Telling lies

One of the forms of dishonesty that falsity brings with it is the “lie.” No genuine and honest person feels the need to make any effort to prove they speak the truth and to convince people around them of their honesty. They know that their honesty will, by Allah’s leave, be reflected in their state of mind and behavior. Indeed, the honesty of such people can clearly be seen from their looks, expressions, tone of voice, language and the way they describe events. The situation is very different, however, on the other side of the coin; since people who resort to sophistry are unsure of themselves because of their dishonesty they feel a great need to cover their situation up. But it is impossible to support insincere behavior by any honest means.  They will merely try to resolve the issue by dishonest behavior that is incompatible with the Qur’an. That is why they resort to lying. But it is impossible, of course, to make good or cover up one evil through other wicked behavior. This simply causes a person to stray even further from the true path and to lose even more sincerity and even more of other people’s respect. This behavior also has a damaging effect on other believers’ confidence in that person. Because believers evaluate such behavior solely in the light of the Qur’an. Allah tells us in the Qur’an that lying is behavior He dislikes and has prohibited:

That is it. If someone honors Allah’s sacred things, that is better for him in his Lord’s sight. All livestock are permitted to you except what has already been recited to you. Have done with the defilement of idols and have done with telling lies. (Surat al-Hajj, 30)

Woe to every wicked liar. (Surat al-Jathiyya, 7)

People who adopt insincerity because of their earthly desires are of course aware of this stipulation in the Qur’an. They know that lies will sooner or later be exposed in this world and the Hereafter, and that Allah will not approve of such behavior. They thus engage in further insincere behavior to try to legitimize that initial insincerity. They sometimes admit that saying the opposite of something that is perfectly evident and manifest and thus trying to conceal the truth is lying and avoid doing so. But they also insist that some matters are exceptional and do not count as lying. Satan acts as their guide by teaching them cunning techniques. For example, he shows them ways of lying and speaking in a cunning manner that is difficult to disprove. He convinces them that if a lie cannot be disproved, then it is really not a lie at all. And he thus wants them to live dishonestly, by telling lies in a manner that is not given its proper name.

Therefore, although they frequently tell lies, the people in question regard this defective behavior as legitimate, in other words, they do not consider it to be such. They try to justify themselves by satan’s method, by offering various excuses for their lies. They say things such as, “It just popped out of my mouth,” “I expressed myself badly,” “That is not really what I meant,” “I remembered incorrectly,” “I forget to mention that bit,” or “I got things mixed up.” They seek to give the impression that the lie they have told is well-intended and harmless behavior. When reminded they should avoid lying, they maintain that their intention was not to lie, merely to explain the situation in which they found themselves.  When the dishonest nature of all this behavior is demonstrated to them they then adopt another technique, saying that “it does not matter what people think as they are sure of the good intentions in their hearts.” Of course the intention in a person’s heart is of the greatest importance. But the people in question attempt to distort this truth and use it as a means of justifying their dishonesty. In the same way, what needs to be borne in mind is not, of course, what people think, but Allah’s knowledge of the truth. But these people use that fact for dishonest ends. Based on the fact that only Allah can know their hearts, they try to prove their hearts to others. But in their hearts they are in fact aware of their insincerity. Therefore, in maintaining that what matters is the “intention” in their hearts and they are sure of their own sincerity even if others do not believe it, they are actually telling another lie. They take Allah as their witness for what is hidden in their hearts.
But the fact is that Allah knows they are lying. The situation of these people is revealed in a verse from the Qur’an: “They tell a lie against Allah, and they know it.” (Sura al-‘Imran, 78).

Even if nobody realizes that someone is lying, even if that person manages to use their dishonesty to convince the people around them, Allah still knows all secret things. This is also revealed in the Qur’an:

Everything in the heavens and everything on the earth and everything in between them and everything under the ground belongs to Him.
Though you speak out loud, He knows your secrets and what is even more concealed. (Surah Ta-Ha, 6-7)

Certainly your Lord knows what their hearts keep hidden and what they divulge. (Surat an-Naml, 74)

"... Not one thing about them will be hidden from Allah..." (Surat al-Mumin, 16)

Allah knows the full details of all the dishonesty employed to distort the truth and all the lies told to conceal this. And in the verse "... do not approach indecency – outward or inward..." (Surat al-An’am, 151) Allah has forbidden all forms of improper behavior.  In another verse, “Abandon wrong action, outward and inward. Those who commit wrong action will be repaid for what they perpetrated.” (Surat al-An’am, 120) He warns people to avoid falsity.

But these people, who regard their own worldly interests as more important than Allah’s approval, ignore these truths. They try to justify themselves by playing word games in order to legitimize the dishonesty they perpetrate under the influence of satan. The Qur’an reveals that these people, who tell whole strings of lies as a result of these endeavors and make telling lies a habit, fall under the influence of satan in another verse:

Shall I tell you upon whom the demons descend? They descend on every liar. They give them a hearing and most of them are liars.  And as for poets, it is the misled who follow them. (Surat ash-Shu‘ara’, 221-224)

No matter how much one may try to deceive oneself or ease the pangs of one’s conscience, one can never change the true fact. Everything a person does is written down at every moment by the recording angels to their right and left. Even if a person manages to deceive others, the truth is still preserved in the sight of Allah. People will be held to account in Allah’s presence for everything they have done and every word they have uttered. No matter what mistakes he may make, an honest person, however, will attain salvation so long as he seeks to make amends for these through the moral values of the Qur’an.

2009-01-02 22:01:09

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