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Honesty a great moral virtue

Publishing Date : 18 February, 2019

IQBAL EBRAHIM
UNDERSTANDING ISLAM


‘O you who believe be conscious of Allah and be with those who are true in word and deed. (Quran 9:119)

Truth and honesty are interlinked. What is honesty? Included in the package is: morality, trustworthiness, fairness, righteousness, honour, reliability and decency. This beautiful saying encapsulates what honesty is: ‘For honesty to be complete, it must exist in three things. It must exist in the heart as one’s faith, it must exist in the intentions behind one’s deeds, and it must be present in the words that one speaks.’


It goes further honesty covers a wide range of noble and desirable traits. These traits cover telling the truth, sincerity in what we say and what we do, and in our work, carrying out our duties, fulfilling one's word, not making judgements or conclusions on others without knowing the truth. It is the opposite of lying, of cheating, of hypocrisy, of favouritism, and of lies and deceit. Honesty comes in two forms one is external and the other is internal.


As Muslims, firstly, we have to be honest and sincere in our relationship with Allah. We must recognise the fact that Allah is ever watchful of what we do. We can achieve this by making it our main objective to attain Allah’s mercy. If we are constantly and consciously aware that Allah is ever watchful over us. This will make us feel too shy to willingly disobey the laws of Allah.

We must always be cognizant of the fact that Allah is ever watchful of what we do. We have to inculcate that internal honesty and always remember that we usually judge it ourselves, but we must always remember that the Almighty watches over us and knows all the secrets of the heart and is the final Judge. ‘..….for He knows well the secrets of all hearts…. And He knows all that you do……. for He is with His servants well acquainted and ever watchful. (Quran 42: 24- 28)  


There must be a sense of humility and shame that we must feel before Him. If we truly want to be honest in our relationship with Allah, we must become so fully sincere to Him that there remains in our hearts no other motive for what we do but to seek His pleasure and Blessings. We can achieve this by making our greatest concern the attainment of Allah’s mercy. We must be constantly aware that Allah is ever watchful over us. This will make us feel too shy to ever willingly disobey Allah.


Allah commands the believers, saying: “O you who believe, fear Allah and be among those who are honest.”‘If he be a liar on him is the sin of his lie….then will fall on you something of a calamity……Allah does not guide one who transgresses and lies’ (Quran 40: 28)
Taking it to another level we have to ensure that we are honest with other people is also of extreme importance. There are many aspects to this as well. First, we must be honest in our interaction and dealings with others. We should not behave deceptively and present a false face to people. Instead, we must be genuine and straightforward with people as much as possible.


We must be honest in what we say. This requires from us to be careful to ascertain the truth of the news that we hear before we go ahead and pass it on to others. The Prophet (pbuh) said: “It is enough to make a person a liar that he tells others everything that he hears.”
We must be honest in giving advice to people. We should be sincere in our advice and truly do our best to help people avoid misfortune and attain what is good for them.


We need to be even more honest with our spouses. We must be able to confide in them and speak freely to them about our concerns, our secrets, and our ambitions. A husband or wife is a life partner, a friend, a confidant. The more openly a husband and wife are able to communicate with each other in an atmosphere of trust and confidence, the stronger their relationship will be.


Honesty, without doubt creates inner strength on every level. On the personal level, it provides integrity, self-worth, and inner strength. On the social level, strengthens our dealings because it lends depth and substance to our relationships with other people. On the spiritual level, it brings about the sincerity to our Lord that is the key to our salvation.   


The Prophet (pbuh) said: “Honesty leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise. A man remains honest and concerned about honesty until he is recorded as an honest man with Allah. Lying leads to sinfulness and sinfulness leads to the Fire. A man keeps lying and remains partial to lies until he is recorded as a liar with Allah.”


Further he said: “There are four characteristics, whoever has all of them is a true hypocrite, and whoever has one of them has one of the qualities of a hypocrite until he gives it up: when he is trusted, he betrays (the trust); when he speaks, he lies; when he makes a promise, he breaks it; and when he disputes, he is vulgar.”

There are many verses from the Quran and the teachings of Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) that guide us: “And mix not truth with falsehood, nor conceal the truth while you know.”  (Quran 2: 42). And: “O you who believe, why do you say what you do not do? It is loathsome indeed with Allah that you say what you do not do.” (Quran 61: 3)


Truth in word is the most familiar and obvious kind of truth, since every statement that varies with reality could obviously a lie. Allah says: “Verily those who fabricate a lie against Allah will not find success.” Allah gives glad tidings to the believers who are honest. He says: “Allah will reward the honest people for their honesty.” Allah informs us that our honesty will bring us good even in this world: “And when a matter is resolved upon, it would be best for them if they were true to Allah.”


And of course, honesty will be of doubtless benefit to us in the Hereafter. Allah says: “This is the day that the honest and truthful people will benefit from their honesty.” (Quran 5; 119)
Nowadays there is a great deal of dishonesty; be it in our own lives, in the lives of others, in the world of business and in politics both internationally and locally.  Honesty penetrates to the innermost fibre of a society and of a person; when our inner being is in harmony with our outer self. A person’s deeds are honest only when he practices what he sincerely believes in. Dishonesty in deed is more shameful than dishonesty in word, for it is nothing but a false display of sincerity


The bottom line is if we truly want to be honest in our relationship with Allah, we must become so fully sincere to Him that there remains in our hearts no other motive for what we do but to seek His pleasure. This must create an inner sense of humility and shame that we must feel before Him. Quran says: ‘Therefore do I warn you of a fire blazing fiercely; none shall reach it but those unfortunate ones who give lie to truth and turn their backs. But those devoted to Allah shall be removed far from it’. (Quran 92: 14 – 17)   


Even the Bible says: “He that speaketh truth showeth forth righteousness.” Proverbs 12: 17
Remember: If you plant honesty, you will reap trust; if you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment; If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective; If you plant hard work, you will reap success; If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation; If you plant faith in Allah, you will reap a harvest; So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later. Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back.

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