In many cases today, we see people promoting something called “white lies” meaning a lie without evil intent. This can be for a number of reasons, whether to keep people happy or to prevent harm. Even in parenting we see parents telling their children so-called white lies such as the existence of the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
However, it is still something that can be very counterproductive to lie even if done with good intentions. In the Comedy Central show known as South Park in an episode from the early 2000s, the character Butters gave an outstanding example for why this is the case: “You can call a shovel an ice cream machine but it’s still a shovel…and when you start covering up one lie with another lie, that’s when you get into real trouble.”
It’s important to understand that in certain cases, lying can be acceptable but it’s certainly not something that should be the default go-to choice. The Messenger of Almighty God, known as Prophet Muhammad, only permitted lying in three cases: to save your life when your life is threatened by telling the truth, to strengthen the bond between spouses, and in war.
Even in these three cases, there are a number of conditions. For one thing, lying to strengthen the bond between husband and wife cannot be to cover your faults. Rather it can only be something like saying your wife’s dress is beautiful even if you don’t like it. However, if you cheated on your wife, then you can’t lie and say you didn’t cheat. Additionally, deception in times of war is only permitted when it doesn’t involve treachery such as breaking promises of safety and security.
In most cases, though, lying is forbidden by Almighty God. It is one of the most hated acts that can be done in the eyes of God. It destroys families and relationships by creating trust issues, but more importantly it’s an act that can lead us to the Hellfire.
Sometimes when we lie as children, it becomes a habit. And as the saying goes, old habits die hard. But it can take up to a month to make or break a habit. So challenge yourself: try to go an entire month without lying. Once you surpass a month of telling the truth only, then try to keep at it. Keep that new habit going. If you slip up and tell a lie here and there, then don’t sweat it. Just ask Almighty God for forgiveness and try again to not lie. It’s not a bad thing to mess up; it’s called being human.