Allah has created this whole universe on the basis of love, and has demanded of the people that they should build up their life on the foundation of truth, to make truth and straight dealing a practice of their life, and should give place to truth only in their talks and dealings.
When this clear sense is lost sight of by people, and false stories, superstitions and absurd beliefs rule their self, ideas and thoughts, then hardness and harshness are generated in them they move away from the right path, and they totally give up those realities the adoption of which was necessary.
For this reason, the strong and firm pillar of a Muslim’s character is straight dealing. It is his duty to be attached to truth in every matter and to see every problem and affair through the glasses of truth, to keep it before him in every decision is the clearest manifestation of his dealing and treatment.
Similarly, the construction of the society in Islam is made on this foundation that mere conjectures and superstitions should be opposed baseless things and imaginary stories should be thrown outs doubts and misgivings should not be encouraged, because strong and firm realities only deserve to be manifested; they should have their imprint on the society s and their help should be taken in strengthening various relations.
What the Prophet Taught about Truth
Allah’s Messenger has said:
“Keep away from ill-thinking, because ill-thinking is the greatest falsehood.” (Al-Bukhari)
Another hadith says:
“Leave alone doubtful things, follow those matters in which there is no doubts for truth is a means of satisfaction and falsehood is the cause of doubts and misgivings.” (At-Tirmidhi)
The Qur’an has expressed condemnation of those communities who follow conjectures and superstitions that have filled their brains with absurdities and has staked their present and future, with the help of the false stories, on the gamble of corruption and disruption:
They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire, even though there has already come to them Guidance from their Lord. (An-Najm 53:23)
But they have no knowledge therein. They follow nothing but conjecture and conjecture avails nothing against Truth. (An-Najm 53:28)
Liars in Islam
Since Islam respects truth most strongly, it turns away liars very harshly. It admonishes them very severely. `A’ishah narrates:
“Allah’s Messenger did not hate anything as strongly as he hated falsehood, If he received information that a particular man has told a lie, he used to throwaway that man’s respect and honour from his heart till the time he was not informed that he has repented for it.” (Ahmad)
Another narration by her states:
“For the Messenger of Allah falsehood was the worst habit in a person, If any man told a lie in his presence, that man’s thought always troubled him until the time he was informed that he has repented.” (Ibn Habban)
This habit of the Prophet is not at all surprising. This was the policy of our forefathers. Their relations were formed on the basis of righteousness and good moral character. They knew each other.
If anyone had blemishes in his character, and if he could be singled out on account of his misdeeds, then his position in that society would be like the position of a man suffering from an infectious itching disease in a healthy society, and he was not considered deserving of any respect until he was not cured of that defect.
The distinctive characteristic of the Muslim society in its first period was truth, disciplines, tolerance and cautious manner of speaking, Falsehood, breaking of promises, false accusations, and baseless things are the signs of disruption or of breaking away relation from religion. Or if they are to be termed as having relation with the religion, then it would be caused the religious business of the false accusers, deceivers and tricksters, or the religiosity of liars and promise breakers.
Falsehood… A Great Curse
Falsehood is such an evil that discloses the internal corruption and wickedness of the liar; and this is a name of the wrong dealing which only acts in spreading evil. so much so that even without the needs that are troublesome or the forcing inclinations it leads persons to committing sins.
Some evils are such that a man is involved in them totally. They are like diseases which require a very long –drawn treatment; they are like fright and cowardice, which always hinder the progress of a coward and a frightened man, or like greed which makes men miserly and stingy.
When some people come out for jihad to accompany the soldiers. they are shivering in their boots. Or some other people who are terrified when they work out the amount of Zakat that they have to pay. What is the comparison of these coward and miserly natures with those brave and generous natures which rush towards death laughing and which spend their wealth in the cause of Allah most willingly!
Here some excuse can be found for such person as they become a prey of their fears and doubts when called upon to offer sacrifices
But there can be absolutely no excuse for those who make lying their habit and who for the whole of their life go on deceiving people by their falsehoods.
Allah’s Messenger said:
“All the evils can be found in a mu’min (believer), except dishonesty and falsehood.” (Ahmad)
The Messenger of Allah was asked whether any Muslim could be a coward. He answered : “Yes.” He was asked:
“Can a mu’min (believer) be a miser ?’ He said that yes, he could be a miser. He was again asked: “Can a mu’min be a liar?” He replied: “No !” (Malik)
The replies of the Prophet show that these factors of deficiency and weakness enter some persons’ nature and when they are called upon to do their duty or pay the dues of Arab and His slaves, then these factors adversely influence them. But this does not mean that miserliness is tolerated and cowardice is a lesser evil.
How is “ possible when non-payment of zakat and running away from jihad are acts which touch the borderline of infidel (kufr)”!
The extent to which a liar and a defiant person may spread falsehood and however wide this extent may be his sin before Allah will be to the same extent. Journalists, who misguide the people by false news, politicians who misrepresent important public problems and slaves of selfishness who cast aspersions against eminent persons and ladies of good character-all these sections commit terrible crimes and their punishment is very severe.
Allah’s Messenger said:
“One night I saw two men. They came to me and said: ‘Any man whom you see talking by widening his jaws, consider him a liar, He tells a lie which is copied through his medium, till it is talked of in the whole world. He goes on doing this till the Doomsday.” (Fathul Bari)
Making false promises to their subjects by the rulers also comes in this category, because the falsehood spoken from the pulpit spreads to the four corners of the world.
It is in the Tradition that “Three persons can never enter Paradise. First the old man who commits illegal sex, second the man who tells lies and third that poor man who indulges in pride.” (AI Bazzar)
Falsehood against the Religion
To invent lies against Allah’s religion is the worst evil. One who has the slightest relation with Allah and His Messenger will never indulge in this kind of activity.
This is the worst kind of liar, and the consequences which he will have to face are terrible.
The Prophet has said: “The consequence of inventing falsehood against me is not as bad as it is for inventing falsehood against anybody. Let the man who purposely and wittingly makes a false statement about me make his destination Hell.” (Al-Bukhari)
In the list of false charges and accusations are included all those inventions and absurdities which the uneducated have fabricated against Allah’s religion, which have no place in the faith. The general public has taken them to be the religion though they have nothing to do with it. In fact they are nothing but mere pastime and plaything.
Allah’s Messenger has warned his followers against the sources of these invented absurdities, has admonished them to be wary of adopting other ways than those directed by the Qur’an and the Sunnah. He has said:
“In the last period of my Ummah there will come people who will be deceitful, liars. They will tell you things which you would never have heard, nor have your forefathers heard them. Be wary of them; let them not misguide you and let them not involve you in corruptions.” (Muslim)
The article is excerpted from the book “Muslim Character” , an American-English translation of Muhammad Al-Ghazali’s Khuluq Al-Muslim, published by Islam Presentation Committee (IPC), Kuwait.