By Salman Al-Awdah
26 April 2013
O YOU who believe! Have Taqwa with Allah, and be among the truthful.” (Al-Qur’an, 9:119)
Many people understand truthfulness to mean truthfulness of the tongue through speech alone. In reality, truthfulness is a vast curriculum. It is as much one of the characteristics of the Muslim’s personality both outward and inward, as it is his speech and action. From it are the following:
Truthfulness in Conveying the Religion
That is, one must profess the correct belief built upon truthfulness with Allah the Almighty, not upon hypocrisy, deceit and patronization. This is why truthfulness is mentioned in the Qur’an as the opposite of hypocrisy. “That Allah may reward the truthful for their truth, and punish the hypocrites if He wills, or turn mercifully toward them ....” (Qur’an, 33:64)
Therefore, it is necessary to possess the outward Islam with the inward Iman; it is necessary to have the correct belief in Allah, the Last Day, the Angels, the Books, and the Messengers. The outward guidance must conform to the inward guidance.
Here is one of the hidden plots of Satan who inspires Muslims to neglect some of the outward good deeds under the pretense that his inner reality is not the same. So he avoids this in order to avoid deceiving the people! This is a huge mistake. The good deed which you perform outwardly is because of the righteousness and truthfulness of your heart, as long as you do not do it for riya’ [show], reputation or in order to deceive the believers.
Truthfulness in Speech
Truthfulness in speech expresses a dignified personality, manhood, insight and generosity. No one would resort to lies unless he has a wicked nature, a wicked Nafs (self), and a weak personality. A good-natured individual denounces lie and rebukes it, which is why all of the previous revelations agreed upon the prohibition and admonition of lie. How about the Islamic preachers’ then, can you imagine them lying! I believe not, Insha’Allah. Some of the du’at may come across ambiguously by making certain statements, which some people misunderstand, and then later they may find out the opposite of what they misunderstood. Then they accuse him of lying. Besides, ambiguity may lead to the acceptance of some minor lies under the pretense that it is helpful! So be cautious!
If you are in a situation that would cause you to lie, avoid doing so, and remember the words of Abu Sufyan before King Heraclius when he was asked about the Messenger of Allah, and he latter narrated to Muhammad (peace be upon him), “I swear by Allah, if I was sure that they would not have transmitted a lie from me, I would have lied about you.” (Bukhari) This man, who was an idolater at the time, avoided lying out of fear that his lying would be transmitted, or that he would be insulted some day because of it. He avoided lying even though he needed to do so We know that the honor of today’s du’at has become a target for a barrage of arrows, and this is why it is necessary for the daa’iya to close the door before the foul wind comes in, so that he can be safe!
Truthfulness in Deeds
Meaning that a person’s deeds have to be purely for Allah Ta’ala without riya’ or seeking good reputation, “Whoever hopes to meet his Lord, he should do good deeds, and not join any one in the worship of His Lord,” and “ ... that He may try you; which of you is the best in deeds.” (Al-Qur’an, 18:11 and 67:2) Fudayl Ibn Ayad commented, “ ... which one of you is the best in deeds” means “most sincere and pertinent.” He was asked, “What is most sincere and pertinent?” He said, “If the deed is sincere and not pertinent it won’t be accepted, and if it is pertinent and not sincere, it won’t be accepted. It will not be accepted until it is sincere and pertinent!” Included among the subject of truthfulness in deeds is, possessing clarity and avoiding obscurity or ambiguity. It was reported upon the authority of Abu Dawud and Nisa’i that after a confrontation with a man, when the companions refrained from standing up for him (peace be upon him) he rebuked them, so they said, “O Messenger of Allah, we don’t know what is in your nafs, couldn’t you signal us with your eye?” He said, “It is not becoming of a Prophet that he have a deceiving eye!” (Abu Dawud, Nisa’i, Hakim, Ahmad from the Hadith of ‘Anas in which it is, “A Prophet does not wink.”) Tirmidhi reported that Abdullah Ibn Salam said, “When the Prophet came to Madinah the people came out and said, ‘The Messenger of Allah has come! The Messenger of Allah has come! The Messenger of Allah has come!’ So I came forward among the people to look at him (peace be upon him) and when I beheld his face I knew that his face wasn’t the face of a liar. And the first thing that he said was, ‘O People! Spread salaam, and serve the food, and pray while the people are asleep, you will enter Jannah peacefully’.” (Ahmad, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah)
The truthfulness of the Messenger of Allah spread from his heart to his tongue ... to the extremities, it became manifest in his honorable face ... Everyone who beheld his bright vision saw truthfulness and was assured that his face was absolutely not the face of a liar! We are in need for the type of du’at who transmit truthfulness with their speech and deeds so much so that truthfulness becomes natural disposition swimming through their veins, emerging through their outward behavior, so that when the people see them they say, “These are not the faces of liars!”
We are also in need of du’at who are beautified with moral excellence, who stay away from selfishness and agitation, who persevere through their tranquility, who are moderate in their manner of speaking in all circumstances in such a way that the people are able to look at their characteristics and say, “These are the characteristics of Prophets!” Surely truthfulness in carrying our Dawah is a cause for people to accept our religion, and we should not be like the actor on the stage who shows the people the opposite of what he really is. In this case, the reality of such a da’iya is quickly revealed and the people rush away from him.
It was reported that one of the Salaf (pious predecessors) used to affect people and bring them to tears while admonishing them, to the point that you could hear them crying loudly. Yet someone else may have given a better speech in the same gathering and may have been more knowledgeable, but he could not affect their hearts nor bring them to tears! So his son asked him about this one day and his response was, “The weeping of the mother who lost her beloved is not like the weeping of the one who is paid to do so.”
Therefore the first mean for the success of the da’iya is: His truthfulness in carrying his Da’wah, his seriousness in it and truthfulness in words and deeds must be his method and characteristic of him. Elegant sweet words are not most important — even if they are required — more important are truthfulness that he is in harmony with himself, and his speech comes from the heart.
Long ago it was said: “If a word comes from the heart it will land in the heart... and if it comes from the tongue it will not even pass the ears!”