Surah Al-Munafiqun (“Friday”) is the 63rd chapter of the Qur’an with 18 ayats. It is classified as a Medinan Surah.

The surah encourages believers to be sincere in faith and to practice zakat (charity) which is one of the five pillars of Islam. It also criticizes and condemns the hypocrites. 

Notable Quote:

“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.”
Surah Al Munafiqun Ayat 9 

Skip To Tafsir by Ibn Kathir

Read Surah Munafiqun with English Translation and Transliteration

Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Raheem
In the name of Allah, The Most Gracious and The Most Merciful

إِذَا جَآءَكَ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقُونَ قَالُوا۟ نَشْهَدُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ إِنَّكَ لَرَسُولُهُۥ وَٱللَّهُ يَشْهَدُ إِنَّ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ لَكَـٰذِبُونَ

Izaa jaaa’akal munaafiqoona qaaloo nashhadu innaka la rasoolul laah; wallaahu ya’lamu innaka la rasooluhoo wallaahu yashhadu innal munaafiqeena lakaaziboon
1. 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.

ٱتَّخَذُوٓا۟ أَيْمَـٰنَهُمْ جُنَّةًۭ فَصَدُّوا۟ عَن سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّهُمْ سَآءَ مَا كَانُوا۟ يَعْمَلُونَ

Ittakhazoo aymaanahum junnatan fasaddoo ‘an sabeelil laah; innahum saaa’a maa kaanoo ya’maloon
2. 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.

ذَ‌ٰلِكَ بِأَنَّهُمْ ءَامَنُوا۟ ثُمَّ كَفَرُوا۟ فَطُبِعَ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبِهِمْ فَهُمْ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ

Zaalika bi annahum aamanoo summa kafaroo fatubi’a ‘alaa quloobihim fahum laa yafqahoon
3. That is because they believed, and then they disbelieved; so their hearts were sealed over, and they do not understand.

۞ وَإِذَا رَأَيْتَهُمْ تُعْجِبُكَ أَجْسَامُهُمْ ۖ وَإِن يَقُولُوا۟ تَسْمَعْ لِقَوْلِهِمْ ۖ كَأَنَّهُمْ خُشُبٌۭ مُّسَنَّدَةٌۭ ۖ يَحْسَبُونَ كُلَّ صَيْحَةٍ عَلَيْهِمْ ۚ هُمُ ٱلْعَدُوُّ فَٱحْذَرْهُمْ ۚ قَـٰتَلَهُمُ ٱللَّهُ ۖ أَنَّىٰ يُؤْفَكُونَ

Wa izaa ra aytahum tu’jibuka ajsaamuhum wa iny yaqooloo tasma’ liqawlihim kaannahum khushubum musannadah; yahsaboona kulla saihatin ‘alaihim; humul ‘aduwwu fahzarhum; qaatalahumul laahu annaa yu’fakoon
4. 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?

وَإِذَا قِيلَ لَهُمْ تَعَالَوْا۟ يَسْتَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ رَسُولُ ٱللَّهِ لَوَّوْا۟ رُءُوسَهُمْ وَرَأَيْتَهُمْ يَصُدُّونَ وَهُم مُّسْتَكْبِرُونَ

Wa izaa qeela lahum ta’aalaw yastaghfir lakum rasoolul laahi lawwaw ru’oo sahum wa ra aytahum yasuddoona wa hum mustakbiroon
5. 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.

سَوَآءٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَسْتَغْفَرْتَ لَهُمْ أَمْ لَمْ تَسْتَغْفِرْ لَهُمْ لَن يَغْفِرَ ٱللَّهُ لَهُمْ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْفَـٰسِقِينَ

Sawaaa’un ‘alaihim as taghfarta lahum am lam tastaghfir lahum lany yaghfiral laahu lahum; innal laaha laa yahdil qawmal faasiqeen
6. 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.

هُمُ ٱلَّذِينَ يَقُولُونَ لَا تُنفِقُوا۟ عَلَىٰ مَنْ عِندَ رَسُولِ ٱللَّهِ حَتَّىٰ يَنفَضُّوا۟ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ خَزَآئِنُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَ‌ٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ لَا يَفْقَهُونَ

Humul lazeena yaqooloona laa tunfiqoo ‘alaa man inda Rasoolil laahi hatta yanfaddoo; wa lillaahi khazaaa’ inus samaawaati wal ardi wa laakinnal munaafiqeena la yafqahoon
7. 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.

يَقُولُونَ لَئِن رَّجَعْنَآ إِلَى ٱلْمَدِينَةِ لَيُخْرِجَنَّ ٱلْأَعَزُّ مِنْهَا ٱلْأَذَلَّ ۚ وَلِلَّهِ ٱلْعِزَّةُ وَلِرَسُولِهِۦ وَلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَ وَلَـٰكِنَّ ٱلْمُنَـٰفِقِينَ لَا يَعْلَمُونَ

Yaqooloona la’ir raja’naaa ilal madeenati la yukhrijanal a’azzu minhal azall; wa lillaahil ‘izzatu wa li Rasoolihee wa lilmu’mineena wa laakinnal munaafiqeena laa ya’lamoon
8. They say, “If we return to al-Madinah, 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.

يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تُلْهِكُمْ أَمْوَ‌ٰلُكُمْ وَلَآ أَوْلَـٰدُكُمْ عَن ذِكْرِ ٱللَّهِ ۚ وَمَن يَفْعَلْ ذَ‌ٰلِكَ فَأُو۟لَـٰٓئِكَ هُمُ ٱلْخَـٰسِرُونَ

Yaaa ayyuhal lazeena aamanoo la tulhikum amwaalukum wa laa awlaadukum ‘anzikril laah; wa mai-yaf’al zaalika fa-ulaaa’ika humul khaasiroon
9. 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.

وَأَنفِقُوا۟ مِن مَّا رَزَقْنَـٰكُم مِّن قَبْلِ أَن يَأْتِىَ أَحَدَكُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ فَيَقُولَ رَبِّ لَوْلَآ أَخَّرْتَنِىٓ إِلَىٰٓ أَجَلٍۢ قَرِيبٍۢ فَأَصَّدَّقَ وَأَكُن مِّنَ ٱلصَّـٰلِحِينَ

Wa anifqoo mim maa razaqnaakum min qabli any-yaatiya ahadakumul mawtu fa yaqoola rabbi law laaa akhkhartaneee ilaaa ajalin qareebin fa assaddaqa wa akum minassaaliheen
10. 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.”

وَلَن يُؤَخِّرَ ٱللَّهُ نَفْسًا إِذَا جَآءَ أَجَلُهَا ۚ وَٱللَّهُ خَبِيرٌۢ بِمَا تَعْمَلُونَ

Wa lany yu ‘akhkhiral laahu nafsan izaa jaaa’a ajaluhaa; wallaahu khabeerum bimaa ta’maloon
11. But never will Allah delay a soul when its time has come. And Allah is Acquainted with what you do.

The Tafsir of Surat Al-Munafiqun

Chapter – 63
Which was revealed in Al-Madinah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

(1. When the hypocrites come to you, they say: “We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah.” Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger, and Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed.) (2. They have made their oaths a screen. Thus they hinder (others) from the path of Allah. Verily, evil is what they used to do.) (3. That is because they believed, and then disbelieved; therefore their hearts are sealed, so they understand not.) (4. And when you look at them, their bodies please you; and when they speak, you listen to their words. They are as blocks of wood propped up. They think that every cry is against them. They are the enemies, so beware of them. May Allah curse them! How are they denying the right path)

The Case of the Hypocrites and their Behavior

Allah the Exalted states that the hypocrites pretended to be Muslims when they went to the Prophet . In reality, they were not Muslims, but rather the opposite. This is why Allah the Exalted said,

(When the hypocrites come to you, they say: “We bear witness that you are indeed the Messenger of Allah.”) meaning, `when the hypocrites come to you, they announce this statement and pretend to believe in it.’ Allah informs that there is no substance to their statement, and this is why He said,

(Allah knows that you are indeed His Messenger,) then said,

(And Allah bears witness that the hypocrites are liars indeed.) meaning, their claims, even though it is true about the Prophet. But they did not believe inwardly in what they declared outwardly, and this is why Allah declared their falsehood about their creed. Allah’s statement,

(They have made their oaths a screen. Thus they hinder (others) from the path of Allah.) meaning, the hypocrites shield themselves from Muslims when they falsely and sinfully swear to be what they are not in reality. Some Muslims were deceived because they did not know their falsehood, and thus, thought that they were Muslims. Some Muslims believed what hypocrites say and even imitated them in their outward behavior. However, inwardly, hypocrites seek the destruction of Islam and its people, and this is why trusting them might bring great harm to many people. This is why Allah said next,

(Thus they hinder (others) from the path of Allah. Verily, evil is what they used to do.) Allah said,

(That is because they believed, and then disbelieved; therefore their hearts are sealed, so they understand not.) meaning, He has decreed them to be hypocrites because they reverted from faith to disbelief and exchanged guidance for misguidance. Therefore, Allah stamped and sealed their hearts and because of it, they cannot comprehend the guidance, nor any goodness can reach their hearts. Truly, their hearts neither understand, nor attain guidance. Allah said,

(And when you look at them, their bodies please you; and when they speak, you listen to their words.) meaning, hypocrites have a graceful outer appearance and are eloquent. When one hears them speak, he will listen to their eloquent words, even though hypocrites are truly weak and feeble, full of fear, fright and cowardice. Allah’s statement,

(They think that every cry is against them.) means, every time an incident occurs or something frightening happens, they think that it is headed their way. This is indicative of their cowardice, just as Allah said about them,

(Being miserly towards you then when fear comes, you will see them looking to you, their eyes revolving like (those of) one over whom hovers death; but when the fear departs, they will smite you with sharp tongues, miserly towards good. Such have not believed. Therefore Allah makes their deeds fruitless and that is ever easy for Allah.) (33:19) They are shapes that do not have much substance, and this is why Allah said,

(They are the enemies, so beware of them. May Allah curse them! How are they denying the right path) means, how they are being led astray to the misguidance, away from the guidance. Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,

(Hypocrites have certain signs that they are known by. Their greeting is really a curse, their food is from stealing and the war booty they collect is from theft. They shun the Masjid and they do not come to the prayer but at its end. They are arrogant; it is neither easy for them to blend in, nor it is easy for people to blend with them. They are like pieces of wood by night and are noisy by day.)

(5. And when it is said to them: “Come, so that the Messenger of Allah may ask forgiveness from Allah for you,” they twist their heads, and you would see them turning away their faces in pride.) (6. It is equal to them whether you ask forgiveness or ask not forgiveness for them, Allah will never forgive them. Verily, Allah guides not the people who are the rebellious.) (7. They are the ones who say: “Spend not on those who are with Allah’s Messenger, until they desert him.” And to Allah belong the treasures of the heavens and the earth, but the hypocrites comprehend not.) (8. They say: “If we return to Al-Madinah, indeed the more honorable will expel therefrom the weaker.” But Al-`Izzah belongs to Allah, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites know not.)

Hypocrites are not interested to ask the prophet to ask Allah to forgive Them

Allah the Exalted states about the hypocrites, may Allah curse them,

(And when it is said to them: “Come, so that the Messenger of Allah may ask forgiveness from Allah for you,” they twist their heads,) meaning, they turn away, ignoring this call in arrogance, belitt- ling what they are invited to. This is why Allah the Exalted said,

(and you would see them turning away their faces in pride.) Allah punished them for this behavior, saying,

(It is equal to them whether you ask forgiveness or ask not forgiveness for them, Allah will never forgive them. Verily, Allah guides not the people who are the rebellious.) As Allah said in Surat Bara’ah, and a discussion preceded there, and here we will present some of the Hadiths reported that are related to it. Several of the Salaf mentioned that this entire passage was revealed in the case of `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul, as we will soon mention, Allah willing and our trust and reliance are on Him. In his book, As-Sirah, Muhammad bin Ishaq said, “After the battle of Uhud ended, the Prophet returned to Al-Madinah. `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul — as Ibn Shihab narrated to me — would stand up every Friday, without objection from anyone because he was a chief of his people, when the Prophet would sit on the Minbar, just before he delivered the Jumu`ah Khutbah to the people. `Abdullah bin Ubay would say, `O people! This is the Messenger of Allah with you. Allah has honored us by sending him and gave you might through him. Support him, honor him and listen to and obey him.’ He would then sit down. So after the battle of Uhud, even after he did what he did, that is, returning to Al-Madinah with a third of the army, he stood up to say the same words. But the Muslims held on to his clothes and said to him, `Sit down, O enemy of Allah! You are not worthy to stand after you did what you did.’ `Abdullah went out of the Masjid crossing people’s lines and saying, `By Allah, it is as if I said something awful when I wanted to support him.’ Some men from Al-Ansar met him at the gate of the Masjid and asked him what happened. He said, `I just stood up to support him and some men, his Companions, jumped at me, pulled me back and admonished me, as if what I said was an awful thing; I merely wanted to support him.’ They said to him, `Woe to you! Go back so that Allah’s Messenger asks Allah to forgive you.’ He said, `By Allah, I do not wish that he ask Allah to forgive me.”’ Qatadah and As-Suddi said, “This Ayah was revealed about `Abdullah bin Ubay. A young relative of his went to Allah’s Messenger and conveyed to him an awful statement that `Abdullah said. The Messenger called `Abdullah, who swore by Allah that he did not say anything. The Ansar went to that boy and admonished him. However, Allah sent down what you hear about `Abdullah’s case and Allah’s enemy was told, `Go to Allah’s Messenger,’ but he turned his head away, saying that he will not do it.” Muhammad bin Ishaq said that Muhammad bin Yahya bin Hibban, `Abdullah bin Abi Bakr and `Asim bin `Umar bin Qatadah narrated to him the story of Bani Al-Mustaliq. They said that while the Messenger of Allah was in that area, Jahjah bin Sa`id Al-Ghifari, a hired hand for `Umar, and Sinan bin Wabr fought over the water source. Sinan called out, “O Ansar”, while Al-Jahjah called, “O Muhajirin!” Zayd bin Arqam and several Ansar men were sitting with `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul at that time. When `Abdullah heard what happened, he said, “They are bothering us in our land. By Allah, the parable of us and these foolish Quraysh men, is the parable that goes, `Feed your dog until it becomes strong, and it will eat you.’ By Allah, when we go back to Al-Madinah, the most mighty will expel the weak from it.” He then addressed his people who were sitting with him, saying to them, “What have you done to yourselves You let them settle in your land and shared your wealth with them. By Allah, if you abandon them, they will have to move to another area other than yours.” Zayd bin Arqam heard these words and conveyed them to Allah’s Messenger . Zayd was a young boy then. `Umar bin Al-Khattab was with the Messenger and he said, “O Allah’s Messenger! Order `Abbad bin Bishr to cut off his head at his neck.” The Prophet replied,

(What if people started saying that Muhammad kills his companions, O `Umar No. However, order the people to start the journey (back to Al-Madinah).) When `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul was told that his statement reached Allah’s Prophet , he went to him and denied saying it. He swore by Allah that he did not utter the statement that Zayd bin Arqam conveyed. `Abdullah bin Ubay was a chief of his people and they said, “O Allah’s Messenger! May be the young boy merely guessed and did not hear what was said correctly.” Allah’s Messenger started the journey at an unusual hour of the day and was met by Usayd bin Al-Hudayr, who greeted him acknowledging his prophethood. Usayd said, “By Allah! You are about to begin the journey at an unusual time.” The Prophet said,

(Did not the statement of your friend, Ibn Ubay reach you He claimed that when he returns to Al-Madinah, the mighty one will expel the weak one out of it.) Usayd said, “Indeed, you are the mighty one, O Allah’s Messenger, and he is the disgraced one.” Usayd said, “Take it easy with him, O Allah’s Messenger! By Allah, when Allah brought you to us, we were about to gather the pearls (of a crown) so that we appoint him king over us. He thinks that you have rid him of his kingship.” The Messenger of Allah traveled with the people until the night fell, then the rest of the night until the beginning of the next day and then set camp with the people. He wanted to busy them from talking about what had happened. The minute people felt the ground under their feet, they went to sleep and Surat Al-Munafiqin was revealed. Al-Hafiz Abu Bakr Al-Bayhaqi recorded that Jabir bin `Abdullah said, “We were in a battle with Allah’s Messenger and a man from the Emigrants kicked an Ansari man. The Ansari man called out, `O Ansar!’ and the Emigrant called out, `O Emigrants!’ Allah’s Messenger heard that and said,

(What is this call of Jahiliyyah Abandon it because it is offensive.) `Abdullah bin Ubay heard that and said, `Have they (the Emigrants) done so By Allah, if we return to Al-Madinah, surely, the more honorable will expel therefrom the meaner.’ The Ansar at that time, were more numerous that the Emigrants when the Messenger of Allah came to Al-Madinah, but later on the Emigrants imcreased in number. When this statement reached the Prophet , `Umar got up and said, `O Allah’s Messenger! Let me chop off the head of this hypocrite!’ The Prophet said:

(Leave him, lest the people say that Muhammad kills his companions.)” Imam Ahmad, Al-Bukhari and Muslim collected this Hadith. `Ikrimah and Ibn Zayd and others said that when the Prophet and his Companions went back to Al-Madinah,`Abdullah, the son of `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul, remained by the gate of Al-Madinah holding his sword. People passed by him as they returned to Al-Madinah, and then his father came. `Abdullah, son of `Abdullah, said to his father, “Stay where you are,” and his father asked what the matter was His son said, “By Allah! You will enter through here until the Messenger of Allah allows you to do so, for he is the honorable one and you are the disgraced.” When the Messenger of Allah came by, and he used to be in the last lines, `Abdullah bin Ubay complained to him about his son and his son said, “By Allah, O Allah’s Messenger! He will not enter it until you say so.” The Messenger gave his permission to `Abdullah bin Ubay and his son said, “Enter, now that the Messenger of Allah gave you his permission.” In his Musnad, Abu Bakr `Abdullah bin Az-Zubayr Al-Humaydi recorded from Abu Harun Al-Madani that `Abdullah, the son of `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul, said to his father, “You will never enter Al-Madinah unless and until you say, `Allah’s Messenger is the honorable one and I am the disgraced.” When the Prophet came, `Abdullah, son of `Abdullah bin Ubay bin Salul said to him, “O Allah’s Messenger! I was told that you have decided to have my father executed. By He Who has sent you with Truth, I never looked straight to his face out of respect for him. But if you wish, I will bring you his head, because I would hate to see the killer of my father.”

(9. O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, then they are the losers.) (10. And spend of that with which We have provided you before death comes to one of you, and he says: “My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while, then I should give Sadaqah from my wealth, and be among the righteous.) (11. And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.)

The Importance of not being too concerned with the Matters of the Worldly Life, and being Charitable before Death

Allah the Exalted orders His faithful servants to remember Him frequently and to refrain from being distracted from His remembrance by indulging in their properties and children excessively. Allah informs them that those who engage in this life, its delights and attributes and were busied from the obedience and remembrance of Allah, for which they were created, will be among the losers. They will lose themselves and their families on the Day of Resurrection. Allah encourages the believers to spend in His cause,

(And spend of that with which We have provided you before death comes to one of you, and he says: “My Lord! If only You would give me respite for a little while, then I should give Sadaqah from my wealth, and be among the righteous.) Surely, every person who fell into shortcomings will regret it by the time of his death and will ask for respite, even a short period, so that he does better and attains what he missed. No, rather what occurred, has occurred and what is coming, shall indeed come. Each will be held accountable for his mistakes. As for the disbelievers, they will be as Allah said about them,

(And warn mankind of the Day when the torment will come unto them; then the wrongdoers will say:”Our Lord! Respite us for a little while, we will answer Your call and follow the Messengers!” (It will be said): “Had you not sworn aforetime that you would not leave.”) (14:44), and,

(Until, when death comes to one of them, he says: “My Lord! send me back. So that I may do good in that which I have left behind!” No! It is but a word that he speaks; and behind them is Barzakh (a barrier) until the Day when they will be resurrected.) (23:99-100) Then Allah said;

(And Allah grants respite to none when his appointed time comes. And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.) meaning, when the time of death comes, no one will be granted respite. Surely, HSe is the Most Knowledgeable and t an what they did before. Allah said,

(And Allah is All-Aware of what you do.)

This is the end of the Tafsir of Surat Al-Munafiqun. All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and all success and immunity from error come from Him.