From the morals and manners of the Companions was their hard labour in countering hypocrisy so that their good nature remained the same whether in public or private. This way they would have no actions left for their realities to be exposed tomorrow in the Afterlife.
Once 'Umar ibn 'Abdul-'Aziz (rahimahullaah) was advised, "O 'Umar, beware of being the ally of Allah in open, while being his enemy in secret. If one's nature in open and secret do not equate, then he is a hypocrite, and the hypocrites occupy the lowest level in Hellfire."
It was said by one of them, "Beware of hypocritical fear!" On being asked, "What is hypocritical fear?" he replied, "When your body is seen to be fearing whereas your heart is not fearing."
So search yourself. Does your open and secret (self) equate? Increase in seeking forgiveness knowing that whoever displays to the people beyond what is in his heart is a hypocrite.
The following are some of the characteristics which Allah the Most High ascribes to the hypocrites:
- A lazy attitude towards prayer (salah) and little remembrance of Allah whilst in prayer - "When they stand for prayer, they stand lazily, to be seen by the people, but little do they hold Allah in remembrance." [Al-Qur'an 4:142]
- They enjoin what is bad and forbid what is good. The hypocrites both men and women, proceed one from another - "They enjoin the wrong and forbid the right and they withhold their hands (from spending in the cause of Allah). They forget Allah so Allah has forgotten them. Lo! The hypocrites, they are the transgressors." [Al-Qur'an 9:67]
- Their alignment with and befriending the disbelievers (kuffar) as the Most High has said, "Bear unto the hypocrites the tidings that for them is a painful doom. Those who choose disbelievers as their friends instead of the believers, is it honour they seek with them? Lo! All honour is with Allah." [Al-Qur'an 4:138-139]
- Their disapproval of Allah's decision - "When it is said to them, come to what has been revealed and come to the Messenger, you see the hypocrites turn from you with disgust." [Al-Qur'an 4:61]
- Their lying, treachery and deception and insult during quarrels. The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said, "Whoever has the following four characteristics will be a pure hypocrite, and whoever has one of them will possess a characteristic of hypocrisy until he gives it up. Whenever he speaks he lies. Whenever he promises he betrays. Whenever he makes a covenant he proves treacherous. Whenever he quarrels he is insulting." [Sahih al-Bukhari vol. 4, p. 269, no. 403]
(s) Min Akhlaq as-Salaf, pp. 8-10