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Khutba  #35

Truthfulness in Islamic Moral System


May I ask you to hold to Taq’wa, which means piety and righteousness, and to revere Allah and obey His Divine Commands!  Let us be aware of our eventuality and departure into the everlasting life.  May Allah provide us all with the spirit of righteousness and His obedience.


In Islam, morality is not an abstract ideal. All principles of ethical action and all aspects of morality in Islam are contained, in principle, in the Quran.  They are made concrete through the teachings of the Shari'ahThrough the Shari'ah a person learns how a general principle (like justice or truthfulness) is to be applied in daily life.

A Muslim has 5 degrees of duties he must perform: 1) toward Allah, 2) toward himself, 3) toward his family, 4) toward his immediate society, and 5) toward the society at large in that order.  Ultimately, his duties also go to embrace the Ummah, then all of humanity, and finally all order of creation.


There exists a strong relation between good belief on the one hand, and the Shari’ah and morals on the other hand.  We can even conclude that good character flourishes when connected with a pattern of correct works.  Morals will be found in the person whose beliefs are in harmony with these fundamentals.  A vain person of arrogance, malice, and conceit cannot be expected to truly believe in God.


Allah mentions in Surah 35 (Faatir), Ayah 10 about the relationship between sincerity in belief and the fitting character:


مَن كَانَ يُرِيدُ الْعِزَّةَ فَلِلَّهِ الْعِزَّةُ جَمِيعًا

إِلَيْهِ يَصْعَدُ الْكَلِمُ الطَّيِّبُ وَالْعَمَلُ الصَّالِحُ يَرْفَعُهُ

“…Unto God ascend All Good Words, and the righteous deeds does He exalt...”

And in Surah 30 (al-Room), Ayah 10 we learn again of this relationship between belief and deeds:


ثُمَّ كَانَ عَاقِبَةَ الَّذِينَ أَسَاؤُوا السُّوأَى

أَن كَذَّبُوا بِآيَاتِ اللَّهِ وَكَانُوا بِهَا يَسْتَهْزِئُون

“...And evil is bound to be the end of those who do evil, because they deny the signs of Allah and they make mockery out of them.”

The Shari'ah, (namely the Laws and code of behavior explained in the Quran and detailed by the model of the Prophet's life and his sayings), is the means whereby a man is to live out these principles.  At this point we should add that after the death of the Prophet the Imams (the Ma’soomeen) were also entrusted with the task of exemplifying and explaining further the Prophet’s Message and the Shari’ah.  The Prophet (pbuh) has emphasized this matter in Hadith of Thaqalain, which is accepted by all sects of Islam.


Truthfulness as a moral value is greatly emphasized in the Holy Quran.  Truthfulness is basic for establishing mutual social relations.  In praising Prophet Muhammad the Holy Quran introduces him as the truthful man.  The same goes for Prophets Abraham, Joseph, Ishmael, and Elias.  Besides, the Quran mentions other distinguished persona­lities as true servants of Allah who possess truthful tongues.

Imam al-Saadiq (a.s.) says:[1]


 انّ الله عز وجلّ لم یبعث نبیاً الاّ  بصدق الحدیث  واداء الامانة الی البرّ والفاجر

"Allah has not appointed a person to the Prophethood Mission except the one who is truthful and honest.”



"Do not be misled by a person’s excessive praying or fasting, because many persons develop a habit in this behalf and cannot forsake it. On the other hand, weigh people in light of their truthfulness and honesty and test them accordingly.”

The Quran declares in Surah 16 (al-Nah’l), Ayah105 that the liars are persons who do not believe in Allah:


إِنَّمَا يَفْتَرِي الْكَذِبَ الَّذِينَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِآيَاتِ اللّهِ وَأُوْلـئِكَ هُمُ الْكَاذِبُونَ

“verily, only those who do not believe in the signs of God forge falsehood, and they are the liars.”


Also the Quran considers liars as devoid of Divine Guidance as mentioned in Surah 39 (al-Zumar), Ayah 3:


إِنَّ اللَّهَ لا يَهْدِي مَنْ هُوَ كَاذِبٌ كَفَّارٌ

“… Surely Allah does not guide Him aright who is a liar, ungrateful.”

Let us take a Hadith reminder about this point too:  The Prophet (pbuh) says:[2]


سئل رسول الله:   یکون المؤمن جباناً؟   قال نعم.    قیل أیکون بخیلاً؟  قال  نعم    و یکون کذاباً؟   قال: لا.

"The Prophet (pbuh) was asked: Is it possible that a believer can be cowardly?

 He answered by saying yes. 

Then he was asked: Or miserly?  He answered yes. 

Then he was asked: How about being a liar?  The Prophet answered: No."


And Imam Ali says:[3]


لا یجد عبد طعم الایمان حتی یترک الکذب   هزله وجدّه

"One does not taste `faith' unless one forsakes falsehood whether this falsehood is serious or in jest.”



Imam Ali also says:[4]


ألزموا الصدق  فانه منجاة

"Make truthfulness your profession, because salvation of man depends on truthfulness.”



The punishment of those who lie is severe whether in this world or in the hereafter.  Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful says:[5]


ینبغی للرجل المسلم أن یجتنب مؤاخاة الکذب

"It is appropriate that a Muslim should not seek company or brotherhood with a liar."



For the end of the 1st part of the Khutba, read Surah Al-Asr, take a short intermission, then start the 2nd part of the Khutba with a short Du'aa.


Let us talk about Imam al-Sajjad (Zainul Abidin).  He was the son of Imam al-Husain, and the only son of Imam al-Husain to survive Karbala.  His other brothers were all brutally slain during the event of Karbala.[6]

Imam Zainul Abideen, being from Ahlul Bayt, was endowed with unique characters. He was the spiritual leader of his time, the example for others, and he was diligent and hard-working man in the path of the Almighty.  Imam Zainul Abideen had a very melodic voice. When he recited the Holy Quran people used to stay nearby to enjoy hearing his recitation.[7]


Zainul Abideen was revered in the community since he was the Imam of the Ummah.  Benu Umayya could not discredit him in the eyes of the people as they wished because he was too high of a figure for them. Their failure was the success for Islam.


Imam Zainul Abideen had empathy for the poor and needy. He was always busy helping them, for he regarded the needy as doing him a favor by asking for his help.  He reasoned that by rendering help he would be rewarded by the Almighty many times the value of such help.  It was to such an extent that Zainul Abideen used to personally carry sacs of flour and food material on his back every night (going in disguise) to distribute to the poor.  He had a long list of families who received his help.


This endeavor continued for the life of the Imam. It is reported that as many as 100 families depended on him for their livelihood at various times.  Even his back became hunched and developed calluses from carrying the weight of the sacs of food.  It was only after he died that the provisions stopped, thus these families realized who their Benefactor was!


In the end I want to recite two sayings from Imam Zainul Abidin. He said:


اتقوا الکذب الصغیر والکبیر فی کلّ جد وهزل،    فان الرجل اذا کذب فی الصغیر إجترأ علی الکبیر.

    Refrain from lying in all things, big or small, in seriousness or in jest. For when a person starts lying in petty matters, soon he will have the audacity to lie in important matters.

    A man need not fear Allah except on account of his own sins, and should place his hopes only with his Lord.

    When one does not know he should not be ashamed to learn.

    And patience is to Faith what the head is to the body; a person who does not have patience is short of faith.



We pray Allah to help us deliver the message of Islam, and offer it to others, grant us the opportunity to achieve both knowledge and piety, forgive us and our father and mother, grant us salvation in this world and in the hereafter. world.


Finally, let us read Surah Al-Nasr with a short Du'aa to close the Khutba.


[1] Usool Al-Kaafi, Vol. 11, Page 360.

[2] Wasa’il al-Shi’a, Vol. 11, Page 233.

[3] Wasa’il al-Shi’a, Vol. 11, Page 234.

[4] Bihaar al-Anwaar, Vol. 15, Section 2, Page 125.

[5] Wasa’il al-Shi’a, Vol. 11, Page 233.

[6] Maqaatil al-Talibiyen, Page 52 and 59.

[7] Seerah of the 12 Imams, H.M. al-Hasani, Vol. 2, Page 148.


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