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Prophets Lying

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rbaitz View Drop Down

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    Posted: 25 August 2010 at 2:29pm

I was speaking with a Muslim who told me some things about Islam and I now have questions about Islam's view of things.

The story of Abraham in the Old Testament has him lying to the King about who Sarah his wife is. Abraham said, "she is my sister" and mislead the King into thinking thats all Sarah was to Abraham, which resulted in the King taking Sarah as his own.

This clearly shows Abraham telling a lie to the King. A half truth, or a lack of the complete truth is still a lie. The Muslim I spoke with told me that it wasn't a lie because Allah told Abraham to lie so the King wouldn't kill him over his wife. My question is then, "Does Allah allow prophets to lie? And if Allah allows it, is it then considered not wrong?"

My last question, "Are Muslims allowed to lie if it somehow benefits Allah and his kingdom?"
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honeto View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote honeto Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 August 2010 at 8:50pm
Hi there!
Strange questions, but I guess any question deserves an answer.
Let me answer your last question before I talk about Abraham.
First I want to make you understand that God or Allah is Free of All Wants or needs according to the Quran. We and all His Creatures only serve Him. He does not need us nor we fulfill any of His needs. God is self sufficient, free of any wants. So, your saying and understanding that somehow we can benefit Allah or God is inaccurate of an understanding. And the answer to your question would be: No.
Your question regarding Abraham and Sarah's story from the Bible, and the lie that Abraham said to save his life by claiming that Sarah was his sister? I am not aware of any such verse in the Quran, please quote the verse to I can comment on it. I do not want to comment on the Biblical quote.
I know that in Islam, under compulsion and in order to save a life haram or forbidden things are made halal or allowed. For example, if one is starving to death and forced by necessity to eat whatever is available to survive and to save life, it is permissible to eat even pork as a last resort if that is all available which is forbidden to eat otherwise.
It shows that Islam is a complete code of life and provides answers based on logic and common sense, a proof of it's divine origin.

Edited by honeto - 26 August 2010 at 8:56pm
39:64 Proclaim: Is it some one other than God that you order me to worship, O you ignorant ones?"
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Chrysalis View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chrysalis Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 August 2010 at 11:25pm
Originally posted by rbaitz rbaitz wrote:

My last question, "Are Muslims allowed to lie if it somehow benefits Allah and his kingdom?"

Allah (God) is in no need of benefiting from anything we do or say. So whatever we Muslims do is not for Allah's benefits. That would include lying.

As far as I'm aware, Lying is strictly discouraged (if not prohibited) in Islam. Muslims cannot lie simply to glean benefit. This includes lying of all sorts e.g. turning back on our word, giving false witnesses or breaching contracts (which is a form of lying). Breaking promises or one's word is also a serious offense in Islam. It would be interesting to note that for Muslims, in Islam - their verbal word is given almost the same importance and severity as a legal contract. Also, Muslims are supposed to be truthful to all people, regardless of their religion - (unlike some other religions in which telling a lie to a person outside of your creed is okay)

There are exceptions to this case like Hassan mentioned, such as in the case of possible physical harm or death... but then again, in the event of physical danger, forbidden things become temporarily allowed e.g. eating pork incase of starvation.

There are also accounts in Sunnah that mentioned that lying is okay if it is to prevent a divorce from taking place i.e. to make peace b/w husband & wife. Or during warfare (which is commonsense - since truthfulness in this case could jeopardize the safety & lives of your community).

Apart from that I am not aware of any cases that allow lying by Muslims. (anyone with contrary information pls do share).

There are accounts of Prophet Muhammad which reflect Islam's position on lying, such as:

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was asked: "Can a believer be a coward?" The Prophet said: "Yes." He was then asked: "Can a believer be a miser?" He replied: "Yes." And finally, he was asked: 'Can a believer be a liar?" The Prophet said: "No." - Al-Muwatta, Volume 56, Hadith 19

It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The signs of the hypocrite are three: when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he is entrusted with something, he betrays that trust.” (al-Bukhari, 33; Muslim, 59)

This includes lying during buying/selling (for financial means):

It was narrated from Abu Dharr : “There are three to whom Allaah will not speak on the Day of Resurrection and He will not look at them or praise them, and they will have a painful torment.” The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) repeated this three times. Abu Dharr said: “May they be doomed and lost, who are they, O Messenger of Allaah?” He said, “The one who lets his garment hang below his ankles, (i.e. has Pride/Arrogance) the one who reminds others of his favors, and the one who disposes of his goods by swearing a false oath.” (Sahih Muslim, 106)

Evidence from Qur'an about being truthful witnesses:

O you who believe! Stand out firmly for Allaah as just witnesses; and let not the enmity and hatred of others make you avoid justice. Be just: that is nearer to piety [al-Ma'idah 5:8].”

Lying is also not allowed when told "jokingly"

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar said: “The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said, ‘I joke, but I speak nothing but the truth.’”

"Woe to the one who talks to make the people laugh tells lies, woe to him, woe to him.’” (i.e. one who lies to make ppl laugh)

Even lying to children is not allowed

 It was narrated that ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Aamir (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “My mother called me one day when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was sitting in our house. She said, ‘Come here, and I will give you (something).’ The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said, ‘What do you want to give him?’ She said, ‘I will give him a date.’ The Messenger of Allaah (pbuh) said: ‘If you had not given him something, you would have been lying.’”

And it was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: ‘Whoever says to a child, ‘Come here and take this,’ then does not give him something, this is counted as a lie.’”
(Abu Dawood, 4991)

 ‘Truthfulness is righteousness, and righteousness leads to  Paradise. A person will continue to tell the truth until he is written with Allaah as one who tells the truth. Lying is evildoing, and evildoing leads to Hell. A person will keep on telling lies until he is written as a liar.’” 
(al-Bukhari, 5743; Muslim, 2607)

More can be read here:

"O Lord, forgive me, my parents and Muslims in the Hereafter. O Lord, show mercy on them as they showed mercy to me when I was young."
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