All my studies during my life and the social tumult I have witnessed have informed me that truthfulness is the very foundation of Islam, the bond that connects all its elevated characteristics with one another, and the essence and sum of lofty feelings. Therefore, we should revive truthfulness as the foundation of our social life and cure our spiritual diseases with it.

Truthfulness is the core of Islamic social life. Ostentation is a deceitful act; sycophancy and pretension are a very mean kind of lying. Hypocrisy is a most harmful kind of lying. Lying is slandering the Power of the All-Majestic Maker.

With all its kinds, unbelief is a lie, while belief is truthfulness. For this reason, there is an infinite distance between lying and truthfulness, so they must be kept infinitely far from each other; they can never exist together. However, merciless politics and unjust propaganda have combined them, and thus confused human perfection.58

Truthfulness and lies are as far apart from one another as belief and unbelief. Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, rose to the highest of the high through truthfulness and opened with this the treasures of the truths of belief and the truths of the universe or creation, while Musaylima the Liar,59 and those like him, fell into the lowest of the low through lying. For this reason, truthfulness has been the most valued and desired property in the marketplace of human social life. This is why the Prophet’s Companions never knowingly became customers of lies or sullied themselves with falsehoods. Since they always sought truthfulness, with all their strength, in the footsteps of Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings, their justice and truthfulness became a standard in the science of Hadith. The scholars of the Hadith and Shari‘a concluded that the narrations from the holy Prophet made by these heroes were true and reliable.

While with the lofty revolution that took place in the Age of Happiness truthfulness and lies and belief and unbelief were infinitely distant from each other, they have come nearer to one another over time. Political propaganda has sometimes made lying something that is desirable, and thus evil and lying have spread to a certain extent. It is for this reason that no one now can attain the level of the Companions.

As for lying for possible benefits, time has abrogated this. The present time has annulled the permission which some scholars gave to lie temporarily for a certain acceptable benefit. For this permission has been misused so frequently that if it enables one benefit, its harm is a hundredfold.

Whatever you say must be true, but it may not be right to speak out every truth recklessly. If saying a truth will cause harm, one must keep silent, but never attempt to tell lies. Whatever you say must be right, but you have no right to say everything that is right. For if you are not sincere in saying it, it may cause an evil result, and thus right comes to serve wrong.

Bediuzzaman Said Nursi

58 O brothers and sisters! The Old or Former Said was involved in politics and Islamic social life. But never think that he followed the way of using the Religion as an instrument for politics. God forbid! Rather, he did his utmost to be able to use politics as an instrument for the Religion. He used to say: “I prefer a single truth of the Religion over worldly politics.” Through a premonition he felt that some hypocritical heretics would use politics as an instrument for irreligion, and so the Old Said tried with all strength to make politics serve the Religion.

However, twenty years later the Old Said saw that while those hypocritical heretics were using politics as an instrument for irreligion on the pretext of Westernization, some religious politicians attempted to use the Religion as an instrument for Islamic politics. The sun of Islam cannot be put under the service of the stars of the earth. Using it in the service of these stars means reducing the value of Islam and this is a great crime. The Old Said eventually saw to what point politics might even take religious people. He witnessed that due to political bias a pious, righteous scholar highly praised a hypocrite who shared his political stance, while he criticized and accused of transgression a righteous learned man who opposed his political views. The Old Said said to him: “If a devil supports you in your political stance, you would call God’s blessing on him; but if an angel came and opposed you, you would curse him.” Consequently, the Old Said said, “I seek refuge in God from Satan and politics,” and gave up political involvement completely.

59Musaylima (the Liar) was a person who claimed Prophethood after Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings. (Tr.)