Never be afraid to tell the truth

Abu Saeed al-Khudri narrated that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:

‪“Do not let the fear of people prevent you from speaking the truth if you witness it, as it won’t shorten lifespan or decrease your livelihood if you tell the truth or remind people about something great”. (Musnad‪ Ahmad).

In this hadith and similar narrations in the sunnah, we are instructed to deliver the truth and not to let fear prevent us from withholding it. If we know the truth we have a duty to convey it is as it. Allah has commanded us many times in the Quran not to be cowardly in this matter.

Allah Almighty says in Surat al Ahzab:

[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)

And again in Surat al Imran, He says:

God took a pledge from those who were given the Scripture- ‘Make it known to people; do not conceal it’ (3:187)

The narrator of the hadith

Abu Saeed Al-Khudri was born in the tenth year before Hijra, in Madinah. He belonged to the tribe of Khazraj, and was therefore a young boy during the life of the Prophet (peace be on him). He was just 13 when he wanted to fight in the Battle of Uhud, but the Prophet (peace be on him) did not let him. Later he participated in the Battle of the Ditch, and from him we have many narrations. He was deeply interested in knowledge and it was he, who who made ruqya on one of the leaders of the Arab tribes reciting Al-Fatiha on him. When the Prophet (peace be on him) learned of this, he was amazed.

Fear of telling the truth

In our current situation the truth has been concealed in many scenarios. People are afraid to tell the truth. This is particularly the case when it comes to speaking out in front of those in positions of power, rulers, bosses, large audiences and in court.

The Prophet (peace be on him) is highlighting the reason we often fail to tell the truth, even though it is a command from Allah. It is fear – for our life and our safety, for instance the thought of being put in prison or getting the sack or coming under scrutiny. Or the detrimental impact it might have on our family and loved ones.

The second fear is our rizq. This also prevents people from speaking out. Fear of harm, and fear of losing our livelihood thus become two crippling factors when we are required to tell the truth.

Don’t be scared

The Prophet (peace be on him) is reassuring us that our life is already written and our rizq is written so do not think that by telling the truth it will curtail your rizq or shorten your lifespan. No.

Allah Almighty in the well-known hadith, told us that when He created us in the womb of our mothers, He commanded the angels to write four things: our rizq (provision), our lifespan, our final destiny (whether we are destined for heaven or hell), and our actions.

Abdullah ibn Masood (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him) said:

Verily the creation of each one of you is brought together in his mother’s womb for forty days in the form of a nutfah (a drop), then he becomes an alaqah (clot of blood) for a like period, then a mudghah (morsel of flesh) for a like period, then there is sent to him the angel who blows his soul into him and who is commanded with four matters: to write down his rizq (sustenance), his life span, his actions, and whether he will be happy or unhappy (i.e., whether or not he will enter Paradise). (Bukhari and Muslim)

Therefore there is no need to fear that the first two things can be lessened by anyone else. The One who holds your life is Allah Almighty. The One who has control over your rizq is Allah. No one else.

Be wise

Of course, this does not mean that you should throw yourself into hardship. Be wise. Use the right etiquettes to deliver advice to the one who is in charge. Don’t take this hadith out of its context. If you have to speak out against something, do it using the right etiquete. Never humiliate anyone in public. Tell them in private and follow the prophetic advice.

Wrong fatwas

Unfortunately, these days the truth has been twisted by some scholars who are afraid to tell the truth. They may have been threatened by their rulers and coerced into giving these fatwas, perhaps they fear for their lives, their reputations or their families, and therefore they have given fatwas which are not in line with shariah.

I am not judging anyone, but if someone has delivered the wrong fatwa, it is wrong. We have to tell the truth regardless of the pressure that are put under for speaking it.

Israel – Palestine

The fatwa to normalise relations with Israel is wrong. It is wrong for multiple reasons. The truth is that Palestine is for the Palestinians.

We ask Allah to make us from among the people who deliver the truth and tell the truth.

The Prophet (peace be on him) said to Abu Dhar al Ghifari:

Tell the truth, even if it is bitter.  (Bayhaqi, Ibn Hibban)

Aisha narrated the Prophet (peace be on him) said:

Indeed whoever seeks Allah’s pleasure by the people’s wrath, Allah will suffice him from people and whoever seeks the people’s pleasure by Allah’s wrath, Allah will entrust him to people. (Tirmidhi)

May Allah enable us always to say what pleases Him, regardless if it pleases others or not and give us the wisdom and courage to deliver the truth with the right etiquette and approach. Ameen

Delivered by Shaykh Haytham Tamim on 18th September 2020.

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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.