prophet said:
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   “It is hypocrisy, for on the Day of Judgment when God gives His servants rewards for their deeds, will say: Go to those for the sake of whom you acted hypocritically in the world. Will they give any reward for your deeds?”  
   In a Hadith, it has been pointed out:  
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 581. “On the Day of Judgment, there is an order to take some people toward Fire. God will say to the master of Fire: O master! Say to the Fire: Do not burn their feet for they used to go to mosque with those feet. Say to the Fire: Do not burn their face, for they use to perform ablution. Say to the Fire: Do not burn their hands for they raised them towards Me for Dua. Say to the Fire: Do not burn their tongue, for they used to recite the Holy Quran. Here, the master of the Fire will say to them: O miserable ones! What were you doing in the world? they say: We were doing for others and not God. The master of the Fire will say: Receive your rewards from those for whom you did your deeds.”  
   In a Hadith, it has been pointed out:  
 582. A man of Bani Israel (Israelite) said to himself: I should perform my prayer in a manner that I will become famous among people. Sometime passed and he did perform a lot of prayer but as soon as he appeared before people, they said: He is dissimulating, he is hypocrite.”  
   If a man is blameworthy to God, people’s praise will not benefit him at all whereas if he is praiseworthy to God, people’s blame will not do any harm to him. How can people’s blame do any harm to him while the Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:
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 583. “Whoever seeks God’s praise instead of people’s praise, God Himself will protect him against people and fulfill his desires.”  
   The Holy Prophet (SAW) has also said:  
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 584. “Whoever rectifies his Hereafter affairs, God will rectify his worldly affairs and whoever rectifies what is between him and God, God will rectify what is between him and people.”  
   In the interpretation of verse 61 of the Quranic Chapter, Zumar, and  
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 “And Allah shall deliver those who guard (against evil) with their achievement” we read:
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 585. “In the fear and horror of the Day of Judgment, a righteous deed will say to its doer, mount me for I was mounting you in the world for a long time. Here the doer of a righteous deed mounts it and the righteous deed too takes him through the hardships of the Day of Judgment.”  
   Dawood Ibne Farghad has reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):  
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 586. “A righteous deed paves the way for its doer in the same way that a man sends his servant ahead of himself to prepare everything for him.”  
   Then Imam Sadeq (AS) recited verse 44 of the Quranic Chapter, Rum:  
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 “....and whoever does good, they prepared (good) for their own souls.”  
   To sum it up, whoever does good deeds without dissimulation, he will be showered with the rain of mercy and his tongue will utter words of wisdom. In this connection, it has been reported on the authority of the Holy Prophet (SAW):  
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 587. “Whoever devotes himself solely to God for forty days, fountains of wisdom shall pour forth from his heart upon his tongue.”  
   Obeid Ibne Zarareh has reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS): 
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 588. “There is no believer unless God has made out of his faith a kind of friendship and company by which he will keep calm in a way that even if he is on the peak of a mountain, he will not have any fear.”
   Halabi has reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):  
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 589. “Associate with people so as to test them and when you have tested them, you will find out that they are not your friends.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of Imam Hassan Asgari (AS):  
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 590. “The more you understand people, the more you will fear them.”  
   Ka-abolahbar has reported that God has said to the Holy Prophet (SAW):  
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 591. “Should you wish to meet Me in paradise on the Day of Judgment, you must be stranger, lonely, melancholic, fear-stricken as a lonely bird flying over emply lands and eating fruits from the top of trees and when night falls, takes abode in its nest, for this bird is familiar only with Me and fears people.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of the honorable daughter of the Holy Prophet and the mother of the holy Imams (AS):  
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 592. “Whoever sends up his devoted prayer, God will send him His best means.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of Imam Baqer (AS): 
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 593. “A man will never become a truly devoted servant of God unless he gives up hope in any one but God. In this case, God will say: This devotion is only for Me, hence, He will accept it due to His generosity and kindness.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):  

* * *

 594. “God has not given His servant a greater blessing than when there is no one but God in his heart.”
   Imam Baqer (AS) said to Hesham Ibne Hakam:

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 595. “O Hesham! Forbearing loneliness is a sign of wisdom. Whoever appreciated divine knowledge, he will keep aloof from the worldly people and tends towards what is with God. In fear, such a person is familiar with God and in loneliness, God is his company and in destitution, God will make him rich and will make him mighty in helplessness. O Hesham! A little action with knowledge is acceptable whereas a lot of actions with ignorance is rejected.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of Imam Javad (AS):  
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 596. “The best prayer is devotion.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of Imam Hadi (AS):

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 597. “If all people go to one side, I will go towards person who is only the servant of God out of devotion.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of Imam Hassan Asgari (AS):  

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 598. “If the whole world turns into a morsel and I will give that morsel to a devoted servant of God, I have neglected his right and if I stop an unbeliever from dying hungry and thirsty and then give him a drop of water I have been extravagant.”  
 
 How to cure hypocrisy practically
   Make yourself accustomed to keeping your prayer secret and perform it behind the closed the doors.
   Prophet Jesus (AS) said to disciples:
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 599. “When you go without food, put oil on your head and olive oil on your lips so people will not know you go without food. When your give money, let not your right hand see what your left hand does. When you make your prayer, go into your private room and shut the door, for the same God who divides sustenance, divides praise.”  
   The Holy Prophet (SAW) has said:

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 600. “On a day when there is no shade but His, God will put three groups under the shade of His Throne: Two persons who make friend for the consent of God and are separated for the same purpose. A person who gives money with his right hand while hiding it from his left hand and a man whom a beautiful woman calls to herself but he will say to her: I fear God, the Lord of the two worlds.”  
   Hafas Ibne Bakhtari has reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):

* * *

 601. “My father has narrated from Amiralmomenin (AS) as saying to Kumeil Ibne Ziad Nakhaee: Give away but remain unknown. Hide your good deeds so they are not remembered. Learn knowledge and practice what you have learnt. Keep quiet so as to remain sound. Make the good people happy and the wrongdoers angry. When God made His religion known to you, it is immaterial whether people are not known to you or you are not known to them.”  
 Note
   When you have done a good deed and realized that you did it only for God sake, do not ever disclose it saying to yourself: My deed was out of devotion and it was recorded in the book of my good deeds.
   It has been reported on the authority of the Infallibles:  

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602. “A good deed done in secret is seventy times better than one which is done openly.”  
   It has been reported on the authority of Imam Sadeq (AS):  

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 603. “Whoever does a good deed in secret, it is recorded in the book of his deeds as a secret deed. If he speaks about it to others, the word “secret” is erased and is recorded as open deed. If he speaks about it for the second time, it is erased and hypocrisy is recorded instead.”  
   Nevertheless if a person intends to benefit his brother in faith or make him happy by speaking of his good deed, then he can do it as permitted by the Infallibles (AS).

Source:
Uddat a-Da'ee


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