In “The Prophet’s Hair” by Salman Rushdie, we see the characterization of a man overcome with religious hypocrisy. Hashim is a moneylender who loves his family and, while seemingly not very religious, is a good man. When he steals the Hair from the Prophet, it changes him. He tries to cover up and explain his actions by way of religion which causes him and his family to descend into a horrific life. He becomes full of rage with violent outburst. He threatens divorce to his wife and even goes so far as to disown his daughter when she refuses to cover her head for his new-found religion’s purpose.
His new, violent behavior drives his children into desperation to fix things for their family. They hire a thief to steal the hair from their father. This backfires drastically because in the chaos, Hashim kills his daughter. He then kills himself from the guilt.
This story shows how his hypocrisy, combined with the mysticism from the story, ruined his life in a short time. Had his religious beliefs been genuine, he never would’ve kept the Prophet’s in the first place, and his family would still be intact.
Additionally, when a client tries to use Scripture to persuade him, it also throws him into a rage. This can easily be reasoned that Hashim, whether or not he has read the Quran, knows that he cannot be follow the words of his Prophet if he is violent towards the poor who seek his help. Being forced to come face-to-face with his own hypocrisy makes him violent toward the people asking for his help.
Rushdie, Salman. “The Prophet’s Hair.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Ed. Julia Reidhead and Marian Johnson. New York: W. W. Nortan and Company, Inc., 2018.