Answered by Ustadh Tabraze Azam
Question: If Person A asks “Do you think I gained weight?” and he/she looks extremely conscious is it a lie if person B replies “Not really, I don’t think so…you look good though.” (intending not the hurt that person) and then later that Person A keeps saying how he/she did gain weight so finally Person B says “I’m not sure…please don’t make me the judge of it. Who said you gained weight?” Finally Person A replies the scale.”
Is Person B considered a “liar” or trying to protect Person A’s feelings?
Answer: Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,
I pray that you are well, insha’Allah.
No, one would not be considered a ‘liar’ for saying such a thing. Nevertheless, hurting another’s feelings does not permit lying.
The Reality of Lying
Lying means to inform another than something is otherwise than it really is. This is only permitted in specific situations as is understood from the narration (hadith) of Umm Kulthum, recorded by Muslim, ‘I did not hear him permit untruth in anything people say, except for three things: war, settling disagreements, and a man talking with his wife or she with him.’ [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]
However, one can prevent hurting another’s feelings by using words which give a misleading impression — literally true, though misleading to the listener. In such a case, one would not have lied and one would have protected the other person’s feelings.
And Allah knows best.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani