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What Shall I Do Now That I Told My Parents That I Lied?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad


A while back, I had to go home to my parents urgently as they were suspecting a break-in and wanted me to defend them. As I left, a teacher saw me and asked where I was going. Initially, I tried to give a misleading impression, but I couldn’t think of one. I then judged it would be ok for me to lie as the alternative was my parents getting beat up by the stranger in the house. I did lie and then left. Because I have a habit of telling my parents everything, I informed them about what I did to tell them how difficult it was to leave school. I judged it would be fine to do this because I thought it was a permissible lie.

What do I do now?


Thank you for your question. It was not permissible for you to lie in this case, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up for this. Thinking before speaking takes years of practice and Allah is the Most Merciful of the merciful. Always renew your intention and trudge on.


I have copied and pasted the ruling from the Reliance of the Traveller for your benefit:

Permissible Lying

The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “He who settles disagreements between people to bring about good or says something commendable is not a liar.”

This much is related by both Bukhari and Muslim, with Muslim’s version recording that Umm Kulthum added, “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 (A: in smoothing over differences).”

This is an explicit statement that lying is sometimes permissible for a given interest, scholars having established criteria defining what types of it are lawful. The best analysis of it I have seen is by Imam Abu Hamid Ghazali, who says: Speaking is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to achieve such an aim by lying but not by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N: i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory.

When, for example, one is concealing a Muslim from an oppressor who asks where he is, it is obligatory to lie about his being hidden. Or when a person deposits an article with one for safekeeping and an oppressor wanting to appropriate it inquires about it, it is obligatory to lie about having concealed it, for if one informs him about the article and he then siezes it, one is financially liable (A: to the owner) to cover the article’s cost.

Whether the purpose is war, settling a disagreement, or gaining the sympathy of a victim legally entitled to retaliate against one so that he will forbear to do so; it is not unlawful to lie when any of these aims can only be attained through lying. But it is religiously more precautionary (def: c6.5) in all such cases to employ words that give a misleading impression, meaning to intend by one’s words something that is literally true, in respect to which one is not lying (def: r1O.2), while the outward purport of the words deceives the hearer, though even if one does not have such an intention and merely lies without intending anything else, it is not unlawful in the above circumstances.

“This is true of every expression connected with a legitimating desired end, whether one’s own or another’s. An example of a legitimating end of one’s own is when an oppressor intending to appropriate one’s property inquires about it, in which case one may deny it. Or if a ruler asks one about a wicked act one has committed that is solely between oneself and Allah Most High (N: i.e. it does not concern the rights of another), in which case one is entitled to disclaim it, such as by saying, ‘I did not commit fornication,’ or ‘I did not drink.’ There are many well-known hadiths in which those who admitted they deserved punishment were given prompting (A: by the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace)) to retract their confessions.

An example of a legitimating desired end of another is when one is asked about another’s secret and one disacknowledges it. And so on. One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie, though if the reverse is true or if one does not know which entails more damage, then lying is unlawful. Whenever lying is permissible, if the factor which permits it is a desired end of one’s own, it is recommended not to lie, but when the factor that permits it is the desired end of another, it is not lawful to infringe upon his rights. Strictness (A:, as opposed to the above dispensations (rukhsa, def: c6.2)) is to forgo lying in every case where it is not legally obligatory.“ [The Reliance of the Traveller, r8.2]

Lying Archives


The best thing that you can do is repent, perform a good deed, like giving charity, and educate yourself further in your religion and especially regarding the enormities of the tongue. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) told us, “Have taqwa (fear) of Allah wherever you may be, and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out, and behave well towards the people.“ [Tirmidhi]

Please consider taking these courses
Absolute Essentials of Islam (Hanafi)
Absolute Essentials of Islam (Shafi‘i)
Dhahabi’s The Major Sins Explained: Avoiding the Pitfalls to Attain Salvation
The Tongue and the Majority of Man’s Sins

May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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