Capsules of Faith: Truth
One of the names of God is Al Haqq, which means the truth.
فَذَلِكُمُ اللّهُ رَبُّكُمُ الْحَقُّ فَمَاذَا بَعْدَ الْحَقِّ إِلاَّ الضَّلاَلُ فَأَنَّى تُصْرَفُونَ
Quran 10:32: Such is Allah, your real Cherisher and Sustainer: apart from truth, what (remains) but error? How then are ye turned away?
Love the truth. The truth is difficult to pursue, but it is one of God’s attributes. God is the absolute truth. How can you claim to love God if you don’t abide by the value of truth in your life? How can you live with falsehood and deception while claiming that you love God?
Live by the truth, tell the truth and die abiding by the truth. A person who does not speak out against lies and deceit is a mute accomplice.
Truth always prevails. This is a universal timeless norm. If you don’t live by the truth, you are on a collision course with God. You will suffer the misery and guilt that is brought by falsehood.
The relationship between truth and justice: Justice means giving people their rights. Truth must be expressed loud and clear, so that justice can take its course effectively. Justice is dependent on the truth. If the truth is censored, justice will not be applied. It is impossible for a judge to reach a fair judgment if he has a limited access to all facts pertaining to the case in hand.
Free speech contributes to exposing the truth. It is evident that societies where freedom of speech is respected are more capable of having higher standards of justice and accountability, as opposed to societies where autocrats suppress the truth and censor free speech.
The dictators of the Middle East were all adamant on censoring the internet, press and media, because they didn’t want the truth about their crimes to be known. The despots knew that as long as the truth was imprisoned, they would be able to carry out their acts of tyranny. The dictators knew that when they silenced the truth, justice wouldn’t be exacted upon them. Freedom of speech is a prerequisite criteria for any society seeking progress, justice, democracy and meritocratic values.
Free speech shouldn’t be confused with hate speech. Hate speech was exemplified in the recent cartoons of the Prophet Muhammed which promoted hate, disrespect and intolerance.
There are people who deliberately hide the truth. There are others who know the truth, but will not speak out. There are those who expose the truth and sacrifice their lives in the process. There are those who fight for the truth and lose their freedom as a consequence. Which kind of person do you think you are?
Businessmen who give precedence to their own interests over their countries’ needs, do they really love the truth?
The husband who gives preference to pursuing his desires and not taking care of his wife and children, does he really love the truth?
The person who obeys his/her superiors in hiding the truth and deceiving others, does he really love the truth?
Let’s raise our children to respect the truth, seek the truth and stand for the truth. Let us establish the value of truth in our society.
Do not always follow others; sometimes standing for the truth makes you lonely, but the truth is worth fighting for.
Quran, An-Nisa [4:135]: O People who Believe! Be firm in establishing justice, giving witness for Allah, even if it is harmful to yourselves or parents or relatives; whether the one you testify against is wealthy or poor, for in any case Allah has the greater right over it; then do not follow your wishes for you may stray from the truth; and if you distort testimony or turn away, then Allah is Well Aware of your deeds.
Be just, even with your enemies.
Quran, Al-Ma'idah [5:8]: O People who Believe! Firmly establish the commands of Allah, giving testimony with justice - and do not let the enmity of anyone tempt you not to do justice; be just; that is nearer to piety - and fear Allah; indeed Allah is Well Aware of your deeds.
There was an important event that was referred to in the Quran, in The Women chapter: There was a Muslim man called Qatadah. Qatadah’s shield was stolen and he suspected that the one who had stolen the shield was another Muslim. Qatadah kept investigating the matter until he was convinced that this Muslim was the thief. Qatadah went to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and told him. The thief knew that Qatadah discovered what he had done, so he planted the stolen shield into the house of a Jew and sent members of his family to convince the Prophet that it was the Jew who stole the shield.
On searching the Jew’s house, the shield was found. Upon receiving the incriminating evidence, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) announced in the Mosque that the Muslim was innocent.
God did not let falsehood vanquish the Truth. God revealed to the Prophet, that the Jew was innocent and the Muslim was a thief. Prophet Muhammad publicly exonerated the innocent Jew and declared that the real thief was a Muslim. Can you follow this example in abiding by the truth?
God didn’t allow falsehood to vanquish the truth. Falsehood is doomed to be defeated. If we don’t stand up for the truth, falsehood will be replaced by another form of falsehood. It is only truth that can break this vicious cycle.
Sometimes the truth is deliberately misrepresented as falsehood and vice versa. In order to reach the truth, you need courage; you also need critical thinking; you need to be well informed; you need to be well read; you need to be well educated; you need an analytical mind and a vision in order to discern the truth from falsehood.
We should all contemplate our lives. Do we really stand up for justice and the truth?
Further reading: Good manners in Islam.
This article is based on Amr Khaled’s lecture. Amr Khaled is an Egyptian televangelist. His work influenced Arab youth and has contributed to the calls for change in the Middle East.