One of the traits of hypocrisy is that a person tries to please the whole of creation but not Allāh. It is impossible to please everybody and tell everybody what they want to hear. This is because to do so will mean that there is lying and deception involved. Every time someone tells another person what they want to hear, they will likely be lying, and lying is the probably the greatest trait of hypocrisy.
We ourselves do not know what we want. One minute we want one thing, and the next minute we want something else. Thus, it can be said that we are unable to please ourselves. Bearing that in mind, how are we going to be able to please everyone else all the time? When we do try and do that, we have to put on a facade, cheat and deceive – these are all the traits of hypocrisy. A muʾmin cannot and does not behave like that. A muʾmin stands for something and has principles. A muʾmin is honest and transparent and says ‘This is what I believe and this is what I stand for’. Therefore, a muʾmin, by his very character, cannot say different things to different people at different times with regards to his beliefs and opinions. He belongs to the group of muʾmineen, the group of believers. They have their colour, the colour of Allāh:
صِبْغَةَ اللَّهِ وَمَنْ أَحْسَنُ مِنَ اللَّهِ صِبْغَةً وَنَحْنُ لَهُ عَابِدُونَ
(We take our) colour from Allāh, and who is better than Allāh at colouring. We are His worshippers. [Sūrat al-Baqarah 2:138]
[This short excerpt is based on a lecture entitled ‘Traits of Hypocrisy Part 2’ delivered by Shaykh Riyadh ul Haq on Friday 13th December 2019].