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Lying is haram, but what about lying to yourself?

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  • Lying is haram, but what about lying to yourself?

    I read an interesting article called, "The Many Ways We Lie to Ourselves." And it had me thinking - it's easy to stop lying, at least it should be easy to stop lying. Whether they're big lies or white lies, it's not that hard to keep your mouth shut. But is there a sin when it comes to lying to yourself?

    To quote, here are some of the examples of how we lie to ourselves:

    1. Ignorance is bliss.

    One of the most difficult problems in sustaining goals is how to persist in the face of negative feedback. Strategic ignorance can help to achieve persistence. How? Avoid information sources that could demotivate you (Benabou and Tirole 2002). For example, someone who says “till death do us part” during the marriage ceremony need not be aware of the divorce statistics.

    2. Reality denial.

    Denial is a psychological defense we all use against external realities to create a false sense of security. Denial can be a protective defense in the face of unbearable news (e.g., cancer diagnosis). In denial, people say to themselves, “This is not happening.” For instance, alcoholics insist they have no drinking problem.

    3. Overconfidence.

    Overconfident individuals think that they are blessed, that they are well liked by others, and that they’ll come out on top. (As the bumper stickers state: "Jesus loves you, but I’m his favorite.") For example, 90 percent of all drivers think they are above average, and 94 percent of professors at a large university were found to believe that they are better than the average professor. Unrealistic optimism can have significant health consequences. Psychologist Loren Nordgren (2009) found that among a group of people trying to quit smoking, the ones who gave especially high ratings to their own willpower were most likely to fail.

    4. Self-handicapping.

    This behavior could be considered the opposite of overconfidence. If a person is uncertain about her true ability and afraid to find out what her true ability is, she might refrain from doing the work that might reveal her as having a low ability. In such a case, a successful performance could be attributed to skill, while an unsuccessful performance could be externalized as due to the lack of good preparation.

    5. How I like myself to be seen.

    People like to be perceived favorably, by themselves and by others, but some personality traits that carry a high social value (altruism and fair-mindedness) are not directly observable to outsiders. Our actions, however, offer a window into our personality and tastes (Benabou and Tirole, 2004). For example, giving money to a panhandler, or changing Facebook profile photos to honor the victims of some new tragedy.

    6. Cherry-picking data.

    People tend to embrace information that supports their beliefs and reject information that contradicts them. For instance, people require more information to accept an undesirable idea than they do for a desirable one.

    7. Sour grapes.

    In Aesop’s fable, the fox tries hard to get his hands on a tasty vine of grapes, but fails in all of his attempts to acquire the grapes; at which point, the fox convinces himself that he really didn’t want those grapes that badly after all. In the presence of dissonance (awareness of different beliefs), the individual feels psychologically uncomfortable and attempts to reduce it. The motive is to maintain a positive self-image.

    8. Me and others.

    Psychologists use the term attributions (or causes) for people’s explanations of the events in their lives. We tend to attribute our success to our enduring character traits, and our failures to unfortunate circumstances. For example, when we say, “You failed, because you did not try hard enough; I failed, because I had a headache from staying up all night with my son.” An alcoholic may be happy to tell himself he “just cannot help it” in order to have an excuse for persisting.
    I feel like when it comes to lying, it's mostly done to ourselves as oppose to other people. So what are ways to stop doing this and be more upright? And do you view lying to yourself as a sin? Is it even a sin?
    مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً وَاللّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

    "Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan, which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply many times?
    It is Allah that giveth (you) Want or plenty, and to Him shall be your return."
    Surah al-Baqarah
    [2:245]

    .:.
    .:. Perfer et Obdura : Dolor Hic Tibi Proderit Olim .:.
    Be patient and strong : someday this pain will be useful to you

    .:.
    ...said the spider to the fly...

  • #2
    Before I converted to Islam my mother used to always say:

    "You can lie to me, you can lie to the world, just be careful that you don't lie to yourself."

    Deep.

    It was like her go-to admonishment.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post
      Before I converted to Islam my mother used to always say:

      "You can lie to me, you can lie to the world, just be careful that you don't lie to yourself."

      Deep.

      It was like her go-to admonishment.
      It's a good saying, because I think the majority of lying is done to oneself. How can you be a good upstanding person, if you can't stop lying to yourself?
      مَّن ذَا الَّذِي يُقْرِضُ اللّهَ قَرْضًا حَسَنًا فَيُضَاعِفَهُ لَهُ أَضْعَافًا كَثِيرَةً وَاللّهُ يَقْبِضُ وَيَبْسُطُ وَإِلَيْهِ تُرْجَعُونَ

      "Who is he that will loan to Allah a beautiful loan, which Allah will double unto his credit and multiply many times?
      It is Allah that giveth (you) Want or plenty, and to Him shall be your return."
      Surah al-Baqarah
      [2:245]

      .:.
      .:. Perfer et Obdura : Dolor Hic Tibi Proderit Olim .:.
      Be patient and strong : someday this pain will be useful to you

      .:.
      ...said the spider to the fly...

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Pippin1376 View Post

        It's a good saying, because I think the majority of lying is done to oneself. How can you be a good upstanding person, if you can't stop lying to yourself?

        Well the thing is, I think the majority of people do lie to themselves without really noticing it. Lying to oneself is not always a conscious decision; in fact, the majority of times, as implied from your article, it is done as some form of internal defence-mechanism. I believe that worshipping Allah with Ihsaan would demand complete internal sincerity and an overall truthfulness, which would naturally manifest itself outwardly. You have to be absolutely truthful in your relationship with Allah, before you can be absolutely truthful with yourself.

        "He knows what is within the heavens and earth and knows what you conceal and what you declare. And Allah is Knowing of that within the breasts" [64:4]


        --


        Allah knows best, but I could almost swear there is an Ayaah that says something like:

        "..Allah knows what is in the hearts--and even what is deeper than that.."

        Is anyone familiar with such a text? I'm in a rush at the moment and I won't be able to look further, but I'd love to read the Tafseer of that verse.
        Last edited by AmantuBillahi; 10-10-18, 11:47 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Number 6 is particularly prevalent and at the same time quite inconspicuous, as most people are unaware that they're guilty of it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post

            Allah knows best, but I could almost swear there is an Ayaah that says something like:

            "..Allah knows what is in the hearts--and even what is deeper than that.."

            Is anyone familiar with such a text? I'm in a rush at the moment and I won't be able to look further, but I'd love to read the Tafseer of that verse.
            Perhaps it was this:

            "And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein" [50:16]

            Wa Allahu A'lam
            Last edited by AmantuBillahi; 10-10-18, 11:35 PM. Reason: Incorrect reference #

            Comment


            • #7

              Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post

              Allah knows best, but I could almost swear there is an Ayaah that says something like:

              "..Allah knows what is in the hearts--and even what is deeper than that.."

              Is anyone familiar with such a text? I'm in a rush at the moment and I won't be able to look further, but I'd love to read the Tafseer of that verse.
              Originally posted by AmantuBillahi View Post

              Perhaps it was this:

              "And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein" [50:16]

              Wa Allahu A'lam


              "And if you speak aloud - then indeed, He knows the secret and what is [even] more hidden." [Ta ha, 20:7]

              Comment

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