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4:60 Identifying Hypocrites after the Prophet’s death

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Hast thou not turned Thy vision to those who declare that they believe in the revelations that have come to thee and to those before thee? Their (real) wish is to resort together for judgment (in their disputes) to the Evil One, though they were ordered to reject him. But Satan’s wish is to lead them astray far away (from the right).

It has sometimes been debated as to whether the distinction
between Kufr (infidelity or disbelief) and nifaq (hypocrisy) still holds
good even after the days of the Holy Prophet (S). The correct
position with regard to this question is this. At that time, there were
two ways of identifying a hypocrite and declaring him to be one –
either Allah Himself informed the Holy Prophet (S) through
revelation that such and such a man was not a Muslim at heart but a
hypocrite, or a man through some word or deed overtly repugnant to
the Islamic creed or practice showed himself up as a hypocrite, thus
providing a clear evidence against himself. Divine revelation having
ceased with the departure of the Holy Prophet (S), from this
world, the first way of identifying a hypocrite is no longer available,
but the second way is still valid. That is to say, if a man is found, on
certain evidence, to be guilty, in word or deed, of rejecting or opposing
or distorting or holding in scorn the basic doctrines of Islam
undeniably established by the Holy Qur’an, the Hadith and ijma’
(consensus), he would be regarded as a Muniifiq (hypocrite) in spite of
his claim to be a true Muslim. The Holy Qur’an gives such a hypocrite
the name of a mulhid or heretic: “Those who distort
Our verses”, 41:40), and the Hadith calls him a zindiq. One must also
add that since the kufr (infidelity) of such a man has been proved by
clear and definite evidence, the Shari’ah will not put him in a separate
category, but deal with him as it would deal with any other kafir
(infidel). That is why the authentic scholars are unanimous in
concluding that after the departure of the Holy Prophet (S)
the question of hypocrites ceased to be a relevant one – now anyone
who is not a genuine Muslim will be regarded as kafir. The famous
author, Al-‘Aini, in his commentary on Al-Bukhari, reports from Imam
Malik that after the days of the Holy Prophet (S) this is the
only available means of identifying ‘hypocrisy’, and that a man who
carries this mark could be called a hypocrite.

See in context of 4:94-96


Shafi, Muhammad (2008). Maariful Quran. (Vol .1 pg. 125).

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