Were All the Companions Free of Lying?
If you argue that the Companions were also human beings like us and not free of errors and contradictions. Yet, the commandments of the Shari‘a established by the Sunna and the conclusions the early “mujtahids” drew through “ ijtihad” are founded upon the general belief and unanimous agreement of the Muslim community that all of the Companions are just and truthful; they are free of lying.
Answer: It is true that the absolute majority of the Companions were lovers of truth, passionately devoted to truthfulness and desirous of justice. For in that age, the ugliness of lying and deception was demonstrated in all its ugliness, and the beauty of truth and truthfulness in all its beauty, in such a manner that the distance between them was as great as that between the ground and the Supreme Throne of God. They were separated from each other to the extent of the distance between the degree of the truthfulness of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, who is at the highest of the high, and the deceptiveness of Musaylima the Liar, who is at the lowest of the low. Indeed, while lying caused Musaylima to fall to the lowest of the law, it is truthfulness which caused Muhammad the Trustworthy, upon him be peace and blessings, to rise to the highest of the high.
The Companions, who were illumined by the light of companionship with the Sun of Prophethood, had lofty emotions and sentiments and adored good morals. It is certain, doubtless, and undeniable that they never inclined to lying voluntarily, an act which is infinitely ugly and the cause of utmost degradation, which is found in the ‘shops’ of Musaylima-like liars, full of filth and disgracing objects of ridicule. Also, as much they avoided unbelief, they also avoided lying to the same degree, which is a companion of unbelief. Particularly in the narration and communication of the commandments of the Shari‘a, they were as careful as possible in seeking truth and being truthful, and conforming to truth, which is infinitely beautiful and a means of pride and glory, and a stairway to spiritual perfection, which is in greater demand than the other ‘gems’ in the elevated treasury of the Pride of Messengership, and illuminates the social life of mankind with the splendor of its beauty.
By contrast, at this time, the distance between truth and lying has become so narrow that they stand side by side. It is extremely easy to pass from truth to lying. Political propaganda has even made lying preferable to truth. Thus, if the ugliest thing is sold in a shop together with most beautiful things for the same price, for sure the brilliance of truth, which is infinitely sublime and priceless, is not to be bought in blind reliance on the skills and word of the shopkeeper.
This article has been adapted from Risale- i Nur Collection.