The Prophet's Recommendation Of Truthfulness And His Description Of Its Excellent Effects; His Warning Against Lying and His Description Of Its Evil Effects
It is narrated from Ibn Mas'ud - Allah be well-pleased with him -- that he said: "Allah's Messenger said: 'You must be truthful! Verily, truth leads to righteousness, and righteousness leads to Paradise. One is ever truthful and pursues truthfulness until he is recorded, in Allah's presence, as most-truthful-and-trustful (siddiq). Beware of lying! Verily, lying leads to depravity, and depravity leads to Hellfire. One constantly lie and pursues falsehood until he is recorded, in Allah's presence, as a liar.'"
The above is narrated by al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and al-Tirmidhi, who declared it sahih - the above is the latter's wording - as mentioned in al-Targhib and elsewhere.
The Prophet here recommends truthfulness. That is truthfulness of speech in harmony with the practical aspect of the Law; truthfulness of deeds with sincerity of intention for the sake of Allah Almighty; and truthfulness in states which are acquired through close attention (muraqaba) to Allah.
Then he showed that the realization of truthfulness brings one to rightousness (birr), which lexically signifies "vast and abundant goodness." What is meant here is vast and abundant goodness of faith, and the realization of the many, magnificent branches of faith.
Allah said: "It is not righteousness that you turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believes in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the Prophets; and gives his wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observes proper worship and pays the poor due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God fearing." (2:177)
Reflect on Allah Almighty's saying: "Such are they who are sincere," after He enumerated the branches of righteousness. Compare this with the Prophetic hadith in this chapter, and you will understand what is meant.
The Prophet (s) also showed that whoever realizes righteousness in faith, such realization will make him reach Paradise.
Then the Prophet warned against lying in word, deeds, and states. He showed that lying eventually leads to depravity (fujur), which, at the root, signifies "something passing its limit." What is meant here is that lying leads the liar to trespass the lawful bounds imposed on him by Allah Who decreed that he should stop at those limits. The Prophet showed that such depravity leads one to Hellfire without fail. Thus speech, deeds, states, and stations are all interrelated. Each leads to the other and produces effects in goodness or evil.
Allah's blessings and peace on the Prophet., his Family, and his Companions
Dr. G.F. Haddad
© As-Sunnah Foundation of America, 2003