Islam And The Split Personality
By Dr. Nizam Ajmir Mohammed
Islam is based on the principle of Unity (Tawhid). Beginning with the absolute Unity of the Creator, it is in addition, a medium of integration, and a means of realising the profound oneness of all existence. Every aspect of Islam reflects this principle of Unity. Islam is faith as well as submission in service. It is attestation by the heart and confession by the tongue as well as the performance of deed and work. It is the harmonious relationship established between the body and soul. It is the sincere acceptance of the Unity of God and the Prophethood of Muhammad (Upon Whom Be Peace). It is the unity between the individual and the society, between man's bodily appetites and his spiritual desires. Islam looks at the world and life with this all embracing view. Islam is the unity of all these, together with what they imply in belief and practice. There can be no separation or division between the harmoniously integrated parts of this unity. It is for this reason that for Islam, there can be no true believer or faithful one without such an individual being also submissive in service; no real attestation by the heart and confession by the tongue without performance of deed and work, no true acceptance of the Testimony of the Unity of God without the acceptance of the Prophethood of Muhammad (Upon Whom Be Peace).
Islam promotes the development of a healthy personality. It therefore emphasises the need to maintain a unity between the inner reality and the outer experience. This unification prevents the fragmentation of the personality; it prevents the conflict between words and actions, as well as the separation of the hearts from their destinies.
Of all the diseases that affect the human heart, desecrating his spirit, and suffocating the Divine Breath blown into him, the most vicious and most dangerous, and yet the easiest to succumb to is Hypocrisy (Nifaq)
. The person who practices hypocrisy is called a Munafiq (Hypocrite). In religious terminology, Nifaq
(hypocrisy) means making of a declaration and acting contrary to it. The Munafiq
(hypocrite) publicly declares his faith, but does not affirm it in the heart or mind. Whatever he professes he fails to put into practice. There is a conflict between his beliefs and his practices, between his words and his actions, and between his inner and outer self. His body and mind are in variance with one another. There is thus a characteristic split between the inner and outer states of the Munafiq
. Inconsistency and disequilibrium destabilise his personality.
The Holy Qur'aan (Chapter 63 entitled "The Munafiqun
": or the Hypocrites) gives a graphic account of some of the traits of these people. They openly pledge their loyalty but, secretly, they intrigue with the enemies. They are liars. There is nothing but falsehood in their hearts. They make their oaths a screen for their misdeeds, and thereby obstruct men from the Path of God. At first they believed, then they rejected Faith, and as a result of their insincerity and their double-dealing, they have lost their ability to understand. In their outer appearance they are impressive. They speak in a manner that is agreeable to all, but since they have no scruples in telling lies, and their ability to flatter and deceive is limitless, and since they have no sincerity, nothing that they say or do is worth anything. Outwardly, they conform to the Faith.
However, their true nature is revealed when they are described as being worthless as hollow pieces of propped up timber, unable to stand on their own. They are in themselves insecure, and they can offer security to no one. They are in a state of delusion, thinking that every whisper or cry is directed against them. Such people are dangerous and are worse than known enemies. Every effort should, therefore, be taken to guard against them. They are in conflict with themselves and with others.
Their split personality has detached them from the inner reality of their being. Because of this split, they are unable to enter their own hearts. They are deluded away from the Truth. They are their own enemies, as well as the enemies of the sane and righteous individual. When the opportunity for forgiveness is offered to them they refuse to avail themselves in arrogance. They prefer conflict because they have found delusions of happiness and security in their world of conflict. In their rebellion and transgression they have cut themselves off from Divine forgiveness and guidance.
(Hypocrisy) is, itself, the explosive force that splits reality and separates the inner and outer states. It is a dangerous illness of the human mind. A close study of the description of the Hypocrites as given in the Holy Qur'aan reveals that the Munafiq
(Hypocrite) is not merely one of those who opposed Islam in the early days of the Muslim community at Medina, but that the Munafiq
is that individual who, on becoming aware of the true nature of reality, flees from that true nature sowing the seeds of disunity and dissension in the community. This grave illness of man is essentially the splitting of the inner and outer experiencing self, the disconnection between the mind and the body, until the mind itself is fragmented.
The Munafiq suffers from a disorganized personality. There is a disorder in his thought and behaviour. He is deceitful, envious, jealous and selfish. He covers up reality with fantasy. He is in disharmony with the real world.
A Muslim should constantly guard himself against the deadly evil of hypocrisy. Affliction with this aliment leads to a deterioration of Iman
(Faith) and a failure to perform obligatory duties. Consequently there is a lack of virtue, trustworthiness and inner piety. A Muslim should be truthful and sincere in his relationship with God, the Prophet, his fellow men and with himself. Truthfulness (Sidq) and Sincerity (Ikhlas) are fundamental characteristics of a Muslim, while hypocrisy is a cruel and callous negation of these. He who strives to be a Muslim must protect himself from becoming a victim of hypocrisy.
The Holy Prophet has said
"Whoever has the following four characteristics is a true hypocrite, and whoever has one of the four characteristics has one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up; when he is trusted he betrays his trust; when he speaks he tells a lie; when he makes a promise, he proves treacherous; and when he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner."