Prohibition of lying in Islam


Abdul Rasool Syed

TO utter falsehood has become quite normal in our society; it is so deeply entrenched in our society that a person hailing from bottom to top hierarchical order in our country doesn’t have any compunction in telling a lie. Executive, judiciary, legislature and even press are not immune to this worst form of social epidemic. Nearly half our problems are born out of such prevarication. Therefore, more than half of our problems would be resolved, if we as a nation decide not to voice mendacity in our day-to-day affairs. Islam regards falsehood as a great sin and discourages this practice in the strongest possible terms. Allah, the sublime says in the Holy Quran 2:42. “And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it].” At another place, the Holy Book says: “Indeed Allah does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar.” [40:28] The Holy Quran also says “Indeed, Allah does not guide the one who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever.” [39:3] Almighty Allah further says ”The curse of Allah be upon him if one is among the liars.” [Quran 24:7] The Holy Prophet (SAW) also expressed strong aversion for those who don’t utter truth. The holy Prophet (SAW) said: “Indeed, truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise, and a truthful person continues to speak the truth until he becomes the most truthful person. Lies lead to evil and evil leads to hell and a liar continues to lie until he is listed as a high ranking liar before Allah.” [Al-Bukhari]
Yoosuf Ibn ‘Abdullaah, (May Allah be pleased with him), said that he asked Prophet Muhammad (SAW): “O Messenger of Allah! What do you think is the most dreadful thing for me?” Yoosuf, (May Allah be pleased with him), continued: “The Messenger caught hold of his tongue and said: “This.” [At-Tirmithi] Bahz Ibn Hakeem related that the Messenger (SAW) said: “Destruction is for the man who tells lies for the amusement of other people. Destruction is for him.” [At-Tirmithi] Sufyaan Ibn Usayd, (May Allah be pleased with him), reported that the Messenger (SAW) said: “The biggest breach of trust is that you tell a thing to your brother who believes it to be true, whereas you have lied to him.” [Abu Daawood] However, there are very few justifications for lying in Islam. The Prophet (SAW) directed us to tell the truth, even under the harshest circumstances of oppression. However, one may choose not to tell the truth when: He is being oppressed and there is a real danger to his life if he speaks the truth.
Shaykh As-Sa’di narrated the following story: “A cruel king ordered an innocent villager present in his court to be executed due to the villager’s lack of manners. Hearing this, the villager began cursing the king in his native language. The king asked his minister, who understood the man’s language, to tell him what the man was saying. The wise minister, instead of telling the truth, told the king that the man was sorry for his conduct and was praising his greatness and pleading for his mercy. The king was affected and therefore spared the life of the innocent villager.” Shaykh As-Sa’di called this: “A lie with wisdom.” To promote harmony between spouses, for example, if one’s wife asks him if she is beautiful or if he loves her, there is no harm in answering in the affirmative, even if this is not the case. While making peace between two quarrelling parties, so that the ordeal would not ignite into something worse. The mediator in such a case may falsely tell one party that the other is speaking high of them. To make the unbelievers realize the truth. When Prophet Ibraaheem, May Allah exalt his mention, broke all the idols except the largest of them, the unbelievers entered the temple and saw the smashed idols. Ibraaheem, had placed the axe in the hand of the chief idol. The disbelievers asked: “Who broke our gods?” “Ask the chief idol, he has the axe.” They replied: “Do you not know that he cannot speak or act?” Ibraaheem, replied: “This is what I have been telling you, so worship Allah rather than these stones that cannot harm or profit you.”
Moreover, truthfulness is commanded by Allah as a part of faith and is an indispensable quality of the believers. It is mentioned in over one hundred places in the Quran. Some examples are when Allah Almighty says that Allah may reward the truthful for their truth; such examples include: “O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are true.” [Quran 9:119]. At another place it is mentioned as “O you who believe! Fear Allah and speak words of appropriate justice.” [Quran 33:70]. The Holy Quran further says that “The believers are only the ones who believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubted not but strived with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah. It is those who are the truthful.” [49:15] To conclude, the life of holy prophet (SAW) was also an epitome of truth. His truthfulness was confirmed even by his worst opponents. Due to this unparalleled virtue, the Holy Prophet (SAW) earned the title of “Sadiq & Amin”; further to say is that even the disbelievers would also deposit their belongings with him as an indication of their trust in him. Therefore, we, the followers of Islam, must inculcate the noble virtue of truthfulness in our lives in order to create a society, based on truth and justice.
— The writer is a Legal practitioner-cum-columnist based in Quetta Balochistan.

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