Sura Nisaa Verse 137: Doubts, Hypocrisy, and True Faith

Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool


There’s a part in Surah Nisa that was translated as “God will not forgive or guide to the right path those who first believe, then disbelieve, again believe and disbelieve, and then increase their disbelief.”

What does this mean and how does this relate to people with doubts? How do you know you’re if you’re a hypocrite?


The verse you are referring to is in Surah Nisaa:137:

“Indeed those who believe, then disbelieve, then believe, then disbelieve, then increase in their disbelief: Allah will never forgive nor guide them to the [right] path.”

Some commentators do say this refers to hypocrites; however, hypocrisy and having doubts is not the same thing.

Some of the Companions came to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) and said, “O Messenger of Allah! We find something in ourselves that is graver than us to speak of it; we don’t wish that we had the entire world and we were to speak of it.” So he (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “Do you really find that? That is true faith.” [Abu Dawud]

What the Companions meant here was finding the waswas, or whispering of the shaytan in themselves by casting doubts. The commentators say that is not the doubt that is true faith, as the doubt itself is from shaytan; rather it is their fierce adversity to these thoughts or doubts that is true faith. So doubts may occur to one’s heart, but if one seeks refuge in Allah from them and is repulsed by them, this is faith, not hypocrisy.

In Sahih Bukhari, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) said, “The shaytan comes to one of you and says, ‘Who created such and such? Who created such and such?’ Until he says, ‘Who created your Lord?’ So if one of you finds this, let him seek refuge in Allah and quit.”

Hence, from the advice of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah upon him), one should seek refuge in Allah and stop oneself from thinking about such matters. This is when the doubts are concerning the being of Allah. If the doubts are regarding the Sacred Law, one should seek refuge in Allah and seek the opinion of a scholar to help him dismiss his doubts.

And Allah knows best.


[Ustadha] Shaista Maqbool
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani