Omar M wrote in a message
Can we assume, then, given the large numbers of
people narrating it, that this statement of the
Prophet ﷺ was well-known among the Companions, the
Followers, and the salaf generally -- especially those
who transmitted hadith?
It is more correct to say that we should feel certain that the Companions
knew this hadith as well as the Ahl al-Hadith (i.e. Ahl al-Sunna) among the
succeeding generations in the sameway that they all knew the Qur'an and
Allah knows best.
I ask because some missionaries have claimed, that
since Muslims are allowed to lie in many different
circumstances, they can't be trusted not to engage in
"pious fraud" when transmitting hadiths.
It is untrue that Muslims are allowed to lie "in many different
circumstances." Those circumstances are limited, and lying is basically one
of the grave sins (kaba'ir). As for pious frauds, perhaps the Shiʿis and
others who are neither scrupulous nor knowledgeable about the scientific
transmission of Prophetic teachings, and at their very forefront the
Christians. But not Sunni Muslims.
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(1) I know there are hadiths concerning telling a lie
about the Prophetﷺ and that it is absolutely
forbidden. Is this hadith mutawatir? How many
Companions related it?
Yes. 75 Companions related it.
(2) Under what circumstances is telling a lie
Settling disagreements to bring about good between people, especially in war
or between a husband and wife; or simply saying something commendable.
I have heard a hadith that it is permitted in
:wartime, making peace between people, and some issues
pertaining to a husband and wife (I can't remember
exactly). Can this permission be extended by analogy
to other situations, or is it restricted to just
The permission (rukhsa) of lying / misleading definitely extends to any
other situations where "telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth"
unjustly causes harm or injustice or impedes the carriage of justice or the
performance of something obligatory (in which case lying is obligatory) or
recommended or even permissible, although the way of strictness (ʿazima) is
"to forgo lying in every case where it is not legally obligatory."
I ask because I remember reading in the
"Reliance of the Traveller" a piece by Imam Ghazali
about this issue. I was amazed at the latitude he
gave for telling lies -- I probably misunderstood, but
he seemed to be saying that lying is permissible
whenever the harm resulting from telling the truth
outweighs the benefit. This didn't sound right at all,
so I wanted to clarify.
That it didn't sound right shows that you more than probably misunderstood
for there is hardly a better way of stating it than Imam al-Ghazzali did.
GF Haddad ©