Lying, the Key to the Gates of Evil
The main axes of the subject:
1- What is lying?
2- A liar is damned in all cases.
3- The worst of sins.
4- Lying extracts faith from man.
5- Effects of lying.
Warning must be given about the epidemic of lying and its perils on the believer’s charac-ter coupled with its bad effects in this life and in the afterlife.
Exporting the Subject:
Commander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “The worst sin with respect to Allah is the lying tongue.”1
What is lying?
With respect to the linguistic people, lying contradicts with the reality whether it is inten-tional or unintentional. Dispraised lying is the issue that fits with the purposely committed offense. Originally, the words that contradict with the reality, the act that contradicts with the words and breaking an oath, all are acts of lying. Based on this issue, lying is the origin of all these dispraised qualities.
There is no doubt that lying is one of the greatest sins, which mind and transcription judge it as ugly. It is well known that lying at start will cause the soul to deviate from the truth and become inattentive towards the truth covering it with a seal. Persistence on such state will generate the rooting of lying within the soul until it becomes a gift or a talent. This is the worst gifts of the bad behavior and the meanest. Its owner is called a liar (a man of false action).
Ibn al Hajjaj in his book Sahih said: “I said to Abi Abdullah (a.s.): The liar is the one who lies about something. He said: no, no one can avoid lying; it is the one who is a tendentious liar.”2
This does not mean that telling a lie is not dispraised; rather, it means that persistence in committing this damned epidemic can lead to the control and rooting of such tendency.
– A liar is damned in all cases.
Some might think that dispraised lying is the one that relates to the grave matters while regarding the small issues it becomes unimportant, where it can be tolerated or ineffective. Others might think that the dispraised part of lying is the one that relates to the serious matters whereas regarding kidding and joking it is okay.
In fact, lying is dispraised in all these cases and conditions. However, the wise people might find an excuse for someone who jokes falsely, in a way that does not have any ef-fect on the person to whom a lie has been told. However, if this issue mirrored an effect on him and the listeners, this cannot be customarily tolerated. On the other hand, rightfully this issue is not tolerated at all.
Imam Abu Jaafar al Baqir (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Ali Bin al Husayn used to say to his son: beware lying, the minor and major of it, seriously or ridiculously. A man, if he lies minorly he will dare to lie majorly. Didn’t you know that Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) said: The servant keeps telling the truth until Allah ordains him to be truth-ful? And a servant keeps lying until Allah ordains him to be a liar.”3
The worst of sins:
Some people might visualize that lying – especially using the tongue – is easy and its ef-fects can be tolerated and forgiven. Rather, we can find some people who do not give at-tention to their uttered words, finding the one of them lying for the most ridiculous reasons. However, the noble doctrine explained that lying has effects that cannot be tolerated and that lying itself is the worst of sins.
Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “The worst of sins is the lying tongue.”4
In addition, Imam Ali (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “The worst of sins at God is the lying tongue.”5
Allah (The Exalted) had warned about drinking alcohols, and explained clearly in his holy book that it is forbidden because it is infested with evils and wrongdoings. However, the accounts narrated that lying is more evil than drinking alcohol. For example, the Hadith narrates that Imam Abu Jaafar al Baqir (a.s.) said: “Allah (The Exalted) made locks for the evil, and that these locks are the drinking of alcohol, and that lying is worse than drinking alcohol.”6
Lying is the worst of sins because it is the worst of behaviors. In the accounts, com-mander of the faithful (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Preserve yourselves from lying; it is the lowest type of morals as it is a kind of wrongdoing and an example of vileness.”7
– Lying extracts faith from man:
Allah (The Exalted) said in his holy book: “Those who invent falsehood are they who do not believe in the verses of Allah, and it is those who are the liars.”8
Scholar al Tabtaba’ei mentioned, interpreting this verse while quoting the interpretation of Ibn Asakir in his book the History of Damascus (Tarikh Dimashq), that Abdullah Bin Jarad asked the prophet (s.a.a.w.): Does a believer commit adultery? He said: this may be. He asked: does a believer steal? He said: this may be. He asked: does a believer lie? He said: no; and the prophet of Allah (s.a.a.w.) continued: “Those who invent false-hood are they who do not believe…”9
In addition, Abu al Darda’a narrated a similar Hadith concluded by the prophet’s saying: “A servant’s tongue might slip after which he returns to Allah asking forgiveness, and Allah will forgive him.”10
Moreover, Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “A believer might behave in different bad ways except treason and lying.”11
– Effects of lying:
1- Lying is a disgrace:
Imam Ali (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Avoid lying since it avoids faith. A truthful is on the verge of salvation and dignity whereas the liar is on the brink of sinking and disgrace.”12
2- It ruins faith:
Imam al Baqir (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Lying ruins faith.”13
3- It eliminates radiance:
Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) was quoted as saying: “Numerous lies eliminate the radi-ance.”14
4- It leads to hell:
The Hadith narrated that Allah’s messenger (s.a.a.w.) answered the question of someone who asked him about the act of fire. He said: “It is lying; if a servant lies he becomes immoral; if he becomes immoral he will deny [the deity]. If he denies [the deity] he will enter the hell.”15
5- The key of wickedness:
Imam al Askari (a.s.) was quoted as saying: “Wickedness was placed inside a house and its key is lying.”16
A wise person must not forget the aforementioned explanations regarding the ugliness of lying and its results that can return rippling effects of sorrow and disgrace in this life and the afterlife.
It is noteworthy to say that there are certain situations during which lying is permissible, even obligatory sometimes, which we did not mention to shorten the subject.
1- Al Mahajjah al Baida’a, Vol. 5, P. 243
2- Al Kafi, by Muhammad Bin Yacoub al Kulaini, Vol. 2, P 340, H. 12.
3- Al Kafi, Vol. 2, P. 327-328, H. 2
4- Kanz al Ummal, by al Muttaqi al Hindi, H. 8203
5- Al Mahajjah al Baida’a, by al Mawla al Fayd al Kashani, Vol. 5, P. 243
6- Mir’at al Uqul fi Sharh Akhbar A’l al Rasoul (Sharh Kitab al Kafi), by scholar sheikh Muhammad Baqir al Majlisi, Vol. 15, P. 329, H. 3. Also al Kabir, Vol. 2, P. 339, H. 3.
7- Bihar al Anwar, by scholar al Majlisi, vol. 87, P. 64, H. 157.
8- Holy Quran: Surat al Nahl (the Bees), verse 105.
9- Tafsir al Mizan, by scholar al Tabtaba’ei, Vol. 12, P. 32.
10- Kanz al Ummal, H. 8994.
11- Al Targhib wal Tarhib, by al Monziri, Vol. 3, P. 595, H. 22.
12- Nahjul Balagha, Sermon 86.
13- Bihar al Anwar, vol. 72, P. 247, H. 8.
14- Bihar al Anwar, vol. 72, P. 259, H. 22.
15- Al Targhib wal Tarhib, by al Monziri, Vol. 3, P. 592, H. 13.
16- Al Darrah al Ba’hirah min al Ahdaf al Ta’hirah, by al Shahid al Awal, P. 43.