A Liar is An Evil Person.
In the name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of al-'ālameen. There is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, Sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.
Prologue: A lie or falsehood can be anything spoken or written that is totally or partially baseless, unreal, made-up, distorted, or exaggerated; for example, if someone were too deliberately state that a five foot pole was a ten foot pole, then this would be a lie. It is the complete opposite of truth. It is anything that is untrue and deliberately intended to mislead another person is a lie.
Similarly praising someone out of proportion is a form of a lie.
Lying is Disease of the Heart
Lying and falsehood are widespread problems and are roots of other problems that occur on an individual and public level. Lies are spoken and written in the media and in politics, in business and in personal dealings, by Muslims and non-Muslims alike, although the degree, magnitude and frequency may vary.
Lying is against human nature and physiology, and like any other disease, it has its own unique signs and symptoms. The act of lying produces inner conflicts between various control centers of the brain.
The moment one begins to lie, his body sends out contradictory signals to cause facial muscle twitching, expansion and contraction of pupils, perspiration, flushing of cheeks, increased blinking of the eye, tremors of the hand, and an increased heart rate. These constitute the basis of lie detector instruments. In addition, certain unconsciously made movements are noticeable in those who lie, like the constant covering of the mouth, touching of the nose, rubbing of the eye, scratching the side of the neck, rubbing the ear, etc.
One of the clearest signs is that the liar keeps his palms closed and his eyes in another direction to the person he is lying to, in an attempt to avoid eye-to-eye contact. A liar is aware of his body’s signals and finds lying easier when nobody can see him, such as when he is on the phone or writing.
The Motives of a Liar
A Liar Tells A Lie For The Following Purpose:
a) Concealing the truth, as he may be afraid of the truth or its punitive consequences by the law or certain individuals.
b) Cheating and deceiving others and enjoying their misery, as Satan did with Adam.
c) Short-term worldly gains, such as gaining the favors of others or monetary gains.
Forms of Lying
The worst form of lying is to do so upon Allāh that is to falsely its attributes:
Allāh Almighty Says in the Quran: "And if he [i.e., Muhammad] had made up about Us some [false] sayings, We would have seized by the right hand; then We would have cut from him the aorta” [Surah Al-Haqqah, 69:44-46]
"…And do not conceal testimony, for whoever conceals it – his heart is indeed sinful…." [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:283]
"And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it]." [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:42]
Hypocrites are liars too, because they lie to themselves. Allāh Says about them:
"In their hearts is disease, so Allāh has amplified their disease; and for them is a painful punishment because they [habitually] used to lie." [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:10]
Allāh also addressed His Messenger Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) Saying: "…Allāh knows that you are His Messenger, and Allāh testifies that the hypocrites are liars." [Surah Al-Munafiqun, 63: 1]
The Quran on Liars
Allāh Says: "…Indeed Allāh does not guide one who is a transgressor and a liar." [Surah Al-Ghafir, 40:28],and: "…Indeed, Allāh does not guide he who is a liar and [confirmed] disbeliever." [Surah A-Zumar, 39:3] Almighty Allāh also says: "…The curse of Allāh be upon him if he should be among the liars." [Surah An-Nur, 24:7]
The Messenger on Lying and Liars
Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: “Indeed, truth leads to virtue and virtue leads to Paradise, and a truthful person continues to speak the truth until he becomes the most truthful person. Lies lead to evil and evil leads to Hell and a liar continues to lie until he is listed as a high ranking liar before Allāh." [Al-Bukhari]
Yusuf Ibn ‘Abdullah said that he asked Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam): "O Messenger of Allāh! What do you think is the most dreadful thing for me?" Yusuf continued: "The Messenger caught hold of his tongue and said: "This." [At-Tirmidzi]
Bahaz Ibn Hakim related that the Messenger (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said: "Destruction is for the man who tells lies for the amusement of other people. Destruction is for him." [At-Tirmidzi]
Sufian Ibn Usaid reported that the Messenger (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) said: "The biggest breach of trust is that you tell a thing to your brother who believes it to be true, whereas you have lied to him." [Abu Dawud]
'Abdullah bin 'Amr (radiallāhu‘anhu) narrated that The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa allam) said: "Whoever has the following four [characteristics] will be a pure hypocrite and whoever has one of the following four characteristics will have one characteristic of hypocrisy unless and until he gives it up: 1. Whenever he is entrusted, he betrays. 2. Whenever he speaks, he tells a lie. 3. Whenever he makes a covenant, he proves treacherous. 4. Whenever he quarrels, he behaves in a very imprudent, evil and insulting manner."[Al-Bukhari]
Is Lying Ever Justified?
There are very few justifications for lying in Islam. The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam) directed us to tell the truth, even under the harshest circumstances of oppression. However, one may choose not to tell the truth when:
He is being oppressed and there is a real danger to his life if he speaks the truth. Sheikh As-Sa’di narrated the following story: "A cruel king ordered an innocent villager present in his court to be executed due to the villager's lack of manners. Hearing this, the villager began cursing the king in his native language. The king asked his minister, who understood the man's language, to tell him what the man was saying. The wise minister, instead of telling the truth, told the king that the man was sorry for his conduct and was praising his greatness and pleading for his mercy. The king was affected and therefore spared the life of the innocent villager." Sheikh As-Sa'di called this "A lie with wisdom."
To promote harmony between spouses. For example, if one's wife asks him if she is beautiful or if he loves her, there is no harm in answering in the affirmative, even if this is not the case.
While making peace between two quarrelling parties, so that the ordeal would not ignite into something worse. The mediator in such a case may falsely tell one party that the other is speaking highly of them.
To make the unbelievers realize the truth. When Prophet Ibrahim ('alayhis sallam) broke all the idols except the largest of them, the unbelievers entered the temple and saw the smashed idols. Ibrahim had placed the axe in the hand of the chief idol. The disbelievers asked: "Who broke our gods?" He said: "Ask the chief idol, he has the axe." They replied: "Do you not know that he cannot speak or act?" Ibrahim replied: "This is what I have been telling you, so worship Allāh, rather than these stones that cannot harm or profit you."
Virtues of Telling the Truth
Truthfulness is commanded by Allāh as a part of faith and is an indispensable quality of the believers. It is mentioned in over one hundred places in the Quran. Some examples are when Allāh Almighty Says:
"That Allāh may reward the truthful for their truth…" [Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:24]
"O you who have believed! Fear Allāh and be with those who are true." [Surah At-Tawbah, 9:119]
"O you who have believed! Fear Allāh and speak words of appropriate justice." [Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:70]
"The patient, the true, the obedient, those who spend [in the way of Allāh], and those who seek forgiveness before dawn."[Surah Ali-‘Imran, 3:17]
"The believers are only the ones who have believed in Allāh and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allāh. It is those who are the truthful." [Surah Al-Hujarat, 49:15]
It is not necessary to relate any prophetic traditions about the truthfulness of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) as his whole life was nothing but the epitome of truth. Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) was confirmed as a truthful person even before he became a Prophet. During his prophethood, even his enemies confirmed that he was truthful and trustworthy. Some of the disbelievers would deposit their belongings with him as an indication of their trust in him.
And Allāh Almighty Knows best.