Tawriya: "Creative Lying" Advocated in Islam
Now meet tawriya, a doctrine that allows lying in virtually all circumstances.
Perhaps you have heard of taqiyya, the Muslim doctrine that allows lying in certain circumstances -- primarily when Muslim minorities live under infidel authority. Now meet tawriya, a doctrine that allows lying in virtually all circumstances—including to fellow Muslims and by swearing to Allah—provided the liar is creative enough to articulate his deceit in a way that is "technically" true.
Deceit and lying may be far more ingrained in the culture than previously thought.
The authoritative Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary defines tawriya as, "hiding, concealment; dissemblance, dissimulation, hypocrisy; equivocation, ambiguity, double-entendre, allusion." Conjugates of the trilateral root of the word, w-r-y, appear in the Quran in the context of hiding or concealing something (e.g., 5:31, 7:26).
As a doctrine, "double-entendre" best describes tawriya's function. According to past and present Muslim scholars, several documented below, tawriya occurs when a speaker says something that means one thing to the listener, although the speaker means something else, and his words technically support this alternate meaning.
For example, if someone declares "I don't have a penny in my pocket," most listeners will assume the speaker has no money on him—although he might have dollar bills, just literally no pennies.
This ruse is considered legitimate according to Sharia law; it does not constitute "lying," which in Islam is otherwise forbidden, except in three cases: lying in war, lying to one's spouse, and lying in order to reconcile people. For these exceptions, Sharia permits Muslims to lie freely, without the strictures of tawriya, that is, without the need for creativity.
As for all other instances, in the words of Sheikh Muhammad Salih al-Munajid (based on scholarly consensus): "Tawriya is permissible under two conditions: 1) that the words used fit the hidden meaning; 2) that it does not lead to an injustice" ("injustice" as defined by Islamic law, which mandates any number of things -- such as executing apostates, subjugating non-Muslims, pedophilia, amputating limbs for theft, stoning for alleged adultery, death for homosexuality, and so on—that are by Western standards, considered total injustices). Otherwise, it is permissible for a Muslim even to swear when lying through tawriya. Munajid, for example, cites a man who swears to Allah that he can only sleep under a roof (saqf); when the man is caught sleeping atop a roof, he exonerates himself by saying "by roof, I meant the open sky." This is legitimate. "After all," Munajid adds, "Quran 21:32 refers to the sky as a roof [saqf]."
A recent example of tawriya in action is -- because it is a "great sin" for Muslims to acknowledge Christmas -- this sheikh counsels Muslims to tell Christians, "I wish you the best," whereby the Christians might "understand it to mean you're wishing them best in terms of their [Christmas] celebration." But — here the sheikh giggles as he explains—"by saying I wish you the best, you mean in your heart I wish you become a Muslim."
As with most Muslim practices, tawriya is traced to Islam's prophet. After insisting Muslims "need" tawriya because it "saves them from lying," and thus sinning, Sheikh Uthman al-Khamis adds that Muhammad often used it. Indeed, Muhammad is recorded saying "Allah has commanded me to equivocate among the people inasmuch as he has commanded me to establish [religious] obligations"; and "I have been sent with obfuscation"; and "whoever lives his life in dissimulation dies a martyr" (Sami Mukaram, Al Taqiyya Fi Al Islam, London: Mu'assisat al-Turath al-Druzi, 2004, p. 30).
More specifically, in a canonical hadith [the purported acts and sayings of the prophet Mohammed's life], Muhammad said: "If any of you ever pass gas or soil yourselves during prayers [breaking wudu], hold your nose and leave" (Sunan Abu Dawud): Holding one's nose and leaving implies smelling something offensive—which is true—although people will think it was someone else who committed the offense.
Following their prophet's example, many leading Muslim figures have used tawriya, such as Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal, founder of one of Islam's four schools of law, practiced in Saudi Arabia. Once when he was holding class, someone came knocking, asking for one of the students. Imam Ahmed answered, "He's not here, what would he be doing here?"— all the time pointing at his hand, as if to say "he's not in my hand." Obviously the caller, who could not see Ahmed, assumed the student was simply not there.
Also, Sufyan al-Thawri, another important Muslim thinker, was once brought to Caliph Mahdi who refused to let him leave, until Thawri swore to return. As he was going out, Thawri left his sandals by the door. After a while, he returned, took his sandals and left for good. When the caliph asked about him, he was told that, yes, Thawri had sworn to come back—and, indeed, he had come back: only to take his sandals and leave.
Lest it seem tawriya is limited to a few colorful anecdotes more befitting the Arabian Nights than the religious law (Sharia, or "the Path") of over a billion people, there are also modern Muslim authorities who justify it, such as Sheikh Muhammad Hassan, the famous cleric who says Islam forbids Muslims from smiling to infidels, except when advantageous, and Dr. Abdullah Shakir. They both give the example of someone knocking on your door; you do not wish to see them, so you hide in another room, as
a relative answers the door and says, "He's not here" -- by "here" meaning the immediate room.
Similarly, on the popular Islam Web, where Muslims submit questions and Islamic authorities respond with fatwas [religious edicts], a girl poses her moral dilemma: her father has explicitly told her that, whenever the phone rings, she is to answer it by saying, "He's not here." The fatwa solves her problem: she is free to lie, but when she says, "He's not here," she must mean that he is not in the same room, or not directly in front of her.
Of course, while all the sheikhs give examples that are innocuous and amount to "white" lies, tawriya can clearly be used to commit "black" lies, especially where the non-Muslim infidel is concerned. As Sheikh al-Munajid puts it: "Tawriya is permissible if it is necessary or serves a Sharia interest." Consider the countless "Sharia interests" that can run directly counter to Western law and civilization -- from empowering Islam, to subjugating infidels. To realize these Sharia interests, Muslims, through tawriya, are given a blank check to lie, which undoubtedly comes in handy — whether at high-level diplomatic meetings or the signing of peace-treaties.
Note: The purpose of this essay is to document and describe the doctrine of tawriya. Future writings will analyze its full significance — from what it means for a Muslim to believe that the Supreme Being advocates lying, to how tawriya suppresses one's conscience to the point of being able to passing lie detector tests — as well as compare and contrast it to the practices of other religions..
Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum
Reader comments on this item
|Excellent [38 words]||Yuval Brandstetter, M.D.||Feb 28, 2012 08:53|
Comment on this item
by Bassam Tawil
What is sad is that the Gazans have not yet been able to free themselves from the yoke of Hamas.
The world seems not to understand that Hamas, like ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood, does not exist in a vacuum. It is one cog in the radical Islamist wheel that threatens the Arab and Muslim world and the major cities of Europe.
The Western world also seems not to understand that it has to incapacitate or totally neutralize the countries funding terrorism, such as Iran, Qatar and Turkey, for whom the Palestinian problem is only a pretext on the way to destroying the Western world as we know it and replacing it with only Islam.
by Burak Bekdil
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu-Zuhri said: "All Israelis are legitimate targets." What would the Palestinian death toll have been if Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman declared all Palestinians as legitimate targets?
Underdog-nation romanticism tells us Israel should not respond when under rocket attack because it is capable of intercepting the rockets.
That there are fewer Israeli casualties does not mean Hamas does not want to kill; it just means, for the moment, Hamas cannot kill.
by Soeren Kern
Austria figures prominently in a map produced by the IS that outlines the group's five-year plan for expanding its caliphate into Europe, and has emerged as a central hub for jihadists seeking to fight in Syria.
"The spectrum of recruits for the conflict in Syria is ethnically diverse. The motivation, however, appears to be uniformly jihadist." — Austrian intelligence agency BVT.
"Allah also gives you the opportunity to wage jihad in Austria." — Austrian jihadist Firas Houidi.
"We are proud that Allah has chosen us. We feel like lions." — Austrian jihadist Abu Hamza al-Austria.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
What Khaled Mashaal forgot to mention was that Hamas and the Islamic State do have at least one thing in common: they both carry out extrajudicial executions as a means of terrorizing and intimidating those who stand in their way or who dare to challenge their terrorism.
According to Hamas's logic, all members of the Palestinian Authority government are "traitors" who should be dragged to public squares to be shot by firing squads. According to the same logic, Mahmoud Abbas himself should be executed for maintaining security coordination with and talking to Israelis.
As for the two executed women, the sources said that their only fault was that they had been observed asking too many questions about Palestinians who were killed in airstrikes.
by Stephen Blank and Peter Huessy
It now appears that the plan was for these terrorists to shoot down a Russian passenger flight over the Ukraine in order to create a casus belli [cause for war].
Putin repeatedly claims that Russia reserves the right to use nuclear weapons as a "de-escalatory measure" even against non-nuclear states.
The evidence that this war was preplanned is overwhelming. The planning for this Ukrainian operation started in 2006, when Putin offered to "guarantee Crimea's territory."
The forces fighting in Kiev consist not mainly of "separatists" or rebels, but of trained Russian army, intelligence and paramilitary officers, as well as Russian and some Ukrainian "volunteers" recruited by Moscow.
Putin would incite disturbances in Crimea, then graciously offer to take over Crimea to solve the problems.
For the Russians, and particularly for Putin, Ukraine can have no future other than as a Russian colony. This is indeed a phased invasion of Ukraine. The U.S. did not accept Russian aggression before; it should not accept it now.