The Condemnation of False Testimony in Light of Hadith

The Condemnation of False Testimony in Light of Hadith

Muhammad Hussain

(5th year student of Jamia tul Madina Faizan e Husn o Jamal e Mustafa Karachi)

In our evil-ridden society where lying, backbiting, tale bearing, slander and other sins are prevalent, the major sin of giving false testimony is also on the rise. The noble Quran states:

وَ لَا تَقْفُ مَا لَیْسَ لَکَ بِہٖ عِلْمٌ ؕ اِنَّ السَّمْعَ وَ الْبَصَرَ وَ الْفُؤَادَ  کُلُّ  اُولٰٓئِکَ کَانَ  عَنْہُ  مَسْـُٔوْلًا (۳۶)

“And do not pursue the matter of which you do not have knowledge; indeed, the ear, the eye, and the heart; all of these are going to be questioned.”[1]

Do not say you have seen something when you have not, and do not say you have heard something when you have not. According to one opinion, this verse is referring to false testimony.[2]

The condemnation of this action is also present in various Prophetic narrations:

   1“The greatest of the major sins are ascribing partners with Allah, murdering a human, being undutiful to parents, and making a false statement,” or he said, “giving a false testimony.”[3]

   2 “The one who bears false testimony will be unable to move on the Day of Judgement until Allah condemns him to Hell.”[4]

   3 “Whoever gives a testimony, so that the wealth of a Muslim can be taken, or someone’s blood can be spilt, has made Hellfire binding upon himself.”[5]

   4 “The best of my nation is my generation, then the generation after them, and then the generation after them. After that, indeed, there will be people who give testimony when they have not been called to bear testimony, they will betray, and they will not be trusted. They will vow but not fulfil [their vows].”[6]

The simple and strongest meaning of the part of the hadith which states, “When they have not been called to bear testimony,” is that people who were not present at the time of an incident and were not summoned will appear before the judge and testify, i.e. falsely. We see this nowadays, whereby people are seen near courts expressing their willingness to plaintiffs to act as witnesses in exchange for money. Therefore, this hadith does not contradict another hadith which mentions that the best witnesses are those who come with testimony before they are asked, as truthful testimony is intended there.[7]

Giving a false testimony is a compilation of many sins:

   1Lying, which itself is a major sin.

   2It often includes slander, falsely accusing others of crimes they did not commit.

   3In many cases, it involves taking bribes to bear false witness against others.

   4Oppressing people.

   5Giving false testimonies can lead to disputes, physical altercations, and unrest.

We learn that this major sin leads to committing other sins, which is a cause of destruction in this world and the Hereafter. May Allah grant us the ability to be obedient and the strength to refrain from sin.

اٰمِیْن بِجَاہِ خاتَمِ النَّبِیّیْن صلَّی اللہ علیہ واٰلہٖ وسلَّم

[1] Al-Quran, 17:36, Translation from Kanz al-Īmān

[2] Tafsīr irā al-Jinān, vol. 5, p. 462

[3] aī al-Bukhārī: 6871

[4] Sunan Ibn Mājah: 2373

[5] Al-Mujam al-Kabīr: 11541

[6] Mishkāt al-Maābī: 6010

[7] Mirˈāt al-Manājī, vol. 8, p. 339




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