Explanation of Hadith

Two-faced people

Maulana Sayyid Samr al-Huda al-Yemeni

The final Prophet of Allah صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated:

تَجِدُ مِنْ شَرِّ النَّاسِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عِنْدَاللهِ ذَاالْوَجْهَيْنِ الَّذِی يَاْتِی هَؤُلَاءِ بِوَجْهٍ وَيَاْتِی هَؤُلَاءِ بِوَجْهٍ

‘The worst people in the sight of Allah Almighty on the Day of Judgement will be the double-faced people who appear to some people with one face and to other people with another face.’[1]

ذُوالْوَجْھَیْن is not meant in its literal sense. A two-faced person refers to someone who praises another in his presence and then talks ill of him behind his back. It could also be someone who creates a facade of friendship in the presence of someone but in reality is his enemy. Similarly, it could be someone who approaches two people who have argued; when approaching the first, he sides with him, and when going to the other, he agrees with him, all whilst pretending to be a friend of both.[2]

Why is the two-faced person condemned?

The commentators of Hadith have mentioned two reasons as to why two-faced people have been condemned:

1.   The two-faced individual has been labelled as the worst of creation because his state and that of a hypocrite are alike. Both spread false things to create evil, mischief, grudges and enmity between people. They also strive to sever the relationships between people.[3]

2.   The one who is two-faced will approach people and say whatever he can to gain their approval, regardless of whether he is saying something good or evil. He approves of every good and bad action, which is haram.[4]

Such deceitful individuals not only damage the stability found in society, but they also ruin their life in this world and the Hereafter. Here are some of the adverse effects such an attitude can have:

1.   Being two-faced essentially involves many sins, such as lying, backbiting, taletelling, slandering, and deceiving.

2.   The perpetrator of this act is disliked by Allah Almighty and people.

3.   This causes mischief to prevail in society and people become averse to one another.

4.   Two-faced people ruin their Hereafter. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم stated: ‘The one who had two tongues in the world, Allah Almighty will make him two tongues of fire on The Day of Judgement.’[5]

5.   This action is worse than killing. In the case of killing, the life of one person is taken, whereas this action deprives countless lives of peace.

6.   Eventually, a two-face person’s hypocrisy is revealed to both parties, resulting in them reconciling but leaving the two-faced individual humiliated and disgraced.

The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم invited people to Islam through mutual love, goodwill, rebuilding relationships and striving to eradicate hate. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم advised Sayyiduna Anas رَضِىَ الـلّٰـهُ عَـنْهُ: ‘O my son! If it is possible for you to spend the day and evening without holding malice for anyone in your heart, then do so.’ He further stated: ‘O my son, this is my Sunnah. Whoever loves my Sunnah, loves me, and whoever loves me will be in Paradise with me.’[6]

We understand from the above that the Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم desired for the ummah to remain united. Loving and hating should only be for the sake of Allah Almighty. How can a sincere Muslim be the cause of disunity in the Ummah and leave himself deserving of humiliation in both worlds? It is unfortunate that this evil is prevalent in society today. Men, women, the elderly and the young are all involved in this reproachable act. As a result, amongst other vices, there is unrest in society and hatred for one another.

May Allah Almighty protect us and purify our hearts from having enmity and jealousy towards other Muslims. May we refrain from the actions that create disunity in the Ummah.

Note that an individual will be deemed “two-faced” if his intention is to cause separation between Muslims. The narrations mentioning punishment do not apply to someone who aims to unite Muslims and create love between people. This of course is something praiseworthy and desirable. The Prophet صَلَّى الـلّٰـهُ عَلَيْهِ وَاٰلِهٖ وَسَلَّم said:

لَيْسَ الكَذَّابُ الَّذِی يُصْلِحُ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ فَيَنْمِي خَيْرًا اَوْ يَقُولُ خَيْرًا’, meaning, the one who makes peace between people is not a liar because he conveys news with a good intention or says good things.[7]

Imam al-Nawawi رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه states: ‘فَاِنْ اَتَى كُلَّ طَائِفَةٍ بِالْاِصْلَاحِ وَنَحْوِهٖ فَمَحْمُوْدٌ, meaning, it is praiseworthy to approach every party for the purpose of reconciling or anything similar.[8]

May Allah Almighty grant us sincerity and protect us from hypocrisy.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ النَّبِیِّ الْاَمِیْن صَلَّی اللہ تَعَالٰی عَلَیْہِ وَاٰلہٖ وَسَلَّم

[1] al-Bukhari, vol. 4, p. 115, Hadith 6058

[2] Mirat al-Manajih, vol. 6, p. 468

[3] Muslim, vol. 6, p. 478

[4] Ikmal al-Mu’allim bi Fawaid al-Muslim, vol. 7, p. 564

[5] Musnad Abi Ya’la, vol. 3, p. 10, Hadith 2763, 2764

[6] Mishkat al-Masabih, vol. 1, p. 55, Hadith 175

[7] al-Bukhari, vol. 2, p. 210, Hadith 2692

[8] Sharh al-Nawavi Ala al-Muslim, vol. 16, p. 156




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