In Surah Baqarah, Allah describes Hypocrisy as a disease. A spiritual disease.
فِي قُلُوبِهِم مَّرَضٌ فَزَادَهُمُ اللَّهُ مَرَضًا ۖ وَلَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ بِمَا كَانُوا يَكْذِبُونَ
“In their hearts is disease, so Allah has increased their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie.” [2:10]
Normally, if we heard that there was a disease epidemic such as swine flu, we would rush to find out the symptoms to make sure we aren’t afflicted. All other widespread diseases have symptoms too, and you will find that many people begin to rush to the doctors if they see a slight sign or symptom that might indicate they have that disease – even if it’s something as normal as an itch!
Likewise with hypocrisy, if we see a slight sign of the disease we need to address it, and find a way to cure it (Insha’Allah). Some of the symptoms of hypocrisy include habitually lying, and breaking promises.
Allah (swt) says that the hypocrites will have عَذَابٌ أَلِيمُ – “a painful punishment”
This type of punishment is WORSE than the type of punishment a disbeliever will get, as Allah describes the punishment of hypocrites as “painful” whereas for the disbelievers He says “a great punishment.” This depicts that the punishment of the hypocrites is something that will be constant and ongoing. These Hypocrites will experience the pain constantly, and their pain won’t decrease in any way.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala protect us from hypocrisy.