Truthfulness: The Hard Way to Parad...

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Truthfulness: The Hard Way to Paradise

Truthfulness: The Hard Way to Paradise

Lack of truthfulness is the thing that societies suffer from nowadays most. Lying is such a wicked habit. It is the stem of all other ailments that societies ache with. Who would cheat in his trade but a liar? Who would monopolize goods to raise their prices but a liar?And so forth, we will find lying and falsehood in every fatal ailment and on all levels.

Islam, therefore, emphasized the importance of abiding by truthfulness in all times and states. There is even a Qur’anic command in this respect, where Allah (SWT) says what can be translated as, “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true,” (At-Tawbah: 119).

Allah (SWT) showed us that all kinds of righteousness, wholly, are summarized, in their most elevated form, in utter truthfulness, so He said, “Righteousness is not that you turn your faces toward the east or the west, but [true] righteousness is [in] one who believes in Allah , the Last Day, the angels, the Book, and the prophets and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to relatives, orphans, the needy, the traveler, those who ask [for help], and for freeing slaves; [and who] establishes prayer and gives zakah; [those who] fulfill their promise when they promise; and [those who] are patient in poverty and hardship and during battle. Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous,”(Al-Baqarah: 177). All the acts of obedience mentioned in this verse, such as faith, giving charity and zakah, fulfilling promises, showing patience in hardship and during war, all of this is unachievable except by a truthful person, who fears from lying and keen on truthfulness.

Emphasizing the importance of truthfulness, the Noble Qur’an sends powerful signals from time to time to assert the fact that truthfulness is the standard by which people are categorized before the Exalted Lord of the worlds. They are either truthful or utter hypocrites. Read what your Lord is plainly saying, “That Allah may reward the truthful for their truth and punish the hypocrites if He wills or accept their repentance,”(Al-Ahzab: 24) and then choose for yourself, Muslim brother, which party you wish to be in before your Lord, Exalted be He?

Moreover, Allah (SWT), in the same context, tells us that truthfulness is the only thing, by which the servant of Allah (SWT) will be saved from the torture and wrath of Allah (SWT). He says, “‘This is the Day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness.’ For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment,”(Al-Ma’idah: 119).

Allah (SWT) even describes His prophets (AS)[1] by this attribute to stress more its importance and that it is one of the greatest attributes a believer can ever possess. Allah (SWT) says about Ibrahim (Abraham) (AS), “And mention in the Book [the story of] Ibrahim. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet,”(Maryam: 41).
He also says about Idrees (Enoch) (AS)“And mention in the Book, Idrees. Indeed, he was a man of truth and a prophet,” (Maryam: 56).

About Isma’il (Ishmael) (AS) He says, “And mention in the Book, Ishmael.Indeed, he was true to his promise, and he was a messenger and a prophet,”(Maryam: 54). And about Yusuf (Joseph) (AS), Allah (SWT) says, “Joseph, O man of truth…”(Yusuf: 46), and said about our beloved Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH), “…and Allah and His Messenger spoke the truth,” (Al-Ahzab: 22).

If you went through the invocations narrated after the prophets and messengers of Allah (SWT) in the Noble Qur’an, you would notice the great focus given to truthfulness, asserting that it is the only way to be saved in the Hereafter.Ibrahim (AS)al-Khalil(the close friend of Allah (SWT)), invokes Allah (SWT)to give him reputation of honor among later generations, so he says in the Qur’an, “And grant me a reputation of honor among later generations,” (Ash-Shu’ara’: 84). It is a reward of the same nature of the deed. Meaning, you will be remembered by your good reputation if you are truthful to Allah (SWT), people and to yourself.

Allah (SWT), teaching His Prophet (PBUH), says, “And say, ‘My Lord, cause me to enter a sound entrance and to exit a sound exit and grant me from Yourself a supporting authority,’”(Al-Isra’: 80). Allah (SWT) teaches His Prophet to invoke Him to enter and exit an entrance of sidq(truthfulness), for truthfulness is the foundation of everything good. Therefore, Allah (SWT) gave the good tidings to His servants that they will have a firm precedence of honor and a seat of honor, so He said, “…and give good tidings to those who believe that they will have a [firm] precedence of honor with their Lord"?”(Yunus: 2)
He also said, “Indeed, the righteous will be among gardens and rivers, In a seat of honor near a Sovereign, Perfect in Ability,”(Al-Qamar: 54-55).

Thereupon, the Messenger (PBUH) was very much concerned about educating his Companions and the whole nation about truthfulness. He knew, may the Peace and Blessings of Allah (SWT) be upon him, that it is the foundation of all good. Therefore, in a hadith reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim, on the authority of Ibn-Mas’oud, (RA)[2],
he said,

“Truthfulness leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person. Falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the Hellfire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.”

Imam Nawawi (RA), in his commentary about this hadith says, “Scholars said, ‘It means that truthfulness leads to good deeds that are pure from anything dispraised. Others said that birr means Paradise. So, it may mean both: the good deed and Paradise. As for falsehood or lying, it leads to wickedness. It is to deviate from the straight path. This indicates that the Messenger (PBUH) is urging us to be keen on truthfulness and keep on its path. He also warns against falsehood and taking it lightly, for whoever takes lying lightly, lies a lot and then he would be known among people as a liar. If man took lying as a habit, he would be written before Allah (SWT) as a liar. If, on the other hand, took truthfulness as a habit, he will be written before Allah (SWT) as a truthful.

At-Tirmidhi, narrated a hadith with a sound chain of narrators that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Truthfulness is tranquility and falsehood is suspicion.”

Ibn-Abul-Donya narrated on the authority of Mansour Ibnul-Mo’tamer that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “Seek truthfulness even if it will bring you to ruin; in it is your real salvation.”

This is such a magnificent direction from the Messenger (PBUH). Many are those people who think that falsehood saves them in some situations and if they said the truth, they would be doomed. In fact, this is a shallow vision of the matter.All the situations, upon which people built such an idea, end up with the liar regretting lying. He even wishes if he would go back in time so that he would not lie again. This is because of the bad consequences he experienced out of falsehood. This would inevitably take place, either in this worldly life, with all people watching him or in the Hereafter when he receives his punishment from Allah (SWT), when it is too late!

Imam Ahmad narrated in his Musnad with a sound chain of narrators through Ibn-Omar that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “There are four things, which if you possess, then you should not regret whatever you miss from this world: speaking the truth, fulfilling trusts, good manners and lawful source of provision.”

Imam Ahmad also narrated a hadith with a sound chain of narrators through UbadahIbnul-Samet that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “If you guarantee me six things on your part, I shall guarantee you Paradise: Speak the truth when you talk, keep a promise when you make it, when you are trusted with something fulfill your trust, avoid sexual immorality, lower your gaze (in modesty) and restrain your hands from injustice.”

All these assertions are to let the Muslim know for sure that entering Paradise is contingent upon truthfulness. Being saved in this worldly life is contingent upon truthfulness. The contentment of Allah (SWT) with His servant is contingent upon truthfulness. People’s love for one in this life is contingent upon truthfulness. The good remembrance of one after his or her death is contingent upon truthfulness.

Someone may ask, ‘My truthfulness brings me nothing but troubles! What would I gain out of it? I would always say the truth, only to get people mad at me! I would lose a lot because of truthfulness!’
To this person I say, it is enough for you that you will gain the contentment of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (PBUH). It is enough that you would enjoy the peace of mind and tranquility that all liars are deprived of. Did you not listen to your beloved Messenger (PBUH) when he said, “Truthfulness is tranquility and falsehood is suspicion.”? It is enough that when you are truthful in your trade, industry, or any of your affairs, Allah (SWT) will bless you, your trade, industry and all your affairs. Your provision will multiply because of the barakah (blessing) of Allah (SWT). The Messenger (PBUH) said, “The seller and the buyer have the right to keep or return goods as long as they have not parted or till they part; and if both the parties spoke the truth and described the defects and qualities (of the goods), then they would be blessed in their transaction, and if they told lies or hid something, then the blessings of their transaction would be lost.”It is enough for you that truthfulness will save you from evil, because ‘in truthfulness lies safety’. Many are those stories that we can relate in this respect to prove the great influence of truthfulness on the salvation of humanity.

[1] AS= Alayhe as-Salam [All Peace of Allah be upon him].

[2]Radya Allah anhu/anha [May Allah be pleased with him/her].

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