Lying

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Lying is considered as one of Greater Sins in Islam and has been strictly forbidden, except under certain conditions.

Contents

In the Qur'an

There are many verses in the Qur'an that condemn the sin of lying and describe its negative consequences.

In the Hadith

Lying being a great sin not only has effects on the person uttering the lie, but also on others and thus a liar is inflicted with several kinds of punishments. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) while describing the spectacle of Miraj said:

“I saw a man, who lay flat on his back while an angel mounted his head. The angel who was standing upon the head had a pointed iron rod. He repeatedly injured the sleeping person. The face of the victim was shattered up to the neck. But when the rod was lifted the head returned to its original form. Again the rod was hit on the face and the man suffered the same retribution.”

The Holy Prophet says that he inquired, “Why is this man punished?” He was told, “This is a man who left his home in the morning and uttered a lie that caused harm to the people. So he shall be punished in this manner (after death) till the Day of Qiyama.”[1]

There are numerous other narrations by the Prophet (pbuh) and the Imams (as) that speak of the effects of lying. The Prophet (pbuh) has stated that lying blackens the face[2] and Imam Ali (as) has mentioned that the consequence of lying is humiliation in this world and punishment in the Hereafter.[3]

Exceptions

There are occasions where lying can be considered permissible. These scenarios can include times where telling a lie will remove ill feelings or mistrust between two individuals, or in order to reconcile multiple parties over an issue. If one’s life is in danger and the only way to avoid it is to lie, then in such circumstances a person is permitted to lie. Furthermore, if you are entrusted with someones possession and another intends to seize it; it is your duty to protect the entrusted thing even if you have to resort to falsehood or take a false oath.[4]

Toriya

Toriya is a form of concealing a truth without speaking a lie. It intends speaking the truth in a manner where the listener can interpret it in their own way. For example if someone asks us that such and such person has spoken such evil about me and we reply in the negative while we actually imply that he has not uttered evil about the person in those exact words, even though he may have said similar things in other words. Thus, the listener may imagine that the other person has not said anything.[5]

It is important to note that Toriya without any purpose is considered haraam by some mujtahids and permitted by others. However, the precautionary method is to resort to toriya only when it is certain that it permissible.

Taqiyya

Main article: Taqiyya

Taqiyya (dissimulation) is the concealment or dissimulation of ones belief when one's life is under threat or there is a serious danger or risk to one's property or honour. Therefore having to conceal the truth in these situations is permitted.

References

  1. Da'waat, by Qutubuddin Rawandi
  2. Targhib wa al-Tarhib, vol. 3, pg. 596, #28
  3. Ghurar al-Hikam, #4640
  4. The Seventeenth Greater Sin: Lying, Greater Sins by Ayatullah Abdul Husayn Dastaghaib Shirazi
  5. What is lying for a hidden wisdom?, Religious Questions Answered: Logic for Islamic Rules, by Aytullah Makarem Shirazi and Ayatullah Jafar Subhani
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