By Imaam Zakariyah Hassan Sarumi
A true Muslim is truthful with all people, because the guidance of Islam, with which his very being is infused, has taught him that ‘truthfulness is the mother of all virtues’. Truthfulness, naturally, yields to goodness, which will admit the one who practises it to paradise; while falsehood leads to inequity which will send the one who practices it to hell.
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “Truthfulness leads to piety (birr), and piety leads to paradise. A man continued to speak the truth until he is recorded in the sight of Allah as a sincere lover of truth. Falsehood leads to inequity and inequity leads to hell. A man will continue to speak falsehood until he’s recorded in the sight of Allah as a liar.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
A Muslim is a sincere lover of truth, striving to be true in word and deed. He should speak the truth even if it is bitter or even against him.
The truthful Muslim who has attained this status does not cheat, deceive or stab anybody in the back, because the requirements of truthfulness are sincerity, purity, fairness and loyalty. This leaves no room for cheating, deception, unfairness and betrayal.
A sensitive and sincere Muslim will not tolerate cheating; indeed he will have a complete aversion to it, because he’s aware that doing this evil deed will negate the principles of Islam. The Prophet (PBUH) stated in a hadith narrated by Muslim: “Whoever bears arms against us is not one of us, and whoever cheats us is not one of us” (Muslim).
In another report also narrated by Muslim, the Prophet (PBUH) passed by a pile of food (in the market), put his hand in it and felt dampness (although the surface of the pile was dry). He said:
“O, owner of the food, what is this?” The man said, “it was contaminated by rain, O, Messenger of Allah.” He said, “And you did not put the rain contaminated food on top so that people could see it! Whoever cheats us is not one of us.”
The community of Muslims is a community built on love and sincerity, whose individual members are endowed with piety, truthfulness and faithfulness. So, there is no room in this community for cheats, swindlers, double crossers, tricksters, 419 or traitors.
The Prophet (PBUH) severally condemned cheats, swindlers and traitors, but it was not enough to denounce them and exclude them from the Muslim community in this world; he went on to announce that on the day of resurrection, every traitor will be raised carrying the flag of his betrayal and a caller with crying out in the vast arena of judgment, pointing and drawing attention to him:
“Every traitor will have a banner on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said, “this is the betrayal of so-and-so.” (Bukhari and Muslim).
How great will be the shame of those traitors who thought that their betrayal was long forgotten, and now here it is, spread out for all to see and carried a aloft on banners held by their own hands.
Their shame on the Day of Judgment will increase when they see Prophet (PBUH) who is the hope of intercession that great and terrible day, ignoring their pleas to him to intercede on their behalf, because they have committed the heinous crime of betrayal. It is a crime of such enormity that it will deprive them of the mercy of Allah and the intercession of the prophet:
“There are three whom I will oppose on the day of resurrection: a man who gave his word then betrayed; a man who sold a free person into slavery and kept the money; and a man who hired someone, benefitted from his labour then he did not pay his wages” (Bukhari; 1994).
The Muslim who is truly sensitive to Islamic ethics will avoid deceit, cheating, treachery and lies no matter what benefits or profits such activities might bring in, because Islam considers those who are guilty of such deeds to be hypocrites. Hypocrites will be in the lowest level of the hell and there will be no one to help them on the Day of Judgment:
“The hypocrites will be in the lowest depths of the fire: no helper will you find for them.” (Quran 4: 145)
The Prophet (PBUH) said: “There are four features, whoever has all of them is a true hypocrite, and whoever has one of them has one of the qualities of hypocrites until he gives it up: when he is trusted, he is unfaithful; when he speaks, he tells lies; when he make a promise, he proves treacherous; and when he disputes, he resorts to slander.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
ADVICE TO BE TRUE
Allah has created this whole universe on the basis of love and has demanded of the people that they should build up their life on the foundation of truth, to make truth and straight dealing a practice of their life and should give place to truth only in their talks and dealings.
When this clear sense is lost in the sight of people, and false stories, superstitions, and absurd believers rule themselves, ideas and thoughts, then hardness and harshness are generated in them, they move away from the right path, and they totally give up those realities, the adoption which was necessary.
For this reason, the strong and firm pillar of a Muslim’s character is straight dealing. It is his duty to be attached to truth in every matter and to see every problem and affair through the glass of truth. To keep it before him in every decision is the clearest manifestation of his dealing and treatment.
Similarly, the construction of the society in Islam is made on this foundation of the mere conjecture and superstitions should be opposed, baseless things and imaginary stories should be thrown out, doubts and misgivings should not be encouraged. Allah’s Messenger has said: “keep away from il- thinking, because ill-thinking is the grreastes falsehood”. (Bukhari)
Another hadith says: “Leave alone doubtful panel, follow those matters in which there is no doubt, for truth is a means of satisfaction and falsehood is the cause of doubt and misgivings.” (Tirmidhi)
Quran has expressed condemnation of those communities which follow conjectures and superstitions that have filled their brains with absurdities and has staked their present and future, with the help of the false stories, on the gamble of corruption and disruption: “They follow nothing but conjecture and what their own souls desire, even though there has already come to them guidance from their lord.”(Surah An-Najim: 23). “But they have no knowledge they are in. They follow nothing but conjecture; and conjecture avails nothing against truth.” (Surah An-Najim:28)
Since Islam respects truth strongly, it turns away liars very harshly. It admonishes them very severely. Hazarat Aisha R.A narrates: “Allah’s Messenger did not hate anything as strongly as he hated falsehood. If he received information that a particular man had told a lie, he used to throw away that man’s respect and honor from his heart till the time he was not informed that he had repented for it.” (Ahmad)
Another narration by her states: “For the Messenger of Allah, falsehood was the worst habit in a person. If any man told a lie to a man in his presence, than man’s thought always troubled him until the time he was informed that he had repented.” (Ibn Habban).
This habit of the Prophet is not at all surprising. This was the policy of our forefathers. Their relationships were formed on the basis of righteousness and good moral character. They knew one another. If anyone had blemishes in his character, he could be singled out on account of his misdeeds, then his position in that society would be like the position of a man suffering from an infectious itching disease in a healthy society, and he was not considered deserving of any respect until he was not called of that defect.
Umar Bn Khattab’s Sternness on His Family During the Famine
Abdullah bn Umar (RA) said: “whenever Umar forbade the people from something, he would enter upon his family and he would say to them, ‘I have forbidden the people from such and such. The people are watching you just as birds would watch a piece of meat; if you break (the rule), they will also break it. If you fear (to break the rule), they will also fear. If anyone of you were brought to me, having committed the offence that I have forbidden the people from, I will multiply his own punishment because of his closeness to me. Whoever wishes let him dare and whoever wishes let him refrain.”
Ibn Sa’d also said: “Umar saw a small piece of watermelon in the hand of a child from among his children, so he said (to the boy): ‘Good! Good!, O son of the commander of believers, you eat watermelon while the community of Muhammad starves? (He took the watermelon from him) and the child ran out of the house crying. ‘He bought it with a trifle of his! The people entreated umar.”
Qatadah said: Muhayqib was the keeper of the treasury. One day he was sweeping the treasury when he found a Dirham and he gave it to one of the children of ‘Umar. Muhayqib said: ‘Then I went to my house and there was a messenger from Umar waiting for me. He told me that Umar was calling me. So I went to him. I found him holding one Dirham in his hand. He said, ‘Woe to you, Muhayqib, do you have anything against me? What is between both of us?” I said: “What is that?” “You want the Ummah of Muhammad to antagonize me on the Day of Judgment over this dirham!” he snapped. ‘He then returned the Dirham to him.”