It is not proper for the Muslims to develop a soft corner for the hypocrites; rather the truth must be openly declared as truth. Similarly when falsehood becomes apparent, then there is no need to justify it; it must be pronounced as false. There were some people who having accepted Islam outwardly had migrated to Madinah, but could not somehow stay there and had gone back to Makkah, thus turning apostates. They had reverted to disbelief after embracing Islam, but Allah-SWT has termed them as hypocrites instead of apostates. Probably this is because these people had never accepted the faith in their hearts, or they may have been implanted by the Makkans to keep them informed of the situation in Madinah. But these hypocrites could not hold on in Madinah for much long and fled back, thus exposing their inner disbelief. The Muslims were kind hearted people; some of them thought that the deserters may have been sincere people who could not bear the separation from their native homes, or from their wives and children and had thus turned back. While others did not agree saying the defectors were hypocrites who had run away. Allah-SWT not only liked the latter opinion but also endorsed it, and explained the reason for their desertion. He-SWT said that because of their misdeeds Allah-SWT had Himself-SWT driven them away.
Allah-SWT cast them back (to disbelief), because of what they earned! This brings to light a very important rule. True faith generated by the love for the Holy Prophet'--SW
, a love which is not a mere claim but compels one to obey him--SW
. It is a love, which places a person at his feet and makes him--SW
sacrifice not only this world but also even the Hereafter. If the lover has to make a choice between the Paradise and a glimpse of the radiant face of the Holy Prophet--SW
he gives up the former without a second thought. This is the love with the Holy Prophet--SW
which endows faith, honour and dignity to a person. And if someone is not loyal to the Holy Prophet--SW
, he may become everything but will remain deprived of faith. Allah-SWT exposes such people. No one can call back those who are shunned away from the revered audience of the Holy Prophet--SW
by Allah-SWT .
Because of their action, Allah-SWT punished the hypocrites by depriving them of guidance. This decree could not be averted by the kindness of certain softhearted Muslims. Had the hypocrites themselves not proved to be treacherous, they would have found the mercy and generosity of the Holy Prophet'--SW
unlimited. I had a strange experience in this regard recently. A few days back we were at the Prophet--SW
's Masjid in Madinah. In the morning, I and my seven year old son went to offer greetings at the Holy Tomb. My son practices Zikr and some times talks about the Divine Lights and other such things, which I never really take notice of. I told him to close his eyes and offer his greetings to the Holy Prophet--SW
and try to behold his--SW
grace by the inner eye. He said, "Father! I can see His-SW’s noble feet till the calves, but they are so luminous as if made of light." I told him that his power of endurance could not accompany him to observe any further. Once in Dubai a seeker had the honour of taking the Spiritual Oath, and she was talking to me about the absolute beauty of the sacred eyes of the Holy Prophet--SW
. And I could not help thinking that this girl was born in America, brought up there, worked there and then got married there. Then the couple had moved to Dubai where she started to practice Allah--SWT's Zikr. I wonder with what sincerity she had come, that she was accepted with such kindness and affection!
The love and sincere devotion towards the Holy Prophet'--SW
is the basis of guidance, and the lifeline of faith. As soon as this devotion is diminished, the person is thrown out by Allah-SWT ; and whoever is driven away by Allah-SWT can never find the way back, nor can anyone bring him back. Hence Allah-SWT tells the Muslims that while they wish to bring those hypocrites back, the hypocrites want to revert the Muslims back to disbelief like themselves. Again it is the lack of sincerity that has given us into hypocrisy today and thus has destroyed us. Sermons, congregations and periodicals are in abundance. The cities are full of religious schools, where the educational activities are much more intense than before. But the practical life is deteriorating and with regard to Din, we are going down by the day. Probably our hearts have become devoid of true devotion and we have failed to shower our sincerity upon our Holy Prophet'--SW
. If Allah-SWT forbid, this is the case, then as long as we dirt foster sincerity in our hearts we cannot be blessed with true guidance, nor with the ability to act righteously. We may pretend to be pious and noble, but it will be a false pretense because when Allah-SWT seizes away the ability to do good, all the avenues leading to righteousness are blocked. Allah-SWT declares that as long as the people do not migrate in the cause of Allah-SWT the Muslims must not keep any friendship with them. But if they do migrate and take pleasure in submitting to the Holy Prophet--SW
after sacrificing everything, only then are they worthy of friendship. It must be remembered that this discussion pertains to the period before the Conquest of Makkah. After the Conquest of Makkah, the Holy Prophet--SW
announced that there was no longer any need to migrate. But it was the migration from visible causes such as wealth, homes and property, which ended with the Conquest of Makkah, while the migrating from evil thoughts, actions, desires and conduct to righteousness is still very much obligatory. If one does not undertake this journey, even today close ties and friendship with him are not allowed. So much so that being in the company of such people, by choice, is not permitted but only if one is forced to interact with such people under certain circumstances where he has no choice such as at work places etc.
Coming back to the hypocrites Allah-SWT enjoins fighting with all those who do not accept migration. It is said: "Catch them and kill them." They should be killed wherever they are found and they must not be spared. No pact of any kind should be signed with such hypocrites, nor should any assistance be offered to them. Neither should any friendship be developed with them nor any help be accepted from them. And these instructions are extremely important for a Muslim ruler, as it is his duty to enforce the law. It is his responsibility to punish those who after embracing Islam do not fulfill the religious obligations. And if some of the people reject any article of faith, then the ruler must wage a war against them and take them to task, just as the First Caliph-RAU announced war against those who had refused to pay Zakat. Yet if there are certain non-believers, who do not create any mischief, as the hypocrites do, and do not wish to fight the Muslims nor the infidels then these people should not be pestered. Praise be to Allah-SWT ! How Munificent He-SWT is! It is said that had He-SWT wished He-SWT would have imposed these non-believers over the Muslims and they surely would have fought the Muslims. But now if they wish to stay away and not only refrain from fighting but also wish to make peace with the Muslims then the Muslims have no right to seize them or kill them. Allah-SWT does not permit this at all. It means that when the non-believers come to terms with Muslims, accept the conditions and sign a peace treaty then as long as they abide by their pact they shall not be bothered.
Secondly those non-believers who do not wish to fight against the Muslims nor intend to sign a treaty of alliance with them in order to fight anyone else. But they wish to live peacefully and do not wish to fight anyone, therefore, there is no excuse or justification to fight them. There is yet a third category which is actually the same as discussed earlier. These are the people who on one hand want to be spared by the Muslims and thus claim to be Muslim and on the other hand also do not wish to fight their own people. So when they meet their people they assure them of allegiance and pretend to be peace loving citizens, but at the same time never miss an opportunity to harm the Muslims. As soon as they get a chance, they come up with intrigue or mischief against the Muslims. Such people, if they do not reform their conduct and keep on indulging in such activities; if they do not live peacefully and do not refrain from mischief, must be taken to task. No concessions must be extended to them and they must be fought with full force and killed wherever they are found. Because of their wickedness, Allah-SWT has granted permission to the Muslims to take them on. In fact, not punishing them would be an act of injustice. A ruler who does not punish them can never establish peace and harmony.