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Let us change (2) - honesty and truthfulness

Publishing Date : 18 June, 2019

Continuing with the topic of ‘Change’: this refers to changes within our hearts, minds and soul; this will lead to changes in our daily conduct and in our lifestyle; this week the column focuses on honesty and truthfulness.

Honesty and truthfulness are those universal principles which all societies, communities and people agree with but seldom practice honestly. Without honesty individuals and the society at large will live in suspicion of one another resulting in chaos as a result of that mistrust and suspicion. When friends, family, work colleagues and couples are not honest with each other, then we cannot create and develop a society that is in symmetry to that which Allah desires from us, then the life of those and others in the wider society will be somewhat in jeopardy.

This is why Islam and every other religious faith prohibit lying. Allah, Almighty, says in the Qur’an, “Truly Allah guides not one who transgresses and lies.” (Quran 40:28), the Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) warned people about lying and its consequence in his statement, ‘Stick to truthfulness, for it leads one to righteousness, and it leads to Paradise. Thus, when one sticks to truthfulness and practices it, Allah considers him as a truthful man. And avoid telling lies, for it leads to excessiveness, and this leads to Hell-Fire. Thus, when one persists in telling lies, Allah considers him as a liar.

Unfortunately in the world of today there is so much misunderstanding that is leading to chaos because of the untruths and false or misinformation that is being spread in our societies. This is spread via our international or local political leaders and even us as individuals at a local level. Among the other major characteristics that make up the nature and conduct in the life of each and every one of us are truthfulness and honesty.

They are the corner stone that dictate our actions, interactions, behaviour and our daily conduct with and within society. 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. We become what we are by over thoughts, actions, deeds and the manner in which we conduct our lives.

Honesty goes even deeper because it should start in our Honesty with our Creator: it goes without saying that if we are not genuine and sincere in our relationship with Allah, it is unlikely that we will achieve any measure of sincerity in our worldly relationships. Sincerity in our relationship with the Almighty in our belief – where we recognise and accept that He is The Supreme Sovereign and the One and Only deserving to be worshipped also being mindful of the fact that Allah is ever watchful of what we do.

 If we truly want to be honest in our relationship with Allah, we must become so sincere to Him that there remains in our hearts no other motive for what we do but to seek His pleasure.  Sincerity in our relationship with Allah inculcates in us not only inner peace but further leads us towards wholeheartedness in worship, honesty in our motives and intentions. ‘O ye who believe! Fear Allah and be among those who are true (in words and deeds) Quran 9:119.

Honesty in word and in our deeds: 

Let’s face it, all of us one time or the other lies about something, but not always with malicious intent - we tell what we think are harmless little lies. For example we were supposed to or promised to do something and we didn’t, we then cover up by making excuses like ‘we had a power failure’ or ‘the computer crashed’. Knowing full well that the lies are just a cover for ourselves when the reason was simply that we did not at the time, feel like nor getting around to doing it.

Too often some of us use these small and trivial lies regularly and conveniently, but they can over time people may begin to take our words with a pinch of salt and consequently begin to lose their trust in us because of our petty lies. A person’s deeds are honest only when we practice what we believe in. Dishonesty in actions and in deed is more loathsome than dishonesty in word, for it is a phoney display of sincerity. 

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: ‘There are three characteristics of a hypocrite: when he speaks he is false, whenever he makes a promise he breaks his promise; and whenever he is entrusted (with something) he betrays that trust (proves to be dishonest).’
In the Holy Quran, 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.” (Quran 47:21) And of course, honesty will be of doubtless benefit to us in the Hereafter. Allah says: “This is the day that the honest people will benefit from their honesty.” (Quran 5: 119)

Honesty with fellow humans

Honesty with other people is important and we must be honest in our dealings and interaction 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 also be honest in what we say. This requires from us to be careful to establish the truth of the news or even conversation 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 and that there should be no hidden motive. 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. It goes without saying that 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.

A Final Thought:

Think about it a mirror always shows you your actual image, it doesn't hide your imperfections or ahem, ugliness. The mirror isn't there to make us happy or sad by hiding or showing us otherwise. It simply reflects how we really look - now that is honesty and truthfulness.



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