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Cases in which lying is permitted

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There is a ḥadīth which allows to “lie” in three situations: 1. In case of husband and wife, for instance; wife is cooking and then ask her husband if it tastes nice and he answers ‘Yes’ although it does not in order that she will not be sad. 2. In case of war. 3. In case of brothers/friends in order that both become reconciled and so on…
Can you explain “lying” stating in this ḥadīth? What is the ruling? 


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh. 

Hereunder is the Hadith you refer to,

عَنْ أَسْمَاءَ بِنْتِ يَزِيدَ قَالَتْ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: لاَ يَحِلُّ الكَذِبُ إِلاَّ فِي ثَلاَثٍ: يُحَدِّثُ الرَّجُلُ امْرَأَتَهُ لِيُرْضِيَهَا، وَالكَذِبُ فِي الحَرْبِ، وَالكَذِبُ لِيُصْلِحَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ وَقَالَ مَحْمُودٌ فِي حَدِيثِهِ: لاَ يَصْلُحُ الكَذِبُ إِلاَّ فِي ثَلاَثٍ, هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ

Asma bint Yazid narrated that the Messenger of Allah said:

“It is not lawful to lie except in three cases: Something the man tells his wife to please her, to lie during war, and to lie in order to bring peace between the people.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi 1938)

It is also narrated in Sahih Muslim[1],

“A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good.”

Lying is the source of all kinds of evil and mischief, and a major sin. However, there are some instances in which Islam permits lying, if that serves a greater purpose or wards off a greater harm. Even in these instances, it is advisable not to lie. Adopt a strategy by using statements that have multiple meanings and could serve the purpose of the demand.

The three cases explained in the Hadith are,[2]

1) When a man speaks to his wife, or a wife to her husband, concerning matters that will increase the love between them., e.g. to show to his wife more love for her than he actually possesses in his heart, or to say other than the reality concerning the food etc. to please her.

2) At times of war, as a tactic or to demoralize the enemy and win the war.

3) When a person is intermediating in order to bring about reconciliation between two disputing parties, e.g to tell one party the other said such a good thing about him, even though he did not hear such from him.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Arshad Ali

Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.


[1]The Hadith is also mentoned in Muslim,

 Humaid b. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. ‘Auf reported that his mother Umm Kulthum daughter of ‘Uqba b. Abu Mu’ait, and she was one amongst the first emigrants who pledged allegiance to Allah’s Apostle (), as saying that she heard Allah’s Messenger () as saying:

A liar is not one who tries to bring reconciliation amongst people and speaks good (in order to avert dispute), or he conveys good. Ibn Shihab said he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them). (Sahih Muslim 2605)

The Hadith is also narrated in Abu Dawood,

Umm Kulthum(Radhialllahu Anha), daughter of ‘Uqbah, said :

I did not hear the Messenger of Allah (May peace be upon him) giving permission for telling any lies except in three matters.

The Apostle of Allah (May peace be upon him) would say : I do not count a man a liar who puts things right between people, saying a word by which he intends only putting things right, and a man who says something in war, and a man who says something to his wife says something to his husband. (Sunan Abi Dawud 4920)

However, Hafiz Ibne Hajr mentions the second portion of the Hadith is not attributed to Rasul (Salallahu Alahi Wa Sallam) but rather to  Ibn Shihab Azzuhri (Rahimahullah) as explained in the narration by Muslim.(Fathul Bari 300/5)

[2] بذل المجهود 13/328

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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