It says in Tafsiir Ruuh Al-Ma’ani of Imam Al-Aluusi
روى ان عمر ابن الخطاب رضى الله عنه بلغه ان بعض المنافقين يؤم قومه فلا يقرأ فيهم الا سورة عبس فارسل اليه فضرب عنقه لما استدل بذلك على كفره ووضع مرتبته عنده وعند قومه
It is narrated that ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, radzi Allahu ‘anhu, it reached him that one of the munaafiqiin led his people [in salah] and didn’t read anything other than Surah ‘Abasa [after reciting the Fatihah in salah, as is the norm to read a surah following it] to them, so he [‘Umar] sent to him [a deputy who] then struck his neck [i.e., beheaded the munafiq] when his [the munafiq’s] blasphemy was proven by this and he made his status known to him [‘Umar] and his people. (Tafsiir Ruuh Al-Ma’ani, Surah 80)
To understand this narration and what it entails, we need to see the circumstances of revelation on Surah ‘Abasa and what ensued in its background.
The circumstances of revelation of The Surah ‘Abasa can be summarized as follows: The Beloved Prophet ﷺ has an insurmountable love for Islam and to establish it all over the world. He is intensely passionate and devoted to spread Allah’s Tawhiid. He knew and had desired that if certain chieftains of the Quraysh embraced Islam, all of Makkah would embrace Islam. The Beloved Prophet ﷺ was engaged in a conversation with some chieftains and leaders of the Quraysh persuading them to become Muslim. In that while, a blind companion, our master ‘Abd-Allah ibn Umm Maktuum radzi Allahu ‘anhu arrived, and due to his excuse of blindness, wasn’t properly aware of what was going on. He kept on repeating to the Beloved Prophet ﷺ things like ‘O Messenger of Allah, teach me about the Quran.’ ‘O Messenger of Allah, teach me this surah.’ ‘O Messenger of Allah, teach me that surah’ and so on. At that point, signs of discomfort appeared on the Blessed Prophet’s ﷺ face as an interruption was caused in his very devoted act of propagation of Islam. The Blessed Prophet ﷺ did not pay immediate attention to him, and remained earnestly involved in his conversation with the tribal chieftains propagating to them Allah’s Tawhiid hoping for them converting to Islam; and our master ‘Abd-Allah bin Umm Maktoom waited for a while and left. Upon this situation, Surah ‘Abasa (Verse 1, Translation of meaning: He frowned [i.e., The Beloved Prophet ﷺ] and turned away) was revealed.
Right after the incident of ‘Abd-Allah bin Umm Maktuum returning home not earning the Prophet’s immediate attention in the gathering, after the Prophet had finished his conversation with the chieftains of Quraysh, he headed to ‘Abd-Allah bin Umm Maktoom’s house and assuaged him. And thenceforth, whenever ‘Abd-Allah bin Umm Maktoom entered a gathering, the Prophet ﷺ paid great homage to him, and used to say, “Marhaban bi-mun ‘aatabaniy feehi Rabbiy” (Welcome! O one because of whom my Lord endearingly enjoined me!)
People of severe ignorance, and hypocrites with malice in their hearts towards the Beloved Prophet ﷺ consider the Surah ‘Abasa as an “admonishment” or “rebuking” from Allah towards His Beloved ﷺ. We seek Allah’s refuge from such filthy thoughts.
Even an idiot, who has a clean heart and eyes, can see that if Allah’s Prophets are worthy of “admonishment”, then what does that do to their esteemed status in front of Allah for the common man?
What is the so-called “admonishment” for – being extremely involved in working towards to propagation of Allah’s deen? Is that a bad thing or something to be “admonished” about?
These fools forget the various other verses of the Quran which state that the Prophet is immensely anxious for us to be guided and for our hereafter to be saved (please see verse 9:128 and its tafsiir, among others).
Without attributing any similitude to creation towards Allah, or any equating of His Beloved Prophet ﷺ to those in his ummah – the so called “admonishment” of the Prophet can be summarily explained by the following example. A person owns a company and one of his workers is the choicest, most brilliant, smartest , and the most hard-working of all his workforce. He is the owner’s most reliable, trusted, responsible and the most endeared, and his most senior manager due to his extremely noble qualities, and indeed his best friend. The manager too can only ever think of taking the company scaling the highest of heights and works for it. One day, the manager is ill, but like always is extremely involved in his hard work, working later hours, not worrying at all about his own health. The owner sees him and speaks sternly, “Can you please just go home and take some rest. Come on! Leave the office right now, and go home. You heard me. I’m not listening to anything else.” Only an idiot would call this speech as “admonishment”. It is the most endearing forms of speech, out of care and concern and value for the manager even though on the surface it sounds stern.
In Surah ‘Abasa Allah enjoined the Beloved Prophet ﷺ endearingly to shower his grace upon the one who sought it actively and not to be too anxious and involved about propagation to those evil people who are defiant and think they do not need it.
More on this will be presented in detailed tafsiir translation of the Surah, if Allah Wills.
The munaafiq being spoken about in the quoted passage, used to read nothing but Surah ‘Abasa in prayers, and thus he manifested his evil intentions of malice towards the Prophet ﷺ and disparaging him, wal ‘iyadhu bi(A)llah. Therefore, when his reality became manifest, our master ‘Umar had the rotten munafiq exterminated.
It should now be clear that a hypocrite can exhibit his evil intentions, using even the noble verses of the Quran. Hypocrites think that they are smart and can play with words and “nuances” in the meanings of words. They forget that context, circumstances, and their mannerisms expose them, even if they use the choicest of words.
The hypocrites of today manifest themselves just as openly and just as stupidly as the hypocrites of the past manifested themselves to Muslims.
And success isn’t but by Allah’s granting.
EDIT: Post was edited slightly on 08/10/2016.