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Did the Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) Lie? (Ahadith 2592 – 2593)


Hadith no. 2591 (below) is a repeat. Read it here.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 196 :
Narrated by Abu Huraira (radiallaahu `anhu)
Allah ‘s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) said, ” I have been ordered to fight with the people till they say, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ and whoever says, ‘None has the right to be worshipped but Allah,’ his life and property will be saved by me except for Islamic law, and his accounts will be with Allah, (either to punish him or to forgive him.)”

Today’s Ahadith:

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 197 :
Narrated by Ka’b bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
Whenever Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) intended to lead a Ghazwa, he would use an equivocation from which one would understand that he was going to a different destination.

Volume 4, Book 52, Number 198 :
Narrated by Ka’b bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu)
Whenever Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) intended to carry out a Ghazwa, he would use an equivocation to conceal his real destination till it was the Ghazwa of Tabuk which Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) carried out in very hot weather. As he was going to face a very long journey through a wasteland and was to meet and attack a large number of enemies. So, he made the situation clear to the Muslims so that they might prepare themselves accordingly and get ready to conquer their enemy. The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) informed them of the destination he was heading for. (Ka’b bin Malik (radiallaahu `anhu) used to say, “Scarcely did Allah’s Apostle (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) set out for a journey on a day other than Thursday.”)

As we have seen before, there are different kinds of lies (or non-truths) that are acceptable in Islam: equivocation and “permissible lies”. Equivocation (tawriyah) is when you say something with a dual meaning, so you intend to mean one thing and the other person takes it as something else. For example, Ibrahim (AS) asked his wife Sarah to tell the tyrant king of Egypt that she was Ibrahim’s sister (as she was his sister in faith). And the “permissible lies” are three according to this hadith:

Appropriate Lies.

So Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) did not explicitly lie even in times of war, he merely used dubious/ambiguous statements to conceal the destination to ensure the enemy didn’t find out till it was too late, according to scholars who have commented on this hadith. This happened during the conquest of Makkah.

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