Overall meaning :
Allah Almighty instructs His Prophet, Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, to inform the hypocrites—the unbelievers who pose as believers—that an agonizing torment awaits them, stating that one of their characteristics is that they take the unbelievers for their allies, by loving and supporting them, in preference to the faithful. He disapprovingly asks: Do they seek to receive honour from them by doing so? By no means, He asserts, will they find that with them, for all honour and glory belong entirely to Him.
Next, He informs the believers that He has already instructed them in the Qur’an that if they hear Allah’s revelations being denied and ridiculed, they should not sit with those who do so until they engage in some other talk, or else they will be guilty of the same sin. He proceeds to warn that He will gather the hypocrites and the unbelievers all together in Hell, stating that these hypocrites watch the believers’ fortunes closely and wait to see what will happen to them: If Allah grants the believers victory over their enemy and they carry off some booty, they say to the believers, ‘Did we not fight alongside you?’, thereby seeking to have a share in the booty; but if the unbelievers win the day, the hypocrites say to the unbelievers, ‘Did we not help you and defend you against the believers?’ The Almighty declares that He will judge between the believers and the hypocrites on the Day of Resurrection, and He will reward the believers by admitting them into Paradise and punish the hypocrites by casting them into Hellfire, stating that He will never grant unbelievers absolute control over the believers and make them completely prevail over them in this world, nor will He give the unbelievers any proof whatsoever against the believers on the Day of Resurrection.
The Almighty then points out that the hypocrites seek to deceive Him by posing as Muslims while they are in fact unbelievers in order to secure their life and property, erroneously thinking that by so doing they will deceive Him on the Day of Resurrection, as they have deceived people in this life; but it He who actually outwits them by securing their lives and property despite His knowledge of their evil nature and hypocrisy, so as to lead them step by step to their ruin in this life and then cast them into Hell in the hereafter—an evil destination indeed! When they rise to pray, He further mentions, they do so sluggishly and reluctantly, finding the prayer rather wearisome; they only perform it so that the believers may see them and mistakenly believe they are fellow believers, and they hardly remember Him in it at all. They oscillate between faith and unbelief: They are neither entirely with the believers, nor quite with the unbelievers; they only pose as believers when they are with the believers and show themselves in their true colours when they are with the unbelievers. Some of them are thrown into such doubt and confusion that sometimes they side with the believers and at other times they side with the unbelievers. Allah informs His Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that if He sends someone astray because of his stubbornly favouring misguidance over guidance, he will never find another way for him to guide him.