Lying Is Prohibited but It Is Not Obligatory to Confess to Those to Whom One Lied
Fatwa No: 432208

  • Fatwa Date:19-11-2020 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 4, 1442
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Question

Is repentance enough for making up for a protracted lie? It didn’t harm anyone nor was there evil intent but it did occupy others mentally/emotionally —must one confess (painful, disastrous) or is repentance enough? Can you just pray Allah hides it? I am in a lot of mental pain/guilt/regret. Please guide me

Answer

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  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

Lying is prohibited under the Sharee‘ah. An-Nawawi  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him said: "Many texts of the Quran and the Sunnah collectively indicate that lying is prohibited in general. It is one of the ugliest sins and heinous faults. The Muslim Ummah (community) has unanimously agreed that lying is prohibited, supported by the corroborating texts to that effect. You have to know that, according to the view of Ahlus-Sunnah Wal-Jamaa‘ah, lying means giving information of something that is contrary to reality, whether it is done deliberately or out of ignorance. The difference between the two cases is that a person does not bear a sin for it when it is done out of ignorance but bears a sin when it is done deliberately." [End of quote; summarized from Al-Athkaar]

Therefore, it is obligatory on you to repent to Allah, The Exalted, by giving up lying, regretting what you have done in the past, and resolving not to lie again in the future. As for confessing to those to whom you lied, it is not obligatory in principle, nor is it a condition for the validity of repentance from lying, as long as the lie does not incur harm on others. The case wherein it is obligatory to declare the truth to those who heard the lie, according to some scholars, is when one gives false testimony or when false accusations were made against a Muslim. Quoting from Bareeqah Mahmoodiyyah: "Repentance from making a false accusation has three conditions: 1) Resolving to give up this sin; 2) Seeking the pardon of the falsely accused person if possible (if he is alive and reachable) if this would not incur Fitnah [harm or dissention]; otherwise, he should supplicate Allah, The Exalted, in favor of the person he falsely accused, ask forgiveness for him, and implore Allah to forgive the sin of lying; 3) Proclaiming that he had told a lie to those who heard him lie." [End of quote]

Allah Knows best.

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