Hypocrites are similar to "a donkey carrying books"
Like all other beings, hypocrites are powerless creatures under God's control. If God had desired to do so, He wouldn't have created hypocrites and there wouldn't be an element of mischief among Muslims. However, Our Lord, the Possessor of Infinite Wisdom, The Wise, created hypocrites with wisdom and He granted them 'an evil mind'. This evil mind of hypocrites is sure to lose against the 'Qur'anic wisdom of the believers'. The hypocritical intellect only helps hypocrites to play little cunning games and gain the admiration of the unbelievers. Hypocrites make use of their intellect to ‘educate themselves and masquerade as sophisticated people so that they can win the unbelievers' favor.'
It is a remarkable quality to be knowledgeable. However, believers know that, like all other blessings, this, too, is by the grace of God and that they have been granted this blessing to use it in the way of God. The society of unbelievers, however, cherish one's 'education, career, position, popular knowledge, foreign languages he speaks, the books he reads, the intellectual movements he is familiar with, the places he has been and so on' as matters of arrogance and vanity. Hypocrites, who very much wish to be approved of by the unbelievers, try not to miss any of these criteria. By using the opportunities they attained during their time with the believers, they try to improve themselves in these aspects and make themselves proper for the 'model considered ideal for the unbelievers'. This way, they hope to win the unbelievers’ appreciation and secure a place among them.
They try to learn all kinds of information and worldly knowledge which might help them to make a name for themselves among the unbelievers. They constantly read piles of books filled with information which will be of no use to them in their lives. By making use of both the means of Muslims and also of the Internet, television channels and books, they try to improve themselves and their knowledge.
There is no doubt that it is good if someone improves his knowledge and information on every subject. Muslims are also people who are known for their vast knowledge. Yet, Muslims make use of every single bit of information they learn for the benefit of humankind and to uncover what is good. Nevertheless, hypocrites learn something not because they want to make use of it for the good of Islam, but because 'they want to show off to unbelievers and to gain a reputation among them'. They actually learn details of no use such as, 'what did goats eat during the reign of the Sumerians?', 'the African antelopes were poisoned when they ate which plant?', 'what did the American Indians drink?' and so on. For example, all of a sudden, they may say, 'Let me tell you about the number of sheep in Brazil'. Their purpose is to surprise people who listen to them and make them say: 'Oh, he really has a great deal of knowledge'. Indeed, unbelievers, or those who have weak faith, or who are not aware that the real owner of all knowledge is God, are really impressed when they hear them talk about these.
While Muslims spare their every moment of their lives doing something for the benefit of mankind, they also improve their worldly knowledge. However, hypocrites do not do anything useful during the day. They have no interest whatsoever in the salvation of mankind, in spreading Islamic morality throughout the world, or in seeing the oppression in the world come to an end. They spend the whole day reading books and obtaining information which they might use to obtain the admiration of unbelievers. Yet they have no interest in practicing and preaching what is told in the verses of the Qur'an.
Moreover, a feeling of egocentrism covers hypocrites' soul whenever they read a couple of books or learn a few new things. They see themselves superior than anyone. They consider themselves 'a sort of scholar or an innovator'.
No matter how much information a person may have, his efforts will do him no good as long as something is missing in his soul and heart, and unless he has a Qur’anic reasoning to make wise use of that information. What makes someone worthy is the beauty in his heart and the values he cherishes in his heart. A person may store all the information he has learned in his brain; yet, it has no value when he has no 'art of crafting that knowledge' in his heart.
Just as he memorizes all the books on worldly knowledge, hypocrites also know the verses in the Qur'an by heart. History is full of hypocrites who looked like scholars and learned men and who memorized the Qur'an, the Torah and the Gospel. Their speeches contained much knowledge, but their heart had no 'knowledge of Marifatullah'. The 'Knowledge of Marifatullah' (The Gnosis of God) is a knowledge not written in books but in the hearts of those who are close to God. It is Muslims who can truly comprehend this very knowledge and who can make use of any learned knowledge.
In the Qur'an, God refers to hypocrites as 'donkeys loaded with tomes' as 'their heads are full of knowledge, but their hearts are empty'.
The metaphor of those who were charged with the Torah but then have not upheld it, is that of a donkey loaded with weighty tomes. How evil is the metaphor of those who deny God's signs! God does not guide wrongdoing people. (Surat al-Jumua, 5)
Our Prophet (pbuh) said: "Most of the hypocrites in my community will be from among well-educated people" and thus he informed us that hypocrites are men of intellect and that they are knowledgeable. Nevertheless, it should be noted here again that reading and being knowledgeable are surely pleasant features; however, the hypocrites’ knowledge does not serve to their benefit, but only to their detriment. Every single hypocrite who has ever lived during the course of history has perhaps read hundreds of books on hundreds of subjects, but they could not make practical use of this knowledge. Since they do not have faith in their hearts, the information they have just helped them transform into 'donkeys carrying books'; and they have driven themselves into failure not only on earth, but also in the hereafter due to their lack of faith.