Assalaamu alaykum. I have read a hadith about a Companion who will enter Paradise. In this hadith, another Companion told him a white lie, saying that he had had a dispute with his father and had to stay outside the home for three nights. Is that type of white lie permissible?
All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.
It seems that the question is referring to the hadeeth cited by Ahmad in his Musnad and Abdur-Razzaaq in his Musannaf in which Anas ibn Maalik, may Allah be pleased with him, said:
“We were sitting with the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, and he said, ‘A man from the people of Paradise will come now.’ A man from the Ansar whose beard was disheveled from the water of ablution and who was carrying his sandals in his left hand came. The next day, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, repeated the same words, and the same man came in the same condition. On the third day, the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, repeated the same again, and the same man came in the same condition. When the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, got up to leave, ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Al-‘Aas followed the man and said to him, ‘I had an argument with my father, and I have sworn not to enter the house for three (days). Would you take me in until they pass?’ The man said, ‘Yes.’ ‘Abdullah recounted that he stayed those three nights with the man but he never saw him getting up to pray at night, except that when he turned in bed, he would remember Allah and say Takbeer (Allah is the Greatest) until he woke up for the Fajr prayer. ‘Abdullah said, ‘I never heard him say anything but good words. When three nights had passed – and I was about to think very little of his deeds – I said to him, 'O slave of Allah, there was no argument nor abandonment between me and my father, but I heard the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, say about you three times that a man from the people of Paradise would come, and then you came. I thought that I should stay with you to see what you are doing that I should follow, but I did not see you do much. What is it that made the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, say what he said about you?' The man said, 'I am as you have seen, except that I do not find dishonesty inside me towards any Muslim, and I do not envy anyone because of the good that Allah has given them.'’ ‘Abdullah said, ‘This is what made you reach that level, and it is what we find very difficult to achieve.’” [‘Abdur-Razzaaq and Ahmad]
Scholars held different opinions regarding the authenticity of this hadeeth; some classified its chain of narration as authentic, and some declared it to be weak. Al-Albaani retracted his opinion that it is authentic and declared it to be weak. He said:
“This chain of narration seems authentic, and the author and Al-‘Iraaqi declared it to be authentic, and so did we for a while until the hidden defect was identified. Al-Bayhaqi wrote after citing the hadeeth in Shu‘ab Al-Eeman, ‘It was narrated by Ibn Al-Mubaarak from Ma‘mar, from Az-Zuhri, from Anas.’ It was also reported by Shu‘ayb ibn Abi Hamzah from Az-Zuhri, who said, ‘I was informed by a man whose honesty I trust, on the authority of Anas that...’ It was also narrated by ‘Uqayl ibn Khaalid from Az-Zuhri. Therefore, Al-Haafith said after citing it in his book An-Nukat Ath-Thiraaf ‘ala Al-Atraaf, ‘It became apparent that it (the hadeeth) has a hidden defect.’” [Dha‘eef At-Targheeb]
If the chain of narration is weak, we do not need to investigate the statement of the Companion and whether he had lied or not, because the hadeeth is not proven authentic to begin with.
Some scholars commented on ‘Abdullah's statement, “I had an argument with my father,” and his later statement, “There was no argument or abandonment between me and my father,” saying: his intention was to realize a preponderant religious benefit. Therefore, Al-Haafith Ibn Hajar said, “Although lying is a hideous and ugly deed, it may be appropriate in certain situations.” [Fat-h Al-Baari]
Ibn Taymiyyah wrote:
“In general, it is allowed for the person to proclaim a statement or an action with a good intention even if people assume that his intention is different as long as there is a religious benefit such as repelling the evils of the disbelievers from the Muslims or resorting to trickery in order to undo a prohibited trick or the like. Resorting to trickery in this situation is lawful. Rather, what is prohibited is to intend with contracts what they were not prescribed for and thus deceive Allah thereby! However, the first person tricks people with the intention of obtaining what Allah has deemed unlawful if it were not for this trick and the religious obligation is waived if it were not for this trick. Also, the first person's intention is to support the religion of Allah and repel disobedience to Him...” [Al-Fataawa Al-Kubra]
Allah knows best.
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