الحمد لله رب العالمين، والصلاة والسلام على أشرف الأنبياء والمرسلين نبينا محمد، وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين. أما بعد
Shaikh Muhammad bin Saalih Al-‘Uthaimeen (rahimahullaah) mentioned in his explanation of Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree:
Imaam Al-Bukhaaree (rahimahullaah) said: Hudhaifah bin Al-Yamaan (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) stated:
“Indeed the hypocrites of today are worse than those at the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). For in those days they were discreet, whilst today they express openly.”
This hadeeth may seem obscure in its apparent form, for the hypocrites at the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) used to keep their disbelief discreet whilst declaring belief. As for how it is now then he says:
“…today they express openly.”
It is known that the hypocrite keeps affairs hidden and does not openly declare. So if they do openly declare; where then is the hypocrisy?
His statement (radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) is to be taken as: the fact that they do express openly to a people whilst keeping things hidden and discreet with others. Or that they express openly with some detestable affairs against other affairs. It is necessary to take his statement upon that or the like of that, because whosoever does openly express – is not a hypocrite.
Ibn Hajar (rahimahullaah) said:
His saying: “…at the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)…” Ibn Battaal said: “indeed they were worse than the ones before them. This is because the predecessors would keep their statements discreet, thus their evil would not transcend to anyone other than themselves. As for the later ones, then they became such that they openly expressed the rebelling against the Rulers and instigate evil between the groups; and so their harms would transcend to other than themselves.”
Then he said: “So regarding its relevance to the chapter heading, then it is from the aspect that their open declaration of hypocrisy and encouraging and inciting the people with weaponry is a word of direct opposition to that which they aspired to by way of obedience when they gave the pledge of allegiance in the first place against the very one they rebelled against at the end.”
Ibn Al-Teen said: “what he meant was that they made manifest from evils the like of which those before did not. Except that they do not make statements of disbelief, rather it is an expression that they release from their mouths – and from it they were known.” This is what he said, and what bears testimony to that is what Ibn Battaal said which is reported in Al-Bazzaar by way of ‘Aasim from Abee Wa’el who said that I said to Hudhaifah:
“Is hypocrisy worse today or was it worse at the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)?” So he struck his hand upon his forehead then he said: “Ah; today it is apparent, for indeed, they used to be discreet during the time of the Prophet (Sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).”
(Taken from: Sharh Saheeh Al-Bukhaaree [Shaikh ‘Uthaimeen] vol 7 p.597.)
 The chapter being: ((Chapter: Whoever says one thing in front of a people, then goes out and says what is contrary to it)) – this being chapter no.21 in Kitaabul-Fitan.