Honesty is the Act of the Pious
The main axes of the subject:
1- Honesty is the cream of speech
2- Honesty is one of the pillars of faith
3- Honesty brings you closer to Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.).
4- Honesty means magnanimity
5- Honesty saves the honest
6- Honesty is a commandment of reason
We will explain the value of honesty to the believer and how it is a manifestation of the practice of belief.
Exporting the subject:
Commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Belief means that you prefer honesty where it hurts you to lie where it benefits you.”1
– Honesty is the cream of speech:
Honesty is one of the inborn habits and the attributes that ornament their owner. Honesty expresses mans’ determination and magnanimity. Honesty is the passion of the hearts and was praised by the minds because it expresses the clarity of the intention and purity of the innermost feelings. Honesty is the crown of speech, the mirror of the heart, and it deafens the ears.
Scholar al Majlisi (RIP) said: “Honesty is the words that match the fact. It is also the words that match the deeds and creed. It also matches the limbs and heart, which should match the legal rules and sound balances. From it derives the truthful, the one who is naturally endowed with saying the truth in all matters and nothing will come out of him that will disagree with the requirements, narratively and soundly, as stated by the researcher al Tousi in his book Awsa’f al Ashra’f.”2
– The Pillar of Faith:
Honesty is one of the seven pillars of faith, from which the personality of a believer is molded and with which the truth of faith is materialized.
For example, Imam Abi Abdillah (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Allah (The Exalted) placed faith on seven shares: kindness, honesty, certainty, satisfaction, loyalty, knowledge and prudence. Hence, he divided them among the people. Therefore, he who enjoins these seven shares is perfect.”3
Another speech narrates that Abi Abdillah (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Do not be deceived by their prayers and fasting. A man may recite his prayers and perform fasting to the point where he would feel estranged if he abandons them. However, look for honesty in their words and loyalty in them keeping the trust.”4
– Honesty brings you closer to Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.).
Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was renowned before his divine mission for being the honest trustworthy. Therefore, the more honest a person is the closer to Allah’s messenger (a.s.) he will get.
Zeid Bin Ai Bin al Husayn (a.s.) quoted his forefathers (a.s.) who quoted Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) as saying: “The one amongst you that will be closest to me tomorrow and that will be more entitled to my intercession is the most honest, the most loyal in keeping the trust, the one with the best morals, and the one who is closest to the people.”5
Abi Kahmas was quoted as saying: “I said to Abi Abdillah (a.s.): Abdullah Bin Abi Ya’afour (a companion) bids you peace. He said: Let peace be upon you and him. If you visit Abdullah, bid him peace and say to him: Ja’afar Bin Muhammad says to you: Regard that which made Ali (a.s.) valuable to Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) and adhere to it. That which made Ali (a.s.) valuable to Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was merely honesty when speaking and loyalty in keeping the trust.”6
– Honesty means magnanimity:
Honesty is an expression of the straightness of its owner and him favoring virtue, especially when honesty leads to avoiding one’s own interests. For example, commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “A man’s value depends on his endeavor; his honesty depends on his magnanimity; his courage depends on his pride; and his chastity depends on his jealousy.”7
He (a.s.) was also quoted as saying: “Belief means that you prefer honesty where it hurts you to lie where it benefits you; that your conversation must not touch on the merits of your work; and that you fear Allah when speaking of others.”8
This issue – added to his expression of magnanimity – rather expresses the matching of words with deeds and accuracy in quoting and narrating the sayings of others. This is one of the best examples of honesty that renders its owner a man of piety and trust.
– Honesty saves the honest:
Commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Avoid lying because it wastes faith. An honest person is closer to salvation and dignity whereas a liar is closer to declension and disgrace.”9
Moreover, Abul Hawra’a al Sa’adi Rabei’aa bin Sheiban said: I said to Hassan Bin Ali: What do you memorize from Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.)? He said: I memorize from him, “Avoid suspicious matters and stick to unsuspicious ones because honesty is assurance and lying is suspicion.”10
The outcome of honesty should be a good lesson for us. It is the cream of goodness and benefits that will be granted by Allah (The Exalted), even though it may apparently hurt. For example, the exalted says: “This is the day when the truthful will benefit from their truthfulness.” For them are gardens [in Paradise] beneath which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever, Allah being pleased with them, and they with Him. That is the great attainment.”11
The accounts narrate that Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Be honest, honesty guides to kindness and kindness guides to heaven. A man keeping his honesty while hunting for it will be regarded by Allah as righteous. Avoid lying, lying guides to libertinism and libertinism guides to hell. A man keeping his falseness while hunting for it will be regarded by Allah as a liar.”12
– Honesty is a commandment of reason:
After we’ve learned that honesty leads to salvation of the servants [of Allah] and that lying leads to declension and disgrace, therefore, the reason and sanity invite us to be honest and to adhere to Allah’s commandment and instruction, where he says: “O you who have believed, fear Allah and be with those who are true.”13
The almighty also says: “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.”14
1- Nahjul Balagha, P. 766, H. 452
2- Mir’at al Uqul fee Sharh Akhbar A’l Arrasoul, by scholar sheikh Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi, Vol. 7, P. 272, chapter Darajat al Eiman, Vol. 1
3- Mir’at al Uqul, Vol. 7, P. 272, quoted from al Kafi
4- Al Kafi, by Sheikh Muhammad bin Yacoub al Kulaini, Vol. 2, P. 85. H. 2
5- Wasa’el al Shia, by al Horr al A’mili, Vol. 12, P. 163, chapter 108, H. 8
6- Al Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 85. H. 5
7- Nahjul Balagha, P. 673, H. 47
8- Nahjul Balagha, P. 766, H. 452
9- Added Nahjul Balagha, by Dr. Labib Baidoun, P. 956
10- Jame’i al Usul, by Ibn al Atheer al Shaf’ei, Vol. 7, P. 292. The same was narrated by al Shahid al Thani in his book Thikra al Shia.
11- The Holy Quran, Surat Al-Mā’idah (The Table Spread), verse 119
12- Jame’i al Usul, Vol. 7, P. 291
13- The Holy Quran, Surat At-Tawbah (The Repentance), verse 119
14- The Holy Quran, Surat Al-‘Aĥzāb (The Combined Forces), verse 23