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Tuesday 25th of June 2019
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Wine Contains No Cure

Ibne abi Yazoor told Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.): I am suffering from a disease. When the pain intensifies I drink some wine of grapes and the pain subsides. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said, "Do not drink. It is Haraam; it is nothing but Shaitan who is preying upon you to involve you in sins. When he loses all hope of making you drink he will leave you."

Ibne abi Yazoor returned to his native place, Kufa. He was in intense pain and his people brought for him wine of grapes and persuaded him to drink it. Ibne abi Yazoor said, "By Allah! I will not taste a drop of it."

He bore the pain for some days. At last his pain receded and he never suffered from it for the rest of his life.

Drunkard on the Death-bed

Abu Basir says that Umme Khalid Abadiya presented herself before Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) when Abu Basir was also present. Umme Khalid said,
"May I be sacrificed for you, on the day of Qiyamat I will tell Allah that I have done as commanded by Ja'far ibn Muhammad (a.s.). Physicians have told me to knead the flour with grape wine and eat the bread. This will cure the terrible pain of my heart. I ask you, shall I do this?"

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) replied to Umme Khalid,
"No! By Allah I will not permit you even a drop of wine. Don't taste even a drop of it. Otherwise when your soul reaches here (Imam pointed towards his throat) you will only regret." Then Imam (a.s.) asked Umme Khalid thrice.

"Have you understood?"
"Yes", replied Umme Khalid.

A student of Fuzail Ibne Ayaz was on his deathbed. Fuzail came to him and sitting near his head began to recite Surah Yasin (al-Quran, chapter 36). The disciple told his teacher, "Do not recite the Quran!" Fuzail became silent. Then he began to urge his disciple to repeat "La ilaha illallah". The student said:
"I will not repeat this formula because I am disgusted with it!" and he died in the same condition.

Fuzail Ibne Ayaz was extremely perturbed. He returned home after completing his duties and went to sleep. He saw his student undergoing punishment. He asked him, "What is the reason of your being deprived of faith (Imaan) at the time of your death? You were one of my best students."

The student replied: "There are three reasons, firstly, I used to backbite too much, secondly, I used to be jealous, thirdly, a physician had prescribed for my malady a cup of wine every year. He told me that if I do not drink, the disease would never be cured. Every year I drank one cup of wine."
(Safinatun Behaar Vol. I Pg. 428)

Numerous traditional reports mention that "Haraam" things do not contain any cure. In the same way one must refrain from taking any medicine that contains even a drop of najis alcohol.

It is stated on page no 380 of the Journal of Anjuman Tablighate Islami:
"There is not a single doctor today who considers liquor to have any cure. No doctor permits even a small quantity of the same. If a physician prescribes liquor as a medicine for some cure, it must be understood that his medical knowledge is deficient."

A hundred years ago some of the doctors and physicians believed that wine had some curative effects. But recent researches show that wine not only lacks any beneficial value but is in fact harmful. The molecules of alcohol on entering the blood stream affect the white blood corpuscles. These corpuscles perform the function of protecting the human body against infectious disease.

The white blood cells engulf the disease causing germs and exterminate them. Anything that impairs the functioning of these blood cells exposes a person to numerous diseases because his body is unable to protect itself. Some people think that wine helps in digestion. This is just a false notion. The reality is just the opposite. Actually wine causes indigestion. The food hardens in the stomach and becomes indigestible. You can experiment by pouring wine upon a piece of cooked soft meat. It will become tough like leather, and absolutely unchewable. Wine also destroys the digestive juices secreted by the stomach and leads to flatulence and indigestion. Wine destroys appetite. Besides, alcohol causes addiction and wine taken for medicinal purpose soon becomes an addiction that is difficult to get rid of. We may observe that some alcoholics emerge perfectly healthy even after years of addiction. But what is apparent may be different from reality. If a medical check up is carried out, it will reveal the deteriorating condition of the internal organs and the digestive system of these addicts. Besides, often the maladies are not associated with alcohol and are attributed to other factors. It should be also noted that alcohol affects some people more than others. Some have a hereditary capacity to withstand the rouging effects of alcohol. They should thank Providence for it and refrain from drinking so that they can protect their future generation from developing a weakness for it.

Punishment for Drinking Liquor

If a sane adult person, knowing that liquor is Haraam, consumes even a drop of it of his own accord and later confesses to it or is seen in the act of drinking by two just witnesses who testify, the Judge is obliged to award punishment to him.

However punishment cannot be awarded under the following conditions: If the individual who drinks it is a child, or an insane person, or one who is unaware of its prohibition, or one drinks it by mistake being under the impression that it is not liquor and realizes the truth afterwards, or one who drinks it under coercion and force, or one who is compelled to drink due to extreme thirst there being no other way of quenching it.

The Islamic penalty for drinking is eighty lashes. Eighty lashes are given when the person drinks it for the first time. If he repeats the act after receiving 80 lashes he is lashed 160 times. If he repeats the sin again and confesses, or two just witnesses testify before a Qazi (religious Judge) the punishment is tripled; i.e. 240 lashes. The fourth instance of the crime entails capital punishment. Some Mujtahids are of the opinion that capital punishment should be given when the sin is repeated the third time.

If a person confesses and repents before the testimony of two just witnesses, he is condoned. However after the testimony he cannot escape punishment. The drunkard cannot be punished while still intoxicated. He is punished only when he gets sober. If it is a man he is stripped above the waist and lashed from the shoulders and below. It is not allowed to hit the face or the private parts of the accused. If the accused is a woman she is lashed with her clothes on. If her dress is loose, it is made to stick to the body by tying it up. She is lashed in a sitting position.

If a person drinks wine at a sacred place, for example the Holy Kaaba or in a sacred period, like the month of Ramazan, he is lashed and also given a preventive punishment that is, he is beaten so much that he may not dare to repeat the crime.

Ibn Abil Hadid records the following incident in Sharh-e-Nahjul Balagha:
"Najashi was a famous poet of Kufa. He was originally from Yemen. He was among the army of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) at the Battle of Siffin. It was the first day of Ramazan when his friend, Abu Sammak instigated him to drink wine at the tavern. Under its intoxication he created such a bedlam that his neighbour was compelled to complain to Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.). Hazrat summoned both of them. Abu Sammak fled but Najashi was arrested and brought by the people. By the order of the Imam (a.s.) he was detained for the night. The next day, before the congregation of Muslims he was stripped to the waist and lashed eighty times for drinking wine. After this he was given twenty more lashes. Najashi said, "Eighty lashes were for drinking wine, but why twenty more?" Imam (a.s.) replied,
"This is because you dared to drink during the month of Ramazan and did not respect its sanctity."
(Furu Al Kafi, Chapter on Penal Code)

The relatives of Najashi were present in large numbers in the camp of Ali (a.s.). They were perturbed at the extra punishment. One of them, Tarikh Ibne Abdullah said:
"We Yemenis are among your loyal friends and Shias. We expected you to consider us differently from your enemies. Najashi is our respected kinsman. By lashing him publicly you have degraded us in the eyes of our friends and enemies. We have began to doubt if the path that we tread leads to Heaven." Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said,
"Strict adherence to justice and commands of Allah hurts the sinners. What have I done? Najashi dared to disobey the Divine command. I have only punished him according to the laws. Allah says:
'... And let not hatred of a people invite you not to act equitably; act equitably, that is nearer to piety, be careful of (your duty to) Allah...'"
(Surah Maidah 5: 8)

Ibn Abil Hadid writes, "Najashi and Tarikh were unable to assert their opinion. They left Kufa and went to Syria to join the group of Muawiya." Their meeting with Muawiya is not described here. Its details can be studied in Ibn Abil Hadid's Sharh-e-Nahjul Balagha, Vol. I part iv page no. 366.

Aloofness from the Drunkard

In order to discourage the evil habit of drinking, Allah and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has commanded that people should not associate with a drunkard and remain totally aloof from him. It is a method by which the drunkard will feel self-conscious about the lack of respect with which his vicinity members view him. Being strictly excluded from company, he will not be able to influence tender or immature minds to develop this obnoxious habit. We can thus restrict the evils of alcoholism that destroy the foundation of individual and social life.

Do not Give your Daughter in Marriage to a Drunkard

Hazrat Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) quotes the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.),
"Allah has made me to pronounce wine as Haraam, after this pronouncement if someone still drinks wine, he is not fit to have his proposal for marriage accepted, when he proposes. If he seeks recommendation, he should not be recommended. If he says something he must not be believed. His testimony must not be accepted. Nothing should be kept in his trust. Allah is not responsible for something kept with a drunkard, with the knowledge (of his vice). He will not receive any compensation. If the thing is lost, nothing could be taken in exchange and neither its cost."
(Al Kafi)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"One who marries his well-behaved daughter to a drunkard does Qat-e-Rahmi."
(Al Kafi)

Imam (a.s.) has also said,
"One who marries his well-behaved daughter to a drunkard; it is as if he has given her to adultery."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Imam (a.s.) has also stated in a tradition,
"If a drunkard falls ill do not go to visit him. If he dies, do not attend his funeral."

Boycott of the Drunkard

By adopting this attitude we fulfill our duty of Nahy Anil Munkar. No one should trust or believe a drunkard, and no one should have any dealings with him whatsoever. As clearly ordered by our Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and our Imam (a.s.) no one should give his daughter in marriage to a drunkard. When the drunkard finds himself so totally cut off from the society in which he lives, he will be compelled to give up his sinful habit.

Jehad Against Intoxicants

The book Burhan-e-Quran writes against intoxicants:
"The evil of intoxicants can be easily proved by the fact that in a country like France a woman legislator urged the parliament to abolish intoxicants completely. She was so disgusted by the ill-effects of alcohol that she protested against it vehemently. Obviously, until the powerful governments put an end to such evils they cannot be eradicated. Mere crusades of individuals, or social boycott will not have much effect."

It is true that life can be very difficult for some individuals. They face hardships and frustrations till they are driven to despair. Even so, drinking liquor to forget their troubles is not a solution. The physical, economic and social repercussions of this evil will only magnify their problems and engulf them in a vicious circle from which it will be almost impossible to extricate themselves. It is an evil that must be fought by individuals, by society and by the governments. Individual effort and social boycott will certainly help to a great extent. But the authority that the government can exercise in enforcing strict measures will go a long way in eradicating this evil. The American government in the year 1930 had made a serious effort to discourage the use of intoxicants. The propaganda was carried out through newspapers, magazines, radio, television, films and all modes of communication. The total expenses incurred by the government were eight million dollars. Ten billion pages of books and magazines were printed. Within a span of 14 years 250 million dollars were spent. 300 people were hanged, 532000 people were sent to prison, penalties were collected from 1,60,00,000 people and property worth $ 41,50,00,000 was confiscated. All this did not yield the desired result and the number of alcoholics, in fact, increased. In 1933 all these restrictions were withdrawn and complete freedom was given to the public to consume liquor.
(From Tankihat of Abul Ala Maududi)

This only goes to show that government restriction alone will not cure this malady. What is needed are the co-ordinated efforts of strict government rules and the boycott of the alcoholics by society.

When Islam prohibited liquor, it considered all these aspects. Islam first strived to remove the causes of alcoholism. After this, it promulgated that liquor is Haraam. One of the causes that promotes this habit are the people who themselves give a free rein to this vice. They do not adopt strict methods of prevention. Our society does not view the drunkards unfavourably and does not boycott them so that they may be compelled to give up their habits. According to Islam, dangerous diseases and ailments that befall the soul must be eradicated by all means. The drunkards and alcoholics must also be boycotted economically. People should not transact any business with them and they must also be socially boycotted. Proposals for their marriage must be rejected and none should keep company with them. An ideological war must be carried out against them. They must also be a spiritually cured. Along with heavy penal punishment they must be informed of the ill effects of liquor and other intoxicants. 

Gambling is the fourteenth Greater Sin. The following statements support this view. The Holy Quran states in Surah Baqarah:
"They ask you about intoxicants and games of chances. Say: in both of them there is a great sin..."
(Surah Baqarah 2:219)

"Ithme kabir" means a very great sin. The Holy Quran has used this phrase only for drinking and gambling."

The tradition related by Fazl Ibne Shazaan from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) also included gambling among the Greater sins. Similarly, gambling is clearly mentioned as a Greater Sin in the tradition related by Amash from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.).

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), is reported to have told Abu Basir:
"It is Haraam to sell chess. It is Haraam to spend the income of this sale. To keep chess (board and pieces) in ones possession is tantamount to kufr (disbelief). To play chess is equal to ascribing partners to Allah. It is a sin even to salute one who plays chess. One who touches it in order to play it, it is, as if he has contaminated his hands by touching pork."
(Wasaelush Shia. Chapter on Business Transactions)

The same tradition is recorded in the book Man La Yahzarul Faqih with the addition inter alia that:
"To teach chess to others is also a kind of destructive sin."

It is related from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"Allah pardons all the sinners in the month of Ramazan except three kinds of people; those who drink wine, those who gamble and those who harbour enmity and avarice towards a Muslim."

Another proof is the following verse of Quran, which shows that gambling, is a Greater Sin:
"O you who believe! Intoxicants and (maeser) games of chance and divining (azlam) by arrows are only an uncleanness, the Shaitan's work; shun it therefore that you may be successful."
(Surah Maaidah 5:90)

What do 'Maesir' and 'Azlam' Denote?

Games of chances that are mentioned in this Quranic verse include all types of gambling. The Arabic equivalent to this is "Maeser" which is derived from the root word "yusur" which means 'ease'. Since a gambler does not perform a laborious work and is able to easily grab the money belonging to others, gambling is called "Maeser".

"Azlam" is a game of chance that is played with dice. Actually, there used to be special pieces of wood which were used in gambling. Azlam is also known as "aqlaam". The gamblers used to purchase a camel and divide the meat of the slaughtered camel into twenty-eight parts. Ten pieces of arrow-shaped wood were kept at the venue of gambling. Each piece had a specific name. The names of seven of those pieces were faz, tawaam, raqeeb, halas, nafis, masbal and mualla. Specific portion of meat was allotted to each of the arrows. For example faz was equal to one portion and mualla had seven portions. The meat that had been divided into twenty-eight pieces was distributed only to these ten pieces of wood. Some of the arrows were such that no meat was allotted to them and in fact those who got them had to reimburse the cost of camel in full. The total of participants in this game was ten, and the three unlucky ones were expelled. The three unlucky arrows were named "manaj, safih and raghad".

'Azlaam' is a kind of a wager whereas 'maeser' includes all forms of gambling. Azlaam is mentioned specifically because it was popular before the advent of Islam. Other methods of azlaam are also recorded but irrespective of the method, all types of wagers are Haraam. Wine, gambling, idol worship and azlaam are all satanic works. Involving oneself in these would deprive the person of salvation and success in the hereafter. It is therefore commanded not to even go near wine and gambling.

Gambling and Wine Cause Avarice and Enmity

"The Shaitan only desires to cause enmity and hatred to spring in your midst by means of intoxicants and games of chance..."
(Surah Maidah 5:91)

It is common knowledge that a man loses his senses under the influence of alcohol and in this condition behaves in a most indiscreet manner. He is therefore bound to create enemies due to his shoddy behaviour. Drunkards are also known to murder their own family members and friends. As far as gambling is concerned, enmity between the participants is the most natural outcome in a game of chance. The person who loses his money to his opponent is bound to resent him and have a feeling of vengeance and there is bound to be a winner and a loser. The dominating influence on the gamblers is that of hatred and enmity.

Gambling Causes Voluptuousness and Sensuality

A person who wins in gambling makes a lot of easy money. Obviously, he looks for ways and means for self-indulgence to splurge his ill-gotten wealth. In fact, profit from Haraam means paves the way towards further unlawful evils. Avarice is the characteristic of all gamblers. The gambler who wins is so obsessed that he wagers more around larger profits. The loser is equally obsessed to win back what he has lost. Such compulsive obsessions have disastrous consequences. The book "Balahaee-e-ijtemai" Pg.231 contains an incident where an inhabitant of an Iranian town stabbed his opponent thrice and killed him. The accused gave the following statement: "The victim has grabbed a lot of my money through gambling. He was not prepared to lay another bet despite my persuasion and ran away. I followed and killed him."

On page 325 of the same book, the following is quoted from the magazine "Roshan Fikr". "In the town of Monte Carlo, Argentina, a gambler lost around forty hundred thousand tumans in a game that lasted for sixteen hours. When the casino closed, he drove his car to the forest and shot himself in the head."

Incidents of suicide are common in the woods surrounding Monte Carlo. Most often, those who arrive in this city to gamble lose all their money. Sometimes, they cannot even pay for their return journey. Such people go into the woods and commit suicide. One of the casinos has decided to loan the return fare to those who lose all their money.

The weekly magazine of 'Ittelat Daily' No.1060 contains the following item.

"Suicides due to gambling are on the increase according to the available statistics. More suicides were committed in this year (1361 solar) compared to the number in previous years. The casino owners have, as a result named this as the 'unlucky year'. In the previous year, 120 people committed suicide after losing in Paris. The statisticians of America state that the cause of thirty percent of all crimes is gambling."
(Balahae-e- Ijtemai Pg.329)

It is noticed that most of the criminals like robbers, pickpockets and murderers commit crimes after leaving their gambling dens.

Forgetting Allah

Alcohol and gambling are vices leading to spiritual bankruptcy. These offenders are oblivious of Allah and of their duties towards their Creator. Living in a state of forgetfulness of Allah is the worst tragedy that befalls the unfortunate victims of these vices.

"...And to keep you off from the remembrance of Allah and from prayer...."
(Surah Maidah 5:91)

An alcoholic in a state of intoxication is in no condition to remember Allah and he abandons even an obligation like namaz. In the same way, the craze of a gambler to obtain wealth or make up for his losses is all consuming and he loses awareness of all obligatory acts including prayers. In order to stress this point, Allah continues in the same verse:
"Will you then desist?"
(Surah Maidah 5:91)

It means that even after being informed of the demerits of these vices, will you still not reform?

The next verse continues the emphasis:
"And obey Allah and obey the apostle and be cautious. But if you turn back, then know that only a clear deliverance of the message is (incumbent) on your apostle."
(Surah Maidah 5:92)

In this way, the argument is completed. Now, you cannot say that you have not been warned.
Now, we shall describe some forms of gambling.

Objects of Gambling and Laying of Bets

There is a universal agreement among the Mujtahids that articles normally used in gambling should not be played with, even if one is not gambling. The tradition mentioned previously which states that one who touches chess is like one who smears his hand in pork; continues,
"The prayers of chess-players are not valid till they wash their hands after the game. And to watch a game of chess is like looking at the genitals of ones own mother."
(Wasaelush Shia. Chapter of Business Transactions)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) on being inquired concerning chess replied:
"Leave the preoccupations of the fire-worshippers to them."
That is, Muslims should not even go near chess.

In another tradition, Imam (a.s.) says:
"Do not even approach chess."

The tradition from the book, Tohafful Uqool distinctly states that the articles employed in gambling cannot be used for any purpose whatsoever and it is Haraam to do so.
"All the tools and actions of gambling are Haraam."

Hazrat Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) has said:
"All kinds of games of betting are gambling and the sale, the purchase and the use of all the tools of gambling are Haraam. It is only an act that Shaitan instigates you to do."
(Tafsir-e-Qummi)

Chess and cards should not be indulged in even when played only for intellectual stimulation games with no intent to gamble. These games have an inherent power to obsess the player till he becomes oblivious of his responsibilities towards his family and even his livelihood. Such all-consuming activities lead to the disruption of an otherwise happy family life. Shaitan also will not lose the opportunity to incite the players to play for stakes. Very soon, the game started as an intellectual exercise will slip into a game for making money. The only effective way to eradicate gambling from society is to stay clear of such games as commanded by our Imam (a.s.). Hence, Islam has declared that to manufacture the tools of gambling is Haraam; to buy or sell them is Haraam and to spend from the profits of these transactions is Haraam. It is Haraam even to have the tools of gambling in ones possession. It is obligatory to destroy them.

Ishaq Ibne Ammar asked Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that children play with eggs and cashew nuts in the same way as gambling? Imam (a.s.) told him:
"Do not even eat these things!"

The following verse of the Divine Book ordains the income of gambling to be Haraam and makes it obligatory upon the person who wins to restore the amount back to the person who lost it.

"O you who believe! Do not devour your property among yourselves falsely...?"
(Surah Nisa 4:29)

Playing Games of Chance Without Betting

We know from the above discussion that to play with articles used in gambling even without betting is Haraam.

To sit and watch the game is also Haraam. The practice of Nahy anil Munkar makes it obligatory on us to leave the place where people are gambling. It is recommended (mustahab) that if perchance our eyes fall upon an article of gambling, we should remember Imam Husain (a.s.) and curse Yazid (l.a.).

Fazl Ibne Shazaan reports from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.), "At the time the blessed head of Husain Ibne Ali (a.s.) was carried into Shaam, Yazid (l.a.) started to dine and drink barley wine (similar to modern day 'beer') with his associates. After the meal, Yazid (l.a.) ordered the blessed head to be kept in a salver and placed at the foot of his throne. A chessboard was spread out and the accursed Yazid sat down to play chess. During the game, he ridiculed Imam Husain (a.s.), his father (a.s.) and grandfather (s.a.w.s.). Whenever he won a game, he used to take hold of the barley wine and drink three goblets. Then he used to pour the remaining wine in the salver upon the head of Imam Husain (a.s.)."

Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) then continues, "Whoever is our Shia must abstain from barley wine and chess. One who sees barley wine or chess must remember Imam Husain (a.s.) and invoke curse upon Yazid and the progeny of Yazid. If a Shia does this, Allah the Almighty will forgive all his sins even if they are more numerous than the stars."
(Uyoon Akhbare Reza)

Betting With Articles Not Normally Used For Gambling

To lay bets with articles not usually employed in gambling is also Haraam. Archery and horse racing are exceptions to the extent that it is permissible only for those who participate in the sports to bet amongst themselves. Apart from these two games it is Haraam to bet in any other competition. For example, yatching, weightlifting, lancing etc. The income of the participant who wins is Haraam. He must return it to his opponent.

Horse racing and Archery

It is undoubtedly permissible for participants (and not for spectators) in horse racing and archery to bet among themselves. The winner can rightfully own the amount he wins. Islam has permitted these two competitions because such sports contribute to the overall capabilities of a warrior, and a Muslim well versed in these is better equipped to challenge his adversaries. The details could be pursued in the books of legal rulings.

Shaheed Thani in his book "Masalik" quotes the unanimous verdict of the Mujtahids. Three traditions are recorded in the book "Al-Wafi" from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) which state that except for horse racing and archery whenever a game is played for stakes, the angels are infuriated and curse the people who lay the bet.

It is recorded that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:
"Angles are present when a competition of horse and camel racing or archery is held. Except for these three, every competition is gambling and (also) Haraam."
(Al-Wafi)

In another tradition, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has prohibited all types of competitions except these three.

"Except for horse racing, camel racing and archery, no contest is proper."
(Al-Wafi)

An authentic tradition by Muhammad Ibne Qays related from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) issued a verdict against a man who had wagered with his friends on the maximum consumption of sheep's meat. Issuing the judgement Imam (a.s.) said, 'If you have already eaten the sheep, it is yours. But if you have only laid a bet and have not commenced eating, then you have to pay a penalty. This penalty is equal for all the participants and has no connection with who ate more or less. However, he refrained the loser to bear any loss (of money etc.). The one who ate the least and lost the bet will not incur any loss because the bet is invalid.'"

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) concludes that Amirul Momineen (a.s.) has decreed such a deal to be Haraam
(Makasib, quoted from Al Kafi and Tehzeeb)

. Hazrat Jabir (r.a.) narrates from the report of Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) who has quoted from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.):
"Every competition is gambling where the loser has to pay a certain amount. Even if it consist of a cashew-nut or wager dung."

To employ any article for the purpose of taking a bet is gambling even if such an article is not generally associated with gambling.

Game Without Wager

There is some difference of opinion among the Mujtahids regarding the games of competition that neither use tools of gambling nor are played with stakes. Most of the jurists consider such competitions to be Haraam.

Allama Hilli (r.a.) in his book "Tazkerah" writes, "Yatching competition is not permitted even if the loser may not have to pay anything. This is the unanimous verdict of the scholars."

Allama Hilli (r.a.) also states, "Competition of throwing stones with ones bare hands is not allowed. In the same way, racing any beast except horse and camel, yatching or racing of birds is not permitted even if a monetary bet is not involved. Cockfights and goat fights are also prohibited. In short, all those contests are prohibited that do not contribute usefully in the field of Jehad. For example, standing on foot for a long time, guessing games or number games, staying under water for a long time. In conclusion, except for horse racing and archery, no competition is permitted. Whether it involves a bet or not."

Certain Jurists like Shaheed Thani do not consider such games Haraam where the tools of gambling are not used and where a bet is not involved. He is inclined to permit such competitions. This opinion appears to be valid especially for a contest where the Haraam aspects of our religion are not compromised in any way or for a contest which has a typical aim like competition of calligraphy, reading, sewing, building, farming, etc. Athletics and boating can also be in the same category. But since most of the Mujtahids have prohibited all competitions except horse racing and archery, it is better to refrain from contests as a precautionary measure.

However even contests that can be considered permissible are prohibited if they involve a risk. For example, hazardous car-racing competition or gluttony and the dangerous methods of yatching are all Haraam for they involve risks.

Purchase of lottery tickets in the name of charity, where the money is not refundable and only a few people win money without any effort, is Haraam. It is gambling and a very great sin. 

Playing instruments of music is a Greater Sin. It is Haraam to play instruments like guitar, piano, tambourine, drums etc. Listening to music is also a Greater Sin. Music as a Greater sin is reported by Fazl ibn Shazaan from Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.):
"And to be engrossed in musical instruments is also a Greater Sin."

All the Mujtahids are unanimous in their opinion that the manufacture, sale and purchase of musical instruments is Haraam and the income derived from musical activity is also Haraam. The transactions involving these (instruments) are invalid. It is Haraam even to keep instruments of music in one's possession. It is obligatory to destroy them. This is revealed in a lengthy tradition of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) as recorded in the book "Tohafful Uqool". Similarly, Shaykh Hurr al-Aamili records the following tradition from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"The Almighty Allah has prohibited the manufacture of all such things that are exclusively used in Haraam ways; and things that only create evil like pipe, flute, chess and all types of instruments of gambling, images, statues. The manufacture of all such articles is Haraam."

Imam (a.s.) concluded, "Then even learning to sing or play music and teaching it, to sing and play music, to be paid for these things or to be in any way engrossed in these vices is Haraam."

Music - According to the Traditions

Some more traditions prohibiting music are given below.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) reports from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) that he said:
"I prohibit for you dancing and playing flute, drums and tabla."
(Al Kafi)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has also said,
"The Almighty Allah has sent me as a mercy to the worlds, to guide the people. And He ordered me to eradicate the playing of flute and other instruments of music, all games of vice, idol (worship) and all practices of the days of ignorance."
(Mustadrakul Wasael, Chapter 79)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
"A person who has received blessings from Allah and while having these blessings, he plays flute. It is as if he has been thankless of the blessings."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Every moment of our lives, we are enjoying Allah's unlimited benevolence.

Music Causes Shamelessness and Hypocrisy

The Sixth Imam (a.s.) has also stated,
"The playing of violin promotes the growth of hypocrisy in the heart like water assists the growth of vegetation (algae)."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Imam (a.s.) also says,
"If drums and cymbals are played at one's house for forty days, Allah will impose a satan by the name of 'faqandir'. The satans will infiltrate into every cell of the person's body. With the spread of this evil, the person loses all sense of dignity and self-esteem. He will then not care as to what he says or what is said about him. Then, this satan blows into this person. As a result, he becomes utterly shameless. So mush so that he is not concerned or affected even if his women are dishonoured."
(Wasaelush Shia)

It is usually observed that the people in whose homes music is played with regularity either using musical instruments or by radio or cassettes are absolutely shameless and wanton.

Musician and the Song

Muadda Ibne Ziyad says, "I was in the company of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) when a person said, "When I go to the toilet, I can hear the singing girls of my neighbour. Sometimes, I remain (in toilet) longer so that I may listen to more of it."

Imam (a.s.) said:
"Desist from listening to music and songs attentively."

Then this man further said, "Master, I do not go to music gatherings! I only hear the sounds!"

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
"Have you not read this Quranic verse...

"Surely, the hearing and the sight and the heart, all of these shall be questioned about that?"
(Surah Bani Israel 17:36)

The man replied, "I was not aware of this ayat. I regret my actions. I shall not do so in the future. I repent for my past sins and I seek forgiveness from my Lord."

Seeing his condition, Imam (a.s.) said,
"Get up ! Go and perform ghusl and offer namaz and pray for forgiveness. You have certainly been involved in a deadly sin and a terrible situation. You have repented for it and I thank Allah for that; and I seek forgiveness of Allah for all those things that He dislikes. Certainly, Allah only dislikes the evil things. Leave the evil things to the evil people because there are different people suitable for different things."
(Al Kafi Chapter of Music)

Divine Bounties (Barakat) are Removed

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says,
"Angels do not even enter a house that has wine, drum, tambourine or a flute. Even the prayers of the inhabitants of this house are unacceptable. They are deprived of barakat."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) has said,
"To listen to a musical instrument is one of the Greater Sins."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

The Blackened Face of the Musician

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has stated,
"A person who possesses a sitar, on the day of Qiyamat will be raised with a black face. His hands will be holding a sitar of fire. Seventy thousand angels with maces of fire will be hitting him on the face and the head. The singer will arise from his grave, blind, deaf and dumb. The adulterer will be similarly raised. The player of flute will also be made to rise in this way as will be the drum player."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

It means that all such people willemergeon the field of "Mahshar" (on the day of reckoning) as blind, deaf and dumb.

A House Where Music is Played for Forty Days

Hazrat Imam Ali ar-Reza (a.s.) remarks,
"A person invites Divine wrath when in his house instruments like flute, drum and chess are played for forty days. If this man dies within these forty days, his death would be of a sinner and a transgressor. His place shall be in Hell. And what a dreadful place it is!"
(Mustanad al Taraqi)

Music and the Last Period of Time

The traditions concerning the signs of the last stage before the Zuhoor of our Imam (a.s.) mention music:
"And you shall see that music will be so prevalent that no one will dissuade others nor will he find in himself the need to do so. And you shall see that music would be openly played even in the two sanctuaries (the city of Makkah and Madinah)."
(Mustanade Naraqi)

This is what we see in the present age where obscene music is openly played in the markets, on the streets, in shops and houses and even cars and no one bothers to prevent it!

So far we have mentioned the punishment of the hereafter for the sin of playing or listening to music. Now, we shall discuss the evils of music that affect life on earth. These evils too are numerous. Scholars have compiled complete books on this subject. For example we have the following books in Persian, "Munazrah Doctor-o-Peer", "Balahaee Ijtemai", "Mauseeqi-o-Islam", etc.

Effects of Music on the Nervous System

Expert Doctors, Scientists and biologists have defined two types of nerves, the principal nerves and the arterial nerves. The principal nerves stretch from the neck to all vital organs. The arterial nerves spread from the main nerves to all parts of the body. The secondary nerves are connected to outward parts of the body and convey the messages to the brain. When the veins enlarge the blood pressure decreases. Due to the shrivelling of blood vessels, the blood pressure increases. When the blood pressure varies at different parts of the body it affects the health.

When the secondary nerves work they produce heat whereas the functioning of the central nerves produces the opposite effect. It is due to these nerves that feelings of sloth, sleep, thoughtlessness, forgetfulness, grief, sorrow, fainting, unconsciousness and even death occur. Obviously, when music can affect various nerves, it can give rise to various maladies. Mental diseases as well as physical ailments can occur. These mental effects can destroy man's reasoning capacity. It is for this reason that one who listens to music is unable to perform work that can be accomplished by a sane person.

Music creates vibrations in the body and these are conveyed to all the parts of the body through the nervous system. As a result of this, indigestion occurs. Music affects the heart in such a way that the heartbeats become irregular. The blood pressure goes awry. All such ailments make a person permanently ill. Consequently, even modern medical science, in spite of its astonishing progress, fails in such a situation. Sometimes, the music is so intense that the listeners lose their sanity. They become dumb and various kinds of mental diseases occur. In places where music is more prevalent, we find that there are more neurotic illnesses. It is for this reason that more mental hospitals are to be found in Europe and America.

Dr. Adlen writes against music, "Even though it seems pleasant, the effect of music is profound upon the nervous system. Especially, when the temperature is high, the ill effect of music is more. This is the reason that ill effects of music are more in the hot areas of Iran and Saudi Arabia. The American people are so disgusted with the bane of music that they have united to demand from the senate a permanent ban on music. It is a pity that the whole world clearly perceives the evils of music and yet adopts music as entertainment."
(Refer to the booklet; "Tasir Mausiqi bar Asaab" Pg.3, 6

 

The sixteenth Greater sin is singing songs. Traditions have graded it amongst the mortal sins. This fact is clear from the narration of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) as quoted by Amash. Muhammad Ibne Muslim relates that Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said,
"Singing is that sin which has been promised a penalty of fire (Hell) by Allah."

It is evident from numerous reports, that whichever sin incurs Hell as its punishment, is a Greater Sin. Singing too falls in that category.

What is Singing?

Sayyed Murtuza, in his book, Waseela writes,
"Singing is haraam. It is also haraam to listen to a song or to sing for money. However every melodious sound is not a 'song'. Singing denotes a special way of prolonging the voice and rotating it in the throat. These features are common in sensuous parties. Such type of singing is usually accompanied by music."

Most of the Shia Mujtahids and the experts of Arabic language opine that 'singing' means the turning and rotating of one's voice in the throat. These types of strains are invariably found in classical music and Qawwalis. A prolonged tune of a-a-a is produced. In the dictionary, 'Sihah' it is mentioned that singing is a sound which produces a weird type of sorrow or pleasure in the listener. The other dictionaries almost agree to this definition. In brief, singing or song is a sound that makes a man unusually sad or joyful.

The book Zakheeratul Ebad says: "Every sound that is produced for entertainment and is capable of exciting passion is known as 'singing.' It could be produced by making it emanate from the throat like in classical music or by any other means. In brief whatever is understood by common sense as a song is haraam. Consequently it is sinful even to recite the Holy Quran, Nauha or Marsiya in the tune of songs. In fact this is more sinful than singing songs for it tantamounts to insulting and degrading the Quran and Nauha or Marsiya. It is for this reason that this type of sin deserves double the punishment.

About Singing

1. Singing is a Greater Sin

When Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) said,
"Singing is that Sin which has been promised the penalty of fire (Hell) by Allah" he (a.s.) had also recited the following verse of the Holy Quran:
"And of men is he who takes instead frivolous discourse to lead astray from Allah's path without knowledge and to take it for a mockery; these shall have an abasing chastisement."
(Surah Luqman 31:6)

2. "Frivolous discourse" implies Singing

Bringing together the above verse and the tradition of Imam Baqir (a.s.), singing is understood to be one of the 'frivolous'and 'evil' acts. Other worthless acts are aimless talk or action, or poetry which is of no good to the people; all these deprive man of benefit.

In other words, anything that restrains one from following the truth and the Holy Quran is a 'frivolous discourse.' Anything that leads one astray is 'frivolous discourse.' All those things that create passion and sensuality, sin and transgression are 'frivolous discourse.' It is a sin whether one sings or listens to a song. The Quranic verse quoted above is followed by:
"And when our communications are recited to him, he turns back proudly, as if he had not heard them, as though in his ears were a heaviness, therefore announce to him a painful chastisement."
(Surah Luqman 31:7)

3. The exegesis (Tafseer) of the term "False Words"

In addition to the phrase 'frivolous discourse,' the Holy Quran also refers to singing by the term, 'False words.' Abu Basir inquired from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.), the exegesis of the following ayat:
"... and avoid false words."
(Surah Hajj 22:30)

The Imam (a.s.) replied,
" (It means) singing."

In explanation to the ayat,
"And they who do not bear witness to what is false, and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly."
(Surah Furqan 25:72)

Imam Muhammad at-Taqi (a.s.) remarked,
" (Vain means) singing."
(Refer Amali of Shaykh Tusi and also the book Al Kafi.)

In yet another tradition, when Muhammad Ibne Uthman inquired about the meaning of this ayat, Imam Muhammad Taqi (a.s.) answered,
"It includes the evil words of one who is singing."

4. "False words" denote singing

The later portion of the same verse says,
"... and when they pass by what is vain, they pass by nobly."
(Surah Furqan 25:72)

Thus, according to the holy Quran when the righteous people pass by, where songs are being played, they pass in a dignified manner, uninfluenced and unimpressed by them.

A similar kind of verse appears in Surah Mominoon, as well:
"And who keep aloof from what is vain."
(Surah Mominoon 23:3)

Both the above verses describe the qualities of a believer. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and later Imam Reza (a.s.), have both explained the term "vain words" as follows:
"Vain words imply music and singing and the true worshipers of Allah refrain from these."
(Al Kafi)

5. Singing and hypocrisy

The sixth Holy Imam, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
"Listening to music, songs and useless words cultivate hypocrisy in the heart, in the same way as algae grows in water."
(Al Kafi)

The same book, Al Kafi mentions a tradition of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) that,
"Singing and music is a nest for the bird called hypocrisy."

Singing programme

The venue of a singing programme is a place where descends divine retribution. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"Do not even enter houses, the inhabitants of which are deprived of divine mercy."

He (a.s.) is reported to have also said,
"The house where music is played is not safe from sudden disasters. Supplications at such a place are not answered. Angels do not enter this place."
(Al Kafi and Mustadrakul Wasael)

It has been established in the preceding chapter that when the divine punishment descends, it does not discriminate. The excuse, "Though we go to places where there is music and song, but we dislike it in our hearts", seems unlikely to be acceptable. Dislike needs to be expressed by ones action, also. Songs and music should be discouraged.

7. Singing causes poverty

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says,
"Singing creates hypocrisy and causes poverty."
(Mustadrakul Wasael, chapter 78)

8: Punishment for Singing

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has explicitly stated,
"When the singer shall rise from his grave on the Day of Judgement, he will be blind, deaf and dumb."
(Jameal-Akhbaar)

The traditions also state that the singer will be recognised by these very signs, i.e., blindness, deafness etc.

In another tradition Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is quoted to have said:
"Molten lead shall be poured into the ears of one who listens to songs, intently."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Deprived of Divine Mercy

Qutub al-Rawandi has recorded from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.),
"The singer is from that group of people, who would not be looked upon with mercy by Allah on the Day of judgement."

Being a fan of a singer

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"One who respects a speaker, becomes his slave. If the speaker calls towards Allah the listener worships Allah, but if he calls towards shaitan, the listener has worshipped shaitan."
(Furu Al Kafi)

It is also narrated from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said,
"Whenever a person begins singing, two satans mount on his shoulders and continue to hit their heels upon his chest, till the time he sings the song."

Is the one kicked by the satans to be loved and admired?

Melodious sounds of Paradise

Hazrat Imam Ali Ibn Musa ar-Reza (a.s.) said,
"One who avoids songs shall be provided by Allah, a tree, which will produce such a melodious sound as has never been heard by anyone. But the one who has not kept himself aloof from songs will not be able to hear this sound."
(Al Kafi)

Beautiful songs in Heaven

The following tradition of Allah's Messenger (s.a.w.s.) is recorded in the book Tafseer Majmaul Bayan,
"One who has listened to too many songs will not be able to hear the Ruhaanis on the Day of Qiyamat."

"Who are the Ruhaanis, O Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.)?" someone asked.

The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied,
"They are the melodious singers of Heaven."

A similar tradition from Hazrat Ali (a.s.) is found in Nahjul Balagha,
"Hazrat Dawood (a.s.) will be the chief of the singers of Paradise."
(Nahjul Balagha)

The people will listen to such melodious songs from Hazrat Dawood (a.s.) in Heaven, the like of which have never been heard by anyone. However only those who have refrained from listening to songs in this world would be able to hear them.

Strict prohibition

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"Calamities will befall my Ummat as sinking of the earth and rain of stones."

The people asked, "When would it happen?"
"When the instruments of music become common, singing girls are in great number and the use of intoxicants is widespread. By Allah, many people of my Ummat will be such that they shall spend the night in merry-making and sensuality and in the daytime become like monkeys and pigs. It will be the consequence of considering the prohibited things permissible, they will be occupied with singing girls, frequently take intoxicants, devour interest and shall dress in clothes made of silk."

Singing and fornication

Singing instigates one to commit fornication. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said:
"Singing is the stepping stone to fornication."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Songs are responsible for awakening the latent sensual desires of man, which are soon manifested. It is the same whether one sings a song or merely listens to it. He forgets Allah and is prepared to commit any kind of indecency.

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
"And all those wasteful pastimes are haraam which make one forgetful of Allah; like songs and playing musical instruments."

Yes! Music makes one shameless and lacking in self-respect. It also destroys the feeling of love, compassion and mercy, reducing society to a nightmare.

Prohibition regarding songs and singing

There is no difference of opinion among the Shia jurists about the illegality of singing. It can be said that there is 'ijma' (unanimity) upon this point. The writer of the book, titled Mustanad says, "To consider singing and music 'haraam' is one of the necessities of faith. That is, if a Muslim says that singing is not haraam then he becomes a kafir." According to the author of Izah, "the traditions that state that music and singing is haraam, are mutawatir (very numerous)."

However a slight difference of opinion exists, as to the meaning and connotation of the word 'song'. The majority of the Mujtahids believe that any kind of sound, capable of creating a desire for joyful mirth and sensual feelings is a song; and it is haraam.

Reciting Quran in tune of songs

As we have stated earlier, it is haraam to recite Quran in the characteristics of songs. Similarly it is also haraam to recite Nauhas, Marsiya or Azaan in this way; it is immaterial whether it is poetry or prose that is being recited. Rather, rendering of the sacred compositions into songs carries double punishments. One for the sin of singing songs and the other for causing disrespect to a sacred text.

Reciting Quran in a melodious voice

Every melodious sound is not a song. If Quran or Nauha is recited in a pleasant voice without unduly turning it in the throat, it is not haraam, rather it is desirable to do so. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said,
"Recite the Quran in a pleasant voice, in the style of Arabs. You are ordered to avoid the transgressors and doers of greater sins. Certainly, such people willemergein the world who will recite the Quran in a singing manner to make the listeners emotional. It is not allowed to go near these people or to call them near you. The hearts of these people have deviated and those who are influenced by them shall also have their hearts deviated."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Pleasant voice and singing

While describing the signs of the arrival of the Day of Judgement, the Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said:
"Such kind of people willemergein the world that they would learn the Quran for worldly benefits and will recite it in a singing tune."

However there are many traditions to the effect that reciting the Quran in a pleasant voice is Mustahab (recommended). However we must ensure that its tone is not that of singing.

Singing and music during weddings

Subject to the following three conditions some of the Mujtahids have allowed women to sing on the occasion of marriages.


1. The first condition is that no grown-up men should be able to hear the singing. Not even those who are mehram (under the prohibited degree).

2. Secondly, the songs must not be loud and also must not be based on false statements.

3. And lastly, the singing must not be accompanied with any kind of music.

A few scholars have permitted playing of the small tambourine (tambourine is a drum with skin on only one of its sides). Shaheed-e-Sani and Muhaqqiq-e-Sani say that tambourine could be played in a wedding if it does not have tinkles around it.

However, precaution is desirable and hence on the occasion of weddings also women should avoid singing; the playing of tambourine should also be avoided. Shaykh Ansari (r.a.) quotes Shaheed-e-Sani in the book, Makasib and Sayyid Murtuza says in his book Waseela that, "Precaution is the way to salvation." 

Lying is another sin which is classified among the Greater sins. The famous scholar, Shaykh Ansari (r.a.) writes in his book, Makasib-e-Muharrama:
"Common sense suggests lying is haraam, all the revealed religions also say so; particularly Islam. The Quran is explicit in this regard. The corpus of hadith (opinion of the majority of the jurists) verifies this tenet and reason also sustains this assertion."

Lying is listed with the greater sins in the narration of Fazl Ibne Shazaan from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.).

Lying is one of the greatest sins

A tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) declares,
"Beware I inform you regarding the greatest of the mortal sins: Associating anything with Allah, disobeying parents and lying!"
(Wasaelush Shia)

A similar tradition has been quoted from Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) also,
"All the evils have been locked in a room and its key is lying."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Angels curse the liars

The Prophet of Islam in another tradition is quoted to have said,
"When a believer utters a lie without a valid excuse, he is cursed by seventy thousand angels. Such a stench emanates from his heart that it reaches the sky and because of this single lie Allah writes for him a sin equivalent to that of committing seventy fornications. Such fornications that the least of which is fornication with ones mother."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Undoubtedly, lying is the worst of sins. It is obvious that the evils of lying are more dreadful than those of adultery. Some false words lead to war between two tribes or two sections of the society. Some lies blight the honour of thousands of people or endanger their lives, or lead to economic disasters.

One kind of falsehood is that which is attributed to Allah, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) or the Holy Imams (a.s.). Understandably this is the worst kind of falsehood. Often due to lying, innocent people are sent to the gallows and their families destroyed. It is for this very reason that the traditions state:
"Lying is an evil, greater than drinking wine."

Quranic verses denounce lying

Allah the Almighty says in Surah Nahl, verse 105:
"Only they forge the lie who do not believe in Allah's communications, and these are the liars."

And in Surah Zumar it is mentioned:
"Surely Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar, ungrateful."
(Surah Zumar 39:3)

It can be understood from the verses of the Quran that a liar calls for divine curse and invites the anger of Allah.

For example:
"... and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars."
(Surah Aale Imraan 3:61)

And also:
"... the curse of Allah be on him if he is one of the liars."
(Surah Nur 24:8)

A large number of Quranic verses and traditions condemn the sin of lying and describe its evil consequences. The late Haji Noori has collected these verses and traditions and classified them into forty points for easy recalling and reference. We shall quote them for the benefit of our readers.

1. Lying is transgression

Allah says in Surah Baqarah:
"...there shall be no intercourse nor transgression nor quarreling amongst one another (during Hajj)."
(Surah Baqarah 2:197)

The word "transgression" in this ayat refers to falsehood or lying.

Again in Surah Hujarat it is mentioned:
"O you who believe! If an evil-doer comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done."
(Surah Hujarat 49:6)

This ayat was revealed for Walid, who is mentioned as an "evil-doer"; i.e. a liar.

2. Meaning of the term "false words"

Alongwith the prohibition of worshipping idols it is ordered by Allah to abstain from falsehood.

"...therefore avoid the uncleanness of the idols and avoid false words."
(Surah Hajj 22:30)

In this verse 'false words' mean lying.

3. The liar is not a believer

One of the verses quoted above (Surah Nahl 16:l05) demonstrates that a liar is not a believer and one who is a believer never speaks a lie. The verse pronounces:
"Only they forge the lie who do not believe in the signs of Allah."

For it is clear that one who disbelieves in the divine communications cannot be a Momin (believer).

4. Lying is an evil and a sin

Traditions have mentioned lying as a sin and an evil. For example, Hazrat Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"Falsehood is absolutely an evil and a sin."

5. The Liar is accursed

The liar is eligible for divine curse and Allah causes His retribution to descend upon him."

For example:
"...the curse of Allah be on him if he is one of the liars."
(Surah Nur 24:8)

6. The blackened face of the liar

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"Beware of falsehood! Because falsehood blackens the face."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

An interesting incident is found in the book, Habibus Sayr:
Sultan Husain Mirza, the king of Khorasan and Zaablistan, sent one of his envoys to Sultan Yaqoob Mirza, the king of Azerbaijaan and Iraq. The envoy carried with him books and other gifts. The Sultan had ordered the inclusion of the book Kulliyat-e-Jami in the set of books. It was a very popular book in those days. Ameer Husain Abeeravi, the envoy, in his haste packed the book Futoohat-e-Makki instead of Kulliyat-e-Jami. On reaching Iraq, he found a hospitable host in the ruler of Iraq. He was asked, "You must have been bored during this long journey?"

The envoy replied, "Not at all! The Sultan has sent for you Kulliyat-e-Jami. So whenever we halted, I read some portions of it and passed my time."

Sultan Yaqoob was eager to see the book. But, when he ordered for it, it was not found to the embarrassment of the envoy.

The king demanded, "Aren't you ashamed to utter such a lie?"

The envoy says, "I left the court ashamed and returned home without a reply to my Sultan's letter. I did not even halt or rest during the journey to Khorasan. I felt death would have been better for me, rather than uttering such a lie."

7. Sin of lying is worse than drinking wine

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"Certainly Allah has created the lock for every evil and the key to all these locks is drinking wine. But lying is worse than drinking."
(Usoole Kafi)

Wine disables reason and sense, but lying kills the reason. It makes one so insensate that he becomes ready to commit any kind of satanic act. An alcoholic when under the influence of alcohol is not in his proper senses, and thus it is not possible for him to act with cunningness and treachery. But a liar can cause untold mischief in the society through his cunningness; much more than a drunkard can.

8. The foul-smelling mouth of the liar

It is recorded in a tradition that on the Day of Judgement the mouth of a liar will give an awful smell.

9. The Angels abhor the liars

The smell of a liar's mouth would be so disgusting that even the Angels will not go near him. They will keep away from the liars. This is not only for the Day of Judgement. Even in this world, the Angels can smell the foul odour from the mouths of the liars. In a prophetic tradition it is said,
"When a believer utters a lie, such a bad smell emanates from his mouth that even the Angels move away."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

10. Lying is disbelief (kufr)

The Almighty Allah curses the liars, as is evident from the verse of Mubahela (3:61) and the verse of 'Laam' (24:8).

A mention about this has been made earlier.

11. The stench from the liar's mouth reaches the skies.

12. It is also recorded that the Angels of the sky curse the liars.

13. Falsehood spoils faith.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) says:
"Lying destroys Faith"
(Al Kafi)

14. Falsehood deprives the liar from the taste of faith.

Imam Ali (a.s.) says:
"Every believer is deprived from the taste of faith till he gives up lying seriously and also in jest."
(Al Kafi)

15. According to traditional reports, lying causes animosity and hatred between people.

16. The vice of lying questions the character of the liar.

A tradition of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"The least forbearing is the one who is a liar."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

17. The traditions from Masoomeen (a.s.) inform us that all the evils are locked in a room and the key to that room is lying.

18. Lying is a sin and a transgression.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said.
"Avoid speaking falsehood, because it is a kind of evil and transgression. And both of them belong to Hell." (They make one eligible for Hell).
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

19. According to other reports, seventy thousand Angels curse the liar.

20. Lying is a sign of a hypocrite.

The following tradition of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is present in the book of Mustadrakul Wasael:
"The three signs of a hypocrite are:
Lying, betraying trust and going back on his word (Not fulfilling a promise)."

21. The Islamic Shariat does not pay heed to a liar's advice.

In this regard the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) remarked:
"The advice of a liar has no value."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

22. Falsehood is the worst of the psychological ailments.

Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) says:
"The disease of lying is the most dreadful of the (psychological) diseases."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

23. Lying is an embellishment of the Satan's hands.

A narration of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is as follows:
"Certainly, Iblees applies antimony (surma), wears a ring and uses snuff. His antimony is laziness and dozing, the ring of his finger is lying and his snuff is pride and arrogance."

24. The worst earning of a man is falsehood.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
" The worst of the profit is from the trade called 'lying'."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Yes! It is a fact that by lying, a person is liable for punishment more than for any other sin.

25. A man came to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and asked,

"Which action makes the highest number of people the inmates of Hell?"

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied,
"Lying. When a believer speaks a lie, he becomes prone to commit every other sin; and when this happens, he commits kufr (disbelief) which then makes him enter Hell."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

Lying causes forgetfulness

26. Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) is reported to have said,

"One of the divine punishments for too much lying is that Allah makes the liar afflicted with forgetfulness."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Thus a man speaks a lie and then forgets his lie. Consequently people come to know that he has spoken a lie and his falsity is exposed to the people.

Now to save his skin he speaks more lies and is insulted further because his forgetfulness does not enable him to hide his false statements.

27. Falsehood is one of the doors of hypocrisy.

Terrible punishment for the liars

28. A liar is inflicted with several kinds of punishments.

Aqa Rawandi has quoted a lengthy tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in his book Dawaat. The Prophet (s.a.w.s.) while describing the spectacle of Meraj (Ascension) said:
"I saw a man, who lay flat on his back while an angel mounted his head. The angel who was standing upon the head had a jagged iron rod. He repeatedly injured the sleeping person. The face of the victim was shattered upto the neck. But when the rod was lifted the head returned to its original form. Again the rod was hit on the face and the man suffered the same retribution."

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says that he inquired,
"Why is this man punished?"

He was told, "This is a man who left his home in the morning and uttered a lie that caused harm to the people. So he shall be punished in this manner (after death) till the Day of Qiyamat."

30. The liar is deprived of Namaz-e-Shab

The liar is deprived of Namaz-e-Shab and in this way he is also deprived of the benefits that accrue from Namaz-e-Shab and one of these benefits is the increase in sustenance. Sharifi narrates from Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) that he said,
"Doubtlessly, when a man speaks a lie, he is not able to get the opportunity of (performing) Namaz-e-Shab. And when he doesn't get this opportunity (to perform Namaz-e-Shab) he does not get an increase in his sustenance.

31. Falsehood deprives the liar from true guidance and causes him to deviate.

The Quran says:
"And Allah does not guide the unjust people."
(Surah Juma' 62:5)

32. Politeness and civility are removed from the one who lies.

Hazrat Isa Ibne Maryam is reported to have said,
"Civility abandons the one who is a frequent liar."
(Al Kafi)

Then no one is attracted towards him and no one finds any emotional attachment with him.

33. Falsehood is the most outrageous kind of evil and an abomination.

34. We have proved Falsehood to be a Greater sin.

35. Lying is poles apart from belief.

In fact a tradition from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"Falsehood is inversely proportional to belief."

That is; when falsehood increases, belief decreases.

36. The greatest sinner is the one who has lied.

The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) said:
"The greatest of the sins is talkativeness and falsehood."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

37. The liar is doomed because of the lies that he utters.

The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) says:
"Avoid falsehood. For it mayemergeto be a way of salvation, whereas in reality it leads to destruction."
(Mustadrakul Wasael)

38. The liar does not deserve friendship and brotherhood.

The Chief of the believers, Ali (a.s.) says:
"Every Muslim is supposed to avoid friendship and brotherhood with a compulsive liar. Because one who befriends a liar is himself considered a liar. Even if he speaks the truth, he is not trusted."
(Wasaelush Shia)

39. The liar is kept away from truth and reality.

"...Surely Allah does not guide him who is extravagant, a liar:"

40. Inhuman form of the liar in Barzakh

The liar has a human form only in this world. In Barzakh he does not retain the human form. While describing the scenes of Meraj, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) told Janabe Fatemah Zahra (s.a.):
"On the night of Meraj I saw a woman whose head resembled a pig and her body was like that of a donkey. It was because she spread discord and told lies."
(Oyoon Akhbare-Reza)

 

Various grades of lying

Although, Shaheed-e-Sani and many other Mujtahids consider every kind of falsehood to be absolutely haraam and a great sin, yet we find in traditions that falsehood is of different grades. Among these different kinds of lies, are some that are certainly greatest of the sins and some are among the greater sins. There are also some types of lying about whom there exists a doubt whether they are "greater" or not. Let us examine each kind of falsehood.

Falsehood against Allah, the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the Imams (a.s.)

The worst kind of falsehood is what one utters against Allah the Almighty, His Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the Imams (a.s.). The divine book, Quran says:
"And, for what your tongues describe, do not utter the lie, (saying) this is lawful and this is unlawful, in order to forge a lie against Allah; surely those who forge a lie against Allah shall not prosper. A little enjoyment and they shall have a painful punishment."
(Surah Nahl 16:116-117)

The sixth holy Imam, Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"To attribute falsehood to Allah and this Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is the greatest sin."
(Al Kafi)

Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) also told Abu Noman:
"Do not attribute falsehood to us. Such a lie will expel you from the upright faith (Islam)."
(Al Kafi)

This means that even if a single falsehood is attributed to the Imams (a.s.) the light of faith is extinguished from the heart. It is such a serious sin that if one intentionally commits it during the fast of Ramzan, his fast is invalidated.

Every type of falsehood

Every kind of lie and every method of speaking an untruth is haraam. Just as it is haraam to speak a lie with the tongue it is similarly haraam to write something false. Even to point a finger in expressing a lie is "haraam." For example if a person who does not pray is asked by another, "Have you performed Namaz?" and he nods his head. This tantamounts to lying and is a sin. Similarly propagating the words of a liar while being aware that they are untrue is haraam, and so is supporting a liar.

Interpreting the Quranic verses and Traditions to suit oneself

Attributing falsehood to Allah (a.j.), the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Imams (a.s.) means that one fabricates a saying and attributes it to them. For example, saying that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) has said such and such thing, while knowing that it is an absolute lie, or to say that such and such is a Quranic verse, when it is certain that it is not a part of the Holy Quran. Similarly, it is haraam to distort the apparent and the true meanings of the Quranic verses and traditions to suit ones desire or to prove ones point. Incorrect translation of the Holy verses and traditions is also a falsehood.

It is not an easy job

It is for this very reason that most people are not eligible to speak from the pulpit. It is not an easy task to translate the ayats and traditions and explain their meanings in the speech. There is a need to exercise utmost caution in such risky situations. One who has not studied the rules of Arabic grammar properly will inadvertently misunderstand the saying of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and the Holy Imams (a.s.) He is bound to err even while explaining the apparent meaning. Therefore the speakers must make it a point to say only the apparent meaning of the ayats and the traditions. They must especially abstain from the exegesis of the ambiguous verses.

A kind of falsehood attributed to Allah (a.j.)

An example of this kind of lie is when a lying person, in order, to prove his statement says:
"Allah is a witness that I am speaking the truth." Or,
"Allah knows that I am saying the truth."

There is a saying of Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.):
"One who says, "Allah knows,"where as Allah does not (i.e He knows the opposite of it), the heaven shudder at the Might (and the anger) of Allah (a.j.)"
(Al Kafi)

In another tradition, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
"When a man says, 'Allah knows' while what he says is a lie, Allah tells him, 'Didn't you find anyone else to attribute a falsehood to?'"
(Wasaelush Shia)

In some traditions it is mentioned that when a person makes Allah a witness for a falsehood Allah says, "Didn't you find anyone weaker than Me to be a witness for your falsehood?"

Falsehood against the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and Imams (a.s.)

It implies fabricating a tradition and then attributing it to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) or the Imams (a.s.). In the same way it is haraam to knowingly propagate a weak tradition. However if one is sure of the proper references then he can quote the tradition and attribute it to the Masoomeen (a.s.).

Traditions must be quoted with the chain of narrators

Numerous traditions are found in the books and one is not sure whether they are authentic or not. In this case one can give the name of the narrator and also provide the title of the book as reference. However one must be certain that the tradition is not against the Zururiyat-e-deen, (the necessities of Faith). If there is anything against the basics of the principles of religion it is most certainly a fabricated tradition. Similarly there must not be any sort of disrespect to the Masoomeen (a.s.), nor should the tradition be against reason. Lastly as a precautionary measure one must quote only from the reliable books.

The fifth Holy Imam, Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) has said:
"And do not quote (a tradition) except from a reliable authority, otherwise you will fabricate a great falsehood. And falsehood debases you (in the sight of Allah and His creatures)."
(Kashful Muhajja)

The Sermon of Amirul Momineen Ali (a.s.) to Harith-e-Hamadani also contains the following advice:
"Do not quote everything circulating among the common people. It suffices to be a falsehood."
(Nahjul Balagha)

Hence whenever quoting a tradition it is necessary to mention its source. Not a single word must be deleted or added, and not even a single word must be replaced, because in all such cases it would amount to attributing falsehood to the Masoomeen (a.s.).

The honourable Prophet (s.a.w.s.) is reported to have said:
"One who attributes something to me, which I have not said, shall sit in the Fire."
(Wasaelush Shia)

Aqa Noori writes in his book Daarus Salaam:
"A person came to Aga Muhammad Ali a pious scholar and author of the book Magame, and said:
"I dreamt that I am tearing at the flesh of Imam Husain (a.s.) with my teeth. What is the interpretation of this dream?"

Aga Muhammad Ali pondered a while and then said:
"You must be a preacher, relating the tragedies (Masaeb)."

The man replied in the positive.

Aga Muhammad Ali told him, "Either you give up this profession or quote only from reliable books."

Another similar anecdote is recorded in the book, Shifaus-sudoor. A preacher was reciting a majlis in the presence of Ayatullah Al-Haj Muhammad Ibrahim Kalbasi. He was saying that Hazrat Imam Husain (a.s.) said, "Zainab, O! Zainab."

Upon hearing this Ayatullah Kalbasi loudly exclaimed, "May Allah break your mouth! Imam (a.s.) did not say 'Zainab' twice, he had said it only once.

Relating the contents of the narrations

However it is permitted to render the import of traditions in ones own words but it is a must that the speaker should be well versed with the Arabic language and also be capable of understanding the usage. Thus, it is allowed to relate the contents of the tradition in ones own words.

When it is not disrespectful to the Masoomeen (a.s.), poetry could be rendered into prose and vice-versa. In the same way the past event could be quoted in the present tense. For example if one intends to say that, "a person came to Imam (a.s.) and said...." He could say, "a person comes to Imam (a.s.) and Imam (a.s.) tells him...." However, the audience should be aware that what is being related in the present tense has actually passed. In the same way if the traditions say that Imam (a.s.) has prohibited something, the speaker could say, "Imam (a.s.) said, 'Do not do it!'"

2. False oath and avoiding testimony

Another grade of falsehood is a false oath, false evidence and escaping from testifying in an Islamic court. This type of falsehood is also confirmed as a greater sin. Each one of these shall be described in detail in the following pages.

3. The evil effects of falsehood

To lie is surely a great sin, with obvious evil effects, due to the harm it can cause others. The more harmful a lie, the more serious is the sin associated with it. For example, a lie causing monetary loss is definitely less serious than the one that causes loss of a human life.

4. Lying in jest and pleasantry

Lying in jest is another kind of falsehood. For instance, telling a simpleton that, "A certain lady wants to marry you," or "that person has invited you for dinner tonight," when actually there is no truth in it. This type of falsehood is also haraam as proved conclusively from the traditions.

Certain Mujtahids opine that if something untrue is said in jest, and it is clearly understood to be a joke, then it is permitted. However, other Mujtahids regard even a falsehood in jest to be absolutely haraam, whether it is an apparent joke or not, as a precautionary measure. The traditions also confirm that lying even in jest is not permitted.

Total abstinence from lying

Hazrat Imam Zainul Abedin (a.s.) says,
"Avoid falsehood, whether it is small or big, in solemnity or jest."
(Al Kafi)

Hazrat Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said,
"No man can taste faith, till the time he completely forgoes lying, in solemnity and in jest."
(Al Kafi)

It is also related from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that he said:
"There is no merit in falsehood, whether in seriousness or in jest. Do not even promise your child something if you do not intend to fulfill it. Certainly, falsehood leads man to sin (fearlessly) and (this) leads to the Fire."
(Wasaelush Shia)

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) in his advice to Abu Zar Ghaffari (r.a.) says:
"O Abu Zar one who protects his private parts and his tongue shall enter Paradise. One who utters a small falsehood in company of people to make them laugh, that same lie shall take him towards Hell."

"O Abu Zar, woe be upon the one who speaks falsehood to make people laugh. Woe be upon him woe be upon him O Abu Zar. One who remains silent will obtain salvation. Then silence is a must for you (in place of falsehood). Not even the smallest lie should be uttered by you."

Abu Zar (r.a.) says that he asked,
"O Messenger of Allah, what is the repentance of the one who has intentionally spoken a lie?"

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) replied:
"The sin shall be erased by Isteghfar (seeking forgiveness) and by the five-times prayers."
(Wasaelush Shia)

The Prophet of Allah (s.a.w.s.) is quoted to have also said:
"Curse be upon the liar if he has lied in jest."

It is also narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.) that he remarked,
"I guarantee a house in the best part of Paradise for one who refrains from a dispute even when he is on the right, and a house in the mediocre-grade area of Heaven for one who refrains from falsehood even in jest, and a house in the garden of Paradise for a person with the best morals."
(Khisaal)

Lying in jest is a sin but it is not a greater sin. However if this joke hurts the feelings of a believer or causes him physical harm or is an insult to him, it will be a greater sin.

Exaggeration is not falsehood

Common hyperboles in a conversation are not falsehood. For example after relating a certain thing one says:
"I have told you a hundred times!" Obviously, he has not repeated his statement a hundred times and it is also clear that by "hundred" he does not imply the figure "100"; but rather it means that he has said it a number of times.

Similarly other figures of speech are also permitted, especially in poetry.

No falsehood should be regarded as insignificant

It is commonly seen that when the host asks his guests to stay on for dinner or lunch, the guests say, "we are not hungry;" although in reality it is not so. Consequently it is a lie. People tend to ignore such lies and consider them insignificant. The traditions denounce them in unequivocal words, and their prohibition is clearly established in the Islamic law.

Asma Binte Umais says:
"On the first night of Ayesha's wedding, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) gave me a bowl of milk and told me to give it to the ladies. The women said, "we are not hungry." When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) heard this, He said:
"Do not bring together hunger and falsehood."

Asma asked the Prophet (s.a.w.s.),
"O Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.s.), if we desire something but verbally refuse it, is it a lie?"

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) said,
"Yes! Certainly every kind of falsehood is recorded, (in the scroll of deeds) even the smallest of the small lies is written."
(Safinatul Behaar)
If a person, just for the sake of formality, invites others,
"Please come, and visit us sometimes," when he actually does not desire so, it is not a lie. Because the word "come" is conditional and uncertain. It is neither a truth nor a falsehood. But it is better to refrain from such a show of politeness, because to say something which you do not mean is a sign of hypocrisy.

One day, Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was seated with his son Ismail when one of his followers arrived, saluted him and sat down. When the Imam (a.s.) stood up and walked towards the ladies portion, the man also followed till the door. Imam (a.s.) bid farewell to him from there. Later, Ismail asked his father, "Why didn't you invite him inside just for the politeness sake?"

Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.) said,
"It was not proper to invite him inside. I did not wish him to come inside. Neither did I wish that Allah should include me among those who say one thing and wish another."
(Behaarul Anwaar)

A False dream

One type of falsehood is that a person says:
"I dreamt such and such." Or attributes falsely a dream to someone else when it is not so. This is also falsehood.

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says that the worst types of falsehood are three:
1. To call someone as the son of someone other than his (real) father.
2. To relate a dream that one has not seen.
3. To say something which is not said by me.

One kind of falsehood is to relate folk tales, which are not based on reality but are considered true. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) says:
"The worst of the narrations is to narrate false history."

Falsehood in examples

Examples are used to explain, understand and remember some intellectual concepts. Sometimes, animals are shown as conversing among themselves. (For example, there is a poem by Allamah Iqbal where a squirrel advises the mountain to give up pride). Now everyone knows that such things are not possible so there is no risk of anyone having a misunderstanding. On the other hand they serve a useful purpose. Hence such examples are permitted. We find such types of examples in the narrations of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).

Moreover there are also narrations that prove the permissibility of explaining facts and truthful concepts through the media of stories and anecdotes.

Imam Hasan (a.s.) mentions a simile

Hazrat Imam Hasan (a.s.) was in the court of Muawiya when a man said something uncivil about Imam (a.s.). Imam Hasan (a.s.) replied:
"O Umar Ibne Uthman! How stupid is your nature that you cannot understand. Your simile is like the mosquito that considered itself great. It perched on a date palm and when it took off in the air it said to date palm,
'Be careful! I am about to land on you once more.'

The tree replied, 'I don't even know since when you had perched upon me, so how can your flying away affect me?'

Listening to a lie is haraam

It must be known that just as it is haraam to speak falsehood, it is also haraam to listen to it while knowing that it is a lie. And just as it is haraam to read or write falsehood, it is also haraam to quote a lie. The Quran has denounced the Jews and the polytheists for spreading untrue things. It is said regarding them,
"(They are) listeners of a lie."
(Surah Maidah 5:42)

Shaykh Sadooq (r.a.) has recorded that Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq (a.s.) was asked,
"Is it allowed to listen intently to a liar?"

Imam (a.s.) replied,
"One who listens intently to a speaker, worships him. If the speaker is (speaking) from Allah the listener has worshipped Allah. But if the speaker is (speaking) from Satan the listener has worshipped Satan."

A similar kind of tradition is recorded from Imam Muhammad al-Baqir (a.s.) in the book Al Kafi.

The Quran says,
"...and avoid false words."
(Surah Hajj 22:30)

And also,
"And they who do not bear witness to what is false..."
(Surah Furqan 25:72)

These types of verses confirm the impermissibility of listening to falsehood. When a liar is speaking a lie which is a great sin, the place where he commits this sin becomes a place of divine wrath and the listener shall also be included in it.

From the aspect of Nahy Anil Munkar (Forbidding Evil) also, it is wajib to restrain the liar from speaking falsehood.

What is Toriya? (Concealment of truth without uttering a lie)

Toriya means to say something, which could be interpreted in more that one way. One of the meanings should be the truth and the other against reality. It is said that one who speaks a 'Toriya' intends the true interpretation whereas the listeners take it to mean the opposite. For example if a tyrant comes to your place and wants to call you outside but you want to remain in the security of your home, a person from your family can go to the door and say, 'He is not here'; with the intention the 'He' is not at the door. The tyrant may think that you are not at home. This is permitted.

Or if an oppressor is asking you the whereabouts of a person whom he intends to oppress. In this case you can say, 'I do not know his whereabouts'; signifying by the pronoun 'his' someone else whose whereabouts you really do not know. In the same way if one has committed a greater sin and someone asks him, "Have you committed this sin?" The person could save his honour by saying, "I shall seek forgiveness from Allah if I ever committed it."

Similarly he may use uncertain terms or rhetorical sentences.

For example he may say, "Do you expect me to commit such a grave sin?"

Or he can also say the following prayer,
"O Allah protect me from such a sin."

Also if you have pointed out somebody's fault and he feels bad about it, there is no need to utter a lie and say, "You do not have this fault." What can be said to pacify instead is, "Your personality is such that it is wrong to say such things about you."

Toriya is commanded

Toriya is of three kinds:

First type

The first type is when some purpose has to be achieved or there is a risk of some harm. These types of examples are quoted above. It is apparent that such a kind of 'Toriya' is permitted.

Second type

The next type of 'Toriya' is when a person intends to harm or insult someone else. There is no doubt that such a kind of 'Toriya' is 'haraam'.

Third type

The third type of 'Toriya' is when there is neither a purpose behind it nor one intends to cause harm to others. According to some Mujtahids this type 'Toriya' is haraam. This is because 'Toriya' is a kind of a falsehood and whatever proofs exist for the prohibition of lying could also apply for this type of 'Toriya'. Secondly there is nothing to prove the legality of this third type of 'Toriya'. However, some of the Mujtahids are of the opinion that this kind of 'Toriya' is not Haraam. For according to them all those proofs that permit 'Toriya' are also applicable to this type and hence it is not a lie.

However, the precautionary method is to resort to 'Toriya' only when it is certain that it permissible.

 

 


source : GREATER SINS Shaheede Mehraab Ayatullah-ul-Uzma Al-Haaj Sayed Abdul Husain Dastghaib Shirazi (r.a.)
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