Monday, April 30, 2007

taqiyya

This strange word is an anglicization of an Arabic word, meaning dissimulation (which is a long word meaning telling lies). I got it from a publication I have just received from The Barnabus Fund. Patrick Sookhdeo, the Director, is a Pakistani who has converted from Islam to Christianity.

Lying in Islam appears to be an anomaly. One of the 99 names of Allah is 'al-Haqq' meaning 'the reality, the supreme truth'. In the Qur'an truth is commended and lies condemned. How is it that anyone can suggest that Muslims tell lie?

The doctrine of taqiyya developed from a time of religious persecution where Muslims could save their lives by concealing their true beliefs. I don't think that there is any obligation on an honorable man to tell the truth to tyrants. Thus, we would commend those brave souls who concealed allied airmen from the SS in the second world war. In the Bible Moses concealed from Pharoah his true purpose of leading the Israelites out of Egypt. Neither the SS nor Pharoah deserved to be told the truth.

All well and good, but in Islam that principle has been extended so that it seems that Muslims can hardly be trusted by Christians and Jews to keep their word - the possiblity of taqiyya always exists. Obviously some Muslims are honorable men, but if many Muslims conceal the truth from Christians and Jews those many jeopardize the integrity of the many who are honest. As Hamid Enayat, a Muslim historian who was a Fellow of St Anthony's College Oxford states, "Taqiyya has in practice become the norm in public behaviour among all Muslims - both Sunni and Shi'a - whenever there is a conflict between faith and expediency."

The devlopment of the doctrine was as a cloak of protection for the Shi'a minority who passed themselves off as Sunnis to protect themselves from harm. Muslim's interpret the Qur'an to say that they have a duty to save life, honor and property from danger and unlawful destruction whenever possible, even if this means dissimulation. This runs to pretended friendship with non-Muslims, a practice condemned by the Qur'an, "Let not the believers take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than Believers; if any do that, in nothing will there be help from God:" but there is a get out clause as it continues, "except by way of precaution that ye might guard yourselves from them." In other words pretend to be their friend as a precaution against their harming you.

A famous Hadith (A Hadith was originally an oral tradition relevant to the actions and customs of the Prophet. They are meant to be a secondary source of Islam with the primary source being the Quran.) says, "Lying is allowed in only three cases: falsehood spoken by a man to his wife to please her, falsehood in war, and falsehood to put things right between people." (Al-Tirmidhi #5033: narrated by Asma', daughter of Yazid).

The doctrine of taqiyya is there to defend Islam against its perceived enemies. As a conequence, much of what is said publicly by Muslim's to non-Muslims is likely to be untrue. For example, Hamid Ali, spiritual leader of the Al-Madina mosque in West Yorkshire publicly condemned the 7/7 bombings in London 2005. But in coversation with a Bagladeshi-born undercover reporter of the Sunday Times he said that the 7/7 bombings were a 'good act' and praised the bombers.

This is a quote from Sheikh 'Abdul Rahman 'Abdul Khaliq, a Saudi Salafi scholar taliking about peace treaties made with Israel.

"The first duty is to firmly believe in their invalidity and becuse they contain invalid conditions they were born deadthe very day they were given birth to...
The second duty of the Muslim is to believe that those treaties do not bind him and that it is not lawful for hime to give effect to any of their contents except under compulsion and necessity...
The third duty is to work towards overthrowing these treaties..."

While many Muslims are honest and open in their dealings with non-Muslims the possiblity of taqiyya makes it difficult for non-Muslims to assess the relability of statements made by Muslims to them, says Sookhdeo, it si easier to be sure of what Muslims really think by checking what they say to each other and by what they do.

6 comments:

Vance Esler said...

Very enlightening. I had heard that Muslims think it is okay to lie to unbelievers, but this explanation gives me a better appreciation of that. It is very hard to know who can be trusted.

Wish their leaders saw this as a problem as much as we do...

justme said...

"Lying is allowed in only three cases: falsehood spoken by a man to his wife to please her, falsehood in war, and falsehood to put things right between people."

If this is the case, it seems to me it would be difficult for a Muslim wife to trust her husband as well. Since it is understood that a husband can lie "to his wife to please her", and it's also okay to lie "to put things right between people", infidelity could justifiably be lied about. It certainly wouldn't please her to hear otherwise!

Anonymous said...

One must be cautious when dealing with anyone on the matters of life and death, as we do with Moslems in our most pressing and dangerous challenges of these times.

Interesting and enlightening post.

dreamingspire said...

Acquaintances who have worked in Arab countries have told me of experiencing lies from people they describe only as Arab and not specifically as Muslim. They put it down to the culture of loyalty: to family, tribe, rulers. If you are within their trust network, they tell the truth and are hugely welcoming. If you are outside, anything and everything is done to keep you out until a decision is made to admit you. Perhaps related to the historic problem of simply staying alive in hostile climates?

DrD said...

Glad to see another blogger waking up to the Islamic threat which requires an understanding of taqiyya more than anything else, for we in the West, accustomed to civilised discourse and the moderating effect of the Enlightenment, are vulnerable when dealing with those whose moral systems are primitive and depend on Honour/Shame so much that the truth may be denied, not only as a device to advance one's cause, but as a psychological necessity to avoid impossible mental conflicts. The 'Religion of Peace' is a classic example used by apologists and worryingly by the Home Secretary(at least until he encountered the egregious Trevor, now under lock and key, who you will remember told him to keep away from the Muslim part of out capital city that he was visiting.
Submission not Peace is what is demanded and violent Jihad to attain that capitulation to the values of the medieval desert is an obligation on all good Muslims. What people do not realise is that this isn't a Religion 'Hijacked by a few extremists'(Taqiyya) but one predicated on violence as the eternal means to force upon the world the intemperate musings of ancient tribesmen. There are no 'moderate' Muslims for to lay claim to that title demands of them the repudiation of parts or all of the Qur'an which is an impossibility for the book contains the immutable word of God and is eternally sacred. There are of course many 'bad' Muslims but this is not a pejorative description but an indication that they are discarding by neglect something which can have no place in the modern world for to submit to its pieties condemns one to an economic, scientific, intellectual and spiritual wasteland.

DrD said...

Understanding Taqiyya is fundamental to the understanding of Islam for without it we are condemned to extend to those who are contemptuous of us the hand of tolerant friendship which is likely to be bitten. Islam demands submission not peace, as its name implies, and its obligations are that we, the unbelievers, capitulate to the inevitable domination of the Muslims who have to triumph because that is how it is ordained. The 'Religion of Peace' has never been so and never will be for violence is the
dominant piety and has been for 1400 years of unsurpassed slaughter. It is an obligation masked by mendacious reference to jihad as a battle for self control and godliness(Taqiyya again) Lying is endemic becuase the societies from which this backward religion emerged depended then as they do know on the fraught balance of Honour and Shame amongst males particularily. Not only can a lie be told for manipulative control but it can be believed in a way we cannot comprehend. The Principal of the Saudi school in London who had textbooks depicting Jews as apes was quite unable to respond to Paxman's request that she repudiate the texts, not because she really thinks Jews are Apes, but because the Qur'an refers to them in this way and cannot be questioned, for it is, literally, the word of God and is immutable. It's not the bad Muslims we need to worry about but the good ones.