Be Wary of Those Who Distort the Truth

be wary of those who corrupt the truth

The Challenges that Face the Truth


This knowledge will be carried by the trustworthy from each generation. They will expel from it the corruption of those who go beyond boundaries. The lies of the falsifiers and the interpretation of the ignorant. (Bayhaqi)

In this sound hadith, the Prophet (peace be on him) is both warning the ummah of the threats the truth will face, and announcing the good news that the truth will prevail despite all the challenges.

There is reassurance that no matter what happens, this religion, ‘hadhal ilm’, will be protected by certain means. The understanding and the preservation of the Qur’an and sunnah is guaranteed and will be carried forward by the trustworthy from each generation. Allah Almighty has promised:

We have without doubt sent down a message and We will without doubt protect it. (15:9)

It is no coincidence that the first revelation was ‘Iqra!’ in the command form. From the very first ayah, we are instructed to be people of knowledge not ignorance. Allah Almighty teaches us to seek knowledge:

And say O my lord increase me in knowledge. (20:114)

The Channels of Distortion

The truth is always competing with falsehood. We need to protect ourselves against corruption, extremism and the lies of the falsifiers who are trying to twist and change our religion to serve their own agendas.

In the hadith the Prophet (peace be on him) is warning us of actions which distort the truth:

  • Actions

1- Twisting the text –tahreef

2- Lies in deenintihal

3- Wrong interpretation – ta’weel

Corruption, false interpretations and misguided claims not based on divine principles all play a part in obscuring the truth. When people claim they have authority, but do not base their words on divine principles their words are baseless and dangerously misleading.

  • Categories of Wrongdoers

1- Extremist and innovators bida’alghuluw

2- Falsehood – al batil

3- Ignorance – al jahl

The people who commit these crimes fall into three categories:

The Extremists – al ghaleen

Those who introduce bidah (innovations which go beyond the prescribed boundaries) and corruption are often extremists, like ISIS whose claim they understand the faith but quote ayahs and hadith out of context to spread evil.

However extremism can come in all shapes and sizes, not just ISIS, but any close-mindedness can be dangerous, as anyone can have a narrow understanding and interpretation and be quick to reject other legitimate opinions. They are people of bidah.

The Corrupt – al mubtilun

The liars who quote the ayahs of the Qur’an and give it a twist to suit those in power. This has already happened.  It was foretold that such things would occur and we now see them happening before of our very eyes. Their claims are based on falsehood, but do not be deceived by them. Sadly this is happening. People of falsehood might use their mimbar (pulpit) to promote falsehood, or might use an even bigger mimbar to promote falsehood. Is it possible? Yes it is possible. Do not buy into this. Be very careful. Not every person of knowledge is ready to sell their deen for personal gain. However those who are the ‘people of the sultan’, will rubber stamp whatever their government or their ruler says, even when it is corrupt. Their statements are based on falsehood. Do not be misled by them, especially as liars can wear imamas (turbans) on their heads. And sadly, they damage our knowledge and our image.

The Ignorant – al juhla

The attitude that we know better than a Shaykh is rife. Yet we do not! Sometimes our source of knowledge is Google Shaykh. I can assure you that Google Shaykh is not a trust worthy source of knowledge. We all need proper, trustworthy and knowledgeable shuyukh and teachers otherwise our reality is that we are of the ignorant.

It is possible to misunderstand the deen, despite having good intentions. Be careful of this. Sometimes we can be people of ignorance without meaning to. However the right intention will not justify the wrong action. Ask people of knowledge if you do not know.

And We sent not before you except men to whom We revealed [Our message].

So ask the people of the message if you do not know. (16:43)

Be careful not to fall into the one of these categories or one of these actions such as extremism or corruption

The Truthful

Do not be disheartened. The positive message is that the ummah still has trustworthy people and true knowledge will be carried forward by each generation. Such people fear no one but Allah Almighty. They are not buying the pleasure of their ruler by serving him blindly. But are only serving Allah Almighty.

[ Allah praises] those who convey the messages of Allah and fear Him and do not fear anyone but Allah . And sufficient is Allah as Accountant. (33:39)

The more we know, the closer we are to Allah Almighty, so we ask Allah Almighty to protect us against corruption and extremism and lies and those who are trying to change our religion to serve different purposes.

Khutbah delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim at Albanian Mosque, Queen’s Park London on 16th Nov 2018

Transcribed by A Khan

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Shaykh Haytham Tamim is the founder and main teacher of the Utrujj Foundation. He has provided a leading vision for Islamic learning in the UK, which has influenced the way Islamic knowledge is disseminated. He has orchestrated the design and delivery of over 200 unique courses since Utrujj started in 2001. His extensive expertise spans over 30 years across the main Islamic jurisprudence schools of thought. He has studied with some of the foremost scholars in their expertise; he holds some of the highest Ijazahs (certificates) in Quran, Hadith (the Prophetic traditions) and Fiqh (Islamic rulings). His own gift for teaching was evident when he gave his first sermon to a large audience at the age of 17 and went on to serve as a senior lecturer of Islamic transactions and comparative jurisprudence at the Islamic University of Beirut (Shariah College). He has continued to teach; travelling around the UK, Europe and wider afield, and won the 2015 BISCA award (British Imams & Scholars Contributions & Achievements Awards) for Outstanding Contribution to Education and Teaching.