Extract from the book 'At-Tayseer Fee Usool At-Tafseer' written by the Ameer of Hizb ut Tahrir, Sheikh Ata Ibn Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah.
Verses 6 to 16:
وَمِنَ النَّاسِ مَن يَقُولُ آمَنَّا بِاللّهِ وَبِالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ وَمَا هُم بِمُؤْمِنِينَ 8
يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم وَمَا يَشْعُرُونَ 9
فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللّهُ مَرَضاً وَلَهُم عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ 10
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ لاَ تُفْسِدُواْ فِي الأَرْضِ قَالُواْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُصْلِحُونَ 11
أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ 12
وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ آمِنُواْ كَمَا آمَنَ النَّاسُ قَالُواْ أَنُؤْمِنُ كَمَا آمَنَ السُّفَهَاء أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَهَاء وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ 13
وَإِذَا لَقُواْ الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ قَالُواْ آمَنَّا وَإِذَا خَلَوْاْ إِلَى شَيَاطِينِهِمْ قَالُواْ إِنَّا مَعَكْمْ إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِؤُونَ 14
واللّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ 15
أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرُوُاْ الضَّلاَلَةَ بِالْهُدَى فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ 16
8. “And of mankind, there are some who say: "We believe in Allah and the Last Day" while in fact they believe not.
9. They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves, and perceive not!
10. In their hearts is a disease and Allah has increased their disease. A painful torment is theirs because they used to tell lies.
11. And when it is said to them: "Make not mischief on the earth," they say: "We are only peacemakers."
12. Verily! They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not.
13. And when it is said to them: "Believe as the people have believed," they say: "Shall we believe as the fools have believed?" Verily, they are the fools, but they know not.
14. And when they meet those who believe, they say: "We believe," but when they are alone with their shayatin, they say: "Truly, we are with you; verily, we were only mockers."
15. Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrong-doings to wander blindly.
16. These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.”
After Allah taught us at the beginning of the surah the situation of the believers, then He explained the situation of the disbelievers. Allah (جل شأنه) mentioned in these verses the situation of the hypocrites. They pretend to have iman and hide kufr, while trying to deceive Allah and the believers, yet they only deceive themselves, as their beliefs in their hearts are sick, filled with doubt and uncertainty.
They claim to be righteous, yet in reality they are corrupt. They claim to have iman, but in reality they are mocking. Then He
(سبحانه) teaches us that He mocks them, that their trade is in loss and that they are in manifest misguidance.
The following issues become apparent in these verses:
يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم
“They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves”
المُخَادِعُة Is from (the pattern) المفَاعلُة in the language of the Arabs. It happens between two sides, each trying to deceive the other. So, how is that between Allah (سبحانه) and the believers on one side and the hypocrites on the other?!
The origin of الخِدَع deception (with a fatHah or a kasrah on the خ khaa’) is making hidden and unclear. That is possible between the believers and the hypocrites, so the hypocrite behaves openly according to Islam while hiding the kufr from the believers.
Also, it is possible that the believers hide certain actions from the disbelievers and hypocrites, so they keep secrets from them to mislead them in a matter, as happens in war, for example:
“الحرب خِدعة”. But, the question is around the hypocrites’ attempt at deception of Allah (سبحانه), at this we must stop. By looking into the issue it becomes clear that Allah’s deception of the hypocrites is Allah’s winning them over from ways that they do not know:
وَالَّذِينَ كَذَّبُواْ بِآيَاتِنَا سَنَسْتَدْرِجُهُم مِّنْ حَيْثُ لاَ يَعْلَمُونَ
“Those who reject Our ayaat, We shall gradually seize them with punishment in ways they perceive not.”
Their deception is that for them abundant wealth, health and slackness are good for them, while they are in reality bad for them and the way for them to jahannam, as came in the verse:
وَلاَ يَحْسَبَنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ أَنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ خَيْرٌ لِّأَنفُسِهِمْ إِنَّمَا نُمْلِي لَهُمْ لِيَزْدَادُواْ إِثْمًا وَلَهْمُ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ
“And let not the disbelievers think that Our postponing of their punishment is good for them. We postpone the punishment only so that they may increase in sinfulness. And for them is a disgracing torment.” [aal-‘Imran: 178]
So, that is Allah’s deception of the hypocrites, as in the verse
إِنَّ الْمُنَافِقِينَ يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ وَهُوَ خَادِعُهُمْ
“Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He Who deceives them.” [an-Nisaa’: 142]
As for the hypocrites’ attempt at deception of Allah (سبحانه), nothing is hidden from Allah, so the issue here needs a deeper research. With precision it is clear that Allah (سبحانه) did not say they deceive Allah يَخدَعُونَ اللّهَ and those who believe, but he said:
يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم
They try to deceive Allah and those who believe, while they only deceive themselves
المُخَادِعُة is from مفَاعلُة which does not mean the realization of deception, rather the happening of the deception only. It is said:
(قاتل زيد عمرو zaid fought Amr) so here only fighting has taken place, but it does not mean that Zayd killed Amr, rather, he could kill him or could be killed himself without killing his opponent. So, here it is like that. The hypocrites يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ attempt to deceive Allah i.e. They try with their claims to hide something from Allah, but in the end they deceive themselves, as Allah (سبحانه) knows what they hide and what they declare openly. They are not able to hide anything from Him (سبحانه), so they will be punished with the punishment that they deserve, and their deception was realized against themselves.
We bring attention here to a point; that is وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم while they only deceive themselves came in the verse after two matters: يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ and يُخَادِعُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا
As for the hypocrite’s inability to deceive Allah (سبحانه) and that they deceive themselves; that is a definite fact.
Therefore وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم while they only deceive themselves coming after يُخَادِعُونَ اللّهَ They deceive Allah is clear in meaning. However, how do we understand: وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم while they only deceive themselves coming after يُخَادِعُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا, knowing that it is possible that they succeed in deceiving the believers? This is at face value a difference between منطوق الخبر the literal information coming from Allah:
وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم
“while they only deceive themselves”
The answer is that there is in the language of the Arabs an indicated meaning of the words, called دلالة الاقتضاء the necessitated meaning. It means that the information brought in the literal words is understood as a style of request if it is required to ensure the truthfulness of the one speaking. Here it is like that. The information brought in the verse
وَمَا يَخْدَعُونَ إِلاَّ أَنفُسَهُم while they only deceive themselves coming after the hypocrites attempt to deceive the believers, is in meaning a request, i.e. “O believers, do not allow the hypocrites to actually deceive you. Instead, be at a level of awareness and understanding such that you repel their deception back onto themselves.”
دلالة الاقتضاء to ensure the truthfulness of the one speaking is well known in usul.
فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللّهُ مَرَضاً
“In their hearts is a disease and Allah has increased their disease”
The sickness in the hearts of the hypocrites, is a disease in their aqeedah that is in their hearts, with the word aqeedah not mentioned. It is not a sickness of the body, but of the creed: deviation, doubt, uncertainty and misguidance. They increase in sickness every time Allah obligates a fard that they perform, or He explains a limit that they stick to, or Allah scandalises them by exposing their reality. They are forced to perform the new fard, or go out for jihad, or have a limit applied upon them, so that is the increase in their sickness, as Allah (سبحانه) said:
وَإِذَا مَا أُنزِلَتْ سُورَةٌ فَمِنْهُم مَّن يَقُولُ أَيُّكُمْ زَادَتْهُ هَـذِهِ إِيمَانًا فَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ فَزَادَتْهُمْ إِيمَانًا وَهُمْ يَسْتَبْشِرُونَ 124 وَأَمَّا الَّذِينَ فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَتْهُمْ رِجْسًا إِلَى رِجْسِهِمْ وَمَاتُواْ وَهُمْ كَافِرُونَ 125
124. “And whenever there comes down a surah, some of them say: "Which of you has had his iman increased by it?" As for those who believe, it has increased their iman, and they rejoice. 125. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt, and they die while they are disbelievers.” [at-Tawba: 124-125]
3. Allah commented upon the hypocrites claims of righteousness with:
أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ الْمُفْسِدُونَ وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ
“They are the ones who make mischief, but they perceive not”
and upon their claims of iman:
أَلا إِنَّهُمْ هُمُ السُّفَهَاء وَلَـكِن لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ
“Verily, they are the fools, but they know not”
Allah (سبحانه) mentioned here لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ they know not and before that لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ they perceive not, because he mentioned the foolishness, which is ignorance, so mentioning knowledge with it was more applicable to it, and because iman requires looking and proving, i.e. knowledge, so لاَّ يَعْلَمُونَ they know not was suitable for this situation. As for corruption in the earth, it is a matter which is built upon the senses, i.e. the perception and feelings, and it stands out in it, therefore لاَّ يَشْعُرُونَ they perceive not was suitable for it.
واللّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ وَيَمُدُّهُمْ فِي طُغْيَانِهِمْ يَعْمَهُونَ 15 أُوْلَـئِكَ الَّذِينَ اشْتَرُوُاْ الضَّلاَلَةَ بِالْهُدَى فَمَا رَبِحَت تِّجَارَتُهُمْ وَمَا كَانُواْ مُهْتَدِينَ 16
“Allah mocks at them and gives them increase in their wrong-doings to wander blindly. 16. These are they who have purchased error for guidance, so their commerce was profitless. And they were not guided.”
They are punished for their mocking, so the penalty of mocking was called mocking, such as in His (تعالى) saying:
وَجَزَاء سَيِّئَةٍ سَيِّئَةٌ مِّثْلُهَا
“The recompense for an evil is an evil like thereof” [ash-Shura: 40]
and His saying:
فَمَنِ اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ فَاعْتَدُواْ عَلَيْهِ بِمِثْلِ مَا اعْتَدَى عَلَيْكُمْ
“Then whoever transgresses the prohibition against you, you transgress likewise against him” [al-Baqarah: 194]
So, the penalty of an evil was called an evil, and the penalty of transgression was called a transgression, even though the penalty is in reality not evil or transgression. This is a metaphorical usage according the language of the Arabs. Allah’s starting His words with يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ He mocks at them without joining (the two sentences with “and”), is the height of power. He is the one who mocks them with the most penetrating mocking. When Allah’s making an example of them came to them time after time, it was said: اللّهُ يَسْتَهْزِىءُ بِهِمْ Allah mocks at them for continuousness, and He (سبحانه) did not say (اللّهُ مَسْتَهْزِىءُ Allah is a mocker) as they had said:
إِنَّمَا نَحْنُ مُسْتَهْزِؤُونَ we were only mockers. That was so that the making an example of them would be more severe and continuous. Therefore, it was followed with giving them increase in their wrong-doings, so they wander blindly in their misguidance, i.e. they increase in their kufr and misguidance and hesitate confused unable to find a way out.
Then Allah (سبحانه) explained that the hypocrites bought misguidance in exchange for guidance, so they lost the dunya with their losing trade, and they lost the next life with their losing of the guidance, and that is the clear loss.