Extracted from the Book American Muslim Agenda by Dr. Mike Ghouse
Truth is the most sacred value in Islam; indeed, it is the most enduring value of every religion and social system and governance.
All the good things in a given society are sustained by truth and truth alone. Fact is the solid foundation upon which secure societies are built.
God does not authorize anyone to lie, and on his behalf, an assertion is made that no societies permit lies. Individuals do.
India’s emblem includes this phrase, “Satyameva Jayate.” Mahatma Gandhi translated it as Truth Triumphs. It is like our emblem, “e Pluribus Unum.”
A society functions well when everyone tells the truth, you can always deal with the reality; you know where each one stands. Islam emphasizes being truthful; Truth is the only thing that ensures justice and sustenance of safe and secure societies. It is un-Islamic to lie.
There is no 5th in Islam.
Our constitution gives every individual a right to remain silent if his speech and words incriminate him or her. The burden to find the truth is on the accuser. You are innocent until you are proven guilty. It is called taking the fifth.
Islam does not have that provision for a good reason. It is to give relief to the individual who tells the truth. So many people live with pain, guilt, and grief for eternity, and it clouds their interactions and decisions for a lifetime. There is a saying in Urdu/Hindi language if we shout “Chor, Chor” that is “Thief.” The guy who is guilty always looks over his shoulder.
Once, I had an expired inspection sticker on my car, there was a police car chasing someone, and I pulled over assuming it was for me. My friends in the car were screaming, that it was not for me. The cop came around and asked why I stopped? The guilt was written all over my face, he read it and found my sticker had expired and gave a ticket.
Ashley Kavanaugh may ask her husband in the most intimate moment; did he assault Dr. Ford? His pals at the supreme court may ask when they have a bottle of Beer with him. Kavanaugh claims to be a good Christian, and he knows the Lord forgives those who seek. Truth brings freedom.
This is the reason, taking the fifth is not allowed in Islam. It is to minimize the scoundrels from getting away with murder for the lack of proof, and so many do. I am not sure if our Supreme court Justice Kavanaugh got away from the assault on Dr. Christine Ford for lack of evidence. Of course, he did not take the fifth but denied it. God only knows the truth.
God forgives those who seek forgiveness and repentance. Forgiveness is the safety valve for one to live freely.
We have to go to the far ends of the world, turn every stone upside down to find the truth. You have, to tell the truth, for truth alone gives hope to the person wronged, it sustains the trustworthiness in the society.
Truth alone triumphs!
Here are a few of the 852 verses from Quran that emphasize on being truthful. It is just no Islam, it is in all religions, and it is the cornerstone of a civilized society.
852 Verses about Truth
Quran 4:135 – O you who believe, you shall be entirely equitable, and observe GOD, when you serve as witnesses, even against yourselves, or your parents, or your relatives. Whether the accused is rich or poor, GOD takes care of both. Therefore, do not be biased by your personal wishes. If you deviate or disregard (this commandment), then GOD is fully Cognizant of everything you do.
Quran 2:42 – And do not overlay the truth with falsehood, and do not knowingly suppress the truth;
Quran 5:119 God will say: “Today, their truthfulness shall benefit all who have been true to their word: theirs shall be gardens through which running waters flow, therein to abide beyond the count of time; well-pleased is God with them, and well-pleased are they with Him: this is the triumph supreme.”
I usually don’t lean on Hadiths. Some of them are fabricated as sayings of the Prophet, those that are manufactured tend to be misogynistic or do not paint God or the Prophet as merciful. However, an authentic hadith syncs in with the principle of building cohesive societies, here are a few:
Sahih Muslim, “I order you to be truthful, for indeed truthfulness leads to righteousness, and indeed righteousness leads to Paradise (You can take it as peace of mind). A man continues to be truthful and strives for truthfulness until he is written as a truthful person with God. And beware of falsehood, for indeed falsehood leads to sinning, and indeed sinning leads to the Fire. A man continues to tell lies and strives upon falsehood until he is written as a liar with God.”
“Guarantee for me six things, and I will guarantee Paradise for you: tell the truth when you speak, fulfill your promises, be faithful when you are trusted, safeguard your private parts, lower your gaze, and withhold your hands (from harming others).” Reported by Obadiah, in As-Saheehah.
Quran 33:24, “So that God may reward the truthful for having been true to their word, and cause the hypocrites to suffer – if that be His will – or [if they repent,] accept their repentance: for, verily, God is indeed much-forgiving, a dispenser of grace!”
Quran 34:49, Say, “The truth has come; while falsehood can neither initiate anything nor repeat it.”
Quran 25:72, They do not bear false witness. When they encounter vain talk, they ignore it.
Quran 2:160, “Excepted, however, shall be they that repent, and put themselves to rights, and make known the TRUTH: and it is they whose repentance I shall accept-for I alone am the Acceptor of Repentance, the Dispenser of Grace.”
Quran 2:209, “And if you should stumble after all evidence of the TRUTH has come unto you, then know that, verily, God is almighty, wise.”
Quran 2:98, “whosoever is an enemy of God and His angels and His message-bearers, including Gabriel and Michael, [should know that,] verily, God is the enemy of all who denies the Truth.”
Quran 2:99, “For, clear messages indeed have We bestowed upon thee from on high, and none denies their Truth save the iniquitous.”
Quran 2:104, O YOU who have attained to faith! Do not say [to the Prophet], “Listen to us,” but rather say, “Have patience with us,” and listen [unto him], since grievous suffering awaits those who deny the TRUTH.
Quran 2:121, Those unto whom We have vouchsafed the divine writ [and who] follow it as it ought to be observed -it is they who [honestly] believe in it; whereas all who choose to deny its TRUTH -it is they, they who are the losers!
What is Taqiya?
Individuals like Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Brigitte Gabriel and a host of others harp on the word Taqiyya. Because I was a regular on Hannity, and since they could not argue, they conveniently slapped that label on me. Their base is limited to a few hundred, and each one of them passionately jumps in and write his or her comment. There are plenty of articles on the net about Taqiyya with my name tagged to it. Of course, a majority of Muslim have not even heard of this word.
I admire Dr. Khawaja Nauman Anwar, my friend for his persistence on calling Hannity Show and giving me encouragement to write this article on Taqiyya. I had promised Anila Ali and Soraya Deen that I will write about it. It took me a lot of time to keep it even and balanced. I have no problem condemning evil and praising what is right, that is what we have to do, and that is a part of pluralism work.
Taqiya, i.e., hiding one’s religious identity to save one’s life, and it was practiced by a handful of persecuted Jews, Christians, Muslims, Hindus and people of other faiths. Their religions did not teach them to lie, they did it on their own.
Even though the Taqiya Bombs have been hurled at Muslims, they know the difference between the truth and falsehood. But they choose the latter as it benefits them. When Spence talks about verses from Sura Tauba, chapter 9, he hides the following and preceding verses as they nullify his arguments.
No Muslim has ever believed that lying is permitted, and no Islamic school has ever taught anyone to lie. Truth is the most sacred value in Islam; indeed, it is the most enduring value of every religion and social system and governance.
Individuals under intense pressure and life-threatening situations have lied to save their tails. The lies are not specific to any particular group; you will find them in every group of people including our Presidents, Generals, Preachers, and even Judges.
Esther, the Jewish heroine of the book of Esther also practiced Taqiya by hiding her Jewish identity during crises, and you can find similar stories in just about every religion, region and race. However, Neither Judaism nor Islam or any religion for that matter has advocated one to lie.
One of the most central questions concerning Esther is why Esther keeps her national and ethnic identity a secret – or, more accurately, why Mordechai commands her to do so. The importance of the question arises from the fact that this matter is mentioned twice in the Megillah.
“Esther did not reveal her nationality and her descent, for Mordechai had commanded her not to tell.” (2:10)
“Esther would not reveal her descent and her nationality, as Mordechai had commanded her.” (2:20)
Reference: The Israel Kochitsky Virtual Beit Midrash
The hostile Kings and dictators with Sunni labels had made the life of Shia Muslims a living hell. Taqiya was reluctantly practiced by the Shia until the Safavids came along to put an end to that oppression.
Ibn Kathir, one of the explainers of the Quran has made references about Sunni Muslims. Unfortunately, he has added his own opinions as a reaction to current situations, leading many Muslims to believe that they are Islamic thoughts. They are not Islamic by any stretch of the imagination as you see the strongly worded verses from Quran to nullify him. Maybe it was not his problem but ours. Sadly, very few Muslims are willing to say that Ibn-Kathir was wrong. Muslims ought to know, nothing supersedes Quran, and that is the only truth for Muslims, all else is questionable.
Paul defended a lie because it ‘glorifies God’ and he wondered why he was judged a sinner, Romans 3:7. He was caught lying and tried to wriggle out of it with a song and dance. He doesn’t seem to grasp that a lie is a lie, and never does it glorify Yahweh. Why does Paul keep insisting he’s not deceitful and does not lie? Romans 9:1, II Corinthians 11:31, Galatians 1:20, Philippians 1:18, I Thessalonians 2:1-12, I Timothy 2:7. Why are the real apostles not accused of lying as Paul is?
You will find similar stories in all religions and groups of people. Sick people are in every religion with no exception.
The Truth is the most exalted value on the earth.
Indeed, the truth is one of the most extolled virtues in all religions. Hindus laud Satya Harishchandra as an icon of absolute truth, and most of you are familiar with the name Satya Sai Baba – Satya means truth. The Bible declares, “The truth will set you free.” Prophet Muhammad was called the “Amin” by his people made up of Jews, Christians, and Pagans, meaning someone who is truthful, trustworthy, and reliable and gives a sense of security to others around him. Truth is the only thing that can restore the trust, and thus safety of the individuals in a given society hinges on truth.
Dr. Mike Ghouse is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism. He is a speaker, thinker, author, community consultant, pluralist, activist, newsmaker, and an interfaith wedding officiant. Mike is deeply committed to Free speech, Human Rights, and Pluralism in Religion, Politics, Societies, and the workplace. He is the founder and president of the Center for Pluralism and a fellow at the World Muslim Congress, a think Tank. He has dedicated his life to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions to the media and the policymakers. More about him at www.TheGhousediary.com.