The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) As the Model for Truthfulness and Trustworthiness
By Dr. Norlain Dindang
The Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is known as the as-Sadiq and al-’Alamin (the Truthful and the Trustworthy). People during his time, except the most arrogant unbelievers among them, believed him as such. The following Hâdîth for instance tells us:
Ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that when the Verse: "And warn your tribe of near kindred.” (26:214) was revealed, Allah’s Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) went out, and when he had ascended As-Safa mountain, he shouted, "O Sabahah!" The people said, "Who is that?” "Then they gathered around him, whereupon he said, "Do you see? If I inform you that cavalrymen are proceeding up the side of this mountain, will you believe me” They said, “We have never heard you telling a lie.” Then he (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, "I am a plain warner to you of a coming severe punishment.” Abu Lahab said, "May you perish! You gathered us only for this reason?” Then Abu Lahab went away. So the Surat: "Perish the hands of Abu Lahab!” (111:1) was revealed.” (Bukhari 6/495)
The Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) is known to have always told the truth even when he joked with his Companions. In fact, he even cursed those who make lies just to make people laugh:
Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that when they said, “Messenger of Allah, do you make jokes with us!” He (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) replied, “I say nothing but the truth.” (Tirmidhi 4885)
Mu'awiyah Ibn Jaydah al-Qushayri (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Woe to him who tells things, speaking falsely, to make people laugh thereby. Woe to him! Woe to him!” (Abu Dawud 4972)
We, the Du’ât should emulate the great Messenger of Allah. We must fear Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and always tell the truth. As Muslims, we are expected to be truthful and trustworthy:
“O you who believe! Fear Allah and be with those who are truthful.” (9:119)
“That Allah will reward the people of Truth for their Truth, and punish the Hypocrites if that be His Will, or turn to them in Mercy; for Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (33:24)
Abu Hurairah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand the Muslims are safe and a believer is one in whom people place their trust in regard to their life and wealth.” (Tirmidhi 33 and Nasa'i)
To be truthful, we should equip ourselves with the knowledge of the Truth. This is one of the reasons why we need to seek correct knowledge of Islam, as much as possible. We should always be ready with whatever questions the non-Muslims will ask about Islam. If we do not know or are not sure of the answer(s) then we have to be frank. We can delay the answer and ask somebody who is knowledgeable (an Imam or a Muslim scholar) to answer the question. Allah (Subhanahu wa ta’ala) and His Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) enjoin us to ask those who know:
“... Then ask those who have been reading the Book from before you...” (10:94)
“...If you realize this not, ask of those who possess the Message.” (16:43)
‘Abdullah Bin Amr al ‘As (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) heard some people disputing about the Qur’an. Thereupon he said: “It was because of this that those gone before you had perished. They set parts of the books against the others (whereas the fact is) that the Book of Allah has been revealed with one part confirming the others. Therefore, do not falsify some parts with the others and speak only that which you know; that which you do not know, refer it to one who knows it well.” (Tirmidhi 237, Ahmad and Ibn Majah)
We should never attribute something that has no basis in the Qur’an and the Sunnah to the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam), or to Islam as a whole. We should take admonitions from the following warnings:
Ali (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Do not tell a lie against me for whoever tells a lie against me (intentionally) then he will surely enter the Hell-fire.” (Bukhari 1/106 and Ibn Majah 1/31)
Salama (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that he heard the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying, “Whoever (intentionally) ascribes to me what I have not said then (surely) let him occupy his seat in Hell-fire.” (Bukhari 1/109)
Wathila bin Al Asqa (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Verily, one of the worst lies is to claim falsely to be the son of someone other than one’s real father; or to claim to have had a dream one has not had; or to attribute to me what I have not said.” (Bukhari 4/712)
Abdullah ibn Abbas (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: Be mindful when transmitting a Hâdîth from me. (Transmit) only that which you know (very well) for he who intentionally lies about me will find his abode in Hell-Fire.” (Tirmidhi 232)
There are many Islamic teachings on truthfulness that should inspire us to be truthful. We can share them to non-Muslims. Non-Muslims should know that we, the true Muslims, adhere to truth for we are certain that Islam is the religion of Truth. Islam teaches truthfulness. It enjoys its followers to adhere to truthfulness and refrain from lies as shown in the following authentic teachings:
‘Abdullah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “Truthfulness leads to Al-Birr (righteousness) and Al-Birr leads to Paradise. And a man keeps on telling the truth until he becomes a Siddiq (truthful person). Falsehood leads to Al-Fujur (i.e., wickedness, evil-doing), and Al-Fujur leads to the (Hell) Fire, and a man may keep on telling lies till he is written before Allah, a liar.” (Bukhari 8/116 and Muslim 4/6307-6310)
‘Abdullah (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) as saying, “It is obligatory for you to tell the truth, for truth leads to good deeds and good deeds lead him who does them to paradise. If a man continues to speak the truth and makes truth his objective, he will be recorded in Allah’s presence as eminently truthful. Avoid falsehood, for falsehood leads to wickedness and wickedness leads to hell. If a man continues to speak falsehood and makes falsehood his objective, he will be recorded in Allah’s presence as a great liar.” (Muslim 4/6309)
We must include in our prayers that Allah will give us the best character and manners, which include being truthful. We should also avoid situations or things that will lead us to make lies. One of these is debt as the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) warns us in the following Hâdîth:
‘Aishah (radhiallahu anha) narrated that the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) used to invoke Allah in the prayer saying, “O Allah, I seek refuge with you from all sins, and from being in debt.” Someone said, “O Allah’s Messenger! (I see you) very often you seek refuge with Allah from being in debt.” He replied (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam), “If a person is in debt, he tells lies when he speaks, and breaks his promises when he promises.” (Bukhari 3/582)
In everything we do, we must fear Allah and always tell the truth. Telling lies do great harms to us especially in the eternal world. If we die without asking Allah’sforgiveness and we are recorded in His presence as liars, then we will have a terrible punishment in the Hereafter. As much as possible, we must avoid telling lies. We must take warning from the following Hâdîth:
Samura bin Jundub (radhiallahu anhu) narrated that the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said, “I saw (in a dream) two men came to me.” Then the Prophet (sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) narrated the story (saying), “They said, 'The person, the one whose cheek you saw being torn away (from the mouth to the ear) was a liar and used to tell lies. And the people would report those lies on his authority till they spread all over the world. So he will be punished like that till the Day of Resurrection.’” (Bukhari 8/118)
To the non-Muslims who invent lies against Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala, it is our duty to warn them to refrain from their sheer disbeliefs. They should take lessons from the many clear Signs of Allah, being the Only God worthy of our sincere worship and stop associating partners with Allah Subhanahu wa Ta'ala. They should fear Allah’s curse and severe punishment in the Hell-Fire:
“And those who believe in Allah and His messengers they are the Truthful and the martyrs in the eyes of their Rabb. They shall have their Reward and their Light. But those who reject Allah and deny Our Signs, they are the Companions of Hell-Fire.” (57:19)
“Who does more wrong than those who invent a lie against Allah? They will be turned back to the Presence of their Rabb and the witnesses will say, ‘These are the ones who lied against their Rabb!’ Behold! The curse of Allah is on those who do wrong!” (11:18)

Note: Please take note of the meaning of the following Arabic words used in this article:
Subhanahu wa Ta'ala – ‘The Exalted’
Sall-Allahu ‘Alayhi wa Sallam – ‘Peace and Blessings of Allah be upon him’