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Quranic Terminology: Truth/True/Truly/Truthful: (5) The Overlapping between Truthfulness and the Truth

Quranic Terminology: Truth/True/Truly/Truthful: (5) The Overlapping between Truthfulness and the Truth

 

Published in November 19, 2017

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 

Introduction:

  In everyday speech, we would say that someone bears witness in truth or truthfully. This means that the term (truth) here is almost synonymous with (truthfulness); yet, the term (truth) subsumes (truthfulness), as (truth) is a more general, comprehensive term. We provide more details about this topic in the points below. 

 

Firstly: some meanings of the term (truth):

1- The Truth (with capitalized T) is the term to describe God Himself in the Quran: "That is because God is the Truth..." (22:6); "Such is God, your Lord - the Truth..." (10:32).

2- The same term in the Quran describes Islam as the True Religion from God: "It is He who sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of Truth..." (9:33).

3- The term "Truth" describes the Quran itself, as it contains the Absolute Truth: "With the Truth We sent it down, and with the Truth it descended..." (17:105); "But your people rejected it, though it is the Truth..." (6:66); "What We inspired to you, of the Book, is the Truth..." (35:31).

4- The term (truth) comes in the Quran in the sense of justice, within contexts of persons judging affairs of other people in this world and God judging humanity on the Last Day. Within the Quranic story of David, we read: "...so judge between us in truth,..." (38:22); "...so judge between the people with the truth..." (38:26). God judges people on the Last Day with the Truth; i.e., absolute justice: "...and Judgment will be passed among them with the Truth, and they will not be wronged." (39:69). Fair and equitable people judge with the truth; i.e., justice: "Among those We created is a community-they guide by the truth, and uphold justice thereby." (7:181). 

5- The Quranic expression (without truth) means injustice and things done unjustly, and (within the truth) means justice and things done justly: "Those who were evicted from their homes without truth..." (22:40); "...And that you do not kill the soul which God has sanctified-except within the course of truth..." (6:151); "Say, "My Lord has forbidden immoralities-both open and secret-and sin, and aggression unjustified within the truth..." (7:33). 

6- The terms (truth/true) also refer to rights of human beings within Quranic sharia legislations, within debts: "...So let him write, and let the debtor dictate the truth..." (2:282); and within zakat: "...and give its true due on the day of its harvest..." (6:141); "And give the relative his true dues, and the poor, and the wayfarer..." (17:26); " And give the relative his true dues, and the poor, and the wayfarer..." (30:38); "And in their wealth, there was a true share for the beggar and the deprived." (51:19); "And those in whose wealth is a true share. For the beggar and the deprived." (70:24-25).

 

Secondly: the term (truth) as referring to truthfulness:

  The term (truth) refers to truthfulness within Quranic contexts of contrasting it to falsehoods: "...Thus God exemplifies truth and falsehood..." (13:17). Within the story of the cow, the Israelites said the following to Moses: "...Now you have brought the truth..." (2:71). The Potiphar's wife cleared the name of Joseph and said the following: "...Now the truth is out..." (12:51). The angels said the following to Abraham about the birth of Isaac: "...We bring you good news in truth..." (15:55). In all these previous Quranic contexts, the term (truth) refers to truthfulness. This applies to the Truth from God as well: "And they inquire of you, "Is it the Truth?" Say, "Yes, by my Lord, it is the Truth, and you cannot evade it."" (10:53); "This is certainly in truth the feuding of the people of the Fire." (38:64); "These are the true believers..." (8:4); "Those who believed, and emigrated, and struggled for God's cause, and those who gave shelter and support-these are the true believers..." (8:74); "Yet it is the Absolute Truth." (69:51); "By the Lord of the heaven and the earth, it is as true as the fact that you speak." (51:23). 

 

Thirdly: the true/truthful promises of God as the Absolute Truth:

1- This applies in this world and the next one: "...Assuredly, the promise of God is True. But most of them do not know." (10:55); "So be patient. The promise of God is True..." (30:60); "So be patient. The promise of God is True..." (40:55); "So be patient. The promise of God is True..." (40:77).

2- Within this world, we read about God's True Promises in many verses: "So it was, that We caused them to be discovered, that they would know that the promise of God is True..." (18:21); "He said, "This is a mercy from my Lord. But when the promise of my Lord comes true, He will turn it into rubble, and the promise of my Lord is always True."" (18:98); about the mother of Moses: "Thus We returned him to his mother, that she may be comforted, and not grieve, and know that God's promise is True. But most of them do not know." (28:13); "Before you, We sent messengers to their people. They came to them with clear proofs. Then We took revenge on those who sinned. It is truly incumbent on Us to help the believers." (30:47).

3- Within the Hereafter, we read about God's True Promises in many verses: "But as for those who believe and do righteous deeds, We will admit them into gardens beneath which rivers flow, where they will abide forever. The promise of God is True - and who is more Truthful in speech than God?" (4:122); "To Him is your return, altogether. The promise of God is True..." (10:4); "God has purchased from the believers their lives and their properties in exchange for Paradise. They fight in God's way, and they kill and get killed. It is a True Promise binding on Him in the Torah, and the Gospel, and the Quran. And who is more True to his promise than God? So rejoice in making such an exchange - that is the supreme triumph." (9:111); "O people! The promise of God is True; so let not the lowly life seduce you, and let not the Tempter tempt you away from God." (35:5); "O people! Be conscious of your Lord, and dread a Day when no parent can avail his child, nor can a child avail his parent, in anything. The promise of God is True. Therefore, do not let this life deceive you, nor let illusions deceive you regarding God." (31:33); "Dwelling therein forever. The promise of God is True..." (31:9); "And they swear by God with their most solemn oaths, "God will not resurrect anyone who dies." Yes indeed, it is a True Promise binding on Him, but most people do not know." (16:38).

 

Fourthly: the true fulfillment of promises:

1- Examples of the Quranic contexts of this meaning refer to this world and to the Hereafter.

1/1: Examples of fulfilled promises of the Lord God in this world: "Those against whom your Lord's Word is truly fulfilled will not believe." (10:96); "Thus your Lord's Word proved true and fulfilled against those who disobeyed, for they do not believe." (10:33); "...Some of them God guided, while others truly deserved misguidance..." (16:36); "When We decide to destroy a town, We command its affluent ones, they transgress in it, so the Word becomes truly fulfilled against it, and We destroy it completely." (17:16); "...They all rejected the messengers, so My threat came true." (50:14).

1/2: Examples of promises of the Lord God to be fulfilled in the Hereafter: "Had We willed, We could have given every soul its guidance, but the declaration from Me will come true: "I will fill Hell with jinn and humans, altogether."" (32:13); "Those who disbelieved will be driven to Hell in throngs. Until, when they have reached it, and its gates are opened, its keepers will say to them, "Did not messengers from among you come to you, reciting to you the revelations of your Lord, and warning you of the meeting of this Day of yours?" They will say, "Yes, but the verdict of punishment is justified truly against the disbelievers."" (39:71); "Thus the sentence of your Lord became realized in truth against those who disbelieve, that they are to be inmates of the Fire." (40:6); "...And the Word proved true against them in communities of jinn and humans that have passed away before them. They were losers." (41:25); "Those are they upon whom the sentence is truly justified, among the communities that have passed away before them, of jinn and humans. They are truly losers." (46:18); "The Word was fulfilled truly against most of them, for they do not believe." (36:7); "The Word of our Lord has been fulfilled truly against us. We are tasting it." (37:31); "None of them but denied the messengers, so My retribution was truly deserved." (38:14); "Those against whom the sentence is truly justified will say, "Our Lord, these are they whom we misled. We misled them, as we were misled. We beg Your forgiveness; it was not us they used to worship."" (28:63); " Do you not realize that to God prostrates everyone in the heavens and everyone on earth, and the sun, and the moon, and the stars, and the mountains, and the trees, and the animals, and many of the people? But many are truly deserving of torment..." (22:18).

2- Within other contexts related to this world and to the Hereafter.

2/1: Within this world: "Then We save Our messengers and those who believe. It is truly binding on Us to save the believers." (10:103); "...Father, this is the fulfillment of my vision of long ago. My Lord has made it come true..." (12:100); "God has promised you one of the two groups-that it would be yours-but you wanted the unarmed group to be yours. God intends to prove the truth with His words, and to uproot the disbelievers." (8:7).

2/2: Related to the Hereafter: "And the inhabitants of the Garden will call out to the inmates of the Fire, "We found what our Lord promised us to be true; did you find what your Lord promised you to be true?" They will say, "Yes."..." (7:44).

 

Lastly:

1- The Quran is the Absolute Truth; Muhammad's sole mission was to convey the entire of the Quranic text without adding or omitting a single word or letter. This is why in real Islam, one is to believe ONLY in the Quran as the Discourse of Truth.

2- Islam is the religion of Truth and truthfulness. Muhammad's mission was confined to spreading this Truth as God's Word; he was NEVER to express opinions or to explain things about the Quranic verses, 


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