When did the Prophet find out about the hypocrites (munafiqs)?

The Details of the Question

- Did the Prophet know that Abdullah bin Ubayy was a hypocrite (munafiq)?
- Muhammad (pbuh) was very merciful and compassionate to Abdullah bin Ubayy. Did the Prophet (pbuh) know that Abdullah bin Ubayy was a hypocrite at the beginning, or was it revealed to him later?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

- We have not been able to find any specific information about when the Prophet (pbuh) realized the hypocrisy of Ibn Salul and others.

- It was not possible for the Prophet (pbuh) to recognize him during the Makkan period; so, the seeds of discord were sown in Madinah.

- We can list the different interpretations regarding the issue as follows:

a) Once, the Prophet (pbuh) was riding on a donkey and passing by a group of people among whom was Ibn Salul. When he saw them, he dismounted and wanted to have a talk with them. Ibn Salul said that they were “disturbed by the smell of the donkey and the dust and smoke it created” and suggested that he should have his talk somewhere else.

As a person who was in the ranks of the Muslims and went to mosque with them, he was known to be a hypocrite from then on.

b) His identity was revealed as he acted together with the enemies in the Battle of Khandaq.

c) In the battle of Sons of Mustaliq, a Muslim from Madinah wounded one of Ibn Salul’s friends during a dispute over a water source; when Ibn Salul found out about it, he said, “If we return to Madinah, surely the more honorable element (he meant himself) will expel therefrom the meaner (he meant the Messenger of Allah)”, mentioned in verse 8 of the chapter of al-Munafiqun, and this statement was conveyed to our Prophet (pbuh). Afterwards, his followers swore and claimed that they had never said such a thing, but their hypocrisy was verified when the chapter of al-Munafiqun was sent down.

d) During the Battle of Uhud, his leaving the army with 300 of his followers was accepted as a sign of hypocrisy.

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