Hadith on Hypocrisy: Four Characteristics of a Hypocrite

📖Sahih al-Bukhari 34
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up.

1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays.

2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie.

3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous.

4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.”

This hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari, which is a collection of authentic narrations of the sayings and actions of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). In this hadith, the Prophet (peace be upon him) is describing four characteristics of a hypocrite, which are:

  1. Betrayal of Trust: A person who is entrusted with something, but then betrays that trust by either stealing, misusing or not fulfilling the responsibility, is a pure hypocrite.
  2. Lying: A person who frequently speaks lies, whether it be small or big, is showing one of the traits of a hypocrite.
  3. Treachery: A person who makes an agreement or covenant with someone, but then breaks it or goes back on their word, is also showing the signs of a hypocrite.
  4. Improper behavior in quarrels: A person who behaves in an arrogant, harsh and insulting way during a dispute or argument is also showing a sign of hypocrisy.

It is important to note that the Prophet (peace be upon him) mentions that having even one of these traits can be considered as a sign of hypocrisy unless and until the person repents and gives up that characteristic. It is a reminder for us to be truthful, honest, trustworthy, and respectful in all our dealings with others, and to avoid hypocrisy in all its forms.