Islam and jihad
8) The principle of al-Taqiyya
is a means to achieve objectives. If a praiseworthy aim is attainable
through both telling the truth and lying, it is unlawful to accomplish
through lying because there is no need for it. When it is possible to
achieve such an aim by lying but not telling the truth, it is permissible
to lie if attaining the goal is permissible...and
obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory."
"Allah's Apostle said,
"Who is willing to kill Ka'b bin Al-Ashraf who has hurt Allah and His Apostle?"
Thereupon Muhammad bin Maslama got up saying, "O Allah's Apostle! Would
you like that I kill him?" The Prophet said, "Yes," Muhammad bin Maslama
said, "Then allow me to say a (false) thing (i.e. to deceive Kab). "The
Prophet said, "You may say it."
principle and uses of skillful lying
root word "taqiyya" means to protect against or conceal. As you
might gather from the quotes above, the principle of al-Taqiyya is the Islamic
justification for lying and deceiving. Al-Taqiyya is drawn explicitly
from the words of Muhammad, and from the examples he and his successors
and other Islamic books condone lying,
but they also praise truth-telling. Assuming for the moment these contradictory
exhortations intend some salient point (a true assumption considering the
principle in question), and assuming one principle hasn't abrogated
the other, approved lying must have a context. That is exactly what Islamic
scholars say is the case.
or purposes for which Islamic scholars collectively judge it to be permissible
to lie include the following: to
reconcile arguments, to settle family disputes, to settle arguments specifically
with wives or women, to safeguard one's "innocent" life (i.e.,
not for criminals on trial), to protect the lives of other Muslims, to defend
one's honor, to succeed in jihad or combat, and to spread the practice of
the admission that Muslims may lie under many circumstances, trusting a
Muslim involves a higher than average degree of risk. We'll get into that
later, but recognize that statements like the following only affirm that
is not mandatory to practice it (al-Taqiyya) at all times; on the contrary,
it is permissible, and sometimes necessary, to abandon it (al-Taqiyya)
altogether; as in the case where revealing the truth will further the
cause of the religion, and provide a direct service to Islam;"
al-Shaykh Muhammad Ridha al-Mudhaffar
other words, 'You don't have to lie all the time; it's okay, and even useful,
to sometimes tell the truth'.
exactly a Sermon on the Mount-caliber message.
what point is it permissible to start lying?
point of contention between different Islamic sects is the stress point
at which certain situations merit lying. It seems all Islamic sects agree
that deception is good if it's done to promote Islam. Yet
concerning lesser matters, interpretations vary.
Shi'a sect, for example, boasts of requiring a certain threshold of adversity
before lying is justified. One Shi'a writer puts it "that Taqiyya
must be practiced only when there is a definite danger which cannot be avoided
and against which there is no hope of a successful struggle and victory."
Shi'a writer contrasts the Wahhabi threshold as being not nearly as high.
Perhaps the Sunni threshold is included among the higher ones, at least
in terms of not denying the faith, as Wikipedia records:
believe that God decides when someone is going to die. Therefore, they
believe it is wrong to deny the faith in order to escape torture or death.
By contrast, the Shi'a and some Sunnis believe that life is a gift from
God and should be preserved...preservation of life takes precedence over
web site al-Islam.org adds this Iranian perspective on when al-Taqiyya can
and cannot be invoked:
Khomeini in his book, "Islamic Government," also presents his view on
al-Taqiyya. He believes that al-Taqiyya is permitted only when one's life
is jeopardized. Whereas in cases wherein the religion of Allah, Islam,
is in danger, it is not permitted even if it leads to one's death;
trend emerges after reading enough of these Islamic interfaith discussions.
Groups which have the most lenient threshold for al-Taqiyya, i.e., would
be the quickest to lie, seem to be the ones that are more tolerant of non-Muslims.
They also appear more willing to work with the West. The Sunni-based organization
CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) might be an example of such
Islamic groups or sects with the strictest thresholds, i.e., are least quick
to condone lying, are the more intolerant and western-hating practitioners
of Islam. Shia-dominant Iran might be of an example of this. Their President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the last string of Ayatollahs have certainly not
been the kind of persons one has had to goad, "Tell me what you really
begs the question, "In dealing with Islam, should we feel more comfortable
those most-likely-to-lie-to-us groups or persons who say they
want to be our friends, or ...
those most-likely-to-tell-us-the-truth groups or persons who
say they want us wiped off the face of the earth?"
that question well and maybe you should run for President.
to the left margin for additional Islamic endorsements, quotations, and
justifications for lying and deception.)
practice of hudna
is an Arabic term that technically translates into "calm" or "truce",
as in a truce struck between two warring nations. But a hudna is not just
any truce or ceasefire. A hudna is a "tactical truce" that
has it's beginnings with Muhammad:
the year 628 AD, when surmising that his [Mohammed's] forces were too
weak to overcome the rival Kuraysh tribes, the Prophet Mohammed concluded
a ten-year truce accord with the Kuraysh. This agreement became known
as the Hudaybiyya
Accord, after the place where it was signed. Yet, less than two
years later, having consolidated their power, the Muslim forces attacked
the Kuraysh tribes and defeated them, allowing Mohammed to conquer the
city of Mecca.
that time, the term Hudna has been understood by Muslims as a tactical
cease-fire that is intended only to allow a shift the balance of power.
Once the balance of power has shifted, and the groundwork has been laid
for a Muslim victory, the truce can then be broken.
Hudna is the battlefield
or political application of al-Taqiyya. It's purpose is to give the illusion
of desiring peace while actively masking a rethinking, regrouping, or rearming
when faced with a superior opponent. The above citation was from EmbassyofIsrael.org,
obviously experienced in the typical course of Islamic ceasefires. Here
is one from Omdurman.org on the same subject affirming a kind of deception
that is fundamental to Islam:
is being touted as a 'cease-fire' is something called a 'hudna.' A hudna
[also known as a hudibiyya or khudaibiya] is a tactical cease-fire that
allows the Arabs to rebuild their terrorist infrastructure in order to
be more effective when the "cease-fire" is called off.
awful short of it all
acceptance among Muslims that lying is permissible, encouraged, sometimes
obligatory, and diversely applied, means one should be more cautious than
usual when considering to trust them. I know that's a horrible blanket charge
to make against any group of people. It's only tempered by the fact that
all Muslims cannot agree on when and at what point one should start lying.
do we know which set of "lying circumstances" are acceptable to
any given Muslim we may be speaking with? We could ask, but could we believe
the beginnings of Islam when a spiritual being is said to have confronted
Muhammad in a dark cave. In that blackness, the being extolled the virtues
of that which would become Islam. Muslims say that a lie to further Islam
is acceptable, so by that reasoning there is no guarantee that the being
didn't lie to Muhammad. It furthered Islam, did it not? If one can tell
lies to further Islam, then there is no basis for believing anything good
you're told about the religion. I'm not saying there's nothing good
about it, I'm just pointing out the impossibility of trusting a system that
openly embraces lying and falsehood as key doctrines.
view among Muslims today, as much as there is one, is that all the world
is a legitimate battlefield upon which Islam should compete and win out
as the dominate worldview. No problem - most ideologies compete for dominance
like that. But in this battlefield context, the doctrine of al-Taqiyya is
justifiable in virtually every situation, and at least radical Muslims exercise
it in exactly that way.
may not all agree when to invoke al-Taqiyya, but they cannot deny that the
whole world is an ideological field of battle. What ideology can claim
to be moral AND declare the whole world combatants to whom they can unashamedly
lie? Answer: Islam.
doctrines of strategic lying and deception, al-Taqiyya and hudna, showcase
the dangerous nature of Islam as much as does the wife
beating, honor killing, beheading, and other such practices that the religion
embraces. The only thing positive about the doctrines is that they are so
integral to the Qur'an and practice of Islam that they cannot be hidden.
We know about them, and now knowing we can and should take them into account.
Weigh very cautiously what Muslims and Muslim nations are telling us and
trying to get us to believe, especially in regard to so-called peace treaties
and treaties concerning nuclear weapons.
Ali said that in the battlefield one could not observe the highest standard
of truth as a Muslim has been exhorted to do in matters of religion. For
example in the battlefield one has to hide facts and outwit the enemy.
al-Islam.org, Hadith Sahih Muslim, Vol. 2, ft. #1446
What is jihad - in their words?