Through a Hadith recorded by Abu Dawud (No 4972), Prophet (PBUH) said: “ Woe to him who tells things, speaking falsely, to make people laugh thereby. Woe to him! Woe to him!”. Truthfulness in conversation reflects the quality of one’s personality. A Muslim’s words should be devoid of untruths and half-truths, because it will tarnish his life which is otherwise meant to flourish in veracity.
When do we tend to lie? To save ourselves from punishments or culpability, to accuse others for our faults, or to make people laugh. At times, people lie to reinforce a lie that was said before. For whatever reason it may be, Islam does not accede to lying and deceiving. A hadith narrated by Ibn ‘Abbaas cites that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Whoever claims to have seen a dream which he did not see, will be ordered to make a knot between two barley grains which he will not be able to do; and if somebody listens to the talk of some people who do not like him (to listen) or they run away from him, then molten lead will be poured into his ears on the Day of Resurrection; and whoever makes a picture, will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be ordered to put a soul in that picture, which he will not be able to do.” (Bukhari: Volume 9 Book 87 Hadith 165)
Except a very few, most among us can list down the traits of a hypocrite. Often we fail to introspect and realize the tinges of hypocrisy in our diurnal life. In a hadith Prophet explains the characteristics of a hypocrite. Narrated ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr: The Prophet said, “Whoever has the following four (characteristics) will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner.” (Bukhari: Volume 1 Book 2 Hadith 33).
There is a story. A mother didn’t reprimand her son who stole his friend’s pencil. She did not bother to enlighten him about the seriousness of committing a theft. Eventually he began stealing many other gadgets of his friends. He grew up into a notorious thief of that land. Similar might be the story of many thieves, shoplifters and pickpockets. Those who are habituated to stealing and lying will not leave it wherever they are. Most of them could have been refrained from growing into notorious criminals if they were heedfully admonished and advised on time.
Many of us lie to those munchkins. When they don’t drink milk, eat food or sleep, we scare them with ghost or fairy tales. We promise to get things done and then fail to keep our vow. They grow witnessing these and perceive that deceiving and breaking vows are just a part of life, and nothing wrong in doing it. Children of such parents who are heedful, honest and true to their words in life, very rarely fall into such abyss.
In another Hadith reported by Abu Huraira, Prophet (PBUH) enunciates that ‘It is sufficient lying for a man to speak of everything that he hears’. We often trivialize the act of lying. When judging others, denoting individuals, seeking marriage proposals or even in confabs, we tend to lie either small or big. These won’t even show up in our repentance or while seeking Allah’s forgiveness supplicatingly. This is because we fail to heed its seriousness.
See a conversation of a lady with Prophet (PBUH) in a Hadith narrated by Asma (RA). Some lady said, “O Allah’s Messenger! My husband has another wife, so, is it sinful of me to claim that he has given me what he has not (in order to tease her)?” Allah’s Messenger said, the one who pretends that he has been given what he has not been given, is just like the (false) one who wears two garments of falsehood.” (Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 62, Number 146 )
How thoughtful is Prophet (PBUH)’s elucidation. Islam deems perjuring among the major sins. Nowadays, see many believers immersed in prevarications. It is truly a heart wrenching sight for a true believer.
In a hadith Narrated Abu Bakra (RA): The Prophet said, “The biggest of the Great Sins are: To join others in worship with Allah, to be undutiful to one’s own parents, and to give a false witness.” He repeated it thrice, or said, “….a false statement,” and kept on repeating that warning till we wished he would stop saying it ( Bukhari: Vol. 9, Book 84, Hadith 54)
Beloved Prophet (PBUH) had never lied even as a joke. History depicts that he had been impeccably truthful in his pre-prophethood life too. Truthfulness is one of the ‘signs’ of Prophets. Though the Prophets were criticized by non believers upon what they had said and preached, none of them were ever questioned for their personality.. The reason was nothing but the stringent truthfulness and justice they observed in their life. We are the followers of those Prophets and we owe to take forward their mission – da’wah (preaching). Truthfulness is among the best qualities of a da’ee (preacher). If that’s lost, everything else is futile.
Anything wrong that happened due to our ignorance or forgetfulness may be forgiven by Our Lord, the Merciful. For that which happened knowingly, we need to repent to Him from the bottom of our heart. We must pledge such that we won’t say or involve in anything which is untruthful. And need to engrave in our minds: “I will never fear anyone in saying, confirming and practicing truth in my life”.
Just remember, most people who have told a lie think they got away with it.. when in fact they didn’t.
English rendering of article written by Abdul Wadud
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