November 19, 2012 By

Is Telling Lies Possible?

I have heard a hadith which says that there are situations in which we are allowed to lie. I would like to know more about the hadith and about the situations in which lying is permitted.?

Team Interactive: Telling lie, as you are aware, is not permissible for a Muslim. In no uncertain terms the prophet had declared: “Tell only the truth even if it is bitter.”

Once the holy prophet was having a chat with a few of his disciples. Somebody remarked:” Oh! The messenger of God, you must be joking!” The prophet answered: “Nay. I speak only truth”.

According to the prophet, telling fibs is one among the three bad qualities of a hypocrite. The prophet said that the holiest war is telling the truth to a tyrant’s face.

In spite of all these, the prophet permitted lying in certain occasions with a view to promote social harmony and the wellbeing of the society.

Hazrath Ummu Kulthoom reports: “The messenger of God said: One who spreads virtue and nurtures harmony is not a liar”. (Bukhari,Muslim). Imam Muslim adds a bit more to this Hadith. In his report Ummu Kulthoom continues: “The prophet didn’t allowed excuse except in three matters, viz war,building on better relationship and talks between couples.”

It is evident from the above quoted hadith that,as a final resort, one can lean on lie to bridge between people not on good terms and to avert unwanted hardships. It goes without saying that strategical lies,propagating half- truths and hiding facts in unavoidable situations are no crime during war time. Negotiators between “disagreeing”couples sometimes find positive and unharmful lies effective in building lasting and loving man-wife relationship.

Nevertheless , as eminent scholars have rightly pointed out, if a positive result can be achieved without lying, then lying by no means is permissible. In other words, lying is only the last resort.

The scholars have also observed that at certain occasions telling lies become obligatory to a Muslim.


Suppose a scoundrel approaches you and asks for somebody you know with an obvious intention to hurt him. What do you think your religious obligation is in such a situation? Telling the truth? No. You are bound to save a life pretending ignorance. Common sense must be our guide all the time. After all, Islam is nothing but common sense!

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