Answered by Shaykh Jamir Meah
Question: Assalamu alaykum
I grew up with plans of going to law school but after I finished my undergrad, I didn’t end up applying for a law program. Fearing my family’s reaction, I lied to them by telling that I passed the LSAT, and was admitted into a law program. I am currently studying for the LSAT and plan on attending law school this winter.
They gave me gifts for this false success.
What should I do with them?
Answer: Wa’alaykum assalam. Thank you for writing in. May Allah make your affairs easy.
Your predicament is certainly a delicate one. Given all that has been said, the solution seems to be a case of choosing between two evils; telling the truth and risking serious mistrust and bad feelings from close family members, or continuing to leave the family in ignorance and then fulfilling the lie by completing your studies. Although not ideal, considering your limited options and the negative repercussions, it may be best in this situation to not say anything and finish the LSAT and law course. thereby keeping the ties of kinship close and harmonious.
Lying and Repentance
A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) said, ‘There was no behaviour more hated to the Messenger of Allah than lying. A man would lie in narrating something in the presence of the Prophet, and he would not be content until he knew that he had repented.’ [al Tirmidhi]
Lying has many consequences, one of them is destroying the trust of others. Take this situation as a lesson to be learnt from. You mentioned you have prayed tawba (this means praying two cycles of the prayer of repentance in this case). If you can, give some charity as further way of atonement.
In a normal situation, the advice would be to tell the family the truth. However, this will cause a lot of disappointment, possibly anger, and most likely mistrust between you and them, as well as break your grandmother’s heart. Therefore, finish your course as soon as you can and finish it with excellence. At least this way, the lie will cease and no long term harm will be done to the family relationships.
Again, the normal recourse would have been to return these gifts, as their offering was based on a lie. However, to avoid repercussions and family discord, it may best to not return them directly. I would highly recommend buying generous gifts for those people who gifted you those presents with that money or if this is not possible, then give in charity on behalf of the people who gave you the gifts.
In regards your grandmother’s necklace, whose sentimental value is invaluable, finish the law course as soon as possible, thereby deserving the gift for the same reason it was given to you in the first place.
And Allah knows best.
[Shaykh] Jamir Meah
Shaykh Jamir Meah grew up in Hampstead, London. In 2007, he traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he spent nine years studying the Islamic sciences on a one-to-one basis under the foremost scholars of the Ribaat, Tarim, with a main specialization and focus on Shafi’i fiqh. In early 2016, he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continues advanced studies in a range of Islamic sciences, as well as teaching. Jamir is a qualified homeopath.