by Afis A. Oladosu

Brethren, how many times have you told lies while hiding “behind” your hand-phones? Before we explore this, let me remind you that one feature of the Muslims’ life is the constant companionship they establish with the Quran. They are expected to listen to the Almighty through this important medium, the Quran. They do this by reading and re-reading the Glorious Book. Every reading of the Quran, no matter the number of times such is carried out, often leads to new discoveries. Every reading and re-reading of the Quran should equally lead to the purification of the most important element in the human physiology – the soul. Each time you read the Qur’an, you get to know where you are spiritually and where you should be; each time you disconnect yourself from the Quran, you become a pawn in the hands of Shaytan. 

Reading the Quran some days ago, I became attentive to a very subtle but sublime aspect of human life which perhaps represents the genus of contemporary ills plaguing all spheres of our life.  This has to do with the evil of lying. Lying is an effect, the cause lies in spiritual ailment. Once the human soul is plagued, once the soul is sick, the human agent becomes susceptible to the evil plans of Shaytan. The man who is sick in spirit may be strong physically; the man, who is ill spiritually, may be the most popular politician in town; the man who is ill in spirit might be the best speaker in town. Such men and women would, however, prefer the specious to the solid, the plausible to the truth, the ephemeral to the eternal, and the profane to the sacred. The man or woman who is sick in spirit would be a compulsive liar; he would always tell and act lie.

But why do people tell and act lies? People often resort to lies out of fear; fear of the truth, fear of punishment for evil they have done, fear of the loss of some privileges and rewards. Our politicians tell lies a lot because lying has become an important regalia. To be truthful and honest in politics appears to be the exact antithesis of the political game. Nicolo Machiavelli has even said that it is important for the Prince to be like fox. In his estimation, public office makes lying an obligation and honesty an impossibility. Tad Williams says: “we tell lies when we are afraid… afraid of what we don’t know, afraid of what others will think, afraid of what will be found out about us.  But every time we tell a lie, the thing that we fear grows stronger.  

Further, people tell lies in order to beguile and lead their fellow men and women to perdition and misery. Those who travel this pathway are actually following in the footsteps of Shaytan who deceived Prophet Adam and his wife (upon them be peace of Allah). They eventually transgressed the bounds and limits set for them by their creator.  Brethren, people tell and act lies in order to enjoy temporary and ephemeral pleasures and gains of this world. They tell and act lies in order to cover up their inadequacies, in order to measure up to a standard which is higher than that which Allah has placed them. For example, Nigerians who refer to public office holders as “Your Excellencies” are liars telling those acting lies what the latter prefer to hear.

But we all know that lying is against human nature and physiology, and like any other disease, it has its own unique signs and symptoms. According to Rasema, the act of lying produces inner conflicts between various control centres of the brain. The moment one begins to lie, his body sends out contradictory signals to cause facial muscle twitching, expansion and contraction of pupils, perspiration, flushing of cheeks, increased blinking of the eye, tremors of the hand, and an increased heart rate. These constitute the basis of lie detector instruments. In addition, certain unconsciously made movements are noticeable in those who lie, like the constant covering of the mouth, touching of the nose, rubbing of the eye, scratching the side of the neck, rubbing the ear, etc. One of the clearest signs is that the liar keeps his palms closed and his eyes in another direction to the person he is lying to, in an attempt to avoid eye to eye contact. A liar is aware of his body’s signals and finds lying easier when nobody can see him, such as when he is on the phone or writing”. 

Rasema’s perspective calls attention to perhaps one of the most heinous form of lying nowadays, namely lying with the handphone. The man in Sokoto would tell his wife that he is Shangisa in Lagos State. This form of lying essays our failure to live in the presence of our Creator. In other words, whenever we tell lies, we deny our Creator; we ignore His presence: that He hears without ears; that He sees without eyes and that He “walks” with us without legs- Subhanah!!!! Before you tell the next lie, remember, He is there with you listening without ears!!!

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