Among the signs of truthfulness is tranquility in the heart. And
among the signs of falsehood or a lie is
the restlessness (reeba; which also means
doubt) of the heart. As reported in Tirmidhi: Al-Hasan ibn 'Ali reported that
the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam,
said: "Truthfulness is tranquility, and lying is restlessness" (Tirmidhi, graded
The two sound collections report on
the authority of Abdallah ibn Mas'ud
that the Prophet, sallallahu alayhe wa sallam, said: "Verily, truthfulness leads
to righteousness (birr), and righteousness leads to the Garden. A man speaks
truths until he is written with Allah as a
truthful person (siddiq). Lying leads to
wickedness (fujur), and wickedness to
the Fire. A man lies until he is written
with Allah as a liar" (Bukhari, Muslim).
Hakim ibn Hizam, may Allah be
pleased with him, reported that the
Messenger of Allah, sallallahu alayhe wa
sallam, said: "The buyer and the seller
have the choice (to revoke the deal) until
they part. If they were truthful (while
making the deal) and clear, they are
blessed, and if they Bed and concealed,
the blessing of their transaction is eliminated" (Bukhari, Muslim).
The Essence of Truthfulness
'Abdalwahid ibn Zayd said: "Truthfulness is to be loyal to Allah in deed."
Another said: "It is the agreement of the
inside with one's words." It has also been
said: "It is the identity of the secret and
the evident.The outside of a disbeliever
or a hypocrite is better than his inside."
It has also been said: "Truthfulness is to
proclaim the truth even at occasions of
Al-Junayd said: "The truthful person
changes (his state) 40 times a day, while
an ostentatious person stays on the same
state for 40 years." These words need
explanation, for it appears to contradict commonsense. But what Al-Shaykh
Abu'l-Qasim [al-Junayd] means is different, and is correct. For the thoughts and
objections that occur to the truthful do
not occur to the liar. Even Shaytan does
not interfere with the liar too much,
for there is no good inside of a liar to
begin with which he would want to corrupt. The truthful is challenged by these
objections or threats, and moves from
one action to another, one state to the
next, fearing complacency and losing his
ultimate goal, Allah. This is the state of
the one truthful in seeking Allah. Similar
is the case with one who is truthful in
seeking knowledge, or this world, and so
on. Anyone who is truthful in his search
is never stationary at the same state.
Al-Sadiq, truthful, is one whose goal
truly is the pleasure of his Lord, fulfillment of His commands, and the following of the path that He loves. He follows
these aims no matter where they take
him. You will find him now in remembrance of Allah, now in battle, now in
performance of Hajj, now in benefiting
people through teaching and other ways,
now in commanding good and forbidding
wrong, now in establishing some cause
which helps the Deen of Allah as well
as this-worldly benefit, now in visiting
the sick or following a funeral, now in
helping the oppressed if possible, and so
on. Such a person is constantly in a state
of separation (tafarruq) while also being
in the state of concentration (jam 'iyyah).
They are not owned by any formalities,
customs, or forms in worshipping God.
They have no one place where they will
pray to the exclusion of any other; no
one clothing that they will wear to the
exclusion of any other (wool or cotton
or any particular robe). They have no
one particular form of worship that they
will do to the exclusion of others. For in
such formalities (that many people have
invented) there is calamity, ostentation,
artificiality, worshipping of one's own
self rather than God, and preference of
one's one desire rather than God's command. These ailments have obstructed
those who adopt these limitations from
their journey to Allah, the Most High.
They become prisoners of their forms,
and consider it below their level to perform certain acts of worship, and fear
that people will look down upon them,
neglecting their downfall in the eyes of
Among them (such Sufis or worshippers), there are those who sense this
sickness in their state, yet the prison of
their formalities, outer forms, and outfits
never permits them to correct this sickness. This is the case with the liar and the
ostentatious, who shows to people other
than what he knows of himself before
God. This is the very essence of hypocrisy. Were he to work for God's pleasure
and be truthful, those formalities and
limits would become unbearable for him.
Thus, the statement of Abu'l-Qasim
al-Junayd is correct and grounded in
truth, for he knew the depth of the soul
and its afflictions and the ways in which
truth becomes confused with falsehood.
The bearing of truth is like the bearing
of a huge mountain-none but those
given determination and strength can
manage it.They stand under it unsettled)
like one who is lifting a heavy load. While
the ostentatious liars carry nothing and
thus sense no burden.
[On the essence of truthfulness] another said: "One who flatters oneself or
another person cannot so much as smell truthfulness."
Ibrahim al-Khawwas (d. 292 AH) said: "A truthful person is one whom you see
not except performing an obligation or
seeking higher status through a supererogatory act."
Al-Junayd said: "The essence of truthfulness is that you tell the truth at the
occasion where nothing but lying would
have saved you."
It has also been said: "Three things
never part a truthful person: Sweetness
[of being truthful], saltiness [of consequences], and awe [of the Truth-God]."
One divine report (athar ilaahi) has it: "Whoever is truthful to Me in his secrecy,
I am truthful to him [about My promise
of support and honor] in public before
Sahl ibn 'Abdullah al-Tustari (d.
283 AH) said: "The first dishonesty of
a truthful person is their inner conversation." [Presumably, he means inner
conversation that involved some falsehood.]
Yusuf ibn Isbaat said: "That I spend
one night in which I am truthful toward
Allah is dearer to me than wielding my
sword in God's way."
Al-Harith al-Muhasabi said: "Truthful is one whose heart is so sound that
he cares not to lose any and all regard
in people's hearts. Nor does he care to
make known to people even the lightest of his righteous deeds. Nor does he
dislike that people come to know his
shortcomings, for that dislike would suggest that he loves to gain regard in their
eyes, and that is not a sign of the truthful."
[Ibn al-Qayyim comments:] This assertion is questionable, however, for one's
dislike that people know of one's evils
is similar to one's dislike for illness or
other calamities-it is natural, and does
not negate one's truthfulness, especially
if one is a role model for others.
A righteous person can dislike publicizing his shortcomings for two harms:
- Because that may lead people to no
longer have a righteous role model which would be a loss if one is a role
model in righteousness.
the ignorant among those who look up
to him as a role model may follow him
even in his errors if they come to know
What negates truthfulness is if
one dislikes publicizing his errors due
to self-aggrandizement. If one's dislike
is due to his love for God's commands,
to spread [knowledge] of His path, and
the commanding of good and forbidding of wrong, such a person is indeed truthful
and God alone knows the
secrets of hearts and their true aims. I
think that this is, indeed, the meaning
of Al-Muhasabi's statement.
One of them said: "If one does not
observe the timeless obligation, timed
obligations are not accepted from him."
When asked what the "timeless obligation" was, he said: "Truthfulness."
It has been said: "Whoever asks Allah for truthfulness is given a mirror
whereby he is shown truth and falsehood."
It has also been said: "You must be
truthful when you fear that it will hurt
you, for it really will benefit. And you
must desist from lying when you think
that it will harm you, for it will not."
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