¡ When the hypocrites come unto thee, they say, “We bear witness that thou art indeed the Messenger of God.” Yet God knows that thou art indeed His Messenger, and God bears witness that the hypocrites are surely liars.
1 This verse, along with vv. 2, 7, and 8, was reportedly revealed regarding ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ubayy (d. 631), known as the leader of the hypocrites in Madinah, who said while on an expedition with the Prophet, “Do not spend on those who are with God’s Messenger, that they may disperse and go away. And if we return to Madinah, surely the mightier will expel the weaker therefrom” (cf. v. 7-8). When the Prophet heard of this utterance from ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ubayy’s nephew, Zayd ibn Arqam, he sent for ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ubayy and his companions, who swore that they did not say it. The Prophet did not believe Zayd and believed ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ubayy. Then vv. 1-8 were revealed, after which the Prophet said, “O Zayd! God confirmed your statement” (Q, Ṭ, W). God bears witness that the hypocrites are surely liars indicates that faith is an affirmation with the heart, not only with the tongue, and that true speech comes from the heart (Q); see also 9:74.