Truth and Righteousness
by Shaykh Ahmed Abdul Mujeeb Qasmi Nadvi (translated by Muhammad Owais Jafrey)
We know that listening to the Friday Khutbah is an essential part of our congregational prayers. It is a weekly refresher course to increase our Iman. Hence each Friday should find us a better Muslim than the Muslim we were on the previous Friday. If you are attentive, you will certainly retain some, if not the whole of the Khutbah. Discussing the main points of each Khutbah at home will not only help you to remember it, but it will also increase your family’s knowledge about Islam. Listening to what is said, if not registered by the mind, understood, remembered and practiced, than it does not make any sense. Prayers become meaningless rituals if they do not bring a better and desired change in our life and character.
Today’s Khutbah is about Truth and Righteousness as defined by Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (SAW]. Listen carefully and do share it with your family. Change in a person can bring a change in his family, and change in families can bring a change in communities and the Ummah at large. Start a revolution from the self and you will notice its effect on others around you.
Righteousness in worlds and action is only possible when your tongue and heart agree with each other. Absence of such an accord is hypocrisy. The heart without truth becomes a home of all evils, and the one with truth makes the path of virtue smooth and easy. A person said thus to Prophet (SAW): “Ya Rasul Allah, I have four bad habits. 1. – I drink alcohol. 2. – I am an adulterer. 3. – I am a thief. 4. - I lie and don’t speak the truth. I can leave one for your sake, please give me an advice as to which of the four I should give up.” Prophet (SAW) advised him not to lie. The person promised that he will always speak the truth and left.
As the day passed into night the person as usual craved for a drink. An addiction is hard to go, but he managed to refrain. He thought of committing adultery, but was able to control. As soon as the city went to sleep, the thief in him woke up and prompted him to go and commit theft. At each urge, he said to himself: “If I commit these habitual acts and report to Prophet (SAW), I will then be punished for each crime, and if I commit the crimes and then lie about them, I will then violate my promise. A revolution overtook him. In the morning he rushed and submitted to Prophet (SAW) that by not telling a lie, he was saved from three major sins.
Its source not being authentic, this tradition is week, but it draws its strength from its moral. It was an intensive effort on the part of the criminal who by giving up one sin got himself saved from three sins. Truth is that Truth keeps a person away from all vices. It cleans the heart and makes a person honest, reliable, trustworthy, conscientious, dependable and loveable.
Truth is one of the attributes of Allah (SWT). The Holy Qur’an says about the Day of Judgment in Aayah 87 or Surah Nisa: “He is Allah: there is no god but Him. He will gather you all together on the Day of Resurrection, about which there is no doubt. Whose words can be truer than Allah?”
Allah (SWT) says the Truth and His Shariah is nothing but Truth. Aayah 146 of Surah An’aam says: “…We are true to Our words.”
Truth and Righteousness is the characteristic of all Prophets and Messengers. Allah (SWT) has mentioned many of them in the context of Truth. He (SWT) said about Sayyidina Ibrahim (AS) in Aayah 41 of Surah Maryam: “Mention too, in the Qur’an, the story of Ibrahim. He was a man of truth, a prophet. ” Aayah 56 of the same Surah says about Idrees (AS): “Mention too, in the Qur’an, the story of Idrees. He was a man of truth, a prophet.”
Allah (SWT) has assured of forgiveness and great rewards in the Hereafter for those who are truthful. Aayah 35 of Surah Ahzaab says: “For men and women who are devoted to Allah – believing men and women, obedient men and women, truthful men and women, steadfast men and women, humble men and women, charitable men and women, fasting men and women, chaste men and women, men and women who remember Allah often – Allah has prepared forgiveness and a rich reward.” In this Aayah Allah (SWT) has ranked Truthfulness after Devotion, Belief, and Obedience.
Islam lays great emphasis on Truth, and it commands to live with and support the truthful. One gets the positive influence by the company he keeps.
Hazrat Ka’ab bin Maalik, Hilal bin Umayyah, and Muraarah bin Ruha’i suffered because they spoke the truth about their reason for not going with Prophet (SAW) to the battle of Tabuk. But Allah (SWT) accepted their repentance and forgave.
Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 119 in Surah Tauba: “When the earth with all its vastness seemed to have become narrow on them, and their own souls were a burden on them, and they realized that there was no refuge for them except in the mercy of Allah (SWT) Himself, Allah turned to them with kindness so that they should turn to Him. He (Allah) is forgiving and compassionate.”
Let me brief you on the story of Ka’ab bin Maalik and his three companions. These were sincere believers and loyal companions of Prophet (SAW) and had made many sacrifices. Hilal and Muraarah had even participated in the battle of Badr, whereas Ka’ab had participated in all expeditions except Badr. All three had every intention to accompany Prophet (SAW) to the battle of Tabuk, but kept procrastinating. We all do that at times, it is a human weakness. When Prophet (SAW) returned to Madinah, unlike all hypocrites who made lame excuses, Ka’ab and the other two spoke the truth that they had no excuses. Prophet (SAW) acknowledged that they spoke the truth, but left it to Allah (SWT) to forgive them. Until an Aayah was revealed about the accepting of their repentance and Allah’s forgiveness, these three companions were subjected to a social boycott not only by the community but even by their wives. The Aayah of Surah Tauba re-instated these three companions of Prophet (SAW) to their pre-Tabuk status.
Truth is usually thought to only mean “speaking the truth”, but in fact it also includes the truth of action. Imam Ghizali (RehmA) in his famous work “Ahiya-ul-Uloom” says that Truth means: 1 – Saying the truth. 2 – Truth in making intentions. 3 – Truth in making Resolutions. 4. Truth in the determination to carry out those resolutions. 5 – Truth in actions and deeds. 6 – Truth in commitment to Deen. All this classification boils down to three things: Truth of the tongue, Truth of the heart, and Truth of the action.
Truth of the tongue is saying nothing but truth. This is the most common meaning of the word “truth”, which is obligatory for every Muslim. It also includes fulfilling a promise. Aayah 24 of Surah Ahzaab says: “[Such trials are ordained] so that Allah may reward the truthful for their honesty and punish the hypocrites.”
This Aayah tells us that the opposite of Truth is Hypocrisy. Truth is based on Iman, and Hypocrisy is based on Lie. Let me share with you two traditions of Prophet (SAW).
1. Ibn Masud (RA) narrates that Prophet (SAW) said: “Truth leads to piety and piety leads to Paradise. A man persists in speaking the truth till he is recorded with Allah as a truthful man. Falsehood leads to transgression and transgression leads to Hell-fire. A man continues to speak falsehood till he is recorded with Allah as a great liar.” (Bukhari & Muslim]
2. According to Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-Aas, Prophet (SAW) said: “Whosoever possesses these four characteristics, is a sheer hypocrite; and anyone who possesses one of them, possesses a characteristics of hypocrisy till he gives it up. (These are :) When he talks, he tells a lie;
when he makes a promise, he does not fulfill it; and when he quarrels, he uses foul language.” (Bukhari & Muslim).
The second kind of Truth is related with the Heart, which in other words combine Truth and Sincerity in one. Some times the truth expressed by tongue is not backed by the heart. The hypocrites used to verbally attest the truth of Prophet (SAW)’s Prophet Hood, but their verbal attestation contradicted to what they believed in their hearts. That is why Allah (SWT) says in Aayah 1 of Surah Al-Munafiqun: “When hypocrites come to you (Rasul Allah), they say, “We bear witness that you are the Messenger of Allah.” Allah knows that you truly are His Messenger and He bears witness that the hypocrites are liars.””
There is another situation in which the heart intends to do something but the tongue expresses something else, it is also hypocrisy. According to a tradition of Prophet (SAW), three people will be presented before Allah (SWT) on the Day of Judgment: a Scholar, a Martyr, and a Wealthy person. Each one of them will boast of his good deeds, but Allah (SWT) and His angels will tell them that they lie as their deeds were not intended to seek Allah’s pleasure but were simply meant to show off.
The Truth of action means that it should reflect the conscience. The inner and the outer self should be in unison with each other. For example if a person displays his utmost sincerity in Salah [prayer], but the intention is to impress others, then he is a hypocrite. Yet there is another type of hypocrisy in which a person doesn’t show off, yet there is a mismatch between his outward worship and inner sincerity. That proves that the three truths, i.e. that of the tongue, the heart and that of action should be in total agreement with each other. Dye yourself with the color of Allah inside and out as the color of Allah is best.
A companion once came to Prophet (SAW) and submitted: “Ya Rasul Allah, I have embraced Iman [faith] in Allah with perfect truth.” Prophet (SAW) told him: “Think before you say something. Every thing has a base. What is base of your Iman [faith]? The companion submitted: “Ya Rasul Allah, I have no interest in this world, I keep awake at night [i.e. pray] remain hungry and thirsty during the day [i.e. fast], and it seems that I am seeing Allah’s Throne, and witnessing the meeting of people of the Paradise and seeing also those in the Hell crying.” Prophet (SAW) said: “Be stead fast to what you are doing, you have known the truth.”
The gist of all this discourse is that the achievement of the status of “Siddique” [Truthful] is only possible through such an Iman [faith] which is never separated from action. In other words verbal expression of Iman reflecting the conviction of the heart and it translation into deeds is what makes a perfect Momin. Allah does not help unless one helps himself. May Allah (SWT) enable us to help ourselves to be truthful and righteous, Aamin!
The Friday Khutbahs are published to enhance your knowledge of Islam. The references of Quran and Hadith are the approximate translation of the Arabic text. The editors have not verified the accuracy of the the English translation. The scholarly reader is encouraged to refer to the original Arabic script if there is any doubt. Kindly notify us if the translation can be enhanced.