The imam reminds us that Allah SWT has said in Surat Al Furqan, Ayat 72:
And [they are] those who do not testify to falsehood, and when they pass near ill speech, they pass by with dignity.
Dear brothers and sisters, let’s begin by defining falsehood as was mentioned in this Ayat. The roots of falsehood is to make something better than it is, or describe it in a manner different to its reality, so that the person listening to it or looking at it would see it different to its reality.
Alongside that was an explanation of the characteristic of those who Allah wanted us to aspire to. They were the type that if they went by any conversation that is pointless or waste of time, they would respect themselves by not stopping by and getting involved in such conversation.
These days there is a growing pressure to fit into society. Especially with the youth it is an ever present source of anxiety to fit into the cool crowd but this also applies in social circles as we grow up.
And on top of that there is the problem that this kind of behaviour, the utterance of falsehood, to exaggerate is more and more the norm. When we see others behaving this way, we are usually torn with one part of us wanting nothing to do with that person or group and yet there is another part of us that is urging us not to break ties with this social group in case we are outcast from our peers.
This is a problem in society and its not easy making a stand against this kind of behaviour but on the flipside, being witness to falsehood is one of the biggest of sins & greatest of sins.
The imam reminds us of this in Sura Al Hajj, aya 30 during which Allah SWT mentions the behaviour we should take to people who are lying around us. It says:
So shun the filth of idols, and shun lying speech.
The Prophet of Allah SWT also speaks of this topic in the following hadith:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said thrice, “Shall I not inform you of the biggest of the great sins?” We said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)” He said, “To join partners in worship with Allah: to be undutiful to one’s parents.” The Prophet (ﷺ) sat up after he had been reclining and added, “And I warn you against giving forged statement and a false witness; I warn you against giving a forged statement and a false witness.” The Prophet kept on saying that warning till we thought that he would not stop.
Dear brothers and sisters, we know that lying is to utter falsehood but there is another point worth mentioning in today’s reminder.
It is also from false witness if its done without actually knowing it is the case. In other words, to claim something is true without knowing the facts of the situation.
The evidence is Sura Hujurat Aya 6 which the imam reminds us of which translates to say:
O believers, if an evildoer comes to you with some news, verify it (investigate to ascertain the truth), lest you should harm others unwittingly and then regret what you have done.
Dear brothers and sisters, as Muslims our testimony should be a sign of our faith. We ought to have the reputation of those who do not utter falsehood, entertain falsehood or even witness others that have this behaviour. We need to be the type of people who are known for speaking the truth, as reliable witnesses and those who will not make statements without thought or consideration to the facts.
Bear in mind that the sin and the evil act becomes greater if this was done for disgraceful reasons, such as for worldly reasons for money or position, or as mentioned earlier for their social groups or peer pressure.
This is reminded to us by the imam by Surat Ma’eda, aya 8 which is translated to say:
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah , witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.
And so, this reminder concludes with 3 practical tips we can do when in a high pressure situation that is in danger of having us fall into the trap as described in today’s khutba.
- If in a social situation that is falling into this trap, identify the leader of the group and work to deflect that person away from that type of conversation through distraction for example.
- Hang around other people who are also mindful of this trap. Even if it is just one other person, use each other to recognize these dangerous situations and feed off one another’s conversation to move it away from the danger zone.
- Evaluate your social circles. If this is a prominent issue in your social scene then ask yourself if there is any real benefit to being around these people. If they are unavoidable then go back to step 1, identify the main culprit and work on that person to change for the better.
Dear brothers and sisters, avoiding falsehood is a combination of doing and saying what is right and making the right choices of who one chooses to spend their time around and how they handle themselves in that social situation.
We ought to remind ourselves that strength comes from Allah SWT and everything we sacrifice for His sake will be replaced by something that is better for us in both this life and the next insh’Allah.
May Allah SWT protect us from this part of society. May Allah SWT enable us to avoid uttering and witnessing falsehood. And may Allah SWT rewards us for our efforts in keeping clear of falsehood.