Download PDF: [S] Importance of Honesty

There is no doubt that honesty or truthfulness and sincerity are considered to be two very important and well-liked qualities in the science of Tasawwaf. Hence, the reason that many eminent Awliyah have written about this. There are numerous verses in the Qur’an which explains this and many Ahadith which describe the importance of these qualities.


In Surah Taubah (9), verse 119, the Qur’an declares that:


یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللہَ وَکُوۡنُوۡا مَعَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۹﴾


“O believers! Fear Allah and be with the truthful.”


In the terminology of the Awliyah, they explain that real truthfulness or honesty is to speak the truth even when threatened with death. Some have said that to refrain from anything Haraam appearing from the mouth is honesty. Some have said that for the heart and tongue to be one is considered as real truth.


Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi – may Allah be pleased with him – has stated that, “The essence of truthfulness or honesty is to speak the truth even in those circumstances where if one spoke a lie he would be spared.”


When Shaikh Fathah Moseli – may Allah be pleased with him – was asked about honesty, he picked up a hot burning piece of iron and placing it on his hand, he declared, “This is real honesty.”


One Saint has explained that, “If a person does not perform consistent Fard then even his act of Fard which he performs for a time being is not accepted.” When he was asked what consistent Fard is, he replied that it was honesty.


The Awliyah explain that the lowest state of truthfulness is when the inner and outer self of a person is the same. The Saadiq is that person whose speech is the truth while the Siddiq is that person who is honest in both speech and action.


Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi – may Allah be pleased with him – explains that, “Truthfulness is one of the swords of Allah Almighty. Wherever it is placed, it is able to slice that place.”


Honesty is a pillar of religion. Through it, the religion of a person becomes complete. If we look at the verse which explains the special servants of Allah, we will see that after the Amibyah, the Siddiqeen is mentioned.


When Hadrat Haarith Muhaasibi – may Allah be pleased with him – was asked about the signs of honesty, he replied, “When a person is busy reforming his heart and does not care whether people lose respect for him. He does not even care whether the creation is aware of his piety or not. He does not even care whether people become aware of his bad habits. If this is not the case, then it means he is desirous of peoples respect and esteem and this is not the way of a true Sideeq.”


The degree of truthfulness and the truthful


Hadrat Junaid Baghdadi – may Allah be pleased with him – explains that, “The true Saadiq is able to change many states in one day. In other words, he goes from one great state to the next. As for the liar or deceitful person he remains in one state for the next forty years! The reason is that a person who (worships) his nafs or is involved in deceit, he will never even smell the scent of honesty.”


Hadrat Ebrahim Khawwas – may Allah be pleased with him – explains that, “Whenever you see a Siddeeq, you will find that he is either paying off some debt or he will be busy involved in some work for his Creator.”


Imam Abul Qasim Abdul Kareem bin Hawaazin Qushayri – may Allah be pleased with him – in his world famous treatise, “Risaalah Qushayriyyah”, explains that, “Allah sent Revelation to Nabi Daud – peace be upon him –  which was, ‘O Daud! A person who sincerely believes in Me as the Truth, I will reveal his truthfulness among people.’”


Hadrat Sahl bin Abdullah – may Allah be pleased with him – explains that the deceit of a Siddeeq begins when he speaks to his nafs, in other words, he becomes lazy in fulfilling the rights of Allah Almighty.


The status of truthfulness or honesty in the Hadith Shareef


Hadrat Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Masud – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “You should make truthfulness necessary upon yourself. The reason is that truthfulness leads to piety and piety reveals the path to Jannah. A person continues to speak the truth and continues to endeavour to speak the truth until that time when he is recorded in the (Divine Court) as a Siddeeq. And save yourself from lies, without doubt, lies leads to sin and sin leads to Hell. When a person continues to speak lies and finds opportunities to speak lies, (at) that time he is recorded in the (Divine Court) as a great liar.”


Searching for Halaal sustenance and being honest


Both of these qualities have immense status and importance in Islam. Since we have already spoken a little about honesty, we will present a Hadith Shareef. This is presented from “Tafseer Qurtabi”. It is mentioned that the Allah Almighty has made equal, the person who earns a Halaal sustenance and the Mujaahid. We also come to realize from this that earning and striving to earn a Halal livelihood is also a form of Jihad.


Hadrat Alqamah – may Allah be pleased with him – narrates that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – has stated that, “When a person brings food from one city to another and sells it at the price which (is applicable) on that day, his status with Allah is equal to those of the martyrs.”


An honest businessman!


There once lived  a trader in the city of Waasit. He sent some grain to Basrah and instructed his agent in that city that when the ship arrives in the city he should sell the grain immediately and not wait for the next day or save anything for the next day.


Coincidently, on the day the grain arrived in the city, the price was very low. The traders of grain also advised this agent that if he kept it for a week, he would earn a lot of money as the price of the grain would increase. He did so and did not sell it for one week. After the price increased, he then sold the grain. He then advised the owner of the grain of what he had done.


The owner of the grain then wrote back, “If our Imaan remains safe, then a little profit is sufficient. You have certainly performed a very unfair act. When you receive this letter, then I request that you take whatever you have earned and distribute it among the poor in Basrah. If we are able to save yourself from the consequences of (punishment) for what you have done, it would be enough. I also do not have any confidence that there will be any reward for our action even if we gave away this wealth in charity.” Such was the honesty displayed by business people in the past.