"After the conquest of the city of Khaybar by the Muslims, the Prophet was approached by Hajaj Ibn `Aalat and told:

"O Prophet of Allah: I have in Mecca some excess wealth and some relatives, and I would like to have them back; am I excused if I badmouth you (to escape persecution)?"

The Prophet excused him and said: "Say whatever you have to say."

- al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah

"It has been demonstrated under the section of "Sunni Sources In Support of al-Taqiyya" that it is permissible to lie to save oneself, as al-Ghazzali asserted;

and that it is legitimate to utter words of unbelief as al-Suyuti stated;

and that it is acceptable to smile at a person while your heart curses him as al-Bukhari confirms;

and that al- Taqiyya is an INTEGRAL part of the Qur'an itself, as has been shown under the section of "The Qur'an Speaks: al-Taqiyya vs. Hypocrisy;"

and that it was practiced by one of the MOST notable companions of the Prophet, none other than `Ammar Ibn Yasir..."

- al-Islam.org

"...[I]t is acceptable (for a Muslim)...to utter words of unbelief; and if one is living in an environment where evil and corruption are the pervasive norm, and permissible things (Halal) are the exception and a rarity, then one can utilize whatever is available to fulfill his needs."

- Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti

"(Verily) we smile for some people, while our hearts curse (those same people)."

- Narrated in
Sahih al-Bukhari, v7, p102

"The meaning is that the tongue is permitted to utter anything in a time of need, as long as the heart is not affected; and one is still comfortable with faith."

- al-Islam.org

The Prophet said: "Is there something on your mind?" `Ammar Ibn Yasir said: "Bad (news)! They would not release me until I defamed you and praised their gods!" The Prophet said: "How do you find your heart to be?" `Ammar answered: "Comfortable with faith." So the Prophet said: "Then if they come back for you, then do the same thing all over again."

- Abd al-Razak

"al-Taqiyya is my religion, and the religion of my ancestors... He who doesn't practice al-Taqiyya, doesn't practice his religion."

- al-Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq

"...a Muslim can pretend to befriend infidels (in violation of the teachings of Islam) and even display false adherence with their unbelief to prevent them from harming Muslims. Under this concept of Taqiyya, if under the threat of force, it is legitimate for Muslims to act contrary to their faith.

The devout are taught that in such circumstances the following actions are acceptable: Drinking wine and alcoholic beverages, abandoning prayers, skipping fasting during Ramadan, renouncing belief in Allah and Muhammad, kneeling in homage to a deity other than Allah, and uttering insincere oaths and covenants.

Al-taqiyya and dissimulation refer to the practice of Muslims blatantly lying to non-Muslims, but the principal goes beyond mere lying for propaganda purposes...

The theological principle of Taqiyya means hiding one's true beliefs and intentions to confuse ones adversaries and enable mujahedeen to operate freely amongst enemies.

...Words from Islamists are worthless, or dangerous, no matter how badly we want them to be true."

- Vernon Richards

"Rejecting al-Taqiyya is rejecting the Qur'an,"

- al-Islam.org


Islam and jihad
8) The principle of al-Taqiyya


"Speaking 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."

-- Abu Hammid Ghazali

"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."

- Hadith 5.59.369


The principle and uses of skillful lying

The 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 set.

The Qur'an 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.

Situations 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 Islam.

With 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 impression:

"It 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

In other words, 'You don't have to lie all the time; it's okay, and even useful, to sometimes tell the truth'.

Not exactly a Sermon on the Mount-caliber message.


At what point is it permissible to start lying?

One 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.

The 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."

The 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:

Sunnis 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 anything else...

The web site al-Islam.org adds this Iranian perspective on when al-Taqiyya can and cannot be invoked:

Imam 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;

A curious 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 a group.

However, 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 think."

It all begs the question, "In dealing with Islam, should we feel more comfortable dealing with...

A.) those most-likely-to-lie-to-us groups or persons who say they want to be our friends, or ...

B.) those most-likely-to-tell-us-the-truth groups or persons who say they want us wiped off the face of the earth?"

Answer that question well and maybe you should run for President.

(Refer to the left margin for additional Islamic endorsements, quotations, and justifications for lying and deception.)


The practice of hudna

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:

In 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.

Since 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:

What 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.


The awful short of it all

The 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.

How 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 their answer?

Consider 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.

A consensus 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.

Muslims 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.

These 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.


Hadrat 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


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Islam condones lying, and some Islamic scholars even tout lying as obligatory.

If I told you this, but didn't prove it, would you think I was lying?

And if I were lying to you, would you consider that a good thing or a bad thing?