Those Who Do Not Testify to Falsehood

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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Islam’s emphasis on nobility, ethics and morality can impress any open-minded person who has an objective and unbiased approach.

Teaching of morals in Islam has a dual purpose. On the one hand it compels to practice virtues and on the other hand it commands to give up vices. One of those main vices is the one of lying or uttering falsehood.

Lying is the worst of vices. It may be by tongue or by action or both and in all cases highly condemnable. Lying weakens the Iman or faith and exhibits the inner hollowness. Lying is against the teaching of all prophets.

The Prophet, peace be upon him, said:

Stick to truthfulness, as it leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise; and a person will keep on telling the truth until he becomes a truthful person.

From this hadith we can appreciate the importance given to this character trait. Our prophet, peace be upon him, is, in essence, giving us a path to Allah’s SWT mercy and paradise and it all begins with the elimination of lies.

A believer can never tell lies because he believes in the signs of Allah SWT and his Messenger, peace be upon him, and he believes in the Hadith of the prophet which says:

Falsehood leads to wickedness or evil-doing and that then leads to the Hell-fire, and a man will keep on telling lies until he is written off by Allah SWT as a liar.

So in this hadith we can see the opposite of the earlier Hadith in that the alternate path leads to Hellfire and this all begins with the telling of lies.

Even the disbelievers in the pre-Islamic era did not foster falsehood as a method of life, or as a means of attaining their goals.

When Abu Sufyaan, may Allah SWT be pleased with him, was still a disbeliever, he was asked a question about the Prophet peace be upon him, by Heraclius the Roman Emperor.

As head of the Quraish tribe from which the Prophet peace be upon him came, this was an ample opportunity for him to spread falsehood about the Prophet peace be upon him but he was later quoted as saying:

“I swear by Allah that if I did not fear becoming notorious for falsehood, I would have lied about him”

We need to remind ourselves that we are now the people who are blessed by Allah SWT with the perfect religion that encourages you to be truthful and tells you about its benefits and forbids you from falsehood and clarifies its dire consequences.

And Allah SWT has stated that we will be held accountable for such through the verses of the Quran. In Sura Qaaf, ayat 18 Allah SWT says:

Man does not utter any word without there being an observer there to record.

We will all be answerable for our deeds on the day of Judgement so be mindful of this. Like all other sins, falsehood is detested by the souls of the believers. However, be wary brothers because if it is committed once then it becomes easy for man to commit again, and if it is commited again, It will be easier for man to commit it over and over until it becomes part of one’s instinct and he commits it on purpose. This is the person that will be held as a liar in the sight of Allah SWT

In Sura Al-Nahl, ayat 105, Allah SWT says:

They only invent falsehood who do not believe in the verses of Allah SWT, and it is those who are the liars

Think before you say something about others. Be very cautious while making comments about a person in his absence. Avoid suspicion and mistrust and think good of people.

Being truthful requires honesty and sincerity in words, deeds and all situations. Being truthful in words entails restraining the tongue from telling any lies even for jokes. The Prophet, peace be upon him, used to joke but would only speak the truth.

Being truthful in deeds demands adherence to the obedience of Allah SWT, being conscious of Him privately and openly and to avoid any sign of hypocrisy that eats up the rewards and the good deeds.

Most importantly, be truthful and sincere when it comes to repentance to Allah SWT. This is surely where it matters the most.

Allah SWT says in Sura At-Tahrim, ayat 8:

Oh you who believe, Repent to Allah with a most sincere repentance

May Allah SWT clean our hearts and enable us to watch our tongues and our acts. May Allah SWT make us from those with the best manners, morals and ethics. And may Allah SWT recall us as from those of the truthful and not of those of falsehood.

Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.

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