I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“O you who believe! Be afraid of Allaah, and be with those who are true (in words and deeds)” Qur’an 9:119
“O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witness to Allaah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allaah is better Protector to both (than you).” Qur’an 4:135
In every society, there are two opposing forces – the force of truth and the force of falsehood. However, there is a seemingly third existing force of “fencists” nay the force of hypocrisy, in which man is neither here nor there but he fits perfectly well into the second category – the force of falsehood.
As a consequence, the battle between truth and falsehood is as old as the inception of humanity itself. Notably, all successful nations (in the true sense of the word) have one thing in common, the virtue of being truthful and standing firmly in the defense of truth regardless of whom it affects. In fact, the bearers of glad tidings (Prophets of Allaah) were the forerunners of truth and they did so by being fearless. Allaah Exalted be He says: “Those who convey the Message of Allaah and fear Him, and fear none save Allaah…” Qur’an 33:39
In addition, being truthful is a necessary ingredient for attracting great benefits to individuals and societies. This has been alluded to in the statement of the Prophet (peace be upon him) recorded by Imam Muslim, he (peace be upon him) said: “You must be truthful, for truthfulness leads to righteousness and righteousness leads to Paradise…Beware of telling lies, for lying leads to immorality and immorality leads to Hellfire…”
Evidently, as a result of falsehood, injustice and lack of genuine concern and support for truthfulness and the truthful ones, the disease of corruption and the erosion of moral and social structure have plagued many nations. A lot of people chant the slogan of “truthfulness” but alas! Very few are really ready to stand for it when the going gets tough. Hence, Allaah Exalted be He says: “O you believe! Why do you say that which you do not do? Most hateful it is with Allaah that you say that which you do not do.” Qur’an 61:2-3
Being truthful and standing for it is not for cowards but for persons aided by Allaah and who are determined to liberate others from the shackles of oppression, corruption and injustice regardless of the dire consequences that follow. Many approve of falsehood in public for the fear of losing out on material gains, while in private they vehemently condemn it. People are quick to dissociate themselves from truth and the truthful ones when they see the harmful price the truthful one has to pay.
By the same token, a lot of people pick and choose which truth to accept and defend and which not to. Hence, most societies today have a lot of people with double standards; it is commendable if the truth is against their enemies but condemnable if it is against their allies. How can such a society progress?
It is important to note, however, that there will always be a few people who by the promise of Allaah, will dare the status quo and speak the truth and stand for it uncompromisingly. Yes, they are in the minority of the minorities but they always have the chance of triumphing over their antagonists.
Sadly, most nations of the world today belittle truthfulness and the truthful ones while at the same time praise falsehood and liars. This twist in judgment has made truth to become alien amongst people that pride themselves with it. Everyone claims to be truthful but reality proves differently. Majority of those claiming to be truthful and advocates of truthfulness, abandon the real truthful ones when they fight for the truth.
Nonetheless, no right-thinking individual should take the back seat and remain silent in the face of corruption and injustice without advising appropriately. Today, out of the fear of the negative backlash and inevitable media onslaught, many have abandoned the truth and its people.
An equally significant aspect of daring the status quo to speak the truth and exposing corrupt practices is the lofty status it has in Islam. In a narration which has been authenticated by al-Albani in Sahih al-Jami’ the Prophet (peace be upon him) was once asked what is the most virtuous jihad and he answered, “A statement of truth in the presence of an unjust ruler.” This speaks volume on the need for truth to be bold because nothing can be bolder.
Similarly, in an authentic narration in the Musnad of Ahmad and Sahih of ibn Hibban, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said; “Certainly, Allaah will ask the servant on the Day of Resurrection. He will ask him, ‘What kept you from repelling an evil when you saw it.’ When Allaah prompts the servant to understand his argument, he says, ‘O Lord, I put my hope in You (that is, Your Forgiveness) and I had a fear of the people.”
In the face of such criticism and the fear of losing out on material gains and becoming unpopular amongst people, a lot of people would rather not have the audacity to speak the truth and expose falsehood but would instead prefer to hide under the timidity of hypocrisy.
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, is the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd & a Lecturer at Baze University, Abuja. Twitter: @Penabdull Instagram: @Penabdul