Were disbelief and hypocrisy specific with the time of Holy Prophet ﷺ or does it still exist?
(1) It has sometimes been debated as to whether the distinction between Kufr (infidelity or disbelief) and Nifaq (hypocrisy) still holds good even after the days of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.
The correct position with regard to this question is this. At that time, there were two ways of identifying a hypocrite and declaring him to be one either Allah Himself informed the Holy Prophet ﷺ through revelation that such and such a man was not a Muslim at heart but a hypocrite, or a man through some word or deed overtly repugnant to the Islamic creed or practice showed himself up as a hypocrite, thus providing a clear evidence against himself. Divine revelation having ceased with the departure of the Holy Prophet ﷺ from this world, the first way of identifying a hypocrite is no longer available, but the second way is still valid. That is to say, if a man is found, on certain evidence, to be guilty, in word or deed, of rejecting or opposing or distorting or holding in scorn the basic doctrines of Islam undeniably established by the Holy Quran, the Hadith and ijma’ (consensus), he would be regarded as a Munafiq (hypocrite) in spite of his claim to be a true Muslim. The Holy Quran gives such a hypocrite the name of a “Mulhid or heretic الذین یلحدون فی اٰیٰتنا : “Those who distort Our verses”, (41:40), and the Hadith calls him a Zindiq. One must also add that since the kufr (infidelity) of such a man has been proved by clear and definite evidence, the shariah will not put him in a separate category, but deal with him as it would deal with any other kafir (infidel). That is why the authentic scholars are unanimous in concluding that after the departure of the Holy Prophet ﷺ the question of hypocrites ceased to be a relevant one – now anyone who is not a genuine Muslim will be regarded as kafir.
The famous author, Al-‘Aini, in his commentary on Al-Bukhari reports from Imam Malik that after the days of the Holy Prophet ﷺ this is the only available means of identifying ‘hypocrisy’, and that a man who carries this mark could be called a hypocrite.
Rules of disbelief and faith
(2) As we have already said, verse 13 defines what ‘Iman (faith) really is: آمنوا کما اٰمن الناس :”Believe as other men have believed”. In other words, the criterion for judging one’s claim to ‘Iman is the ‘Iman of the blessed Companions of the Holy Prophet ﷺ, and any claim to Iman which does not conform to it is not acceptable to Allah and to the Holy Prophet ﷺ. If a man has the presumption (as is all too common these days) to interpret an Islamic doctrine or verse of the Holy Quran in a way which departs from the explicit and clear explanation provided by the Holy Quran itself or by the Holy Prophet ﷺ, his individual opinion and belief, no matter how much it titillates the palate of his contemporaries or feeds their fancy, will have no value or validity in the eyes of the shariah.
For example, the Qadianis claim that like Muslims they too believe in the doctrine of the Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ, but in this respect, they deviate from what the Holy Prophet g has himself stated, and what the Companions believed in, and distort the doctrine so as to make room for the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian; so, according to the indication of the Holy Quran, they come under this indictment: وما ھم بمؤمنین :”They are no believers.”
In short, if a man interprets an Islamic doctrine in a way which is repugnant to the Iman of the blessed Companions, and yet claims to be a Muslim on the basis of his adherence to this doctrine and also performs ‘his religious duties exactly like Muslims, he will not be considered a Mumin (true Muslim) until and unless he agrees to conform to the criterion of ‘lman laid down by the Holy Quran.
Removal of a doubt: The people of kaaba (Ahl al Qiblah) will not be called kafir means?
(3) We may also dispel a misunderstanding which often arises – and is more often made to arise with an ulterior motive – with regard to the famous dictum in the Hadith and Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) that the ‘people of the Kaaba’ (Ahl al-Qiblah), that is, those who turn towards the Kaaba in offering prescribed Salah cannot be branded as infidels. The verse under discussion clearly defines the meaning of the phrase, Ahl al-Qiblah. The term pertains only to those who do not deny any of the basic essential doctrines and commandments of Islam which are called the Daruriat (essentials). For that matter even the hypocrites mentioned in the Holy Quran used to offer their prayers exactly as the Muslims did; but turning towards Kaaba while praying was not taken to be sufficient to make them acceptable as true Muslims, simply because they did not have faith in all the essentials of Islam as the blessed Companions did.
SOURCE: Maarif ul Quran, By Mufti Muhammad Shafi, Vol 1, Page 125 to 129.