Could you please give information about Lying? What are the circumstances under which lying is permissible?

The Details of the Question
Could you please give information about Lying? What are the circumstances under which lying is permissible?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Lying is a habit of telling too many lies. Lying is hiding the truth and telling the opposite of what is known. Lying is a very abominable habit. Our religion prohibited lying severely and made it haram.

Lying is a disease in one’s soul. Muslims should protect themselves from it. Children should be trained to tell the truth when they are still young and they should be explained why lying is harmful.

Although Allah the Glorious ordered “Avoid lying” (al-Hajj, 22:60), there are people who lie for simple worldly interests. Especially, perjury (false testimony) is a very abominable behavior and this is counted amongst major sins. A true Muslim should tell the truth and refrain from lying, even though it may be against his own good. Allah the Supreme said:

“O ye who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for God can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that ye do.” (al-Nisa, 4:135).

The Reverend Prophet also emphasized that lying and perjury is amongst major sins. (Riyazu’s-Salihin, III, 138). Moreover, he stated that lying is an indicator of being hypocrite. (Muslim, Faith, 107).

Lying is permitted in three situations in our religion:

a) Someone imposed to cruelty and injustice can lie in order to save his/her life, property and honor from being harmed.

b) Lying is permitted when it is used in order to reconcile between spouses who are offended with each other; because the Messenger of Allah said: “He is not a liar who reconciles between people and who says or narrates good words for this reason.” (Muslim, Birr, Sila, 27).

c) Lying is permitted during war in order to defeat enemy.

As for the perversity of lying, the Prophet (pbuh) said:

“Lying leads to perversity and perversity leads to Hell. By lying again and again, one is eventually recorded as a liar by Allah.” (Bukhari, Adab, 69; Muslim, Birr, 103-105). This is the most important negativity of lying. That is to say; it is the fact that it alienates one from pleasing Allah and eventually leads to Hell. Moreover, lying puts people at odds with each other. It destroys trust between people, causes chaos in society, ends friendships and gives rise to enmity. For a lie will be noticed sooner or later, liars become people who are not trusted, not respected and not loved. In summary, lying leads one to devastation both in this world and the otherworld.

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