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Quranic Terminology: Truth/True/Truly/Truthful: (3) Within Dealing with People and with God

Quranic Terminology: Truth/True/Truly/Truthful: (3) Within Dealing with People and with God

Published in November 17, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

Introduction:

 We see here how truthfulness is contrasted with telling lies in word/stances of people and within real versus fake belief/faith. We provide some details in the points below.

 

Firstly: how God deals with people: truthfulness (i.e., within belief) versus telling lies (i.e., of disbelief):

1- Life is a test for all human beings, to see if their belief/faith would be strong enough to bear with ordeals, calamities, and adversities or not and to drive people to be thankful and grateful for bounties or not; in other words, would people lose faith and become losers on the Last Day or retain/increase their faith and be thankful to the Lord God. Hence, in such cases, truthful ones are differentiated from the liars: "Have the people supposed that they will be left alone to say, "We believe," without being put to the test? We have tested those before them. God will surely know the truthful, and He will surely know the liars." (29:2-3).

2- On the Last Day, God will ask the truthful ones about their truthfulness, whereas the liars/disbelievers will be tormented in Hell: "That He may ask the true ones about their truthfulness. He has prepared for the disbelievers a painful torment." (33:8).

 

Secondly: people judging one another regarding truthfulness and telling lies:

1- Prophets/messengers were accused by disbelievers of telling lies, as disbelievers reject the Truth; for instance, the believing prince of the family of Pharaoh defended Moses and protested against the plan of murdering him, while asserting shrewdly that if Moses were a liar, his lies will bring his downfall, and if he was a truthful person, his warning them against divine punishment is true and will take place: "A believing man from Pharaoh's family, who had concealed his faith, said, "Are you going to kill a man for saying, `My Lord is God,' and he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? If he is a liar, his lying will rebound upon him; but if he is truthful, then some of what he promises you will befall you..." (40:28). 

2- The Yathreb hypocrites used to support their lies by swearing by God's name that they had excuses for not to engage into self-defense endeavors, and Muhammad believed their lies without verification to see if they lied or told the truth, and this has made God reproach him: "May God pardon you! Why did you give them permission before it became clear to you who are the truthful ones, and who are the liars?" (9:43).  

3- The Quranic Chapter 12 about the story of Joseph is filled with stances about truthfulness and telling lies (and conspiracies); we refer to some examples in the points below.

3/1: The brothers of Joseph, at the beginning of the story, conspired against him and threw him into at the bottom of the well, and then, they told Jacob this lie while pretending to be truthful: "They said, "O father, we went off racing one another, and left Joseph by our belongings; and the wolf ate him. But you will not believe us, even though we are being truthful."" (12:17). In contrast, toward the end of the story, when Joseph conspired to retain his younger brother in Egypt with him by a false accusation of theft, these brothers of Josephs, sons of Jacob, were truthful when they told Jacob how they lost another brother: "And when they despaired of him, they conferred privately. Their eldest said, "Don't you know that your father received a pledge from you before God, and in the past you failed with regard to Joseph? I will not leave this land until my father permits me, or God decides for me; for He is the Best of Judges." "Go back to your father, and say, 'Our father, your son has stolen. We testify only to what we know, and we could not have prevented the unforeseen.'" "Ask the town where we were, and the caravan in which we came. We are being truthful."" (12:80-82).

3/2: Joseph hatched a plot to retain his younger brother (both brothers are said to have one mother, and the rest of Jacob's sons were born from another mother); the elder brothers used to mistreat him as we infer from their words, for they described him as the brother of joseph who was a thief: "They said, "If he has stolen, a brother of his has stolen before."..." (12:77). After introducing himself to this younger brother in private, Joseph offered solace to this mistreated brother: "And when they entered into the presence of Joseph, he embraced his brother, and said, "I am your brother; do not be saddened by what they used to do."" (12:69). The traditions and  laws of Egypt at the time entailed to force thieves into slavery, and Joseph framed his younger brother (who knew all about this plot and agreed to put on this act to remain with Joseph in Egypt), as we know from these verses: "Then, when he provided them with their provisions, he placed the drinking-cup in his brother's saddlebag. Then an announcer called out, "O people of the caravan, you are thieves." They said, as they came towards them, "What are you missing?" They said, "We are missing the king's goblet. Whoever brings it will have a camel-load; and I personally claim this."  They said, "By God, you know we did not come to cause trouble in the land, and we are not thieves. "They said, "What shall be his punishment, if you are lying?" They said, "His punishment, if it is found in his bag: he will belong to you. Thus we penalize the unjust ones." So he began with their bags, before his brother's bag. Then he pulled it out of his brother's bag. Thus We devised a plan for Joseph; he could not have detained his brother under the king's law, unless God so willed. We elevate by degrees whomever We will; and above every person of knowledge, there is one more learned. They said, "If he has stolen, a brother of his has stolen before." But Joseph kept it to himself, and did not reveal it to them. He said, "You are in a worse situation, and God is Aware of what you allege." They said, "O noble prince, he has a father, a very old man, so take one of us in his place. We see that you are a good person." He said, "God forbid that we should arrest anyone except him in whose possession we found our property; for then we would be unjust."" (12:70-79). We notice that Joseph as a truthful person and a prophet did not say that his brother did steal; rather, he said: "...God forbid that we should arrest anyone except him in whose possession we found our property..." (12:79). In contrast, the announcer working under Joseph command accused them of theft: "...O people of the caravan, you are thieves." (12:70), and this accusation might be wrong or true, and this is why he said his words are mere claim or allegation: "...I personally claim this." (12:72).

3/3: The Potiphar's wife lied when she accused Joseph of attempting to seduce her, s she told her husband the following: "...What is the penalty for him who desired to dishonor your wife, except imprisonment or a painful torment?" (12:25). Joseph told the truth that she tried to seduce him: "...It was she who tried to seduce me..." (12:26). A judge from the family of the Potiphar's wife wanted to judge the matter to verify the truth: "...A witness from her household suggested: "If his shirt is torn from the front: then she has told the truth, and he is the liar. But if his shirt is torn from the back: then she has lied, and he is the truthful." And when he saw that his shirt was torn from the back, he said, "This is a woman's scheme. Your scheming is serious indeed." "Joseph, turn away from this. And you, woman, ask forgiveness for your sin; you are indeed in the wrong."" (12:26-29). Joseph was proven to be truthful and the Potiphar's wife was proven as a liar. When affluent women ridiculed her for loving her slave, she plotted against them by allowing them to see how handsome Joseph was: "Some ladies in the city said, "The governor's wife is trying to seduce her servant. She is deeply in love with him. We see she has gone astray." And when she heard of their gossip, she invited them, and prepared for them a banquet, and she gave each one of them a knife. She said, "Come out before them." And when they saw him, they marveled at him, and cut their hands. They said, "Good God, this is not a human, this must be a precious angel."" (12:30-31). The Potiphar's wife told them that she seduced him and he must choose between succumbing to her or being imprisoned: "She said, "Here he is, the one you blamed me for. I did try to seduce him, but he resisted. But if he does not do what I tell him to do, he will be imprisoned, and will be one of the despised." He said, "My Lord, prison is more desirable to me than what they call me to..." (12:32-33). Years later, the king wanted to release Joseph from prison, but Joseph insisted on being declared innocent first; the king led the investigation himself and asked the affluent women until the Potiphar's wife confessed her guilt and that Joseph told the truth: " He said, "What was the matter with you, women, when you tried to seduce Joseph?" They said, "God forbid! We knew of no evil committed by him." The Potiphar's wife then said, "Now the truth is out. It was I who tried to seduce him, and he is telling the truth."" (12:51). 

4- A husband who accuses his wife of adultery without providing eye-witnesses can be accused of being a liar by his wife and he can accuse her of the same thing, which each of them claim to be truthful: "As for those who accuse their own spouses, but have no witnesses except themselves, the testimony of one of them is equivalent to four testimonies, if he swears by God that he is truthful." (24:6); "And the fifth time, that God's wrath be upon her, if he is truthful." (24:9).

5- Another stance of truthfulness and telling lies is within the story of Solomon when the  hoopoe told him about the Queen of Sheba, and Solomon told it: "...We will see, whether you have spoken the truth, or whether you are a liar." (27:27).

 

Thirdly: truthfulness in speech and promises:

1- In contrast to the Muhammadans who are notorious for their lies and breaking promises and violating pledges and agreements, real believers within real Islam are truthful people who keep their promises with all people they deal with, as we read in these verses about believers who will be among the winners on the Last Day: "Those who are faithful to their trusts and pledges." (23:8); "...And fulfill your covenant with God. All this He has enjoined upon you, so that you may take heed." (6:152); "Fulfill God's covenant when you make a covenant, and do not break your oaths after ratifying them. You have made God your guarantor, and God knows what you do." (16:91); "O you who believe! Fulfill your contracts..." (5:1); "...And honor your pledge, because the pledge involves responsibility." (17:34).  

2- God does not mention all names and stories of prophets/messengers; see 4:164 and 40:78, and the Quranic stories of prophets/messengers do not contain all details. Ishmael and Joseph are described as being truthful: "And mention in the Book Ishmael. He was true to his promise, and was a messenger, a prophet. " (19:54); ""Joseph, O man of truth, inform us concerning..." (12:46). 

 

Fourthly: the truthful ones among friends/companions:

1- The true friends or the truthful people are regarded as like relatives as one can eat inside their houses: "There is no blame on the blind, nor any blame on the lame, nor any blame on the sick, nor on yourselves for eating at your homes, or your fathers' homes, or your mothers' homes, or your brothers' homes, or your sisters' homes, or the homes of your paternal uncles, or the homes of your paternal aunts, or the homes of your maternal uncles, or the homes of your maternal aunts, or those whose keys you own, or the homes of your true friends. ..." (24:61).

2- Some companions who accompany one in the same era and location might NOT be friends or foes. For instance, unlike the Sunnite myth that Abou Bakr (a Sunnite deity described as 'truthful', but an arch-enemy of Islam for Quranists because he was the first caliph to commit the sin of Arab conquests) was the one inside the cave with Muhammad during his journey/flight to Yathreb when he was chased by Meccan polytheists who attempted to assassinate him, God the Omniscient describes this incident in the following verse while describing this unnamed person as a mere companion and NOT a true friend who fraternal love toward Muhammad truly from his heart: "If you do not help him, God has already helped him, when those who disbelieved expelled him, and he was the second of two in the cave. He said to his friend, "Do not worry, God is with us." And God made His tranquility descend upon him, and supported him with forces you did not see..." (9:40). Tranquility descended ONLY upon Muhammad and not this unnamed companions who was a mere companion and never a true friend.       

3- Of course, there are some companions who accompany one in the same era and location who may be foes; for instance, Muhammad's enemies among the Meccan polytheists of Qorayish were companions to Muhammad and knew how truthful and honest he was before his ministry as a prophet, but when he recited the Quran to them, they accused him of being insane, but God has defended him in these verses: "Say, "I offer you a single advice: devote yourselves to God, in pairs, or individually; and reflect. There is no madness in your companion. He is just a warner to you, before the advent of a severe torment."" (34:46); "Your companion has not gone astray, nor has he erred." (53:2); "Your companion is not possessed." (81:22).    

4- Surely, companionship may be combined with true, cordial friendship; yet, close friends with hate one another on the Last Day when they know they have misguided one another regarding religion: "On that Day, the unjust one will bite his hands, and say, "If only I had followed the way with the messenger! Oh, woe to me! I wish I never took so-and-so for a friend! He led me away from the Message after it had come to me; for Satan has always been a betrayer of man."" (25:27-29).

5- Muhammad tried to be a true friend to the polytheists who rejected the Quran so as to win them to monotheism/Islam, and some of these deniers used to deceive him by lies and flattery: "So do not obey the deniers. They would like you to compromise, so they would compromise." (68:8-9). Their aim was to make Muhammad fabricate hadiths/narratives apart from the Quran; if he were to do it, they would have been his close, true friends: "They almost lured you away from what We have revealed to you, so that you would invent something else in Our name. In that case, they would have taken you for a true friend." (17:73).

6- Those polytheists and disbelievers who were true, close friends within worldly life will be enemies of one another on the Last Day; in contrast, believers who were true, close friends within worldly life will be the same on the Last Day: "On that Day, true friends will be enemies of one another, except for the pious ones." (43:67). The polytheists and disbelievers (both in terms of corrupt/little faith and aggressive behavior) who were true, close friends within life on Earth (e.g., who shared cordiality/affection within polytheistic religious feasts or festivals/moulids) will be enemies of one another who curse and disown one another on the Last Day. This is what Abraham had said to his people: "..."You have chosen idols instead of God, out of affection for one another in the worldly life. But then, on the Day of Resurrection, you will disown one another, and curse one another. Your destiny is Hell, and you will have no supporters."" (29:25). In contrast, the pious, true believers might had enmities among one another in the worldly life, but they will enjoy fraternal love inside Paradise: "But the righteous will be in gardens with springs. Enter it in peace and security." And We will remove all ill-feelings from their hearts-brothers and sisters, on couches facing one another." (15:45-47), whereas Hell-dwellers will scream, saying: "Now we have no intercessors. And no true friend." (26:100-101). This is why God has told Muhammad to warn people as follows: "And warn them of the Day of Imminence, when the hearts are at the throats, choking them. The evildoers will have no intimate, true friend, and no intercessor to be obeyed." (40:18).

As always, God says nothing but the Absolute Truth.


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