True religion hates hypocrisy.  Why?  Because it makes a mockery of God.  A hypocrites dares to think he can pull the wool over the eyes of the very Creator of their soul.  Hypocrisy also makes a mockery of believers who really do try to live out their religion yet are labeled “hypocrites” right along with those who really are.  Personally, my heart breaks each time I hear students tell me that already, before they have even reached 18 years of age, they have written off religion because religious people are all fake and do just as many bad things as anyone else.

Jesus showed his distaste with hypocrites, and maybe nowhere stronger than in Matthew 23:

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. (Matthew 23:23-28)

In today’s section, we find the Qur’an attack hypocrisy as well.  “Hypocrite” here seems to be synonymous with “sinner” or “disbeliever,” but the point is still the same.  Over the course of this section, the following is said of hypocrites:

  • Their cowardice causes them to look for any way out of conflict (9:56-57)
  • They look at alms as an entitlement not gracious support and resent when they do not receive what they think they should be given (9:58-59)
  • They think nothing of insulting and subverting Muhammad, even trying to harm him (9:61, 74)
  • They easily swear oaths by the name of God but don’t actually try to please that God (9:62)
  • Deep down they live in fear of being exposed (9:64)
  • They promote wickedness and oppose righteousness (9:67)
  • They are tight-fisted and miserly, even after promising God to share the blessings he might choose to give them (9:67, 76)
  • They have put a priority on finding enjoyment right now (9:69)
  • They ignore clear warnings to change (9:70)
  • They criticize the benevolence of others, even those who go to great pains to give (9:79)
  • They are destined for the “Fire of Hell” (9:63, 68, 73, 79)

Early in the life of this blog we clarified that hypocrisy is not the same as failing to withstand the pressure of temptation.  Hypocrisy is willful duplicity.  Hypocrisy is consciously passing oneself as something we know we are not and have no intention to actually be.

May we always be guarded from the pitfall of hypocrisy.