I recently read some ahadith telling muslims not to boast about their sins and not to uncover the satr and gives reference to mujahirin but what if someone asks you "have you ever done such and such?" how are you supposed to hide it? Is it permissible to lie? And is the ruling different if the person asking is your parent? I was recently asked if I have ever tried drugs and I have tried it once. What should have been my response?
Salaam brother, It is a good question that you have asked as all of us are inclined to sin to a lesser or greater degree but true, honest repentance is the best way.
We know that we are not to disclose our own wrong doings and those of others. A general principle in Islamic law is that it is sinful to reveal one’s past sins. One must keep them concealed, as sincere repentance (which includes not repeating them) wipes them out and so it is as if the person never committed them.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said:
I heard the Messenger of Allaah (sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam) saying:
“All of my ummah will be excused, except for the mujaahireen (those who make their sins known). And verily it is a kind of mujaaharah (exposing one’s sins) that a man does something (sinful) at night, and then in the morning, when Allaah has screened his sin for him, he says, ‘Hey So and-So! I did such-and- such last night…’ And the night passed with His Lord screening him, and he wakes up casting aside the screen of Allaah from himself.”
If we see or hear about someone else committing a sin, we should always try to ignore it. Instead of spreading it, we should hide it and keep it a secret. It is reported that the Prophet Mu'hammad sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam has said:
Whosoever covers (the sins of) a Muslim, Allah covers (his sins) on the Day of Judgment. (Reported by Bukhari)
If we find it too difficult to keep it secret, the most we are allowed to do is discuss the issue with the person, in private, and try to encourage them to stop committing the sin(s).
The only exception to this is if we find out that someone has committed an actual crime that has left someone injured (emotionally, physically and including sexual abuse) or killed, or in which something was stolen or someone was denied something to which they were entitled to. In these cases, we MUST make the information public so that the person is brought to justice.
Allah has said:
The believers, men and women, are Auliya’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another, they enjoin Al-Ma’ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do), and they forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islam has forbidden). (Quran, 71:9)
Minor sins (saghaa’ir) are expiated for by doing acts of worship and by avoiding major sins (kabaa’ir), because of the following evidence (daleel):
Allaah SWT has said:
If you avoid the great sins which you are forbidden to do, We shall expiate from you your (small) sins, and admit you to a Noble Entrance (i.e. Paradise) (Quran, 4:31)
This in no way implicates that one should feel confident about doing minor sins. In the repentance and asking for forgiveness from Alaah SWT, it is under the condition that it is a true, earnest regret and is not repeated.
The way we live our lives, we have to try our best to keep confidentiality a priory. If we share everything with everyone, we will face consequences in this life and in the hereafter.
Allah SWT says:
Allah loves those who turn to Him constantly (for forgiveness) and He loves those who keep themselves pure and clean. (Quran, 2:222)
So to answer your question, if someone asks you whether you use to ever drink, you cannot answer in the affirmative. Rather, you should answer by an indirect answer, like,
Why would any Muslim drink?
Or, Alhamdulillah, Allah SWT protected me from that.
It is not something that I think is wise. Look at what Alaah SWT tells us about it.
If such an indirect answer does not come to your mind, it would be permitted (or, rather, necessary) to lie and deny this.
The reason being is because of what sin is:
It is that which Allah hates, and may punish its doer for in the Hereafter. Sins go against the very purpose of the creation of humanity, which is to know and worship Allah.
If you examine sins, all of them either entail or lead to social harms.
When people start talking about sins, they lose their gravity and people start thinking (even if only subconsciously) that it is not all that bad to sin. Oh look, my brother/sister used to do this....they tried it... I want to try too. This especially applies to younger, easily influenced people who are still trying to find their way through all that they see and hear. It can be a very confusing world for them so would you want to influence them in a bad way? We all have a responsibility here.
The Muslim also has hayaa (shame/shyness) that prevents him from exposing his sins. Hayaa is good and it does not lead except to goodness, and it is a branch of imaan (faith).
In the absence of hayaa, the Muslim will expose his own sins.
The Messenger sallallaahu ‘alayhe wa sallam said:
If you have no shame, then do as you wish!
Being shameful about one’s sins leads one to repent honestly between himself and Alaah SWT.
Now having said all this, do not be mislead to think that Alaah SWT allows lying. And in Surah az-Zumar it is mentioned:
“Surely Allah does not guide him aright who is a liar, ungrateful.” (Quran 39:3)
It can be understood from the verses of the Qur’an that a liar calls for divine curse and invites the anger of Allah (S.w.T.).
“... and pray for the curse of Allah on the liars.”
“... the curse of Allah be on him if he is one of the liars.”
Alaah the Almighty says in Surah an-Nahl, verse 105:
“Only they forge the lie who do not believe in Allah’s communications, and these are the liars.”
Lying is best to be avoided and so try to cover your past sins with an indirect answer. When it comes to your parents, you are protecting them from worry, anguish and sadness by providing this type of answer.
Remember, even in situations where lying is permissible, it would be religiously more precautionary to use misleading words instead of outright lying.
Jazak Allahu Khairan