Answered by Dr. `Ali Goma | Translated by Naiyerah Kolkailah
Question: My husband used to drink alcohol, and I am someone who prays alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah). I was very concerned and unsure of what to do, so I lied to him, and I hope that Allah forgives me. I told him: ‘I dreamt of a Shaykh, and he told me that my husband has to stop drinking, or else such and such (bad) will happen.’ When I told him in the morning, he believed me. He made ablution alhamdulillah, and started praying. I still feel uneasy because I lied to my husband, but alhamdulillah he prays now, and has not missed a single prayer ever since. I hope you can benefit me, and pray that Allah forgives me for this lie.
Answer: What [you] did is not considered lying because it’s permissible to use these types of allegories to rectify certain wrongs. This is an allegory because what you told him is, in reality, agreed upon amongst Muslims. So, you made him understand something that was not based on an actual occurrence, but its general meaning does exist.
This is considered figurative lying, and it is permissible (only) in war, in reconciling between people, and in reconciling between husbands and wives. It is also permissible if the husband wants to please his wife, as with telling her she is the most beautiful of women – even if that’s not so! This is not actual lying, but it takes the form of lying; and although it contradicts reality, it is still not considered lying because it brings about greater good. That is why Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (Exalted and All-Mighty) blessed your words, and made this blessing lead to the guidance of your husband, and made him fully convinced by what you said. You should feel content because, insha’Allah (by the will of Allah), you are not sinful.
Translated from Fatawa’l-Nisa’, p. 301.