A Discussion on Surah Al Munafiqoon
The Surah takes its name from the sentence ‘Idha jaa kal-munafiquna’ of verse 1.
This is a Madni Surah, because the Munafiqoon were most seen clearly in Medina.
Before the Prophet’s SAW emigration to Medina the tribes of the Aus and the Khazraj, fed up with their mutual rivalries and civil wars, had almost agreed on the leadership of one man and were making preparations to crown him their king. This was Abdullah Ibn Ubayy bin Salul, the chief of the Khazraj. During this time, some men from Medina became Muslim and decided to invite the Prophet Muhammad SAW to become leader in Medina and help to settle their dispute. They went to Makkah to invite him without telling Abdullah Ibn Ubayy. When the Prophet Muhammad SAW came to Medina, many people started to become Muslim, when Abdullah Ibn Ubayy saw that all the other leaders were becoming Muslim as well, he and his followers also became Muslim to safeguard their roles of leadership in Medina, but the fire of rage burned bright in them and they hated Islam and The Prophet (SAW). So this made them clear Munafiqs, because even though they said they believed in Allah, they really didn’t on the inside and their hate grew and grew. Abdullah ibn Ubayy would pretend to care about the Prophet and the Muslims, just to show off what a good Muslim he was, but he would have ill feelings and whisper mean and hurtful comments and jokes behind their backs. For example, in the sermons of the Prophet SAW, he would stand up and say, “That the Prophet is speaking! So now settle down!” Even though, he tried to ruin the reputation of the new immigrants and the Prophet SAW, he wasn’t able to bring them down, so the Muslim community grew and the Prophet became a very popular and well loved leader of Medina, so much so that the Muslims of Medina were eventually ready to die for Islam and the Prophet Muhammad SAW at Badr.
Even the Prophet knew of Abdullah Ibn Ubayy’s hate, as one day the Prophet was walking and Abdullah Ibn Ubayy spoke in a mean way to the Prophet. The Prophet informed Sa`d Ibn Ubayy, a leader in Medina, about this and he said “O Messenger of Allah, don’t be hard on him, for when Allah sent you to us we were making a to crown him, and, by God, he thinks that you have robbed him of his kingdom.” This is how we see that people made excuses for the hypocrites and excused their rude and mean behaviour towards the Prophet Muhammad SAW, but soon they would realize that Abdullah Ibn Ubayy was not sincere and this was not about him just being hurt, it was about the evil that lived inside of him and his hate for Islam and The Prophet SAW.
When the battle of Badr was announced, he was shocked to see the rise of the 300 Muslim men to fight in the way of Allah and His Messenger SAW. He tried to make problems and put fear in the hearts of the Muslims, by saying that they were crazy to be going to fight 1000 people and risk their lives as they would probably just be killed. Abdullah Ibn Ubayy and his followers did not go with the army and the Muslims were successful in fighting off the Quraish in the battle, Alhamdulillah. This only made the Muslims stronger in their faith and made Abdullah Ibn Ubayy and his band of hypocrites even more angry and annoyed. Instead of realizing the amazing miracles that Allah showed them, they were stubborn and were blind to the signs of Allah, Subhan’Allah.
After they went to invade the tribe of Bani Qainuqa for the agreement that they made and then broke. He came and grabbed the Prophet SAW by the armour and said “700 people who are in this tribe are my bodyguards.” In the battle of Uhud they had 1,000 people and they did not even get there and he left with 300 men and went back to Medina. So they were left with 700 men.
Then the Battle of Bani an-Nadir took place. On this occasion he and his companions supported the enemies of Islam even more openly. On the one side, the Holy Prophet SAW and his devoted Companions were preparing for war against their enemy, the Jews, and on the other, these hypocrites were secretly sending messages to the Jews to the effect: “Stand firm we are with you: if you are attacked, we will help you, and if you are driven out, we too will go out with you.” And Allah says about this in Surah Al Hashr line 11-17:
Have you not considered those who practice hypocrisy, saying to their brothers who have disbelieved among the People of the Scripture, “If you are expelled, we will surely leave with you, and we will not obey, in regard to you, anyone – ever; and if you are fought, we will surely aid you.” But Allah testifies that they are liars. If they are expelled, they will not leave with them, and if they are fought, they will not aid them. And [even] if they should aid them, they will surely turn their backs; then [thereafter] they will not be aided. You [believers] are more fearful within their breasts than Allah. That is because they are a people who do not understand. They will not fight you all except within fortified cities or from behind walls. Their violence among themselves is severe. You think they are together, but their hearts are diverse. That is because they are a people who do not reason. [Theirs is] like the example of those shortly before them: they tasted the bad consequence of their affair, and they will have a painful punishment. [The hypocrites are] like the example of Satan when he says to man, “Disbelieve.” But when he disbelieves, he says, “Indeed, I am disassociated from you. Indeed, I fear Allah, Lord of the worlds.” So the outcome for both of them is that they will be in the Fire, abiding eternally therein. And that is the recompense of the wrongdoers.
Later, he went with the other Muslims he went on a diplomatic mission where he caused even more problems and spread rumours. He said that he was right and that he and his people would make the Muslims leave Madinah. Noticing this hypocrisy, even Umar (RA) said “can I kill him,” but the Prophet SAW, being very intelligent, said that this may cause people to think that the Prophet SAW kills his own companions, so he told Umar (RA) to leave him be. When they finally returned to Madinah, Abullah the son of Abdullah bin Ubayy, stood before his father with a drawn out sword, and said: “You had said that when you reached Medina, the honourable ones would drive out the mean ones. Now, you will know who is honourable you or Allah and His Messenger. By God, you cannot enter Medina until the Messenger of Allah SAW permits you to enter.” The Prophet allowed for him to enter and kept the peace in Madinah and the Ummah.
- When the hypocrites come to you, [O Muhammad], they say, “We testify that you are the Messenger of Allah.” And Allah knows that you are His Messenger, and Allah testifies that the hypocrites are liars.
- They have taken their oaths as a cover, so they averted [people] from the way of Allah. Indeed, it was evil that they were doing.
- That are because they believed, and then they disbelieved; so their hearts were sealed over, and they do not understand.
- And when you see them, their forms please you, and if they speak, you listen to their speech. [They are] as if they were pieces of wood propped up – they think that every shout is against them. They are the enemy, so beware of them. May Allah destroy them; how are they deluded?
- And when it is said to them, “Come, the Messenger of Allah will ask forgiveness for you,” they turn their heads aside and you see them evading while they are arrogant.
- It is all the same for them whether you ask forgiveness for them or do not ask forgiveness for them; never will Allah forgive them. Indeed, Allah does not guide the defiantly disobedient people.
- They are the ones who say, “Do not spend on those who are with the Messenger of Allah until they disband.” And to Allah belongs the depositories of the heavens and the earth, but the hypocrites do not understand.
- They say, “If we return to al-Medina, the more honored [for power] will surely expel therefrom the more humble.” And to Allah belongs [all] honor, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know.
- O you, who have believed, let not your wealth and your children divert you from remembrance of Allah. And whoever does that – then those are the losers.
- And spend [in the way of Allah] from what We have provided you before death approaches one of you and he says, “My Lord, if only You would delay me for a brief term so I would give charity and be among the righteous.”
- But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is acquainted with what you do.
English Translation of Surah Munafiqun in Audio / MP3
How it applies to the world today?
- Now, in the Muslim Ummah there are definitely qualities in people of the Munafiqoon. If you are interested in learning more, down below there is a pdf of a book named 30 Signs of the Hypocrite.
- The system is based on Munafiq (hypocritical) policies and the educational system is based on making Munafiqoon. The system, especially the school system, asks people to be two faced. It says to act like one thing inside the house and another outside. They ask you to keep you religion and your beliefs to yourself and pretend to be just like everyone else on the outside.
- A sign of the Munafiqoon is that they have a sealed heart, so even when knowledge comes to them and they understand the difference between right and wrong, they still choose to not pay attention or change their ways. They continue to do whatever they want without caring about Allah and His Anger. How many people do we know that behave like this these days?
We should look at these signs and make sure that we are not one of these people. This is a very dangerous disease and can be extremely difficult to cure. A person with this kind of evil heart, who only thinks about themselves, will never do good for others and will be toxic in all their relationships.
Allah gave the Prophet Muhammad SAW some advice when it came to the Munafiq and ignorant people, he said:
“The servants of The Compassionate are those who walk upon the earth in humility. When the ignorant address them, they say, “Peace.”” (Al Furqan, 25:63)
We should seriously take time to study this Surah and make sure that we are not one of them or that we are not keeping company with them, as:
The Prophet SAW said: “A person is on the religion of his companions. Therefore let every one of you carefully consider the company he keeps.” (Tirmidhi)
30 Signs of the Hypocrites by Aa’id al-Qarnee: