The Characteristics of a Hypocrite
Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) reported that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “There are three signs of a hypocrite: When he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is trusted, he betrays his trust.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Another narration adds the words: “Even if he observes fasts, performs prayer and asserts that he is a Muslim.”
A hypocrite is the one who professes Islam before the Muslims but conceals hatred and animosity against them. This double-dealing is worse than Kufr. For this is reason the Noble Qur’an has declared about them that they will be in the lowest depths of the Hell. The hypocrites referred to here lived at the time of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) and he was informed about them through revelation.
It is very difficult to identify the class of hypocrites in this age. It is almost impossible to know the hypocrisy of Faith. The practical hypocrisy is, however, now very common among the Muslims. It can be identified on the strength of the traits which have been stated in the Ahadith about them. These traits are very common among many of the present-day Muslims. Their conduct bears the marks of hypocrisy. This practical hypocrisy is, however, not Kufr as is the case with the hypocrisy of Faith.
And Allah Knows Best!