Taqiyya & Kitman in Islam
(Original Knol 21.05.09)
Taqiyya and Kitman are practices and customs commonly used within the Muslim community that is often not understood by non-Muslims when attempting to appreciate their intentions and their psyche. However is is a common practice in most Middle Eastern and Asian countries but here we will attempt to analyse it in relation with the Islamic religion. It is a concept that is unappreciated because in a way it is alien to the Christian religious ideology of “telling the truth, and nothing but the truth at all times.” However, this ideology is an accepted practice in Islam and is condoned by the Koran.
The word “al-Taqiyya” literally means: “Concealing or disguising one’s beliefs, convictions, ideas, feelings, opinions, and/or strategies at a time of imminent danger, whether now or later in time, to save oneself from physical and/or mental injury.” A one-word translation would be “dissimulation.” 
An eminent Shia authority, Ayatollah Sistani (of Iran) describes the concept of Taqiyya as follows: “1)Taqiyah is done for safety reasons. For example, a person fears that he might be killed or harmed, if he does not observe Taqiyah. In this case, it is obligatory to observe Taqiyya. 
According to the Shia scholar Muhammad Husain Jafari Sahiwal, Shi’ism would not have spread if it wasn’t for taqqiyah. (Referring to instances where Shiites have been ruthlessly persecuted by the Sunni political elite, during the Umayyad and Abbasid empires.” 
YUSUFALI: Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief,-except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.
Shia, who have been persecuted relentlessly by the majority Sunni population over the ages, have used the “exception” as the Quranic verse to justify their religious dispensation for this practice i.e. taqiyya. This practice of course has extended to perceived or unperceived threats to their faith. 
The Sunni view is that Shi’a doctrine of taqiyya isn’t in accordance with its acceptable use. They assert that Shi’as have been using taqiyya as a tool of deception, not to save their own lives, but to cause strife for the Sunnis and their political leadership (which was resented by Shi’as) and for conspiratorial implantation of their own minority faith among the mainstream Muslim faith. 
“Sunni scholars have a more equivocal take. Some reject taqiyya as unacceptable hypocrisy and evidence of cowardice: Muslims shouldn’t fear other humans, only Allah. Others argue that concealment is warranted under life-threatening circumstances.” 
However, Professor Sami Makarem, a professor of Islamic studies in his book, al-Taqiyya fi al-Os;a, (Taqiyya in Islam), states unequivocally:
“Taqiyya is of fundamental importance in Islam. Nearly every Islamic sect has agreed to it and practices it…..Indeed, we can go so far as to say that mainstream Islam practices taqiyya, and that those few sects that do not practice it(taqiyya) are aberrant, diverging from the mainstream.” 
“The Tabari recommends that Muslims feign goodwill towards infidels not when the latter are trying to forcefully convert them, but because they (kafir) are natural enemies, at least from a Muslim perspective. So, far from being a question of preserving their faith, taqiyya is to be practised when Muslims are in the minority and living among majority infidels—precisely the scenario we have today in the West. 
This clearly states that Taqiyya is a part of the cultural make up of Muslims and if we, in the west, do not recognise this fact, it will be to our own peril.
I have been challenged time and again about my concepts of Islam and each time I come up against very conflicting ideas mainly because there are differences in the manifestos of the different sects of Muslims like the Sunnis, the Shias, and the Ahmadi sect in the course of my discussions. The confusion is because the codes in each sect differs from another. I will begin by posting part of a blog from an Ahmadi member:
“The Ahmadiyya community has not changed a single teaching of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. They have not incorporated any ‘modern thought’ into any of their teachings. There was no need. The teachings of Islam were completed at the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The message of the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was to guide all Muslims back to the original and true teachings of Islam. There is therefore no discrepancy between the message of Ahmadiyyat and the message of Islam.
You write : ….’Moderation was not accepted as it was not the teachings of Islam. It appears that Islam cannot accept the dilution of the Koran and thus any “moderate Muslims” is non-existent in Islam as they would be classified as “apostates.”
Again the Promised Messiah did not alter a single word or commandment of the Holy Quran or a single instruction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
You write that Qur’an 2:216 above, ‘represents the 6th Pillar of Islam’. As you well know Muslims are not forbidden from fighting in self defence unless they have been attacked and that is the meaning of the verse you quote. ”
Distinct Ahamdiyya sect Beliefs
Abrogation and Taqiyya within the QUR’AN Illustrated
Sura 9:5 “Slay the Idolators where ever you find them, and take them, and confine them,and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush.”
Ahmadis may believe in the abrogated Sura 2:256 is still applicable, but then how can they explain the other Suras 9:5, 5:33, 5:51 8:39, 9:73 and so on? The Ahmadis attempt to explain that it is only in defense that those Suras are applicable. But all we have to see is the Islamic Jihadism that is being executed all over the world to know that the Ahmadis are in total denial. To just listing a few today, the Jihadist attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11, the London Underground Bombing of 7/7, the Iraqi war, the Afghanistan war, the Bali bombings, the Palestinian war, the Chechnya war, and so on with details found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wars_in_the_Muslim_world
So the above is evidence of “Abrogation” by Muhammad, and it also shows that the Ahmadis are in fact practicing ‘Taqiyya.’ Is is also in all Islamic Sharia law that anyone leaving Islam is an apostate and by sharia law practiced in most Islamic nations the penalty for Apostasy in Death. So it is a fact that that Sura 2:256 is a misnomer because there is no freedom of choice of religion in Islam. Apostates received the death penalty, Unbelievers must be fought against and severely dealt with. It is only when everyone accepts Allah as the only Allah to submit to will there be peace.
ABROGATION IN THE QUR’AN
The Qur’an is unique among sacred scriptures in accepting a doctrine of abrogation in which later pronouncements of the Prophet declare null and void his earlier pronouncements.
Four verses in the Qu’ran acknowledge or justify abrogation:
Qur’an 2:106 When we cancel a message, or throw it into oblivion, we replace it with one better or one similar. Do you not know that God has power over all things?
Qur’an 16:101 When we replace a message with another, and God knows best what he reveals, they say: You have made it up. Yet, most of them do not know.
Qur’an 13:39 God abrogates or confirms whatsoever he will, for he has with him the Book of the Books.
Qur’am 17:86 If we pleased, we could take away what we have revealed to you. Then you will not find anyone to plead for it with us.
Rather than explain away inconsistencies in passages regulating the Muslim community, many jurists acknowledge the differences but accept that latter verses trump earlier verses. Most scholars divide the Qur’an into verses revealed by Muhammad in Mecca when his community of followers was weak and more inclined to compromise, and those revealed in Medina, where Muhammad’s strength grew.
Classical scholars argued that anyone who studied the Qur’an without having mastered the doctrine of abrogation would be “deficient.” Those who do not accept abrogation fall outside the mainstream and, perhaps, even the religion itself. The Ahmadiyah sect, for example, today concentrated in Pakistan, consistently rejects abrogation because it undercuts the notion that the Qur’an is free from errors. Many Muslims consider Ahmadis, who also see their founder as a prophet, to be apostates.
Because the Qur’an is not organized chronologically, there has been a whole subset of theological study to determine which verses abrogate and which are abrogated. Muslim scholars base their understanding of theology not only upon the Qur’an but also upon hadiths, accounts of the Prophet Muhammad’s life. One hadith in particular addresses abrogation. It cites Abu al-A‘la bin al-Shikhkhir, considered by theologians to be a reliable source of knowledge about the Prophet’s life, as saying, that “the Messenger of God abrogated some of his commands by others, just as the Qur’an abrogates some part of it with the other.” Muhammad accepted that God would invalidate previous revelation, often making ordinances stricter.
Abrogation occurs not only within the Qur’an, but also by the Qur’an toward earlier revelations, such as those passed on by Jesus or Moses. Sura 2:106 refers to commandments sent to prophets before Muhammad. ‘Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali, commentator and translator of the Qur’an, interpreted the verse to mean that God’s message is the same across time, but its form may differ according to the exigencies of time. ‘Abd al-Majid Daryabadi, a Pakistani Qur’an commentator, suggested, however, that the laws might differ across time but that there should be no shame in the same lawgiver replacing temporary laws with permanent ones.
Also cause for discussion among scholars is the question of whether God withdrew revelations from the memory of Muhammad and his followers, causing such revelations to disappear like some of those mentioned in the Qur’an about which little is known today.
This leads to the classical theological dispute about whether such interpretations dilute the idea that the Qur’an is eternal. Those who discount or downplay abrogation interpret the verses revealed by Muhammad in Mecca to address spirituality and see those revealed later in Medina not as abrogation but rather expanding context to understand the whole.
Abrogation and Jihad
Abrogation and Jihad
How does the theological debate over abrogation impact contemporary policy formulation? While not all terrorism is rooted in Islam, the religion is an enabler for many. It is wrong to assume that more extreme interpretations of religion are illegitimate. Statements that there is no compulsion in religion and that jihad is primarily about internal struggle and not about holy war may receive applause in university lecture halls and diplomatic board rooms, but they misunderstand the importance of abrogation in Islamic theology. It is important to acknowledge that what university scholars believe, and what most Muslims—or more extreme Muslims—believe are two different things. For many Islamists and radical Muslims, abrogation is real and what the West calls terror is, indeed, just.
During the lifetime of Muhammad, the Islamic community passed through three stages. In the beginning from 610 until 622, God commanded restraint. As the Muslims relocated to Medina (623-26), God permitted Muslims only to fight in a defensive war. However, in the last six years of Muhammad’s life (626-32), God permitted Muslims to fight an aggressive war first against polytheists, and later against monotheists like the Jews of Khaybar. Once Muhammad was given permission to kill in the name of God, he instigated battle.
Chapter 9 of the Qur’an, in English called “Ultimatum,” is the most important concerning the issues of abrogation and jihad against unbelievers. It is the only chapter that does not begin “in the name of God, most benevolent, ever-merciful.” Commentators agree that Muhammad received this revelation in 631, the year before his death, when he had returned to Mecca and was at his strongest. Muhammad bin Ismail al-Bukhari (810-70), compiler of one of the most authoritative collections of the hadith, said that “Ultimatum” was the last chapter revealed to Muhammad although others suggest it might have been penultimate. Regardless, coming at or near the very end of Muhammad’s life, “Ultimatum” trumps earlier revelations.
Because this chapter contains violent passages, it abrogates previous peaceful content. Muhsin Khan, the translator of Sahih al-Bukhari, says God revealed “Ultimatum” in order to discard restraint and to command Muslims to fight against all the pagans as well as against the People of the Book if they do not embrace Islam or until they pay religious taxes. So, at first aggressive fighting was forbidden; it later became permissible (2:190) and subsequently obligatory (9:5). This “verse of the sword” abrogated, canceled, and replaced 124 verses that called for tolerance, compassion, and peace.
***Suyuti said that everything in the Qur’an about forgiveness and peace is abrogated by verse 9:5, which orders Muslims to fight the unbelievers and to establish God’s kingdom on earth.
Prior to receiving “Ultimatum,” Muhammad had reached agreements with various Arab tribes. But when God gave Muhammad a revelation (2:190-2), Muhammad felt justified in breaking his cease-fire. For Isma’il bin Kathir (1301-73), a student of Ibn Taymiyya and an influential Qur’an interpreter in his own right, it is clear: As jihad involves death and the killing of men, God draws attention to the fact that disbelief, polytheism, and avoidance of God’s path as shown by the Qur’an are worse than killing them. This creates license for future generations of Muslims to kill non-Muslims solely on the basis of their refusal to accept Islam.
According to Ibn Kathir in his commentary on Chapter 9:5, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, the first caliph, used this and other verses to validate fighting anyone who either did not pay religious taxes to the Muslims or convert to Islam. Ibn ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab, one of the hadith transmitters, quoted Muhammad as saying, “I have been commanded to fight the people until they testify that there is no deity worthy of worship except God and that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” He testified that Ad-Dahhak bin Muzahim, an authentic transmitter of hadiths, said that the verse of the sword “abrogated every agreement of peace between the Prophet and any idolater, every treaty, and every term.” ‘Awfi cited Ibn ‘Abbas, who argued that “Ultimatum” obviated earlier peace treaties. The Shafi‘i school took this as a justification for killing anyone who abandoned prayer and for fighting anyone who refused to pay increased religious minority taxes.
Such interpretations resonate. Muhammad Sa‘id Ramadan al-Buti, a contemporary Al-Azhar University scholar, wrote that “the verse (9:5) does not leave any room in the mind to conjecture about what is called defensive war. This verse asserts that holy war, which is demanded in Islamic law, is not a defensive war because it could legitimately be an offensive war. That is the apex and most honorable of all holy wars. Its goal is the exaltation of the word of God, the construction of Islamic society, and the establishment of God’s kingdom on earth regardless of the means. It is legal to carry on an offensive holy war.”
Defensive warfare in Islam is nothing but a phase of the Islamic mission that the Prophet practiced. After that, it was followed by another phase, that is, calling all people to embrace Islam. Even for People of the Book, there can be no role except conversion to Islam or subjugation to Muslim rule. Hence, Muhammad’s statement, “They would not invade you, but you invade them.”
Modern Revisionism of Jihad
David Powers, a well-known researcher of classical Islam, agreed that 9:5 abrogates no less than 124 verses that command or imply anything less than a total offensive against the non-believers. However, he says the verse is itself considered to be abrogated by the conditional clause with which it concludes: “But if they repent and perform the prayer and pay the alms, then let them go their way.” But such a condition is not magnanimous: When infidels repent and perform the Muslim prayer and pay alms, it means they have become Muslims. Once they are Muslims, there is no need to slay them. The clause thus becomes more coercive than conditional. It suggests than a non-Muslim must convert to Islam or be slain.
Still, no verse is more frequently cited by contemporary Muslims preachers and analysts to depict Islam as peaceful and compassionate as 2:256, “Let there be no compulsion in religion.” For Sheikh Abdur Rahman, the chief justice of Pakistan, this verse is one of the most important, containing a charter of freedom of conscience unparalleled in the religious annals of mankind.
Muhammad offered this verse in his first year of residence in Medina when he needed the Jews’ support. Nahhas, with the authority of Ibn ‘Abbas, said: “Scholars differed concerning 2:256. Some said it has been abrogated by 9:73 for the Prophet compelled the Arabs to embrace Islam and fight those that had no alternative but to surrender to Islam. Other scholars said that 2:256 had not been abrogated concerning the People of the Book. It is only the infidels who are compelled to embrace Islam.” Suyuti does not see 2:256 abrogated by 9:73 but rather interprets 9:73 as a case of postponing the fight until Muslims become strong. He argues that when Muslims were weak, God commanded them to be patient.
This is also the case of sura 9:29, which deals with Jews and Christians. Fighting them is mentioned after the clarification regarding fighting the idolaters (9:5). This verse (9:29) was revealed when Muhammad was commanded to fight the Byzantines and prepared the expedition to Tabuk. Ibn Kathir declared: The order is to fight the People of the Book until they pay the jizyah (protection tax) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued. Had they been true believers in their religions, that faith would have directed them to believe in Muhammad because all prophets commanded them to obey and follow him. Yet when he was sent, they disbelieved in him even though he is the “mightiest of all messengers because it suits their desires and lusts, and because they disbelieved in the master, the mightiest, the last and most perfect of all prophets.”
Ibn Kathir continues: “This honorable verse was revealed with the order to fight the People of the Book. After the pagans were defeated, the people entered God’s religion in large numbers, and the Arabian Peninsula was secured under the Muslims’ control.”
The issue of abrogation in Islam is critical to understanding both jihad and da’wa, the propagation of Islam. Some Muslims may preach tolerance and argue that jihad refers only to an internal, peaceful struggle to better oneself. Western commentators can convince themselves that such teachings are correct. However, for learned Muslim scholars and populist leaders, such notions are or should be risible. They recognize that, in practice, there is compulsion in Islam. They take seriously the notion that the Qur’an teaches not just tolerance among religions, but tolerance among religions on the terms of Islam. To understand the challenge of the current Islamist revival, it is crucial for non-Muslims and moderate Muslims alike to recognize that interpretation of Islamic doctrine can have two faces, and that the Medinan face may very well continue to overshadow the Meccan face for a major portion, if not the majority, of contemporary Muslims.
David Bukay is a lecturer in the school of political science at the University of Haifa.
A tradition from the Holy Prophet (S) declares,
“Beware I inform you regarding the greatest of the mortal sins: Associating anything with Allah, disobeying parents and lying!”1
A similar tradition has been quoted from Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.) also,
“All the evils have been locked in a room and its key is lying.”2
The Prophet of Islam in another tradition is quoted to have said,
“When a believer utters a lie without a valid excuse, he is cursed by seventy thousand angels. Such a stench emanates from his heart that it reaches the sky and because of this single lie Allah writes for him a sin equivalent to that of committing seventy fornications. Such fornications that the least of which is fornication with ones mother.”3
Undoubtedly, lying is the worst of sins. It is obvious that the evils of lying are more dreadful than those of adultery. Some false words lead to war between two tribes or two sections of the society. Some lies blight the honour of thousands of people or endanger their lives, or lead to economic disasters.
One kind of falsehood is that which is attributed to Allah (S.w.T.), the Holy Prophet (S) or the Holy Imams (a.s.). Understandably this is the worst kind of falsehood. Often due to lying, innocent people are sent to the gallows and their families destroyed. It is for this very reason that the traditions state:
“Lying is an evil, greater than drinking wine.”
The Islamic practice of Taqiyya is a part of Islamic culture.
Toriya means to say something, which could be interpreted in more that one way. One of the meanings should be the truth and the other against reality. It is said that one who speaks a ‘Toriya’ intends the true interpretation whereas the listeners take it to mean the opposite. For example if a tyrant comes to your place and wants to call you outside but you want to remain in the safety of your home, a person from your family can go to the door and say, ‘He is not here’; with the intention the ‘He’ is not at the door. The tyrant may think that you are not at home. This is permitted.
Or if an oppressor is asking you the whereabouts of a person whom he intends to oppress. In this case you can say, ‘I do not know his whereabouts’; signifying by the pronoun ‘his’ someone else whose whereabouts you really do not know. In the same way if one has committed a greater sin and someone asks him, “Have you committed this sin?” The person could save his honour by saying, “I shall seek forgiveness from Allah (S.w.T.) if I ever committed it.”
Similarly he may use uncertain terms or rhetorical sentences.
For example he may say, “Do you expect me to commit such a grave sin?”
Or he can also say the following prayer,
“O Allah protect me from such a sin.”
Also if you have pointed out somebody’s fault and he feels bad about it, there is no need to utter a lie and say, “You do not have this fault.” What can be said to pacify instead is, “Your personality is such that it is wrong to say such things about you.”
Toriya is of Three kinds.
The first type is when some purpose has to be achieved or there is a risk of some harm. These types of examples are quoted above. It is apparent that such a kind of ‘Toriya’ is permitted.
The next type of ‘Toriya’ is when a person intends to harm or insult someone else. There is no doubt that such a kind of ‘Toriya’ is ‘Harām’.
The third type of ‘Toriya’ is when there is neither a purpose behind it nor one intends to cause harm to others. According to some Mujtahids this type ‘Toriya’ is Harām. This is because ‘Toriya’ is a kind of a falsehood and whatever proofs exist for the prohibition of lying could also apply for this type of ‘Toriya’. Secondly there is nothing to prove the legality of this third type of ‘Toriya’. However, some of the Mujtahids are of the opinion that this kind of ‘Toriya’ is not Harām. For according to them all those proofs that permit ‘Toriya’ are also applicable to this type and hence it is not a lie.
However, the precautionary method is to resort to ‘Toriya’ only when it is certain that it permissible.
Whenever there is a danger to life, honour and property and if the danger can be avoided by lying, one is allowed to lie. The danger could be to ones own life, honour and property or to that of someone else.
So much so that it is also permitted to take a false oath in this situation and in some cases it even becomes Wajib (obligatory) to speak a lie. E.g. when there is risk to ones life. In this case, it is Wajib to save oneself by lying and taking a false oath. For example, if an oppressor intends to kill a Muslim or to beat him up, dishonour him, seize his property or imprison him and if he enquires from you of his whereabouts, it is obligatory not to tell the truth even if one has to take a false oath and say that one does not know of his whereabouts.
In the same way if someone entrusts a thing in your possession and another intends to seize it; it is your duty to protect the entrusted thing even if you have to resort to falsehood or take a false oath.
There are many traditions that support the taking of a false oath in order to save the Muslims. For example, Shaykh Ansari in his book, Makasib quotes from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) that they have narrated the following tradition of the Holy Prophet (S).
The Holy Prophet (S) says:
“Swear falsely by Allah, but save your Muslim brothers from unjust murder.”
Ismael Ibn Sād records a confirmed tradition, wherein he says that he asked Imam ‘Ali Riďa (a.s.) concerning the person who takes a false oath to save his property from an unjust ruler.
Imam Riďa (a.s.) replied,
“There is no harm (in it).”
He was again asked, “If a man takes a false oath to save the property of his believing brother, just as he had sworn falsely to save his own property. Is it allowed?”
Imam (a.s.) said,
“Yes! It is allowed.”34
Also Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
“If one is compelled to take a false oath to save the life of a Muslim or to save his property from an oppressor or a thief, not only is the expiation of this false oath not payable but he would rather be eligible for (divine) rewards.”
Two points must be remembered at this juncture. One is that even though it is permitted to lie to save oneself from every type of monetary loss, yet it is Mustahab (recommended) not to lie if one is capable of bearing the loss. Amir ul-Mu’minīn ‘Ali (a.s.) says,
“The sign of belief is that one speaks the truth even if it causes loss and refrains from a lie even if it is beneficial (to lie).”35
Another important point is that in situations where the Mujtahids have permitted Toriya it is best not to use falsehood, but limit oneself to Toriya only.
Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) said:
“Speech is of Three types, truth, falsehood and reconciling people.”
Someone asked, “May my life be sacrificed for you. What is, ‘reconciling people’?”
Imam (a.s.) replied:
“You hear someone speaking ill about somebody but you tell the other person that the former was saying good things about you.”36
Infact one is ordered to resort to lies if by doing so, one can bring about reconcillation between two people. One who brings about such reconciliation shall not be termed a liar. Because if the message of ill will is communicated from one to other, it will only increase enmity between the two.
In the same way if a husband and wife have separated and divorce is about to take place, one is allowed to speak a lie if it can bring about a reunion. For example the husband could be told, “Your wife is very much troubled by the separation. She has such intense feelings for you that she may fall ill.” Or the wife may be told similar things so that they may reunite.
The Holy Prophet (S) has said,
“After the fulfillment of Wajib acts, the best action is to bring about peace and reconciliation among people. This is such an act that spreads goodness in the world.”
Amir ul-Mu’minīn ‘Ali (a.s.) said that the Holy Prophet (S) has said at the time of recording his will and testament.
“O ‘Ali, Allah even likes a falsehood for the sake of peace and dislikes truth that spreads corruption.”37
The Holy Prophet (S) has also said,
“To make peace among people and to think about reconciling people, and removing discord is better than prayers and fasting.”
Abu Hanifa Saeq Al Haj says, “There was an inheritance dispute between my son-in-law and me. Our dispute was in process when the agent of Imam as-Sadiq (a.s.), Mufazzal happened to pass by. He stopped to listen for a while then returned to his house. He then gave us four hundred dirhams and solved the dispute.
Then he said, ‘The money that I gave you was not mine. It belonged to my master Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.). He had ordered me to solve the disputes among his followers through this money.’”
This shows the importance of peace and reconciliation. The Holy Prophet (S) has also stated that it was better than prayers and fasting, even though this action is Mustahab (recommended) whereas the former are Wajib (Obligatory). The reason for this could be that due to prayers and fasting an individual is reformed. Whereas the peacemaker reforms the whole society and consequently prayers and fasting also become popular among the people. Unity among the Muslims is not only beneficial for the Hereafter, it is very much needed from the worldly point of view also. When the hearts of the believers unite for the sake of Allah (S.w.T.), such a power is achieved that not only the apparent enemies can be faced but even the hidden enemies, i.e. “the self” and “shaitan”, can be easily deflected.
The unity and understanding among the people could be compared to Kur38 water. If water is divided by putting it in different vessels and each of them is less then a kur, then whenever impurity (Najasat) falls into one of them, it makes that water Najis (impure). But if all the water is collected in one place and it becomes more than a kur and if an impurity falls into it, it does not make the kur water Najis. On the contrary the kur water is capable of purifying the impurity of a Najis object. Exactly, in the same way when the people unite together, the divine mercy descends upon them and each one benefits by it. Secondly due to the unity among the Muslims they will be held in high esteem by people of different faiths.
Another example is the merits of congregational prayers and its great rewards. It is very much recommended to behave kindly towards the believing brother, to help him and support him. Similarly it is highly meritorious to visit the believers, to shake hands with them and to hug them. These actions carry great benefits. To make peace between two believers qualifies one to untold rewards. Similarly it is mentioned that to befriend a believer for the sake of Allah (S.w.T.) carries tremendous rewards. After examining the rewards for all of the above actions one concludes that all such actions have been promulgated for maintaining the unity among believers.
It is known from some traditions that during a war with unbelievers, it is permissible to use falsehood, if by doing so, victory can be gained over them.
A man can give a promise to his wife even if he does not intend to fulfill it, a man can give a false promise to fulfill his wife’s desire, if he thinks that his refusal will cause dispute and discord in the family, or make his wife extremely unhappy. Obviously such falsehood is also permissible under compelling conditions when a man fears that refusing to promise may lead to an extreme situation like divorce.
However, whether such a promise is permitted or not is difficult to confirm. Some weak traditions do state that such a false promise is allowed. For example if a wife asks for something, her husband can give her a false promise.
Hazrat ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) says:
“Avoid lying! For when one desires something he strives for it and when one fears something he strives to keep it away from himself.”39
Imam ‘Ali (a.s.) explains the above tradition as follows: If one sincerely desires the pleasure of Allah (S.w.T.) one must strive for it and one of the ways of doing so is by refraining from lies. Falsehood is a forbidden act causing extreme displeasure of Allah (S.w.T.). In the same way if one really fears divine retribution, one must keep aloof from sins, for sins incur punishment. If a person merely claims that he hopes for divine rewards and fears divine punishment, but does not perform good deeds nor refrain from sins, he is a liar.
The following saying of Amir ul-Mu’minīn ‘Ali (a.s.) is recorded in Nahjul Balagha:
“One who thinks that he hopes (in divine rewards) but his actions do not express it, then by Allah, he is a liar. For when he hopes for something it becomes apparent from his actions.
But if he hopes in Allah and his actions do not show it? In the same way when one is afraid of something his actions express this (fear) and he flees from that thing. Then after claiming to be fearful of divine punishment why does he not flee from sins?”
Thus if a person who claims to be fearful of Allah (S.w.T.) and hopeful of divine rewards, but whose actions do not confirm his claim, is considered a liar. In the same way a person who claims to have the traits of patience, thankfulness, contentment and resignation etc. which are not shown in his behaviour is also a liar.
Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says,
“Whenever you say ‘Allahu Akbar’ (Allah is the greatest) you must consider everything between the earth and the sky to be lesser than Allah. Because when Allah sees that a person say Allaho-Akbar only superficially, He says, ‘O liar! You try to be smart with Me? By My Might and Honour I shall deprive you of My remembrance.’”
It is regretful that people verbally say, ‘Allahu Akbar’ but their actions belie their words. For if they are told to do something for the sake of Allah (S.w.T.) or to refrain from something for the sake of Allah (S.w.T.) they do not pay any heed, but if a monetary fine is due for any disobedience, they are sure to respond. Thus money has importance for them than Allah (S.w.T.)’s pleasure or displeasure. There are people who perform particular actions or restrain from them only due to fear of harm by fellow humans. If they are told to do so only due to the fear of Allah (S.w.T.), they will not be impressed.
A person who says to Allah (S.w.T.), ‘Thee only do we worship and Thee only we ask for help’, but his actions are such that day and night he is involved in the acquisition of wealth and is preoccupied in the satisfaction of carnal desires. Can we consider this man to be truthful? Does this man really worship Allah (S.w.T.)?
In the same way many a man puts his trust and faith in the apparent agencies through which he gets his profit and gain. He regards these as the deciding authorities and seeks their help, overlooks the fact that these means themselves are through Allah (S.w.T.)’s grace. Can such a person be truthful when he says “Thee only do we worship and Thee only we ask for help?”
Oftentime people supplicate with the following words, “I am pleased with my Lord and Cherisher, He the sole cherisher of all the creatures. I am satisfied with Him.”
But if the situation changes and these people are faced with distressing circumtances, they do not hesitate to complain about what Allah (S.w.T.) has decreed for them. In such a case the above-mentioned supplication amounts to lying.
The supplication, “I am pleased that Muhammad (S) is my Prophet; and Qur’an is my Book and ‘Ali is my Imam; and all of them are for my guidance,” will also be a lie when uttered by a person who does not practice the tenets of Islam as explained by our Ahl ul-Bayt (a.s.) and behaves according to his own whims and fancy.
A man prays, “(O Allah (S.w.T.)) when I look at my sins, I weep and when I see Your mercy and forgiveness I become hopeful and happy in anticipation that You will forgive me,” but when faced with temptations, he makes no serious effort to restrain himself and commits sinful acts without any qualms. The falsehood of such a person is clear.
In the same way if a person says, “I weep due to (the fear of) the agony of death, due to the fear of questioning of the grave, due to the fear of Qiyāma,” while in reality he is not fearful of any of these, his falsehood is obvious. It could be this very kind of falsehood that is referred to in Du’a Abu Hamza Thumali of Imam Zayn ul-’Abidīn (a.s.):
“O Allah! May be You have found me in the position of a liar and for this (You have taken away your mercy from me) left me on my own condition.”
An example of lying to the Imams (a.s.) is that of a person who recites the Ziarat and says, “(O Imams) I accept your sayings and act upon your commands and obey you,” but who does not do so in reality. In fact he obeys his own desires. Such a person is a hypocrite! He is lying to the Imams (a.s.).
Another example of such a falsehood is when he says in Ziarat, “We make peace with those who are at peace with you and we make war with those who are at war with you.” Even though he verbally claims this, in actual practice he is friendly with the enemies of Islam. Also, he is inimical to the believers. He also claims, “I keep aloof from your opponents,” but does not act upon it. Isn’t such a person lying to the Imams (a.s.)?
A question arises here that if by reciting a Du’a or Ziarat, if one is bound to utter lies, then how should one pray?
Although a detailed reply to this is beyond the scope of this book, we can say in brief that the manner of praying denounced by us is when the supplicant invokes Allah (S.w.T.), the Holy Prophet (S) and the Imam (a.s.), but he takes his supplication lightly and makes no sincere effort to better himself.
However, a believer should not feel that since it is not possible to avoid falsehood in prayers it is better not to pray. This is despair of Allah (S.w.T.)’s mercy and a satanic instigation to keep the believer away from the divine rewards. What one should do is to pray sincerely and to achieve perfection in a gradual manner and Allah (S.w.T.) will surely help such a person in achieving this ultimate aim.
A person either understands the meanings of duas and Qur’anic verses (as those quoted above) or not. Even if one recites them without following the actual meaning, the duas and Qur’anic verses will illuminate his heart by their light. He will also be eligible for the divine rewards.
With respect to knowledge and piety our Ma’sūmīn (a.s.) occupy the highest position. Amongst the believers there is a wide spectrum of people capable of different levels of understanding and piety, but none can reach the stage of Ma’sūmīn (a.s.). All believers succumb to their desires and selfish motives to a greater or lesser extent. Consequently they fall prey to sins and disobey Allah (S.w.T.). This is inevitable. This situation is aptly described in the following words of Du’a Abu Hamza Thumali.
“O Allah! I did not sin due to disbelief in You, nor did I sin considering Your command insignificant or thinking that your punishment is light. But I sinned due to the instigation of my selfish desires and due to pride…”
The believers can comfort themselves that they are not really lying when they do not rise up to the level expected in the supplication they utter. They can also comfort themselves that they are believers because they fear Allah (S.w.T.) and repose their hope in Allah (S.w.T.), as the Holy Qur’an says:
“And fear (only) Me if you are believers. ” (Surah Āli-‘ Imrān 3:175)
Even though the belief in Allah (S.w.T.) and the fear of His retribution is present in man, he is still prone to sins. It is not that one who believes in Allah (S.w.T.) cannot sin. For example, who does not know that a dead body cannot cause any harm? Everyone firmly believes in it. Yet how many people can stay alone with a corpse at night? Here a firm belief is unable to rid the man of his fear of the dead. Even a firm belief cannot guarantee one’s actions. It is for this reason that we recite in Du’a, “Bestow upon me such a firm conviction that I can worship you with sincerity.” There is no doubt that if one prays to Allah (S.w.T.) out of intense fear; which would restrains him from committing sins, Allah (S.w.T.) will surely create such a fear in his heart.
Also the magnitude of his fear increases along with the increase in grades of piety and obedience which he achieves due to constant efforts.
It has been mentioned in the traditions:
“Whoever desires something and strives for it, finds it.”
Truly! Being absolutely truthful seems possible only for the Ma’sūmīn (a.s.). As the Holy Qur’an states,
“And be with the Truthful Ones!” (Surah at-Tawba 9:119)
The “Truthful Ones” referred to in this ayat are the Ahul Bayt (a.s.).
- 1. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 2. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 3. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 4. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 5. Usūl al-Kāfi
- 6. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 7. al-Kāfi
- 8. al-Kāfi
- 9. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 10. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 11. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 12. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 13. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 14. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 15. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 16. al-Kāfi
- 17. Mustadrak ul-Wasa’il
- 18. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 19. Uyūn al-Akhbār ar-Riďa
- 20. al-Kāfi
- 21. al-Kāfi
- 22. al-Kāfi
- 23. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 24. Kashful Muhajja
- 25. Nahjul Balagha
- 26. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 27. al-Kāfi
- 28. al-Kāfi
- 29. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 30. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 31. Khisāl
- 32. Safinat’ul-Bihār
- 33. Bihār al-Anwār
- 34. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 35. Nahjul Balagha
- 36. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 37. Wasa’il ul-Shia
- 38. ‘Kur’ is 377 litres. According to Islamic Practical Law if the quantity of water is more than a kur and if it comes in contact with a najis thing, it is not considered najis unless its colour, or its smell, or its taste has changed
- 39. al-Kāfi
Quran (16:106) – Establishes that there are circumstances that can “compel” a Muslim to tell a lie.Quran (3:28) – This verse tells Muslims not to take those outside the faith as friends, unless it is to “guard themselves” against danger, meaning that there are times when a Muslim should appear friendly to non-Muslims, even though they should not feel that way..
Quran (9:3) – “…Allah and His Messenger are free from liability to the idolaters…” The dissolution of oaths with the pagans who remained at Mecca following its capture. They did nothing wrong, but were evicted anyway. (The next verse refers only to those who have a personal agreement with Muhammad as individuals – see Ibn Kathir (vol 4, p 49)
Quran (40:28) – A man is introduced as a believer, but one who had to “hide his faith” among those who are not believers.
Quran (2:225) – “Allah will not call you to account for thoughtlessness in your oaths, but for the intention in your hearts”
Quran (3:54) – “And they (the disbelievers) schemed, and Allah schemed (against them): and Allah is the best of schemers.” The Arabic word used here for scheme (or plot) is makara, which literally means ‘deceit’. If Allah is supremely deceitful toward unbelievers, then there is little basis for denying that Muslims are allowed to do the same. (See also 8:30and 10:21)
Taken collectively these verses are interpreted to mean that there are circumstances when a Muslim may be “compelled” to deceive others for a greater purpose.
Hadith and Sira
Sahih Bukhari (52:269) – “The Prophet said, ‘War is deceit.'” The context of this is thought to be the murder of Usayr ibn Zarim and his thirty unarmed men by Muhammad’s men after he “guaranteed” them safe passage (see Additional Notes below).
Sahih Bukhari (49:857) – “He who makes peace between the people by inventing good information or saying good things, is not a liar.” Lying is permitted when the end justifies the means.
Sahih Bukhari (84:64-65) – Speaking from a position of power at the time, Ali confirms that lying is permitted in order to deceive an “enemy.”
Sahih Muslim (32:6303) – “…he did not hear that exemption was granted in anything what the people speak as lie but in three cases: in battle, for bringing reconciliation amongst persons and the narration of the words of the husband to his wife, and the narration of the words of a wife to her husband (in a twisted form in order to bring reconciliation between them).”
Sahih Bukhari (50:369) – Recounts the murder of a poet, Ka’b bin al-Ashraf, at Muhammad’s insistence. The men who volunteered for the assassination used dishonesty to gain Ka’b’s trust, pretending that they had turned against Muhammad. This drew the victim out of his fortress, whereupon he was brutally slaughtered.
From Islamic Law:
Reliance of the Traveler (p. 746 – 8.2) – “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 by telling the truth, it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible (N:i.e. when the purpose of lying is to circumvent someone who is preventing one from doing something permissible), and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory… it is religiously precautionary in all cases to employ words that give a misleading impression… (See the Permissible Lying section on the Sharia page for more)
“One should compare the bad consequences entailed by lying to those entailed by telling the truth, and if the consequences of telling the truth are more damaging, one is entitled to lie.”
Muslims are allowed to lie to unbelievers in order to defeat them. There are several forms:
Taqiyya – Saying something that isn’t true as it relates to the Muslim identity.
Kitman – Lying by omission. An example would be when Muslim apologists quote only a fragment of verse 5:32 (that if anyone kills “it shall be as if he had killed all mankind”) while neglecting to mention that the rest of the verse (and the next) mandate murder in undefined cases of “corruption” and “mischief.”
Tawriya – Intentionally creating a false impression.
Muruna – ‘Blending in’ by setting aside some practices of Islam or Sharia in order to advance others.
Though not called taqiyya by name, Muhammad clearly used deception when he signed a 10-year treaty with the Meccans (known as Hudaibiya) that allowed him access to their city while he secretly prepared his own forces for a takeover. The unsuspecting residents were conquered in easy fashion after he broke the treaty two years later. Some of the people in the city who had trusted him at his word were executed.
Another example of lying is when Muhammad used deception to trick his personal enemies into letting down their guard and exposing themselves to slaughter by pretending to seek peace. This happened in the case of Ka’b bin al-Ashraf (as previously noted) and again later against Usayr ibn Zarim, a surviving leader of the Banu Nadir tribe, which had been evicted from their home in Medina by the Muslims.
At the time, Usayr ibn Zarim was attempting to gather an armed force against the Muslims from among a tribe allied with the Quraish (against which Muhammad had already declared war). Muhammad’s “emissaries” went to ibn Zarim and persuaded him to leave his safe haven on the pretext of meeting with the prophet of Islam in Medina to discuss peace. Once vulnerable, the leader and his thirty companions were massacred by the Muslims with ease, probably because they were unarmed – having been given a guarantee of safe passage (Ibn Ishaq 981).
Such was the reputation of early Muslims for lying and then killing that even those who “accepted Islam” did not feel entirely safe. Consider the fate of the Jadhima. When Muslim “missionaries” approached their tribe, one of the members insisted that they would be slaughtered even though they had already “converted” to Islam to avoid just such a demise. However, the others believed they could trust the Muslim leader’s promise that they would not be harmed if they simply offered no resistance. (After convincing the skeptic to lay down his arms, the unarmed men of the tribe were quickly tied up and beheaded – Ibn Ishaq 834 & 837).
Today’s apologists often rationalize Muhammad’s murder of poets and others who criticized him at Medina by falsely claiming that they broke a treaty with their actions. Yet, these same apologists place little value on treaties broken by Muslims. From Muhammad to Saddam Hussein, promises made to non-Muslim are distinctly non-binding in the Muslim mindset.
Leaders in the Arab world sometimes say one thing to English-speaking audiences and then something entirely different to their own people in Arabic. Yassir Arafat was famous for telling Western newspapers about his desire for peace with Israel, then turning right around and whipping Palestinians into a hateful and violent frenzy against Jews. He even referenced “Hudaibiya” – an admission to conning Westerners.
The 9/11 hijackers practiced deception by going into bars and drinking alcohol, thus throwing off potential suspicion that they were fundamentalists plotting jihad. This effort worked so well that John Walsh, the host of a popular American television show, claimed well after the fact that their bar trips were evidence of ‘hypocrisy.’
The transmission from Flight 93 records the hijackers telling their doomed passengers that there is “a bomb on board” but that everyone will “be safe” as long as “their demands are met.” Obviously none of this was true, but these men, who were so intensely devoted to Islam that they were willing to “slay and be slain for the cause of Allah” (as the Quran puts it) saw nothing wrong with employing taqiyya to facilitate their mission of mass murder.
The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) insists that it “has not now or ever been involved with the Muslim Brotherhood, or supported any covert, illegal, or terrorist activity or organization.” In fact, it was created by the Muslim Brotherhood and has bankrolled Hamas. At least nine founders or board members of ISNA have been accused by prosecutors of supporting terrorism.
The notorious Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) is so well known for shamelessly lying about its ties to terror and extremism that books have been written on the subject. They take seriously the part of Sharia that says “it is permissible to lie if attaining the goal is permissible and obligatory to lie if the goal is obligatory”. The goal being the ascendency of Islam (and Sharia itself) on the American landscape.
Prior to engineering several deadly terror plots, such as the Fort Hood massacre and the attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was regularly sought out by NPR, PBS and even government leaders to expound on the peaceful nature of Islam.
In 2013, a scholar at the prestigious al-Azhar university decreed that Muslims may wear the cross in order to deceive Christians into thinking they are friendly. He cited 3:28 which says not to be friends with non-Muslims unless it is a way of “guarding” yourself against them.
A prominent Muslim activist in the United States, Linda Sarsour, bills herself as a “progressive” and says that gays, women and religious minorities need not worry about Sharia being imposed. She even says that money is lent free of charge under Islamic law (more about that here).
The Quran says in several places that Allah is the best at deceiving people.
The near absence of Quranic verses and reliable Hadith that encourage truthfulness is somewhat surprising, given that many Muslims are convinced their religion teaches honesty. In fact, many Muslims are honest because of this. But when lying is addressed in the Quran, it is nearly always in reference to the “lies against Allah” – referring to the Jews and Christians who rejected Muhammad’s claim to being a prophet.
Finally, the circumstances by which Muhammad allowed a believer to lie to a non-spouse are limited to those that either advance the cause of Islam or enable a Muslim to avoid harm to his well-being (and presumably that of other Muslims as well). Although this should be kept very much in mind when dealing with matters of global security, such as Iran’s nuclear intentions, it is not grounds for assuming that the Muslim one might personally encounter on the street or in the workplace is any less honest than anyone else.
Sacred Deception — Taqiyya
I’d like to talk to you about what I find a fascinating topic that is the topic of Islamic ethics, but in particular, a part of Islamic ethics which is called sacred deception or Taqiyya.
Let me give you a few ethical rules that come from the Hadith:
You notice something here? That’s right. You and I are left out because you see Islam is not a symmetric ethical system. The golden rule is symmetric. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That is, there’s a balance here; the other and yourself are seen as equal. But in Islam if you’re a Kafir, you’re never equal to the Muslim. Islam does not have a golden rule. The Kafir is always inferior.
Now then, let’s talk about lying and deception. First let’s start with the fact that Allah has 99 names and one of those 99 names is he is the best of deceivers.
But Allah is also the best of plotters and schemers so given that, it isn’t too surprising that we find in the
In other words, apostates can be killed or otherwise punished. But it goes further. “But there is no punishment for anyone who is compelled to deny Allah in words but whose heart is faithful.” So in other words, a Muslim can lie about Islam if it serves Islam. And one of the ways he can serve Islam is that the Muslim is not discriminated against.
Here we have another in
What this is interpreted to mean is that a Muslim can act friendly but he’s not actually the friend. That’s what is wrong. In other words, a Muslim may never give preference to a Kafir over a Muslim. There are, by the way, no less than 12 verses which say that a Muslim is not the friend of the Kafir.
Now let’s turn to the Hadith.
What is this? This is the Sunna of Mohammed; it is possible to lie to the Kafir as long as it advances Islam. This is the nature of Taqiyya.
Now there is another way in which a Muslim can lie. There’s a hadith, a fairly well-known hadith, in which there are three reasons for Muslims to lie. One is jihad, that is the struggle against the Kafir. So a Muslim can lie to you anytime he needs to advance Islam
The other is a Muslim a lie to another Muslim if it will make the situation better. And a husband and wife may lie to each other as long as it smooths the relationships in the household.
So deception is part of Islam. Allah is a deceiver. Mohammed was a deceiver, and therefore, every Muslim can be a deceiver. It is so special that it has a name, Taqiyya. So the next time you’re hearing something about Islam that just doesn’t sound right, and it comes from the mouth of a Muslim, you’re right. It’s not right. It’s a lie. It is Taqiyyah.