Are Muslims allowed to lie to unbelievers?
September 24, 2011 8:13 PM   Subscribe

Is it true that Muslims are allowed to lie?

I have read on several right wing websites that there is a thing called "Taquia" (sp?) Which grants muslims the right to lie to non believers in order to advance Muslim interests.

This sounds like rascist claptrap. But it was brought up by Christopher Hitchens during a debate, and not refuted. So please tell me, is it true?
posted by TigerCrane to Religion & Philosophy (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I don't know, but here's a long, thoroughly sourced Wikipedia entry on Taqiyya that might be helpful. By the way, not all criticism of a religion is racist; just look at someone like Hitchens, who criticizes all religions.
posted by John Cohen at 8:21 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I strongly agree. I'm Jewish. I'm also highly critical of Judaism (and all Abrahamic religions). I think one can criticize Judaism without being anti semetic. It's also true that there is anti islamic presence on the web that really seems exactly like anti semetism with a new cast member playing the villain.
posted by TigerCrane at 8:24 PM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

This is from a Muslim perspective and might be interesting to you.Here.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 8:25 PM on September 24, 2011

I can't read Arabic, so I didn't do a firsthand translation of the Koran, but apparently there are a couple of cases in which it is permissible to lie according to my friend who's an Islamic studies major. When you're trying to protect yourself/mislead the enemy in a war, or to bring reconciliation between people, one case being when a husband and wife are fighting.
posted by sunnychef88 at 8:27 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had wondered this before as well, and from what I'm learning just googling around, it seems like you are not allowed to lie unless you are at war (ie, faking your position then attacking from another flank) or you are trying to smooth over differences with someone (particularly a spouse). The latter would probably be called a white lie, and the former would be called good sense.
posted by Gilbert at 8:28 PM on September 24, 2011 [2 favorites]

I believe the bit about Muslims lying to advance Islam has two origins. First, Shiites more permissively allow lying about religion to the point where Sunnis think it is wrong (or at least inconvenient since the rule came from Shiites avoiding Sunnis killing them.) So, these anti-Islam websites may have picked up on that or on a Christian commentary noting that.

Second, this rule has almost certainly been used offensively instead of defensively at times disobediently to Islamic teaching, and may have been misreported as widely believed doctrine instead of intermittently practiced unorthodox pragmatism.
posted by michaelh at 8:37 PM on September 24, 2011

I'll ask my husband who is Muslim!

The caveat is that when I try to clarify right-wing (or left-wing - I'm looking at you Bill Maher) bullshit with him about what the religion really says he gets really really angry in a "I can't believe someone would say something so fucking stupid!" type way.

A good example is the claim that if an individual says, "I divorce you!" 3x's that you are then divorced if you are Muslim. This may vary by country, my husband is Egyptian, and that is apparently a total misreading of the situation in reality. At least in Egypt, you get divorced the regular way - in a court of law. My understanding from my husband (between expletives) is that the whole "I divorce you!" 3x's thing is akin to a ceremony, like the marriage ceremony. I'm not even clear if everyone bothers with that if they get divorced.

To give you some context... technically, I was brought up Catholic. There are fundamental crazy Christians that believe it is super cool to blow up abortion doctors. I'm pretty sure, however, Jesus would not agree. As you do.

I'll Memail you and update this thread after I ask him. Good question!
posted by jbenben at 8:46 PM on September 24, 2011 [1 favorite]

Islam is not a monolithic religion with one set of rules. It's rather more like protestant Christianity than Catholocism in that respect. Consequently, when one asks "Does Islam allow XYZ?", there will most likely be some interpretations where the answer is both "yes" and "no". So, as is similar with the history of Christianity, there have been a huge spectrum of actions that have been seen by some people as sanctioned by a particular religion. So it becomes so very easy to fall into one of two traps: "Oh, Joe says Islam allows XYZ, but Joe is an extremist, no true Muslim would condone such an action", or "Oh, sure Joe the Muslim believes XYZ, but the vast majority of Muslims do not, so it's not supported by Islam."
posted by skewed at 8:57 PM on September 24, 2011 [3 favorites]

Shia often lie when living within a Sunni majority population.
posted by tarvuz at 1:19 AM on September 25, 2011

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