Hadith: Truthfulness

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللهِ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «إِنَّ الصِّدْقَ بِرٌّ، وَإِنَّ الْبِرَّ يَهْدِي إِلَى الْجَنَّةِ، وَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَحَرَّى الصِّدْقَ، حَتَّى يُكْتَبَ عِنْدَ اللهِ صِدِّيقًا، وَإِنَّ الْكَذِبَ فُجُورٌ، وَإِنَّ الْفُجُورَ يَهْدِي إِلَى النَّارِ، وَإِنَّ الْعَبْدَ لَيَتَحَرَّى الْكَذِبَ، حَتَّى يُكْتَبَ كَذَّابًا»


Abdullah ibn Mas’ud reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man may speak the truth until he is recorded with Allah as truthful. Verily, falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to the Hellfire. A man may tell lies until he is recorded with Allah as a liar.

Sahih Muslim 2607


Imam Nawawi explained that taking and implementing the messages from the hadith will not be easy except with sincere determination. This statement of the imam is especially true with the type of society we live in today.

 Understanding of Truth:

Truth is the opposite of falsehood. A statement will be considered true only if it conforms accurately to the situation or event it describes. For example, a man that is about to enter a home will not be considered to have said the truth if he informed his caller (on a phone call) that he is in the home. The information must be accurate and exact according to the best of the person’s knowledge.

Truth is an integral part of faith. A character of believer

مِنَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ رِجَالٌ صَدَقُوا مَا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ عَلَيْهِ فَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ قَضَى نَحْبَهُ وَمِنْهُمْ مَنْ يَنْتَظِرُ وَمَا بَدَّلُوا تَبْدِيلا (٢٣) لِيَجْزِيَ اللَّهُ الصَّادِقِينَ بِصِدْقِهِمْ وَيُعَذِّبَ الْمُنَافِقِينَ إِنْ شَاءَ أَوْ يَتُوبَ عَلَيْهِمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ كَانَ غَفُورًا رَحِيمًا (٢٤)

Among the believers are men true to what they promised Allah. Among them is he who has fulfilled his vow [to the death], and among them is he who awaits [his chance]. And they did not alter [the terms of their commitment] by any alteration

That Allah may reward the truthful for their truth and punish the hypocrites if He wills or accept their repentance. Indeed, Allah is ever Forgiving and Merciful.


يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ وَكُونُوا مَعَ الصَّادِقِينَ

  1. O You who believe! be afraid of Allâh, and be with those who are true (in Words and deeds) .


طَاعَةٌ وَقَوْلٌ مَعْرُوفٌ فَإِذَا عَزَمَ الأمْرُ فَلَوْ صَدَقُوا اللَّهَ لَكَانَ خَيْرًا لَهُمْ (٢١)

  1. obedience (to Allâh) and good Words (were better for them). and when the matter (preparation for Jihâd) is resolved on, Then if they had been true to Allâh, it would have been better for them.


A high rank with Allah

وَمَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُولَئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاءِ وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَئِكَ رَفِيقًا

  1. and whoso obeys Allâh and the Messenger (Muhammad), Then they will be In the company of those on whom Allâh has bestowed his Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqûn (those followers of the Prophets who were first and foremost to believe In them, like Abu Bakr As­Siddiq ), the martyrs, and the righteous. and How excellent These companions are!


A believer cannot be a liar

Safwan ibn Sulaym said, “The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked, ‘Can a believer be a coward?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ He was asked, ‘Can a believer be a miser?’ He replied, ‘Yes.’ He was asked, ‘Can a believer be a liar?’ He said, ‘No.'”

(Imam Malik, Mishkaat)

Part of a success chain

Abdullahi ibn Abbas said: Four things were inseparable from each other

Manifestations of Truth

  1. Truthfulness of the tongue (sidqu lisaan): This is when the tongue always utters statements that give the actual description of the reality, it may not necessarily be correct for absolute flawlessness is only with Allah.
  2. Truthfulness of intention (sidqu niyyah wal iraada): This is when the sayings, actions, involvement and abstention are only for the sake of Allah. This type of truthfulness is necessary to continue on the commandments of Allah and keep away from what He has prohibited, especially in the kind of society we live in today.
  3. Truthfulness of determination (sidqul azm): This will be established by steadfastness, perseverance for the sake of Allah. For example, a fellow trader may continue to accumulate gains through cheating and deceit, but you cannot, if you are sincere in your determination to always stand by the truth.
  1. Truthfulness in deeds/actions:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا لِمَ تَقُولُونَ مَا لا تَفْعَلُونَ (٢) كَبُرَ مَقْتًا عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَنْ تَقُولُوا مَا لا تَفْعَلُونَ (٣)

  1. O You who believe! why do You Say that which You do not do?
  2. Most hateful it is with Allâh that You Say that which You do not do.


  1. Truthfulness to deliver trust (sidqul waffaa):

وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لأمَانَاتِهِمْ وَعَهْدِهِمْ رَاعُونَ (٨)

  1. And they who are to their trusts and their promises attentive


Types of Truth

  1. Truthfulness with Allah: This is the foundation of Truth. Allah has created us with the natural instinct to recognize and worship Him. Shaytan is striving to corrupt this trait and lead us astray. Allah sent prophets and messengers to re-establish the truth with the clearest proofs. Anyone who turns away from this manifest guidance has demonstrated the highest level of falsehood. This will lead to oppression on others. Upholding the Book of Allah is a demonstration of truthfulness

فَاسْتَمْسِكْ بِالَّذِي أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ عَلَى صِرَاطٍ مُسْتَقِيمٍ (٤٣) وَإِنَّهُ لَذِكْرٌ لَكَ وَلِقَوْمِكَ وَسَوْفَ تُسْأَلُونَ (٤٤)

  1. So adhere to that which is revealed to you. Indeed, you are on a straight path.
  2. And indeed, it is a remembrance for you and your people, and you [all] are going to be questioned.


وَمَنْ يَعْمَلْ مِنَ الصَّالِحَاتِ مِنْ ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى وَهُوَ مُؤْمِنٌ فَأُولَئِكَ يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ وَلا يُظْلَمُونَ نَقِيرًا

  1. and whoever does righteous good deeds, male or female, and is a true believer In the Oneness of Allâh (Muslim), such will enter Paradise and not the least injustice, even to the size of a Naqîra (speck on the back of a date­stone), will be done to them.


A Bedouin Arab embraced Islam and fought in jihad, he sustained a wound from an arrow shot on the battlefield, the prophet gave him his share from the war booty but he said “I did not fight because of this, my intention is martyrdom to gain the reward of Allah” the prophet said “if you are truthful and sincere, Allah will make that evident and grant you your reward in full”, shortly afterwards, the man was martyred in another battle, the prophet said “he ascertained his truthfulness with Allah and Allah will surely reward him accordingly”

  1. Truthfulness with the prophet: This includes believe in him and following him, not to innovate in the religion and not to corrupt his message/sunnah. Imam Bukhari once travelled to a scholar to collect some hadiths from him. During his stay, the scholar used a food basket as bait to catch his donkey. Imam Bukhari witnessed this event and made a statement “I cannot rely on a report from the one who tricked an animal”.
  2. Truthfulness with the people:

عَنْ تَمِيمٍ الدَّارِيِّ قَالَ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏”‏إِنَّمَا الدِّينُ النَّصِيحَةُ‏”‏ ‏.‏ قَالُوا لِمَنْ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ قَالَ ‏”‏ لِلَّهِ وَلِكِتَابِهِ وَلِرَسُولِهِ وَلأَئِمَّةِ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَعَامَّتِهِمْ ‏”

It was narrated that Tameem Ad-Dari said: “The Messenger of Allah said: ‘The Religion is An-Naseehah (Sincere Advice)’ They[1] said: ‘To whom, O Messenger of Allah?’ he said: ‘To Allah, to His Book, to His Messenger, to the leaders of the Muslims, and to their common folk.”‘[2]

  1. Truthfulness in trade: Swearing in trade to deceive people remove the Barakah in it. No over emphasis on the quality of goods, don’t hide the defects in goods. Don’t mix items of low quality with high ones.
  2. Truthfulness in witness: This includes court witness. Election balloting is also a type of witness. False witness is a serious violation of this principle.

قَال النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «أَلاَ أُنَبِّئُكُمْ بِأَكْبَرِالكَبَائِرِ؟» ثَلاَثًا،قَالُوا: بَلَى يَارَسُولَ اللَّهِ،قَالَ: «الإِشْرَاكُ بِاللَّهِ، وَعُقُوقُ الوَالِدَيْنِ وَجَلَسَ وَكَانَ مُتَّكِئًا فَقَالَ أَلاَ وَقَوْلُ الزُّورِ»،قَالَ: فَمَا زَالَ يُكَرِّرُهَا حَتَّى قُلْنَا: لَيْتَهُ سَكَتَ

(Bukhari no. 2654)

  1. Truthfulness in jokes and play: while Islam permits limited jokes and riddles, it prohibits any lies associated in the name of play. A Muslim cannot attend the “nite of a thousand laughs” organized today where situations are being imagined and fabricated for the sake of laughter.

حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ بَشَّارٍ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ سَعِيدٍ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنَا بَهْزُ بْنُ حَكِيمٍ قَالَ: حَدَّثَنِي أَبِي، عَنْ جَدِّي، قَالَ: سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: «وَيْلٌ لِلَّذِي يُحَدِّثُ بِالحَدِيثِ لِيُضْحِكَ بِهِ القَوْمَ فَيَكْذِبُ، وَيْلٌ لَهُ وَيْلٌ لَهُ»

The prophet said: Woe be the one who fabricate information to make the people laugh, woe on him, woe on him

(Tirmithy 4/557 – Arabic ref.)

 Islam permits only jokes that print the true reality

A woman once came to the prophet to discuss some issue about her husband; the prophet said: “are you talking about your husband who has whiteness in his eyes?” the woman was surprised and said “no”. The prophet said “is it not that every human being has whiteness in their eyes!. The woman laughed.

  1. Truthfulness with the children: Whatever we promise a child we must fulfill it. Promises to them are like promises to adult.
  2. Truthfulness in family matters: Affairs of the home should be disposed in truth, between the husband, wife and children.

Some permissibility

After the aforementioned however, with careful regulations, a Muslim may be permitted to say what is apparently incorrect as part of a strategy to victory or peace.

“لَيْسَ الْكَذَّابُ الَّذِي يُصْلِحُ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ، فَيَنْمِي خَيْرًا،أَوْيَقُولُ خَيْرًا ‏”‏‏.

Narrated Um Kulthumbint `Uqba: That she heard Allah’s Messenger (SAW) saying, “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.”

(Sahih al-Bukhari 2692)

A case study

Hajaaj and his trickery with the Quraysh on khaybar victory.

[1] The companions present with him

[2] Sahih Muslim Book 39, Hadith 49

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