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Monday, December 06, 2004

The Prophet As the Model for Truthfulness and Trustworthiness

By Dr. Norlain Dindang Mababaya


The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is known as the as-Sadiq and al-’Alamin
(the Truthful and the Trustworthy). People during his time, except the
most arrogant unbelievers among them, believed him as such. The
following Hâdîth for instance tells us:

Ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that when the Verse: "And warn
your tribe of near kindred.” (26:214) was revealed, Allah’s Messenger
(Peace Be Upon Him) went out, and when he had ascended As-Safa mountain,
he shouted, "O Sabahah!" The people said, "Who is that?” "Then they
gathered around him, whereupon he said, "Do you see? If I inform you that
cavalrymen are proceeding up the side of this mountain, will you
believe me” They said, “We have never heard you telling a lie.” Then he
(Peace Be Upon Him) said, "I am a plain warner to you of a coming severe
punishment.” Abu Lahab said, "May you perish! You gathered us only for
this reason?” Then Abu Lahab went away. So the Surat: "Perish the hands
of Abu Lahab!” (111:1) was revealed.” (Bukhari 6/495)

The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) is known to have always told the truth
even when he joked with his Companions. In fact, he even cursed those
who make lies just to make people laugh:

Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that when they said,
“Messenger of Allah, do you make jokes with us!” He (Peace Be Upon Him)
replied, “I say nothing but the truth.” (Tirmidhi 4885)

Mu'awiyah Ibn Jaydah al-Qushayri (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that
Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Woe to him who tells things,
speaking falsely, to make people laugh thereby. Woe to him! Woe to him!”
(Abu Dawud 4972)

We, the Du’ât should emulate the great Messenger of Allah. We must fear
Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and always tell the truth. As Muslims, we
are expected to be truthful and trustworthy:

“O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful.”
(9:119)

“That Allah will reward the people of Truth for their Truth, and punish
the Hypocrites if that be His Will, or turn to them in Mercy; for Allah
is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (33:24)

Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace
Be Upon Him) said, “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand the
Muslims are safe and a believer is one in whom people place their trust in
regard to their life and wealth.” (Tirmidhi 33 and Nasa'i)

To be truthful, we should equip ourselves with the knowledge of the
Truth. This is one of the reasons why we need to seek correct knowledge
of Islam, as much as possible. We should always be ready with whatever
questions the non-Muslims will ask about Islam. If we do not know or
are not sure of the answer(s) then we have to be frank. We can delay the
answer and ask somebody who is knowledgeable (an Imam or a Muslim
scholar) to answer the question. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His
Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) enjoin us to ask those who know:

“... Then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you...”
(10:94)

“...If you realize this not, ask of those who possess the Message.”
(16:43)

‘Abdullah Bin Amr al ‘As (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s
Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) heard some people disputing about the Qur’an.
Thereupon he said: “It was because of this that those gone before you
had perished. They set parts of the books against the others (whereas
the fact is) that the Book of Allah has been revealed with one part
confirming the others. Therefore, do not falsify some parts with the others
and speak only that which you know; that which you do not know, refer
it to one who knows it well.” (Tirmidhi 237, Ahmad and Ibn Majah)

We should never attribute something that has no basis in the Qur’an and
the Sunnah to the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), or to Islam as a whole.
We should take admonitions from the following warnings:

Ali (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him)
said, “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me
(intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” (Bukhari 1/106
and Ibn Majah 1/31)

Salama (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that he heard the Prophet (Peace Be
Upon Him) saying, “Whoever (intentionally) ascribes to me what I have
not said then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.” (Bukhari
1/109)

Wathila bin Al Asqa (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger
(Peace Be Upon Him) said, “Verily, one of the worst lies is to claim
falsely to be the son of someone other than one’s real father; or to
claim to have had a dream one has not had; or to attribute to me what I
have not said.” (Bukhari 4/712)

Abdullah ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger
(Peace Be Upon Him) said: Be mindful when transmitting a Hâdîth from me.
(Transmit) only that which you know (very well) for he who
intentionally lies about me will find his abode in Hell-Fire.” (Tirmidhi 232)

There are many Islamic teachings on truthfulness that should inspire us
to be truthful. We can share them to non-Muslims. Non-Muslims should
know that we, the true Muslims, adhere to truth for we are certain that
Islam is the religion of Truth. Islam teaches truthfulness. It enjoys
its followers to adhere to truthfulness and refrain from lies as shown
in the following authentic teachings:

‘Abdullah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon
Him) said, “Truthfulness leads to Al-Birr (righteousness) and Al-Birr
leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes
a Siddiq (truthful person). Falsehood leads to Al-Fujur (i.e.,
wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fujur leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may
keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.” (Bukhari
8/116 and Muslim 4/6307-6310)

‘Abdullah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be
Upon Him) as saying, “It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for
truth leads to good deeds and good deeds lead him who does them to
paradise. If a man continues to speak the truth and makes truth his
objective, he will be recorded in Allah’s presence as eminently truthful.
Avoid falsehood, for falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads
to hell. If a man continues to speak falsehood and makes falsehood his
objective, he will be recorded in Allah’s presence as a great liar.”
(Muslim 4/6309)

We must include in our prayers that Allah will give us the best
character and manners, which include being truthful. We should also avoid
situations or things that will lead us to make lies. One of these is debt
as the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) warns us in the following Hâdîth:

‘Aishah (radhiallahu anha) narrated that the Prophet (Peace Be Upon
Him) used to invoke Allah in the prayer saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge
with you from all sins, and from being in debt.” Someone said, “O
Allah’s Messenger! (I see you) very often you seek refuge with Allah from
being in debt.” He replied (Peace Be Upon Him), “If a person is in debt,
he tells lies when he speaks, and breaks his promises when he
promises.” (Bukhari 3/582)

In everything we do, we must fear Allah and always tell the truth.
Telling lies do great harms to us especially in the eternal world. If we
die without asking Allah’s forgiveness and we are recorded in His
presence as liars, then we will have a terrible punishment in the Hereafter.
As much as possible, we must avoid telling lies. We must take warning
from the following Hâdîth:

Samura bin Jundub (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (Peace
Be Upon Him) said, “I saw (in a dream) two men came to me.” Then the
Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) narrated the story (saying), “They said,
'The person, the one whose cheek you saw being torn away (from the mouth
to the ear) was a liar and used to tell lies. And the people would
report those lies on his authority till they spread all over the world. So
he will be punished like that till the Day of Resurrection.’” (Bukhari
8/118)

To the non-Muslims who invent lies against Allah, it is our duty to
warn them to refrain from their sheer disbeliefs. They should take
lessons from the many clear Signs of Allah, being the Only God worthy of our
sincere worship and stop associating partners with Allah. They should
fear Allah’s curse and severe punishment in the Hell-Fire:

“And those who believe in Allah and His messengers they are the
Truthful and the martyrs in the eyes of their Rabb. They shall have their
Reward and their Light. But those who reject Allah and deny Our Signs,
they are the Companions of Hell-Fire.” (57:19)

“Who does more wrong than those who invent a lie against Allah? They
will be turned back to the Presence of their Rabb and the witnesses will
say, ‘These are the ones who lied against their Rabb!’ Behold! The
curse of Allah is on those who do wrong!” (11:18)

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