Honesty and Lying

TELLING THE TRUTH (قول الحقيقة)

  • Be honest when you speak. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Honesty certainly leads to goodness, and goodness leads to paradise. Truly, a man keeps speaking the truth until he is inscribed as being true through and through. And lying leads to going wrong, and going wrong leads to hell. Truly, a man lies and lies until he is inscribed as being a liar through and through.” [Muslim]
  • Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud said: “A man may speak the truth and persist in doing so until there is in his heart not even room for evil the size of a needle. Or a man may tell lies and persist in doing so until there is in his heart not even room for truth the size of a needle.”

  • God commands that a Muslim be honest. “O you who believe!  Fear God, and be with those who are true (in word and deeds).” [At-Tawbah 9:119]

HONESTY IN BUSINESS RELATIONSHIP (الصدق في العلاقة التجارية)

  • Earning one’s living through decent labor is not only a duty but a great virtue as well. Dependence of any able effortless person on somebody else for a livelihood is a religious sin, a social stigma and disgraceful humility. A Muslim is enjoined by God to be self-supporting and to stay away from being a liability on anybody. Islam respects all kinds of work for earning one’s livelihood so long as there is no indecency or wrong involved. Whatever the individual makes or earns through lawful means is his private possession.
  • The person who is working for another person or for a firm or an institution is ordained by God to do his work with efficiency and honesty. The Prophet said that if any of you undertakes to do any work, God loves to see him do it well and with efficiency. Once the work is done, the worker is entitled to a fair wage for his services.
  • Honest trade is permitted and blessed by God but all business deals should be concluded with frankness and honesty. Cheating, bidding defects of merchandise from the dealers, exploiting the needs of customers, monopoly of stocks to force one’s own prices are all sinful acts and punishable by the Islamic Law.
  • If one is to make a decent living, it has to be made through honest ways and hard endeavor. Otherwise, easy come, easy go, and it is not only that, but anybody that is bred with unlawful provisions will be, according to the Prophet, a burning fuel to the Hell Fire on the Day of Judgment.
  • Woe to those who deal in fraud, those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men give less than due. Do they not think that they will be called to account on a Mighty Day, a Day when (all) mankind will stand before the Lord of the Worlds. [Al-Mutaffifin 83:1-6]

HONESTY IN EDUCATING CHILDREN (الصدق في تعليم الأطفال)

  • Educate your children by your example. Without thinking, we teach our children that dishonesty is acceptable.  When we expect our children to tell the caller on the telephone we are not home, this is a lesson in deceit.  When we refuse invitations and pretend we are busy, this is lying.  We admonish our children for lying, yet the reality is we have been their teachers.
  • Honesty incorporates the concepts of truthfulness and reliability and it resides in all human thought, words, actions and relationships.  It is more than just accuracy; it is more than just truthfulness, it denotes integrity or moral soundness.  Islam commands truthfulness and forbids lying.

HONESTY IN JOKING (الصدق في المزاح)

  • Honesty incorporates the concepts of truthfulness and reliability and it resides in all human thought truthfulness, words, actions and relationships.  It is more than just accuracy; it is more than just, it denotes integrity or moral soundness.  Islam commands truthfulness and forbids lying.
  • It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah said:They said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, you joke with us.’ He said, ‘But I only speak the truth.’” [At-Tirmidhi, 1990]

LYING (الكذب)

  • Lying between you and yourself will lead you to arrogance, the very reason why Iblis was cursed by Allah. Thinking that you are better than others is arrogance which will push you to commit major sins even if you do not do minor sins.
  • Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said: “Beware of lying, for it has nothing to do with faith.”
  • “Only they invent falsehood who believes not Allah’s revelations, and (only) they are the liars.” [An-Nahl 16:105]

3 signs of a hypocrite

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet ﷺ said: The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust.” [Bukhari, 33; Muslim, 59]

Any kind of lying is Haram except in three cases.

  1. Lying in war
  2. Lying to reconcile between two disputing parties
  3. A spouse lying to the other for the sake of love and harmony

It was narrated that Asma Bint Yazid said that the Prophet ﷺ said: “It is not permissible to tell lies except in three (cases): when a man speaks to his wife in a way to please her; lying in war; and lying in order to reconcile between people.” [At-Tirmidhi, 1939; classed as Hasan by Shaykh Al-Albani in Sahih Al-Jami, 7723]

It was narrated from Umm Kulthum Bint Uqbah that she heard the Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “He is not a liar who reconciles between people and narrates something good or says something good.” [Bukhari, 2546; Muslim, 2605]

Lying about Allah and His Messenger

This is the most serious kind of lie, and the one who does this is subject to a severe warning. Say: “Verily, those who invent a lie against Allah will never be successful.” [Yunus 10:69]. It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever tells lies about me, let him take his place in Hell.” [Bukhari, 110; Muslim, 3]

Lying in buying and selling

The two parties involved in a transaction have the option [of canceling it] until they part. If they are honest and truthful, their transaction will be blessed for them and if they conceal something and tell lies, the blessing of their transaction will be wiped out. “O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allah as just witnesses; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety.” [Al-Ma’idah 5:8]

Lying about visions and dreams

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet ﷺ said: “Whoever tells of a dream that he did not see will be commanded [on the Day of Resurrection] to tie two grains of barley together, but he will never be able to do it. Whoever eavesdrops on people’s conversation when they dislike that – or they try to get away from him – will have molten copper poured in his ears in the Day of Resurrection. And whoever makes an image will be punished and will be told to breathe life into it, and he will not be able to do so.” [Bukhari, 6635]

The prohibition of speaking about everything that one hears: It was narrated that Hafs Ibn Asim said that the Prophet ﷺ said: “It is sufficient lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears.’” [Muslim, 5]

Lying in jest

Lying is Haram whether the one who does it is joking or is serious. Lying in jest is Haram just like other kinds of lies. It was narrated that Ibn Umar said that the Prophet ﷺ said: “I joke, but I speak nothing but the truth.” [Tabarani in Al-Mu’jam Al-Kabir, 12/39]. It was narrated that Umar said: “True faith is not achieved until one gives up lying in jest.” [Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 5/235, 236]

Lying when playing with children

We must beware of lying when playing with children, because that will be written down (in the record of deeds of) the one who does that. It was narrated that Abdullah Ibn Amir said: “My mother called me one day when the Messenger of Allah was sitting in our house. She said, ‘Come here, and I will give you (something).’ The Messenger of Allah said, ‘What do you want to give him?’ She said, ‘I will give him a date.’ The Messenger of Allah said: ‘If you had not given him something, you would have been lying.’”

Lying to make people laugh

It was narrated that Mu’awiyah Ibn Haydah said that he heard the Prophet ﷺ say: “Woe to the one who talks to make the people laugh and tells lies, woe to him, woe to him.” [At-Tirmidhi, 235; he said this is Hasan Hadith; also narrated by Abu Dawud, 4990]

Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud said: “A man may speak the truth and persist in doing so until there is in his heart not even room for evil the size of a needle. Or a man may tell lies and persist in doing so until there is in his heart not even room for truth the size of a needle.” Abu Bakr As-Siddiq said: “Beware of lying, for it has nothing to do with faith.”

Punishment of a liar

  • Hypocrisy in the heart: So He punished them by putting hypocrisy into their hearts till the Day whereon they shall meet Him, because they broke that (covenant with Allah) which they had promised to Him and because they used to tell lies. [At-Tawbah 9:77]
  • His testimony will be rejected because it corrupts the very essence of the testimony. The lying tongue is like some faculty that is no longer working; indeed it is even worse than that, for the most evil thing a man may possess is a lying tongue
  • Guidance to evildoing and to the Fire: It was narrated that Abdullah Ibn Mas’ud said: The Prophet ﷺ said: “Truthfulness is righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. A person will continue to tell the truth until he is written with Allah as one who tells the truth. Lying is evildoing, and evildoing leads to Hell. A person will keep on telling lies until he is written as a liar.” [Bukhari, 5743; Muslim, 2607]
  • Blackening of the face in this world and in the Hereafter: The feature of the liar is clearly visible in the face, and everyone who has the eyes to see can see it. Allah will give the liar humiliation and shame, so whoever sees him will loathe him and despise him. “And on the Day of Resurrection you will see those who lied against Allah (i.e. attributed to Him sons, partners) their faces will be black.” [Az-Zumar 39:60]
  • The liar will have the flesh of his cheeks torn to the back of his head: It was narrated that Samurah Ibn Jundub said: “The Messenger of Allah often used to say to his companions, ‘Has anyone among you seen a dream?’ Then whoever Allah willed would tell of his dream. One day he said to us, ‘Two (angels) came to me last night and woke me up, then they said to me, ‘Let’s go!’… So we set out and came to a man who was lying flat on his back and another man standing over his head with an iron hook, and behold, he would put the hook in one side of the man’s mouth and tear off that side of his face to the back (of the neck) and similarly tear his nose from front to back and his eye from front to back. Then he turned to the other side of the man’s face and did just as he had done with the other side. Hardly had he completed this side when the first side was restored to its normal state. Then he went back and did that all over again. I said to my two companions, ‘Subhanallah! Who are these two persons?’ They said to me, ‘Move on, move on!’ (Then he said, describing how the two angels explained the things that he had seen): ‘As for the man you came across, the sides of whose mouth, nostrils and eyes were being torn off from front to back, he is the symbol of the man who goes out of his house in the morning and tells so many lies that it spreads all over the world.’” [Bukhari, 5745]
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