The Consequences of Lying
Now that the true face of a lie has been exposed, what remains is to know where lying will lead the individuals and society.
First and foremost, from a religious standpoint, Allah warns us against lying. The Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny) says, “If the believer lies without excuse, he will be cursed by seventy-thousand angels, […], and he will be as the one who committed adultery seventy times, the least of which is adultery with his mother.” (Mustadrak al-Wasa’il)
This is but a taste of the divine consequences of lying. But there is more!
As soon as people know a specific person is a liar, they will no longer trust him or her. This will destroy the liar’s relationship with everyone. The famous story about the boy who cried wolf (for fun) demonstrates this fact. Even when the boy told the truth, no one believed him. Why? Because he was a liar. Also, this story warns against the danger of lying for fun or as part of a joke. The label ‘liar’ does not distinguish between serious and fun; a liar is a liar.
Imam Sajjad (peace be upon him) stressed this point when he said, “Be careful of lies, the small ones and the big ones in seriousness and fun for the man who lies about the small things will lie about the big things.” (Al-Kafi)
The above narration brings us to the next consequence of lying: the lead-in to more lying. If a person lies once and gets away, they will be tempted to lie again, since the gratification is there, and no one caught onto the lie. When faced with more serious situations, they will be tempted to lie. This can cause the person to be desensitized to lying and will therefore be a poison in society.
But the liar will not only tell more lies. A liar will be tempted to steal. A liar will be tempted to blackmail. A liar will be tempted to rape, kill, abduct, or any of the big sins.
Imam Al-Askari (peace be upon him) says, “All sins are in one house, and its key is lying.” (Bihar Al-Anwar)
Now, consider a society where every person lies. Not only will each individual suffer Divine punishment, but all the relationships will also be sabotaged. No business can be conducted, because there is lack of trust. In short, the entire social fabric will crumble.
Lying should be avoided at all costs. But there are exceptions. One scenario narrations point at is in war, a prisoner can lie about information he possesses. It is harmful for the religion, country, and the innocent if a prisoner discloses all of the military secrets to the enemy. Another scenario that the narrations point towards is when trying to mend a broken relationship. (Al-Kafi) This will only strengthen society and trust between people.
The Most Dangerous Lie
So lying is very dangerous, but the most destructive of all lies is the one that Allah mentions in the Qurâ€™an when He says, “Look how they invent about Allah untruth, and sufficient is that as a manifest sin.” (4:50)
Indeed, it is these people who spread lies and falsehood in the name of Allah, the Prophet, and Ahl-ul-Bayt that are the real poison in our community. This can affect people’s beliefs. It can shake the society’s code of practice. It will infiltrate the minds of our youth and lead them astray from the righteous path.
Allah promised these people an ultimate downfall when He says, “And who is more unjust than one who invents about Allah a lie or denies His verses? Indeed, the wrongdoers will not succeed.” (6:21)
So, as Muslims and followers of Ahl-ul-Bayt, we need to be strong and honest: strong to face these oppressors and liars, and honest so we can lead by example!