Understanding Dishonesty and Deceit in Islam
The following discussion is so very important for two reasons. Firstly, because of the prominence of deception in the last-days, and secondly, because of the grave implications that deception for the cause of Islam has for the spread of Islam in the West.
When someone first becomes curious and wishes to begin learning about Islam, it is imperative that they first understand the degree to which lying is not only permitted, but actually fostered and even, at times, commanded in Islam.
When a Christian wishes to teach others about Christianity, it is simply understood that honesty will be an essential aspect of that sharing. In Islam however, most westerners have a hard time relating to the fact that purposeful exaggerations, covering of the truth and occasionally – outright-deliberate lying is a core part of the religion of Islam. There are actually specific doctrines and traditions that foster a culture of dishonesty within Islam. Now, of course, there are some verses and traditions in Islam that discourage lying:
And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is). -Surah 2:42 (Yusuf Ali)
But unfortunately, as we are about to see, for many Muslims, it is the exceptions to the rule that have actually become the rule itself.
Deception and Jihad
In order to understand how a religion can rationalize and lying, we must first briefly revisit the concept of jihad and the goals of Islam. We have already discussed this in the last chapter, but will point out again that jihad is essentially viewed within Islam as a struggle to bring all things into submission to Allah and Islam. The battlefields that jihad is fought on can be viewed on a spectrum. On one side of the spectrum is the personal inner struggle. This struggle is fought by every Muslim who wishes to overcome his or her own personal weaknesses, or inner demons. As we move across the spectrum there is the need to wage jihad to cause other individuals to submit to Islam. This is, of course, what Christianity calls evangelism. In Islam it is called Dawah. Flowing on down the spectrum, there is the imperative for Islam to take over local and eventually national governments. This is the point, unfortunately where the true face, the violent face of Islam is often revealed and, where jihad usually begins to get bloody. This reality is seen throughout the World today. So, while many people in the West think of jihad as simply fighting against non-Muslim governments and nations etc., the concept in Islam actually includes all aspects of life. So, in the Muslim mind, even the struggle to convert non-Muslims to Islam is part of jihad. Evangelism in Islam is more than just “sharing the good news,” it is war. With this in mind, it is vital that we note Muhammad’s famous saying that, “War is deception.” 1 Thus, when dealing with non-Muslims, Islam encourages Muslims to use an aggressive jihad/war-time mentality that is literally defined by deception. Indeed until any non-Muslim comes to realize the degree to which this mentality plays out when dealing with many Muslims, it will be only too easy to lose touch with a healthy sense of objectivity. When dealing with someone who is purposefully deceptive, trusting individuals – as so many in the West are these days, are like sheep being led to the slaughter.
This mentality of evangelism as jihad also finds its support in Islam under the category of two specific doctrines called Kithman and Taqiya.
Kithman: Hiding the Truth
Kithman is a command to deliberately conceal one’s beliefs. It is a particular form of lying primarily practiced by the minority Shia’ Muslims. This doctrine is articulated by Imam Jafar Sadiq, the sixth Imam of Shia’ Islam:
One, who exposes something from our religion is like one who intentionally kills us. 2
You belong to a religion that whosoever conceals it, Allah will honor him and whosoever reveals it, Allah will disgrace him.3
So Shia’ Muslims are commanded to purposefully hide what they truly believe in order to mislead outsiders as to the true nature of their religion. One cannot help but to immediately think of Jesus’ words, when He told his followers never to hide their religion:
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
But instead, Shia’ Muslim are said to “belong to a religion that whosoever conceals it, Allah will honor him and whosoever reveals it, Allah will disgrace him.” That is the doctrine of kithman. To most westerners, this concept is unimaginable and completely contrary to reason. If you have something good, then share it. If you have something to hide, then I probably don’t want it anyway.
There is essentially no difference between the doctrine of Kithman and the doctrine of Taqiya. Taqiya is defined by one Shia’ Muslim commentator thusly:
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." 4
This same commentator however from an article in A Shite Encyclopedia, goes on to state that, “The true spirit of ‘al-Taqiyya’ is better embodied in the single word ‘diplomacy.’” Indeed diplomacy is quite a “diplomatic” definition.
The doctrines of Kithman and Taqiya are often said to be strictly Shia’ doctrines. Sunni Muslims however deny that either doctrine is part of their tradition. Unfortunately, this is merely another deception itself. Next, we will run through some of the Sunni traditions that prove the universal application of Taqiya within Islam.
Taqiya: Foundation for Deception
The Quran teaches that it is allowable for Muslims to literally deny their faith in order to protect themselves. Muslims who deny their faith will be forgiven as long as their true faith was not really shaken (i.e. their denial was a lie in the purest sense) and only if their denial of faith was for the purpose of avoiding harm (primarily while living among non-Muslims):
Anyone 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." -Surah 16:106
The Sunni Scholar, Ibn Kathir, elaborates on the meaning on this verse in his classic commentary on the Quran:
This refers to a group of people who were oppressed in Mecca and whose position with their own people was weak, so they went along with them when they were tried by them… Allah tells them that after this, meaning after their giving in (to the non-Muslims by denying their faith) when put to the test, He will forgive them and show mercy to them when they are resurrected. 5
As long as a Muslim lives in a country where Islam exists as a minority, in “a weakened state,” then deceptiveness is allowed. When challenged by non-Muslims to blaspheme Allah, they “went along with them.” The actual story of how the above verse was “revealed” to Muhammad is told thusly:
The nonbelievers arrested `Ammar Ibn Yasir and tortured him until he uttered foul words about the Prophet (Muhammad), and praised their gods and idols; and when they released him, he went straight to the Prophet. 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." Allah at that moment revealed the verse: "….except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in faith… [Surah 16:106]" 6
So Muhammad actually encouraged Muslims to lie and blaspheme and deny their beliefs if it was going to protect them, as long as they were “comfortable with faith.” Ibn Abbas, the most renowned and trusted narrator of tradition in the sight of the Sunnis confirms this notion:
Taqiyya is (merely) the uttering of the tongue, while the heart is comfortable with faith. 7
This is of course quite a contrast to the millions of Christians throughout history who have refused to renounce Christ and have accepted instead death and martyrdom.
The Quran also commands Muslims not to befriend anyone who is not a Muslim – again though, unless doing so can help protect the Muslim from harm:
Let not the believers take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except that you guard yourselves fully against them -Surah 3:28
Ibn Kathir again comments that:
Allah prohibited His believing servants from becoming supporters of the disbelievers, or to take them as comrades with whom they develop friendships… Allah warned against such behavior when He said, ‘O you who believe! Take not my enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them. And whosoever of you does that, then indeed he has gone astray from the straight path.’ And, ‘O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians as friends, they are but friends of each other. And whoever befriends them, then surely, he is one of them.’. Allah said next, ‘Unless you indeed fear a danger from them,’ meaning, except those (Muslims) who in some areas or times fear for their safety from the disbelievers. In this case, such believers are allowed to show friendship to the disbelievers outwardly, but never inwardly. For instance, Al-Bukhari recorded that Abu Ad-Darda’ said, ‘We smile in the face of some people although our hearts curse them.’ 8 (emphasis mine)
Ibn Kathir, then goes on to utterly destroy the notion that Taqiya is for Shia’ Muslims only when he says, “Taqiya is allowed until the Day of Resurrection.”
We see that Taqiya is indeed a doctrine for all Muslims that allows them to literally deny any aspect of their faith and in order to protect themselves from harm. The problem however, is that in practice, the definition of “harm” has come to include a mere harming of one’s reputation as a representative of Islam. Thus Muslims are allowed to deny or misrepresent any aspect of their faith in order to help correct the negative image of Islam in non-Muslim countries. Ibn Taymiyah, the renowned Muslim philosopher validates this point very strongly in his book titled The Sword on the Neck of the Accuser of Muhammad:
Believers when in a weakened stage in a non-Muslim country should forgive and be patient with people of the book (i.e., Jews and Christians) when they insult Allah and his prophet by any means. Believers should lie to people of the book to protect their lives and their religion. 9
Deception Justified to Gain Wealth
Despite Ibn Kathir’s comments however, many will make the claim (possibly as a deception tactic itself) that Taqiya should only used to protect ones life. Far from it. Muhammad even allowed lying for the sake of gaining wealth:
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 bad-mouth you to escape persecution?" The Prophet excused him and said: "Say whatever you have to say." 10
It is the “any end justifies the means” approach to life and religion that Muhammad displays that shines through the most here. And there are numerous other examples of Muhammad encouraging his followers to lie as a means to achieve the end goal of the furtherance of Islam.
Deception Justified To Murder The Enemies of Islam
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." 11
Abdullah Al-Araby a Middle-Eastern born authority on Islam, in an article entitled Lying in Islam, details another story of Muhammad’s permissiveness toward lying to achieve the death of his enemies. This time the victim’s name was Shaaban Ibn Khalid al-Hazly:
It was rumored that Shaaban was gathering an army to wage war on Mohammed. Mohammed retaliated by ordering Abdullah Ibn Anis to kill Shaaban. The would-be killer asked the prophet’s permission to lie. Mohammed agreed and then ordered the killer to lie by stating that he was a member of the Khazaa clan. When Shaaban saw Abdullah coming, he asked him, "From what tribe are you?" Abdullah answered, "From Khazaa." He then added, "I have heard that you are gathering an army to fight Mohammed and I came to join you." Abdullah started walking with Shaaban telling him how Mohammed came to them with the heretical teachings of Islam, and complained how Mohammed badmouthed the Arab patriarchs and ruined the Arab’s hopes. They continued in conversation until they arrived at Shaaban’s tent. Shaaban’s companions departed and Shaaban invited Abdullah to come inside and rest. Abdullah sat there until the atmosphere was quiet and he sensed that everyone was asleep. Abdullah severed Shaaban’s head and carried it to Mohammed as a trophy. When Mohammed sighted Abdullah, he jubilantly shouted, "Your face has been triumphant (Aflaha al- wajho)." Abdullah returned the greeting by saying, "It is your face, Apostle of Allah, who has been triumphant. (Aflaha wajhoka, ye rasoul Allah)." 12
So we see that, again, lying is permissible for any number of reasons. As long as the end goal is to further the cause of Muhammad or Islam, it is permissible and overrides the initial prohibition against lying. In this case it was permissible in order to achieve the end goal of an assassination of someone whom Muhammad wanted dead. Unfortunately, because Islam holds up Muhammad as the supreme example of behavior for all Muslims, this same attitude is carried on by many of Muhammad’s followers today.
Deception to Attain Goals and Prosperity
Imam Al-Ghazali, one of the most famous Muslim theologians & philosophers of all time, takes the permissibility of lying even further. To Ghazali, lying is permissible so long as virtually any positive or beneficial goal may be achieved:
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. 13 (emphasis mine)
Know this that lying is not sin by itself, but if it brings harm to you it could be ugly. However, you can lie if that will keep you from evil or if it will result in prosperity. 14 (emphasis mine)
It is really quite impossible to deny that deceit has found a rich seedbed in Islam to deposit its roots and call home. We see that Islam as a religious system permits and even encourages lying and deceit as a specific aspect of its religious life. The unusal fusion of religion and deceit has profound implications both in matters relating to the spread of Islam in the West as well as in matters relating to our discussion about the last-days.
Implications for Islam in the West
In terms of the implications for today, Abdullah Al-Araby comments:
The principle of sanctioning lying for the cause of Islam bears grave implications in matters relating to the spread of the religion of Islam in the West. Muslim activists employ deceptive tactics in their attempts to polish Islam’s image and make it more attractive to prospective converts. 15
I have personally witnessed this dynamic to the point of utter exhaustion. And equally frustrating is the fact that so many Christians, due to either a lack of knowledge or simply not wanting to appear too fighty or contentious, allow the deception to flow unchecked. When Americans witnessed numerous so-called moderate Muslims make speeches to defend the benign nature of “The Religion of Peace,” after 9-11, for instance, many of these speakers were knowingly misrepresenting the true nature of Islam. Many have been documented speaking in far more aggressive terms in private meetings with other Muslims. We pointed out the example of Omar Ahmed, Chairman of the Board of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) in the last chapter. These Muslims, posing as “moderates” justified their misrepresentations of Islam because in their minds, they were protecting Islam and thus American Muslims from “harm.” It was “damage control” in its truest form. Christians, Americans and unfortunately, even much of the political leadership, either desperately wanting to believe the best of people in order to comfort themselves in times of great uncertainty or through the inevitable dumbing down of the West through the constant hammering of moral-relativity and political correctness, bought much of this deception – hook, line and sinker. Those few who were bold enough to speak the truth regarding the true nature of Islam were viewed as either intolerant or hateful or both. This is the pattern that is followed whenever a great evil is carried out by Islam. Pay attention and you will see it again and again.
Implications for the Last-Days
Of course the implications for Islam’s doctrines of lying are obvious in relation to our discussion of the last-days. The biblical picture of the last-days is one where deception is the absolute rule of the day. Virtually every passage where the end-times are discussed in the New Testament, the author stresses that believers are to be very careful that they not be deceived. Following are some examples of such warnings.
Just before Jesus was taken away to be crucified, he had a discussion with his disciples about the last-days. His very first exhortation was that they be careful not to be deceived.
As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you." Matthew 24:3,4
Jesus goes on to warn of the power of this deception:
"At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people…. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time." Matthew 24:10-11, 24-25 (emphasis mine)
Likewise the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians warns the Church of the need to be cautious of being deceived:
Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him… Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way… 2 Thessolonians 2:1-3
Paul refers to the future deception as “a powerful delusion.”
The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12 (emphasis mine)
I understand that to accuse anyone of being a liar is quite an insult. As such I felt it was important to demonstrate thoroughly the fact that Muhammad, the Quran and Hadith as well as Islam’s most respected scholars all allow lying as a means to achieve any number of goals. I have documented this fact quite plainly. This is not an unfounded accusation made by the “people of falsehood” (a name that the Quran ironically applies to non-Muslims) but is indeed an established doctrine and practice within Islam. While I understand that this may feel like quite strong language, the simple truth is that Islam, as a religious system is a son of its true father. The demonic being that quite literally assaulted Muhammad in the Cave of Hira, is the same being that inspired the ungodly doctrines of deception that have so obviously affected the religion of Islam as we know it today. While I am quite sure that these comments may offend most Muslims, my response would be to ask that they do not get upset with me for reporting this information but rather that they express their anger toward the traditions of Muhammad and the scholars of Islam who not only condone, but encourage such behavior. It is behavior that simply should not be found among those who call themselves godly. The Bible calls on all people to strive to resemble their true heavenly father, the Author of all light and truth.
While most people will agree that religion and deception are not intermixable, it is clear that in Islam, deception and religion mutually support one another. Likewise we can be sure that in the last-days, deception and religion will be so intertwined that it will be difficult even for “the elect” to discern just what is the truth. As such, once again, Islam finds itself fulfilling yet another of the primary descriptions of the last-days system of the Antichrist.
1. Sunan Abu Dawood Book 14, Number 2631: Narrated Ka’b ibn Malik
2. Hadith Imam Jafar Sadiq Footnote. #1 Usool al Kafi, p.88
3. ibid. Ft. #2, Ibid, p.522
4. A Shite Encyclopedia October 1995
Revised January 2001 http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/1.html
5. Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir -Surah 16:106 www.tafsir.com
6. Confirmed by At-Tabari and narrated by Abd al-Razak, Ibn Sa’d, Ibn Jarir, Ibn Abi Hatim, Ibn Mardawayh, al-Bayhaqi in his book "al- Dala-il," http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/1.html
7. Sunan al-Bayhaqi and Mustadrak al-Hakim http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/1.html
8. Ibn Kathir’s Tafsir -Surah 3:28 www.tafsir.com
9. Ibn Taymiyah, The Sword on the Neck of the Accuser of Muhammad, p.221, as quoted in Gabriel, Islam And Terrorism, (Lake Mary, Charisma House, 2002), p. 91
10. Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, v3, p61, http://www.al-islam.org/encyclopedia/chapter6b/1.html
11. Bukhari Volume 5, Book 59, Number 369 Narrated by Jabir bin ‘Abdullah
12. Islam Review, Lying in Islam, Abdullah Al Araby http://www.islamreview.com/articles/lying.shtml
13. Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri, The Reliance of the Traveller, translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller, (Amana publications, 1997), section r8.2, p 745
14. Ulum id Din pp. 3,137 As quoted in Islam and Terrorism, Mark Gabriel (Lake Mary, Charisma House 2002), p. 95
15. Islam Review, Lying in Islam, Abdullah Al Araby
© 2009 – 2011, Matt. All rights reserved.